In a recent conversation with former Stark County Democratic Party chairman - Roy Gutierrez, the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL (The Report) learned interesting details of a Gutierrez loss to local Democratic Party kingpin Allen Schulman in a race for precinct committeeman (7C - Canton).
It is quite a fall from being party chairman to being challenged for and losing at the base level of political organization - precinct committeeman.
Not only is the loss stunning. But who did it and who Gutierrez says was behind the move is shocking.
Gutierrez says that a prime mover to get Canton City Council president Allen Schulman to run against him in 7C was Phil Giavasis (Canton Municipal Court clerk of courts) urged on by Johnnie A. Maier, Jr (Massillon Municipal Court clerk of courts and current Stark County Democratic Party chairman).
The Report counts Schulman and Giavasis as members of the Johnnie A. Maier, Jr wing of the Stark County Democratic Party.
Readers ought to follow this link to the Stark County Board of Elections and check both the Democrat and Republican precinct committeeman races and see how many contested races there were this past March. The Gutierrez/Schulman race may be the only race that was contested out of the 728 (combined Rep/Dem) precincts.
So this was not a "politics as usual" event. It had to be an extraordinary political calculation. It certainly was not as simple as Allen Schulman waking up one morning and saying to himself: "You know what, I have the overwhelming urge to be a precinct committeeman. I know my friend and neighbor Roy Gutierrez has the seat now, but he's had it long enough; he'll understand."
Or, perhaps he is like Judge David Stucki (Republican - Stark County Court of Common Pleas/Domestic Relations) who said that he ran against fellow Republican Dixie Park (Probate Court judge) in the Republican primary because he could not abide her running uncontested (the Democrats did not field a candidate for the general election).
Does anyone think this was Schulman's motivation?
Nevertheless, winning this contest had to be gratifying to Schulman because he has not had much success in contested political races. He did win hands down for Canton City Council president, but he had no opponent.
Schulman has suffered a humiliating loss in a past run for the 16th Congressional district (in a Democratic primary).
Revisit May 3, 1994 with the following results: J. MICHAEL FINN - 18,582 votes, equaling 54.08% of the vote; ALLEN SCHULMAN - 15,780 votes, equaling 45.92%. A truly astounding turn of events.
Schulman's run against Gutierrez is all the more riveting given the storied history between the two. Gutierrez recounts their living within a few doors of each other for many, many years and how Gutierrez (when Schulman was a struggling young attorney) would transport him to and from work. This is just one of a number of historical personal ties between them.
So where did this relationship go awry? It is probably connected with evolving disaffection between Gutierrez and current Stark County Democratic Party chair Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. who was - according to Gutierrez - a fixture in Gutierrez's political life (i.e. in his role as party chairman) when Maier ran against Republican Red Ash for the Ohio House (the old 56th district). As Gutierrez tells it, he was the main support for Maier back in those days.
Roy Gutierrez is an outspoken person who has publicly and privately tangled with Maier on political matters over the years since the Red Ash days.
The Report believes that Maier broods over political differences, especially when they are persistent - biding his time until he has an opportunity to politically recriminate presents itself.
Question: Why do you think former Stark County Democratic Party chair Roy Gutierrez was contested in Precinct 7C (Canton) by Allen Schulman?