Monday, February 2, 2009
DISCUSSION: WHAT'S NEXT FOR BERNABEI? A RUN AGAINST SCOTT OELSLAGER FOR THE OHIO'S 29TH DISTRICT SENATE SEAT?
Currently, Republicans control the Ohio Senate 21 to 12. Half those seat will be up for election in 2012. One of the contested seats will be Ohio's 29th now held by Kirk Schuring.
Anyone who has followed the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) knows how utterly dissatisfied The Report is that Stark County is in this vicious political cycle in which Republicans Schuring and Oelslager trade the 29th and Ohio House District #51 back and forth as if they were playing a two man game of volleyball.
Well, its not volleyball and Stark County is getting the "short shrift" while Schuring and Oelslager circumvent the spirit of term-limits (which, by the way, was instituted by the Republicans back in 1994 as a way to get back in power in the Ohio General Assembly.
Oelslager told The Report (previously reported on this blog) at the 2008 Stark County Fair that, yes, he intends to run once again for the 29th.
Schuring has not definitely decided to run for the 51st. He may run for county commissioner or county auditor. The Report believes he will take the safe way out and run for the 51st. However, Jeff Matthews and other "top gun" Stark County Republicans will be putting pressure for Schuring to run for a county office since there are no non-judicial Republicans currently serving in countywide office.
Part of the problem of Schuring and Oelslager having license to trade the 29th and 51st back and forth lies with Stark County Democratic Party chairman Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. Stark County Democrats either put up novices in these districts or nobody (as in the case with Oelslager in the November, 2008 elections).
Over the years The Report has noted how glowingly Maier, Schuring, and Oelslager speak of each other. Not that folks on the other side of the isle have to be mortal enemies with one another, but Stark Countians do not need any sweetheart deals. What we need is strong political competition across the ballot.
In the case of the 29th and 51st we are not getting it.
Since Maier has NOT been able to figure out how to get strong candidates in these districts, The Report will move in to assist.
Now that Healy has fired Tom Bernabei, Stark County Democrats have the ideal person to take on Oelslager in the 29th.
Early on The Report predicted early that Boccieri would defeat Schuring in the 16th Congressional District.
Just look at the map that accompanies this blog. Does anyone doubt that the popular Tom Bernabei would be a lock to defeat Oelslager.
Viable Democratic candidates do not lose countywide in Stark County these days. Only those who do not focus almost exclusively on the core Democratic areas lose.
This is the strategy that propelled Commissioner Todd Bosley (over sitting commissioner Republican Richard Regula) and Commissioner Pete Ferguson (over term-limited out 8 year representative - 50th - Republican John Hagan).
Neither Bosley nor Ferguson were household names when they filed to run for commissioner. But they did focus on the Democratic base.
Bernabei would handily win over Oelslager countywide. Oelslager would win Jackson and Lake by comfortable margins. However, Bernabei would win much stronger in Canton, Plain and Perry. The rest of the county would split about evenly.
What's more. Bernabei has solid legislative experience. His years in Canton City Council put him in good stead. Bernabei is generally recognized as being the best city councilman of modern times.
The Ohio Senate and Governor Ted Strickland desperately need Bernabei's knowledge of the legislative process and his leadership abilities (even William J. Healy, II recognizes his leadership ability - remember Healy rated Bernabei 49 out of 50).
Right now Bernabei very likely just wants to chill.
The Report calls on Governor Ted Strickland, Ohio Democratic Party chair Chris Redfern, Senate minority leader Capri Cafaro and Stark County Party chair Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. to urge Tom Bernabei to run against Oelslager in Ohio's 29th.