(WKBN) – A lawsuit challenging the Mahoning County Board of Elections’ rejection of a nominating petition for Poland Township Trustee Eric Ungaro to run as an independent for Ohio state representative will be decided quickly.
Right now, the Board of Elections is challenging Ungaro’s evidence because some of it “contains numerous factual interpretations,” including an allegation that Chairman David Betras is not impartial, the board wrote in its court filing.
The board is also challenging Ungaro’s claim that he removed his online presence as a Democrat, but the board said that as recently as September 12, 2022, a photo gallery containing the Democratic Party’s logo appeared on his website.
Other evidence in the case the board is challenging is online newspaper articles and a transcript of an undated voicemail that Ungaro is claiming is from Board Chairman David Betras.
The recording is as follows:
Male voice: “Hey, Eric, I heard you blame me for your election loss. You go f*** yourself, OK? You ran the worst campaign outta any candidate I had, and I have the statistics to back up, OK? Don’t you ever blame me for your failures, Coach. Now, if you want to talk to me man-to-man, have the balls to f****** call me; otherwise, just shut your f****** mouth about me. I cost you the f******electon: How dare you say that about me.”
In addition to unfairly rejecting his nominating petition, Ungaro claims that the board treated his petitions differently than that of Gregory Beight, who also filed to run as an Independent for the same seat but was given a hearing when his petitions were challenged. Ungaro said he was not afforded a hearing on the protest against his candidacy, but the board said that it was not required to do so.
Ungaro has until Thursday to file a response to the Board’s challenge of the evidence in the case.
The issue will be decided quickly since time is of the essence due to the upcoming November election.
Judge Maureen O’Connor had ordered that no extensions for filing will be granted in the case.