Election season heats up

As the nights become a little cooler, area politics is certainly starting to heat up.

A reminder came Wednesday night when the Jefferson County Federated Democratic Women held a meet-and-greet event for its party’s candidates in the Nov. 7 General Election. It’s the first of many such events that you can expect to be able to participate in during the next two months.

While voters across Ohio will have the chance to vote on Issue 2, the Ohio Drug Price Relief Act, this year’s ballot will be dominated by local races and issues. And, if you live in Steubenville, this election will be a little more interesting.

Regardless of how the voting goes this year, city residents are certain they will have a new mayor at the beginning of 2018. That’s been a given since Jan. 18, when Domenick Mucci told members of the Herald-Star’s editorial board that he would not seek re-election to the post he has held since January 1993.

Since that announcement, interest in the mayor’s office has grown, and when you look at your ballot, you’ll see three names — Republican Jerry Barilla, Democrat Frankie DiCarlantonio and longtime area activist Royal Mayo, who will be listed as nonpartisan. There’s also a write-in candidate in the mix, according to the Jefferson County Board of Elections, in Michael Walenciej.

Residents in the city’s 2nd and 6th Wards also will find contested races. Republican incumbent Mike Johnson is opposed by Democrat Craig Petrella, a former councilman, in the 2nd Ward, while Democratic incumbent Bob Villamagna is being challenged by Republican Sam Ivkovich in the 6th Ward.

¯ Among the most interesting of the issues that will appear on the ballot will be the Indian Creek Local School District’s request for a bond issue.

If passed, the money generated by the 6.49-mill, 37-year issue would allow for the construction of a new high school and elementary school for the district as well as improvements and renovations to existing facilities.

¯ If you plan to vote this November, remember the deadline to register is Oct. 10.

¯ We’re not even through this election cycle, but the race to see who will succeed John Kasich as governor is already moving to the front of the stage. Ohioans won’t get to make that decision until Nov. 6, 2018, which means there’s a great deal of time left to get to know the candidates.

The first opportunity will come at 7 p.m. Tuesday when candidates for the Democratic nomination will debate at Martins Ferry High School. Among those expected to be on hand will be former U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton of Copley, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, former state Rep. Connie Pillich of Montgomery and state Sen. Joe Schiavoni of Boardman. It will be the first of several debates among the candidates, according to state party Chair David Pepper.

That Democrat field could get bigger — Richard Cordray, the director of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Ohio’s former attorney general, and Jerry Springer, the talk-show host and former Cincinnati mayor, also have said they could seek the Democrat’s nomination.

A potential run by Cordray remains the subject of a great deal of speculation across the state, but when he was asked about the possibility during Monday’s AFL-CIO Labor Day Picnic in Cincinnati, his reply was, “I don’t have anything to say about that,” according to a story that appeared in the Washington Post.

The four candidates seeking the Republican nomination — Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, Attorney General Mike DeWine, Secretary of State Jon Husted and U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci of Wadsworth — are scheduled to participate in an Oct. 8 forum at Genoa Baptist Church near Westerville, according to the Columbus Dispatch.

The 2018 primary, by the way, is scheduled for May 8.

(Gallabrese, a resident of Steubebville, is executive editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times.)