New candidate enters Youngstown mayor’s race

Former Councilwoman Janet Tarpley filed petitions to run as a non-party candidate against the Democratic nominee

Former Councilwoman Janet Tarpley filed petitions to run as a non-party, or independent candidate, against the eventual Democratic nominee in November.


YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The field of candidates is getting even bigger for Youngstown’s mayoral race.

An independent candidate filed to run Thursday, just days ahead of the Democratic primary next week.

Former Councilwoman Janet Tarpley filed petitions to run as a non-party, or independent candidate, against the eventual Democratic nominee in November. That would be either incumbent Mayor John McNally or former Councilman Jamael Tito Brown. 

Tarpley spent eight years on Youngstown City Council and could be among three potential non-party candidates in the race. She said she’s running now because she wanted to avoid a larger contested primary. Brown lost four years ago to McNally by less than 150 votes.

“He was very close to winning, and once again, if I would have jumped in the primary, I don’t think I would have had a good chance at all,” Tarpley said.

Tarpley says she’ll put her record up against either of the other candidates.

“My record is good. I put my record up against anybody, and that includes Mr. Brown,” she said. “So that’s one of the reasons why I’m doing this. Even the challenge that he jumped in. You know, I’m gonna tell the truth about everything, and then the chips will fall where they may.”

On Monday, Sean McKinney issued a release stating he’s running for Youngstown mayor in November as a non-partisan candidate, and Cecil Monroe has also taken out petitions for the mayor’s race. Tarpley is already questioning their motives.

“If somebody is jumping in and they know they are not going to win then what are they here for? Are they really here to make sure I am not going to win,” Tarpley said.

Turnout for the race could be dismal. To date, less than 3,000 absentee and early in-person ballots have been taken out for all of Mahoning County.

The two Democratic candidates say they are focused on getting out the vote.

“I really can’t worry about folks who want to take the job until after the evening of May 2. For the next five days, we’ll keep knocking on doors,” McNally said.

Brown is knocking on doors, too hoping his next attempt at the mayor’s seat is a successful one.

“We need to take them to the polls. We need to find them and that is going to be my job for the next five days – getting the voters to the polls.”

The deadline for other non-party candidates to file is at 4 p.m. Monday.

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