Thursday, March 25, 2010


Which way will it swing for Congressman John Boccieri (Dem - Alliance).  Has he proven his worth to a majority of 16th congressional district voters or not?

Last year he cost 16th district voters and, indeed, all Americans about $1 million:

While it is seven plus months away from "accountability day" for Boccieri, the SCPR believes that Boccieri will survive the November, 2010 elections and remain in the United States Congress as the 16th's representative.

The Report does not believe that his reelection should cause Boccieri to think that the majority thinks he has been "worth every penny."  Rather, he should think, they value him enough, given the alternative, to give him another term.

Boccieri probably played it just right in being coy as to what his "true" position was on any given "big" issue.

Two big issues stand out as accountability factors in Boccieri's reelection try:  Cap and Trade and Health Care Reform.

His poorest performance was on Cap and Trade.

He had nearly everyone in the 16th believing that he would vote no on Cap and Trade.  In his "Congressman on Your Corner" cameo's throughout the 16th, he saturated his presentations with a negative on the environmental legislation.  But in the end he voted the Pelosi position and then got mad when it was pointed out by the SCPR that a little bit of ear-marking had gone on to get his vote.

Probably as an additional payoff, when it came to a series of votes on Health Care reform, the SCPR believes that Peolosi gave Boccieri a pass to vote no on the legislation in its earliest stage apparently because the Stupak amendment (prohibiting federal financing of abortions) was not part of the package.

In the end, this was an effective maneuver for Boccieri in the 16th.  This vote gave him some bona fides with the more moderate Republican types in the 16th. 

Why is this good for Boccieri?

Because the SCPR believes more and more that Matt Miller will be the Republican nominee coming out of the Republican primary in May.

None of the for extreme elements of the Republican right will be voting for Boccieri (a Democrat) under any cirumstances.  But the more moderate elements are a different matter.

And that, in a nutshell, appears to the The Report to be the core of Boccieri campaign overall strategy, to wit:

Paint the Republican survivor of the primary as being right-wing, and get to victory in November on the more flexible part of the 16th district electorate.

It seems to The Report that all the Republican candidates for the 16th district congressional nod are leaning to the right.  Former Wadsworth mayor Jim Rennaci (and car dealer) is supposed to be the "most" moderate among a group that includes Miller, Doyle Smith and the extreme right Paul Schiffer.  But at a recent "debate" at Plain Township Glenoak High School (if you can call it a debate), Renacci, Miller and - to a lesser degree - Smith were playing to Schiffer-esque right extremism.

The only one that will have this to come back to haunt him in a general election contest with Boccieri, is Renacci.

Why is that?

Because going into the primary, Renacci - as stated above - was thought by most area political observers to be a Republican moderate.

Voters already know that Miller is solidly right wing.  So he does not get hurt among core-right voters in a general election, even if he swings - during the primary - towards the Schiffer position.

Smith isn't a factor because his political identity is so low that he has no chance whatsoever to survive the Republican primary as the winner.  So, even though Smith gave every indication at Glenoak that he was the most moderate of the group - more moderate than Renacci - if such is perceived by the rank-in-file Republican primary voter, it places him at the bottom of the foursome in terms of outcome.  Even Schiffer will likely best him.

Renacci, if he can appear to be right-wing enough, may survive the Republican primary, but his primary positions will be worked big-time against him by the Boccieri forces in the November general election.

The SCPR believes that Renacci, as Republican nominee, will be sufficiently damaged by his primary race right-drift within 16th district Republicanism, that Boccieri will peel off enough moderate Republican votes and maintain enough of the district's independents in the general election to get a new term in the U.S. House. But the race will be won by a margin of one or two percentage points, if that.

If Miller is the Republican nominee, then Boccieri's win margin increases by two fold.

Miller will be an effective challenger, but his achilles heel will be his perceived pronounced right wingedness.   Accordingly, he will - on the result side of the general election - leave political pundits impressed by his electoral performance, but he remains the perennial 16th district political bridesmaid.

It is in a Boccieri/Miller match up that Boccieri benefit from having looked like a liberal at times and like a conservative at times.  Confused voters will likely perceive him to be the more thoughtful and flexible candidate and therefore the most acceptable.

In a Bocceri/Renacci race, the confusion hurts Boccieri and that is why the race could come down to the wire as a razor-thin margin for Boccieri.

Moreover, a Boccieri/Renacci match up will boil down to the Boccierians trying to paint Renacci (based on his Republican primary performance) as more right-wing than he had been previously billed and therefore unacceptable to the great middle of the 16th district's voter profile.

If Boccieri wins this race, then 16th district voters can expect to see Boccieri to be holding office for the foreseeable future.  He will be challenged biennially, but not seriously a la most of the Regula and Frank Bow times in Congress.

In an interesting twist, the SCPR believes that had Kirk Schuring been the Republican nominee this time around, he would have been very likely to defeat Boccieri in a re-match.

In politics, timing is everything!

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