Saturday, March 14, 2009


UPDATED: (ADDED TO AND REVISED) 03/14/2009 at 11:45 A.MS

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) had not given Tuscarawas Township trustee Celeste DeHoff much thought lately.

But in an exchange of e-mails with a source of The Report, the source told The Report that the word is that DeHoff is getting out of politics.

Does that mean she will not be running for township trustee?

Not necessarily.

Trustee races are "non-partisan." Even if DeHoff says she is getting out of politics as reported, she can justify running as an incumbent for re-election as township trustee because a case can be made that it is also non-political.

Do voters, when they vote on township races, know the politics of the candidate? Do they check on the political affiliation?

DeHoff, if she wished, could change herself from Democrat to non-partisan by not taking a partisan ballot the next primary election and voting on issues only. Undoubtedly, she knows the process well. After all, that's how she recently (about 5 years agl) came to be identified as a Democrat after being a Republican prior to her switch.

DeHoff's political patron Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. (Stark County Democratic Party chairman and Massillon Municipal Court clerk of courts where DeHoff once worked) will certainly be disappointed if DeHoff's "political retirement" report is correct.


One less person to tell him what a great political operative he is.

To Maier's credit, he pulled out all the political guns in supporting DeHoff in her run against Todd Snitchler (Republican - 50th). Both Stricklands came to the 50th, as did U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, the then Secretary of State Richard Cordray, former U.S. Senator and American space hero John Glenn.

To boot, Maier persuaded Stark County and Columbus-centered contributors (including well-heeled Political Action Committees [PACs] to fork out generous contributions to the DeHoff campaign.

Never has a Democrat been so well financed in a 50th District campaign as DeHoff was.

By the way, it is virtually impossible for a Democrat to win in the 50th since it was gerrymandered to be a "safe" Republican seat after Maier got term-limited out of the predecessor district (the 56th). But that wasn't Maier's analysis. He persuaded the powers that be in statehouse Democratic politics to put the 50th on its highest priority list.

Nevertheless, the DeHoff's campaign clearly proved that gerrymandering works by hardly making a dent in the vote margin - notwithstanding her substantial resources in campaign funds and heavy hitter politicians - by which previous Democratic candidates lost races for the office.

Only Michael Stevens, a Lawrence Township trustee, has made this race relatively close; having lost to Republican John Hagan in 2000 by about 1,000 votes. Stevens (who had been appointed on Maier's blessing and therefore was the incumbent in 2000) attributes his loss to "dirty political tricks" played by Hagan on a tax policy matter.

So why were "all the king's horses and all the king's men unable to" make DeHoff a viable candidate?

Other than the daunting task of running her in a gerrymandered district, because DeHoff did not come across as someone who had a thought out policy agenda. Snitchler was far superior to DeHoff on this count.

Moreover, being a relatively recent convert from Republicanism, DeHoff did not have the support of large part of the Stark County Democratic Party (even in the face of the party chairman's "you've got to run Celeste" type of support).

DeHoff got a minority of Democratic support in the overall vote in the Democratic primary. This should have told the party pros (how about it Stark County Democratic Political Director Shane Jackson?) a thing or two. But DeHoff and the pros did nothing to bring the party base together.

In fact, a case can be made that they thumbed their collective noses at the losers in the primary (perhaps most of all Michael Stevens). DeHoff went so far to complain to a friend on Massillon City Council because Stevens was post-primary hired by the Democratic Cicchinelli administration.

A real smart way to run a campaign?

Who was giving the expert political advice to DeHoff? The Report believes the list included: Political Director Shane Jackson (already cited), Chairman Maier and presumably the Ohio House caucus political guru and, undoubtedly, Ohio Democratic Party chairman Chris Redfern and his staff.

A final note on the DeHoff campaign.

The Report went to one of her campaign events in which supporters Strickland, Glenn, et al were the "star" attractions. Talk about walking into a den of hostility? And The Report was not disappointed.

Political Director Jackson launched into a couple of tirades against yours truly as "never having anything good to say about DeHoff," "not one good thing" and went on to calling me "a mean, nasty man."

It took Jackson Township Fiscal Officer and Stark County Democratic Party honcho Randy Gonzales to settle Jackson down.

The Report says this the "not one good thing" part of Jackson's outburst is mostly but not entirely accurate.

In The Report's view, DeHoff had very few redeeming political or policy idea qualities as a candidate for the Ohio House. Moveover, The Report was not enamored with Republican Todd Snitchler. Snitchler’s supporters complained - of what they thought was unflattering coverage of their man's campaign - to The Report.

Yours truly is his own person who tells it like I see it and if Jackson, in the context of his political interests, thinks that yours truly is being "mean and nasty," well, he is entitled to his opinion.

The Report will let the Stark County public-at-large be the judge.

One more sidelight point of interest.

If the DeHoff "getting out of politics" report is true, does this mean Snitchler has a free ride in the 50th in 2010?

Probably. And he will continue to have a easy ride until Democrats gain control of Ohio's Reapportionment Board (OAB).

A huge collateral issue in the 2010 statewide races will indeed be which party (Democrat or Republican) will control the OAB. This board will be charged with the task of realigning Ohio's congressional districts as well as Ohio House and Senate Districts.

If the OAB did reapportioning today, Democrats control 3 to 2 and you can bet that Todd Snitchler would have a much differently composed district to run in.

If and when that happens, you can be sure that Democrats will rework the district to make Snitchler vulnerable.

The make up of the board is as follows:

* the Governor of Ohio,
* the Ohio Secretary of State,
* the Ohio State Auditor,
* a member selected by the Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives and the senate leader of the same party
* a member selected by the house and senate leaders of other party.

(Source: Wikipedia)

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