Stark County Republicans may say that Democrat Congressman-elect John Boccieri won the 16th District because of a Democratic tide sweeping the nation in reaction to the unpopularity of the Bush administration.
But is Bush really to blame?
Maybe, just maybe they should be blaming Ralph Regula?
There has been rampant speculation over at least the last ten years that Regula was on the cusp of retiring. Speculation ballooned as to who would "inherit" this long held Republican seat.
Scott Oelslager (at one time Regula staffer), tried years ago to nudge Regula out so he could run. But Ralph wouldn't budge and Scott incured the ire of Mary Regula (the congressman's wife) and she let it be known that "when the time came for Ralph to step aside," the successor would not be Scott Oelslager.
The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) believes that the 16th was a seat to be "inheritied" through the 2004 election. After 2004, the odds shifted markedly against the Republicans.
"Youngstown John" (only kidding John), was the first to sense that the "Regula seat" was vulnerable EVEN IF RALPH HIMSELF decided to run. Before Regula decided not to run, Boccieri was running whether or not Regula was the Republican candidate.
Boccieri was correct in his analysis as was The Report in predicting from the get-go that Boccieri would win by as much as 10 percentage points (actually it turned out to be nine).
But who is to blame - really?
The Report says Ralph Regula himself.
Had he stepped aside not later than the 2004 election, it is very likely that a Republican candidate would have succeeded Regula. And, as a consequence, Schuring would have been running against the Democrat as an incumbent.
All politicos know the power of incumbency.
So Schuring, Oelslager and other have taken one for Team Regula but at the loss to Team Republican? Yes or no? What do you think?