Republican Red Ash from Canton Township is the first that yours truly remembers. He was the long time successful basketball coach at Canton South who rode his notoriety into the Ohio House where he was deemed to be a fixture until he ran into personal and family difficulties.
In those days, the district was the 56th and was registration-wise a Democratic district because it included Canton Township, all of Perry Township and the heavily Democratic Massillon.
If memory serves correctly, Maier first ran against Ash in 1988 and lost. Then with Ash's troubles Maier triumphed in 1990 and served through 1999 quitting early in his 5th term to give Lawrence Township trustee Mike Stevens a job start.
But by the the time Stevens ran the 50th was totally different. Massillon was gone, the most Democratic part of Perry was gone as was Canton Township.
The Republicans had gained control of the Ohio Apportionment Board and "gerrymandered" the old Democratic safe 56th into a safe Republican seat. Even with that Stevens nearly retained the seat, losing by a mere 1000 votes.
Republican John Hagan (Marlboro Township trustee) defeated Stevens and retained the seat for 8 years.
In 2008, the Democrats thought they had a real shot at this seat. But they were wrong. Despite putting about a quarter of a million dollars in the race, Democrat Celeste DeHoff (Tuscarawas Township trustee and Maier protege) lost by a margin similar to previous candidates from 2002 through 2006.
DeHoff lost to Republican Todd Snitchler of Lake Township who currently holds the seat.
The SCPR had a difficult time with the 2008 DeHoff/Snitchler race. Neither candidate seemed to have the ability to break out of the thrall of others. With DeHoff, it was the Maier machine of the Stark Democratic Party. With Snitchler, the chamber of commerce crowds and "apparently" right wing Republicans.
Snitchler seems to be the most able of all the people who have held the office. However, being a Republican he is a minority member. And his attachment to the chamber of commerce types and right wing types, makes it unlikely that he will accomplish anything to benefit the "blue collerish" 50th.
A few days ago, the SCPR caught a new name running in the 50th. He is Jeff Ury, who, like Snitchler is from Lake Township. Ury lives in Lake's 6th precinct on Middlebranch Road.
Ury's background is definitely working class. His dad was a Teamster and Jeff started out as a carpenter.
He has worked his way up through the home building industry and is listed on online LINKED-IN as being president of Winsome Builders and he has obtained a real estate license and is listed as working with the DeHoff Agency. He has a associated degree in drafting from the University of Akron (1990-94).
Now in his early 40s with a wife (Tiffany) and four children, Jeff is in his first try for political office.
The following in an except from Jeff's bio which provides information for voters to consider:
As a small business owner, Jeff understands the need to enact health care initiatives that are affordable for both employees and employers. It is our duty to see that all Ohioans have access to the care that they need. Jeff also believes that funding our state school system is possible without overburdening property owners, or sacrificing the quality of our children’s education. Jeff believes that the future of Stark County relies upon a firm commitment to the continual growth of our local economy and workforce.
Twenty-five years in the homebuilding industry has allowed Jeff to witness first-hand the importance homeownership plays in revitalizing our economy, neighborhoods, schools, and even families. Jeff has advocated at both the state and national levels to: keep residential construction costs low; advance quality and safety standards; invest in “green building” initiatives; and develop high school and college construction-related programs. He is also actively involved with the Stark County Building Industry Association, which supports the growth of the building industry in Stark County while keeping housing costs affordable. Jeff served as their President in 2007. He believes strengthening the building industry will create jobs and play a leading role in Ohio’s economic recovery.One thing that is impressive about Ury is that apparently understands that one must announce and get out and running at least a year in advance to have any chance at all to beat an incumbent. He has his first fundraiser in August.
Jeff serves his community through several local organizations. He currently volunteers for Wishes Can Happen, Relay for Life, and holds the office of Vice-President of Hammer and Nails, an ecumenical Christian ministry that helps disadvantaged area homeowners with needed home repairs. Jeff has enjoyed coaching his children in Lake Youth baseball and softball for almost 15 years. Jeff will also be a participant in the 23rd Signature Class of Leadership Stark County.
With DeHoff spending about $250,000 in 2008 and having all the "big guns" (Strickland and his wife, John Glenn, Sherrod Brown and Richard Cordry coming to the 50th for DeHoff) and still losing big time to Snitchler, the lesson should be abundantly clear to Ury.
His quest to defeat Snitchler is more than a uphill battle and it doesn't help that there will be no Strickland coattails this time around.
The SCPR takes the position that Todd Snitchler will win re-election in Ohio's 50th barring some earth shattering event occurring - whether Ury is the Democratic candidate or the nod goes to another Democrat.
That's how lopsided the 50th is for Republicans.
Will the Democratic nominee prove the SCPR wrong?