War of words heats up in Youngstown mayoral race - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

War of words heats up in Youngstown mayoral race

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DeMaine Kitchen DeMaine Kitchen

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - The campaign for Youngstown mayor has already brought out words like "harassment" and "bullying". Now you can add the word "cheating".

The word is included in court papers filed by independent candidate for Youngstown Mayor, Cecil Monroe, who is asking the Ohio Supreme Court to remove from the November ballot the name of another independent candidate, DeMaine Kitchen.

On September 16, Monroe filed a request for a writ of prohibition with the state's high court, claiming that through his voting record and other evidence, Kitchen has proven that he is a member of the Democratic party, and not a genuine independent candidate.

The Mahoning County Board of Elections is allowing Kitchen to run as in independent, even though Monroe claims that under Ohio law, people seeking office as an independent candidate must make the claim of independence in good faith and must actually be independent.

On Thursday, Monroe filed a merit brief with the court saying that, "This case arises from the attempt of an independent candidate to game the system. It is called cheating."

Monroe's filing goes on to say, "Cheating occurs when one gains a significant and unfair advantage over others when the others are playing by the rules."

21 News left a message on Kitchen's phone seeking a reaction, but he has not responded.

The Board of Elections, which is the other party in the case, is asking that Monroe's complaint be dismissed.

Controversy erupted in the Youngstown mayor's race earlier this week when, some leaders of the local African American community made allegations that Mahoning County Democratic Party Chairman Dave Betras employed "bullying" tactics against members of the party's Executive Committee.

During last week's mayoral debate, party District Leader Artis Gillam and Executive Committee members Annie Gillam and T.J. Rogers wore T-shirts supporting DeMaine Kitchen's candidacy.

Betras allegedly told the three that they should give up their positions with the committee if they weren't supporting the party's endorsed candidate, John McNally.

Reverend Kenneth Simon claims Betras is harassing party leaders and is alienating blacks from the Democratic Party.

Betras is unapologetic saying that when members of the Executive Committee or District Leaders supported non-endorsed candidates in the past, he took the same action.

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