POLAND TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WKBN) – On Monday, the Mahoning County Board of Elections voted to not allow Poland Township Trustee Eric Ungaro to run as an Independent for state representative from the 59th District. Thursday, Ungaro filed a lawsuit with the Supreme Court of Ohio asking it to overturn the denial.

At a news conference Thursday afternoon, Ungaro explained how his 2022 campaign as an Independent candidate for state representative is different from his 2018 campaign as a Democrat. He said he has taken steps to disassociate with the Democratic party and the board of elections should allow him to run.

“We were never political insiders. Make no mistake about it. We were never, you know, a Democrat man of the year,” said Ungaro.

Ungaro said he doesn’t fit well into either political party.

“I want to be able to say I’m for certain things and I’m against certain things. I don’t want a leash around my neck and have to carry a mantle,” said Ungaro.

Since filing to run as an Independent, Ungaro said he has changed his color scheme from blue — a color associated with the Democratic Party — to white, grey and black.

“We rebranded ourselves. We had to index Google to get the “D” taken off my name when you typed in “Eric Ungaro”….So I said ‘why wouldn’t I give it a shot? What do I have to do?’ I called the secretary of state. You can’t vote, you know, for a year; I haven’t voted for two years in a primary. You need 454 signatures. That’s a lot. That’s a lot to get 454 signatures. We got 762,” said Ungaro.

In the lawsuit filed with the Ohio Supreme Court, Ungaro states the Board of Elections did not allow him to present evidence supporting his Independent status after the Board received a written complaint that he was still running as a Democrat.

“This is all in the lawsuit. So don’t tell me there was no good faith,” said Ungaro.

The lawsuit also further alleges that an unnamed member of the Board of Elections practiced “improper circumvention” of the Ohio Revised Code when she changed her initial vote supporting his petition to run as an Independent.

“It’s out of my hands, but at least I know, you know, that we’re going down swinging…I’m not even telling you we’re going to win. But we definitely want to be on the ballot,” said Ungaro.

Going forward, Ungaro said the Supreme Court has five days to respond to his suit.