YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Mahoning County Democratic Party Chairman Dave Betras accused a candidate vying for the Struthers Municipal Court judgeship as running the “sleaziest, dirtiest, most disgusting campaign.”
Betras accused Republican Damian DeGenova of being “personally responsible” for two women filing affidavits against DeGenova’s Democratic opponent, Dom Leone.
The affidavits accuse Leone of taking improper campaign contributions and using marijuana. Both women claim to be Leone’s former girlfriends, as well as having worked on his campaign.
Republican Party Chairman Mark Munroe told Betras that DeGenova having a hand in the affidavits being filed is not true.
“You have no evidence that that was the case and I can tell you that that was not the case,” Munroe said.
Betras said he was upset the issue was even on the Mahoning County Board of Elections’ meeting agenda Monday night, saying prosecutors have already determined that the allegations would not hold up.
He said Munroe and board member Tracey Winbush are politicizing the issue when the Board of Elections is supposed to be nonpartisan.
“For you, chairman, to be picking up the banter of that sleazy, disgusting, vile campaign and to bring it before this board and to politicize it is wrong,” Betras said.Watch: Munroe says he’s disappointed board didn’t take closer look
He accused Munroe of bringing the issue up at the board’s meeting — on the eve of an election — to give the Republican candidate an advantage.
“If I find out that the Republican Party or you, Mr. Chairman, had any doing in the filing of those affidavits, I’m gonna be the one asking for your resignation,” Betras said.
Both Munroe and Winbush denied they were bringing politics into it. They said they just wanted to make sure the allegations were thoroughly investigated.
“Our issue is there should have been some type of investigation and/or some type of questioning of the persons who filed the affidavits,” Winbush said.
Betras said the Democratic Party looked into the issue. He said he personally talked to the lawyer of the person accused of giving Leone cash.
“If a Democratic officeholder’s taking cash, I wanna know about it. And the lawyer told me it was complete and utter bulls**t.”
Winbush argued the Board of Elections should’ve conducted a separate investigation.
Leone has said the accusations are not true, calling them “bull crap.”