For sure there will be other exciting races for Stark Countians to pay attention to. To mention a few, there is the governor's race as well as the 16th congressional district, a U.S. Senate seat and several statewide offices being contested.
But today the focus of the SCPR are four The Report believes could be very close races.
Former Canton mayor Janet Creighton entering this field for the full term commissioner seat being vacated by Commissioner Todd Bosley made this contest #1 on the SCPR's list.
Steve Meeks was appointed by the Stark County Democratic Central Committee to the seat formerly held by Tom Harmon. But Meeks wants no part of coming up for re-election in two years. The next two years may be the most difficult that Stark County (in the government sense) has ever faced.
Because there is no money and there is not going to be any new money for the foreseeable future. Maybe, and only maybe, there might be a renewal of the existing sales tax.
How will this impact running for commissioner in 2012 for an incumbent?
The commissioners will have to make draconian cuts in county services to Stark Countians. And the cuts are not going to set well. The public really does expect the commissioners to take care of the entire county with a few fishes and loaves. When the manna from Heaven stops raining, then the grumbling will start and in the end sitting commissioners will be the butt of citizen anger.
So 2012 is not a time to be running for re-election. That's why Meeks ducked out of the two years left on his term for the four years that Commissioner Bosley would have stood for if he had not decided to run for state representative (the 50th).
Meeks might have made an unwise choice. Had he stayed in the two year term race, he would have won hands down as former Canton law director, city councilman, chief of staff and service director (Healy administration) will. However, Bernabei likely just plans to be a commissioner for two years to do what he can to help straighten Stark County finances out and then move on with his life.
Another thing that Meeks had planned on was who his opponent would be on the full term.
Undoubtedly, his jaw dropped when he saw that former Canton mayor and countywide officeholder Janet Creighton had taken out a petition.
And so it should.
It is pretty clear to the SCPR that Meeks cannot defeat Creighton and that he will be giving up his commissioner's seat come December 31, 2010.
A Creighton victory will be good for Stark County. Democrats have had a stranglehold over countywide offices for a number of years now which has turned out to be a bad trip for the county.
Number 2 on the SCPR list.
Because this seat is a Republican gerrymandered one designed to keep a "safe district" Republican in the Ohio House. The gerrymandering sheltered the lazy, politically inept John Hagan for a full 8 years in the House. Hagan proved his political ineptness when - notwithstanding his long run as a Stark County politician - he lost to political novice Pete Ferguson over a 2008 commissioners position in a politically competitive environment.
However, with the entry of Todd Bosley into the 50th Ohio House district seat, there is a chance that the Republican "fix" will become unfixed.
Had he not been the leading architect for imposing of a 0.50 of a percent countywide sales/use tax increase in December, 2008, Bosley likely would be a shoe-in to win the 50th.
Because he did the "politically" wrong thing to do, he is reduced in the SCPR's opinion to having a chance to win the 50th.
Bosley will be hammering away at Snitchler as being a "do-nothing," "right-wing ideologue" state representative.
Snitchler, on the other hand, will - one way or another - play to the imposed tax as indicating that Bosley will be a "tax and spend" Democrat if he were to be sent to Columbus.
One other important note about the outcome of Bosley/Snitchler.
Could a loss by either be the end of a a Stark County political career?
Scott Oelslager should be vulnerable in playing musical chairs with now state Senator Kirk Schuring and they bounce from chair to chair between the 29th Ohio Senate district and the 51st Ohio House district.
But he won't be.
The Stark County Democratic leadership decided to get behind former Stark County Court of Common Pleas judge Dick Reinbold to contest Oelslager in the 29th.
This match up will go down in the annals of Stark County political history as one of the most boring on record.
Both Oelslager and Reinbold are colorless.
Oelslager has been in the Ohio General Assembly well over 20 years and has very little to show for it.
Anyone with much background in the huge funding of public education problem would be highly troublesome to Oelslager as an opponent. Democrat Dick Reinbold is not that person.
Reinbold is one of a growing number of Stark County leaders who are leaders because they have ingratiated themselves to the political powers that be, not because he has innate qualities of leadership.
He and wife Nancy (Stark County clerk of courts) have used Stark County Democratic Party organized political apparatus for feathering their own nest. The SCPR take on Reinbold is that he fits in very neatly with the likes of party chair Randy Gonzalez, Commissioner Steve Meeks and former chair Johnnie A. Maier as being consummate politicians.
While Oelslager has been a gigantic disappointment to The Report, Dick Reinbold, who has not legislative bona fides, would never, ever take exception to the Democratic Senate Caucus. Oelslager, as a redeeming quality, has - here and there - done so.
Oelslager should be politically punished for not having been effective on not taking a leadership role in solving the public education funding problem. But with the Democrats picking Reinbold, Oelslager got a huge boost in terms of not being that great until you look at the alternative.
Maybe Reinbold has qualities the SCPR hasn't been able to discern over the years.
If he does, he better not wait until September to make them apparent. For such a delay will ensure the re-election of Oelslager.
The Report doubts that Reinbold will ever be anything other than a mediocre candidate that hopes against hope that he can out I.D. Scott Oelslager.
Talk about not having a handle on political reality!
The main question here is: will Alan Harold stay in this race?
Two years ago he was slated to run against the now-beleaguered Gary Zeigler (Stark County treasurer). But he didn't. The "story on the street" is that Harold's employer asked him to step aside after high level state Democrats complained about Harold's candidacy to Huntington.
The SCPR asked Harold about this story. His response: "No comment."
Harold's whole handing of the Zeigler thing, leads The Report to believe that Harold has no stomach for "down and dirty" politics.
And if he gets queasy about roughhouse politics, taking on Stark County auditor Kim Perez is not the place to be in a run for political office.
Although somewhat of a maverick in Stark County Democratic politics with his own political base (much like Commissioner Todd Bosley), he is a political power broker and likely will teach Harold a political lesson that Harold will not forget for years.
Harold will learn that taking on Perez is not like showing up at a Congressman John Boccieri campaign event (at the Sunoco station on Tuscarawas) with a sign in hand and yelling at the top of one's lungs.
And it is not like running for a place on the Stark County Educational Service Center (formerly known as the Stark County Board of Education).
Apparently, the board candidacy was a "dry run" for taking on Perez. Well, if Harold duplicates that effort in his vying with Perez, he will be looking wistfully at his numbers achieved in the board race (he narrowly lost).
Another campaign like that one will leave him a distant, distant second in a two man race!