×

Intriguing primaries in Trumbull

There are some intriguing primaries in Trumbull County and incredibly, no primaries for any Mahoning County executive or judicial branch position.

And the Trumbull County Democratic primary for county engineer especially fascinates me.

David DeChristofaro, who was forced to leave the job in 2011 on criminal convictions that have since been expunged, is challenging incumbent Randy Smith, who succeeded him.

While engineer isn’t the most exciting position in politics, each candidate has an obvious dislike for the other. The primary should be a doozy.

Commissioner Dan Polivka faces two challengers in the March 17 primary: David M. Guarino, a former deputy sheriff, and Carl F. Clemens III, a county transit board member.

Polivka, who is also county Democratic Party chairman, can be a polarizing figure, and the winner of the primary will face Republican Niki Frenchko in the general election.

It’s doubtful Polivka will have much trouble in the Democratic primary, but stranger things have happened.

Also, Polivka is seen as somewhat vulnerable because he won by only 6.78 percentage points in the 2016 general election, beating Republican Mary E. Williams, a member of both Lakeview, and Trumbull Career and Technical Center school boards. Williams died Wednesday.

Like engineer, races for coroner are usually boring. This might not be an exception, but the Democrat primary pits Lawrence D’Amico, deputy coroner, against Michael Jurenovich, an orthopaedic surgeon. Coroner Thomas James, a Democrat, chose not to run. The Democratic primary winner faces Republican Larry Woods in the general election.

Even Republicans will have a primary in March for state senate with Sandra O’Brien, a former Ashtabula County auditor who has unsuccessfully run statewide for treasurer twice and once for secretary of state, facing Kenneth J. Polke of Ashtabula. On July 25, 2018, the Ohio State Dental Board permanently revoked his dental license. He was also a replacement player during the National Football League’s 1974 preseason strike.

The winner faces incumbent state Sen. Sean J. O’Brien, D-Bazetta.

Perhaps the most competitive primary in the Valley will be for the Democratic nomination for the Ohio House’s 63rd District.

Gil Blair was a Weathersfield trustee when he was appointed to the position in May because of the resignation of Democrat Glenn Holmes as state representative.

Blair is being challenged by Niles Councilman-at-Large Barry Profato and Werner Lange of Newton Falls, who has unsuccessfully run for various elected positions including for the 6th Congressional District seat last year.

Profato interviewed for the Holmes seat, but the Ohio House Democratic Caucus went with Blair.

It will be interesting to see who gets the Trumbull County Democratic Party’s endorsement.

To the south, this will be the first time likely in decades where no primary candidates faced off for Mahoning County executive or judicial position.

Republicans rarely have primaries in the county as the party often struggles to even fill out a slate of candidates.

For Democrats, it’s different. There’s always someone challenging the incumbent in the Democratic-controlled county.

However, this year, not including Congress or the president, the only primary in all of Mahoning County is for the Democratic nomination for the Ohio House’s 59th District between Chris Stanley of Canfield, a Youngstown city school teacher and author, and Chuckie Denison III of Lake Milton, who used to work at Lordstown General Motors and appeared in an online ad for U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign.

The winner faces state Rep. Don Manning, R-New Middletown, who was first elected last year, winning by 375 votes. The district includes half of Mahoning County and is becoming more Republican. Also, Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder, who has worked well with Democrats, is strongly backing Manning for re-election.

The local Democratic Party recruited Stanley after unsuccessfully convincing several others to run.

Some of the bigger names include John Boccieri, a former state legislator and congressman who lost a state Senate bid last year; Joe Schiavoni, a former state Senate minority leader who is opting to run for a county court judicial seat with an Aug. 5 filing deadline; Poland Township Trustee Eric Ungaro, who narrowly lost to Manning last year; and Boardman Township Trustee Larry Moliterno, who lost to Ungaro in last year’s Democratic primary for the seat. Ungaro and Moliterno were re-elected to their trustee positions last month.

dskolnick@tribtoday.com

COMMENTS