Both of the candidates for the 16th Congressional District are partisans through and through.
Both are beholden to special interests.
Schuring is the corporate and management candidate (last week The Repository reported a U.S. Chamber of Commerce endorsement of Schuring [no surprise there]). He has a longtime close political association with Canton corporate magnate W. R. Timken, Jr. (Bush's ambassador to Germany). A check of Schuring's campaign finance contributions show upwards of 70% (or perhaps even higher if we had a look of donations of less than $250) of his campaign funds come from CEO and upper management.
As a state senator and representative Schuring has a high 90s percentage support of the Republican Party line.
Schuring has helped himself with independent minded voters by denouncing the nationwide 527 Freedom's Watch organization injecting itself into the race.
Boccieri is the organized labor candidate. If it were not for unions, he most likely would be living in oblivion in New Middletown, Ohio. Boccieri became the lightening rod candidate chosen by organized labor to take out Ron Hood (the Right to Work state representative who once represented the Alliance area). Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been donated to his campaigns by labor unions from his initial run against Hood through his current contest with Republican Kirk Schuring to succeed 16 District Congressman Ralph Regula.
As a state senator and representative, Boccieri has a high 90s percentage support of the Democratic Party line.
So what criterion are independent minded voters going to go to in order to determine whom to vote for?
The Schuring campaign in banking on the fact that Boccieri only recently moved into the district as being the deciding factor.
Boccieri is relying on his "war hero" status and the fact that across the nation voters are looking more towards Democrats than Republicans to bring the nation out of its economic malaise.
Initially, the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) viewed the Schuring emphasis on the residency issue as more of an distraction than anything else. But when one looks at the offsetting partisanship and special interest connections, the Schuring camp might be on to something in pushing this point for the independent minded to consider as a differentiating factor.
For Boccieri the partisan card may work because independent minded voters are predisposed to support Democrats in competitive districts in the 2008 election cycle. But he needs to convince voters that notwithstanding his being a solid Democrat, he will put constituent interests above party politics.
And, of course, Boccieri flying C-130s in and out of volatile Baghdad imbues him with a sense of being a stand up guy who puts his life on the line in support of the Bush administration's decision go into Iraq. To the independent minded, he will be perceived very positively for his devotion to military duty.
Question: Which factor do you think will be most persuasive to independent minded voters?