Saturday, January 31, 2009
DISCUSSION: CAN KIRK SCHURING WIN COUNTYWIDE IN STARK COUNTY?
It was truly shocking. No, not that Republican Kirk Schuring lost to Democrat John Boccieri in November, 2008 in the contest for the 16th congressional district. The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) early on in the race predicted a Boccieri victory by about 10%. Which turned out to be pretty much on the money.
The Report thought Schuring would lose Stark County because Stark has turned into a Democratic county - if the Democrat runs to his/her strength, to wit: the cities of Alliance, Canton and Massillon.
But not 57% to 42%. Not for all the ink that Schuring has gotten in area media and all the campaigning he has done in Stark over the last 14 or so years. The Report thinks the size of the loss was mostly due to the strong Democratic tide that is sweeping the nation. Schuring gets more specific. He blames Taft (former Ohio governor) and the now ex-president Bush. Taft left office with a favorability rating of 19% and Bush was in the 20s.
Does the pounding Schuring took from Boccieri signal that he is a vulnerable candidate, no matter what he runs for in Stark in 2010? If he chooses to run for anything.
Schuring and his musical chairs partner - except there is a chair for each of them to sit on; just different looking chairs - have exchanged the 29th Ohio Senate seat and 51st Ohio House seat over the last several election cycles. Why? Because in the early 90s the Ohio Republicans came up with the idea of term limits as one of their tools to wrestle control of the Ohio General Assembly away from the then "in control" Democrats.
So Oelslager and Schuring have defied the "spirit of term limits," but Stark Countians and Jackson Township voters have left them get away with it. Of course, there is the factor of Stark County Democratic Party chair Johnnie A. Maier, Jr.. who gave Oelslager a "free pass" in the 2008 elections.
Oelslager has already announced that he is running for the 29th come November, 2010. The question is: will he have a viable Democratic opponent or will Maier and the Democrats either put up a token candidate or none at all.
Schuring? Well, he is undecided. He has told The Report that he may run for Oelslager's seat in the House, leave politics altogether and re-enter business or - are you ready for a surprise? - run countywide for either county commissioner or county auditor.
It could be that Stark County Republican Party chair Jeff Matthews is urging Schuring to run for a county post. Right now, the Republicans have NO countywide elected officials except for a few judges. Would Schuring running for commissioner or auditor be the beginning of a Republican resurgence in Stark County?