Chairman Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. (Stark County Dems) is reported to have said that he "tried to equally support Clinton and Obama."
Don't you believe it!
The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) well remembers how Governor Ted Strickland was front and center for Clinton. Maier has aligned himself with Strickland through and through. Accordingly, it is absolutely incredible to believe Maier's post-Obama - winning the Democratic nomination - statement.
The Report believes that Maier pretended neutrality, but that is exactly what it was - pretense. Behind the scenes he was working feverishly to roll up the numbers for Hillary. Undoubtedly, he was praised by Strickland operatives for his effort.
As party chairman, Maier will be pitted in battle against new Stark County Republican Party Chairman Jeff Matthews. They are the local surrogates for Obama and McCain.
Maier has a much more formidable challenge than Matthews in delivering Stark County for their respective candidates. McCain won Stark County by a substantial margin whereas Obama did not do well. Maier, if effect, has to undo all the work he did for Clinton.
Another problem for Maier is that Obama is much more liberal than Maier. The Dems chairman will have to psyche himself up on a daily basis to get through this election. Will his heart be in it?
Matthews’ problem is that Curt Braden (the former chairman) left him with a decimated party. The Stark County Republican Party is in as bad a shape as it has ever been its history. Matthews billed himself in his days a director of the Stark County Board of Elections as an “elections professional.” So what? How will this translate into being an effective chairman/
The question is: Who, from among Maier and Matthews, will surface as the local political victor in the November, 2008 election?