Candidate for Dem Congress bid off ballot

LISBON –There will be one fewer Democratic candidate running for Congress following action taken Monday by the Columbiana County Board of Elections.

The board invalidated the candidacy petitions filed by Richard A. Olivito of Steubenville due to insufficient number of valid signatures.

Olivito needed 50 valid signatures to secure a place on the May 8 primary election ballot, and the petitions he submitted had a combined 72 signatures. Approximately 26 were invalidated for a variety of reasons, leaving him with 46 –four shy of the minimum needed.

Elections board director Adam Booth said since all 72 of Olivito’s signatures came from residents in his home county of Jefferson County, the elections board there was charged with reviewing the signators to determine if they were legally registered to vote in the county. He said they double and triple checked the petitions before passing along the results.

Olivito had to file his petitions in Columbiana County because it is the largest county in the 6th District.

He was among three Democrats seeking their party’s nomination for the 6th Congressional District seat held by U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Marietta. His departure from the race leaves Democrats Shawn Roberts of Barnesville and Werner Lange of Newton Falls, which is outside the district.

Johnson is opposed in the Republican primary by Robert J. Blazek of Bellaire.

The elections board certified the remaining candidacy petitions for the Ohio House of Representatives, county commissioner, county Common Pleas Court and county auditor. Booth said the Mahoning County elections board is responsible for certifying the candidacy petitions of those running for state Senate and the Ohio 7th District Court of Appeals since that is where the candidates for those offices are required to file their petitions.

The board also certified the liquor option petitions filed by Walmart, which is seeking voter permission to sell beer, wine and mixed alcoholic beverages at its Calcutta store.