Throughout the 2008 election cycle the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) will be periodically analyzing Stark County political contests.
First up is the 16th District congressional race pitting state Senator Kirk Schuring (Republican - Jackson) against John Boccieri (Democrat - Alliance).
The issues in this campaign will center on:
(1) The Economy
(2) The Iraq War
(3) Heath Care
Already in this campaign we have a signicant mistake by one of he candidates. Recently, Schuring joked that Canton is a place that congregant Republicans rallying for their candidates risk getting shot.
The Report has already taken the position that this careless expression was a reference to the fact that Republicans in Canton are a rare breed and Canton is not a place for a Republican candidate to get many votes. Stark County political observers understand this reality. But Schuring reckless framing of the reality may cause some offended Canton Republicans to vote for Boccieri. So the goof is likely to cause Schuring to lose some votes that otherwise would have gone to him.
What compounds the problem for Schuring in Canton is the significant African-American vote which will be dramatically higher this year because Barack Obama is the Democratic presidential standard bearer.
You can be sure that John Boccieri will join the Obama campaign to push the Canton/Stark County African-American vote to all time highs. African-Americans generally vote overwhelmingly Democratic and this year the numbers will be in the 90% plus range.
All three of the major issues are trending across the county in favor of Democratic candidates. Stark County will follow this pattern.
Schuring will run strong in Ashland, Medina and Medina counties. How strong? It depends on Matt Miller whom Schuring narrowly defeated in the March Republican primary election. Will Miller and his extremely conservative supporters enthusiastically support Schuring. The Report doesn’t think so. There will be some “sitting on hands” going on among Republicans in these counties, especially Ashland County - Miller’s home base. Sc The Report believes Schuring will win these counties in the general election but by a surprising narrow margin.
One part of Stark County that offers possibilities for Schuring is in some of the townships, small cities and villages of Stark County. Lake Township and Jackson Township, Hartville, Marlboro Township, Hills and Dales. Glenmoor and North Canton could turn out sizeable pluralities for Senator Schuring.
As of mid-June The Report believes this election is Boccieri’s to loose. He will run a safe campaign because the stars are aligned in his favor.
Do you agree or disagree with The Report’s analysis. If you disagree, point out which parts of the analysis you disagree with and the basis of the disagreement.