Thursday, May 6, 2010


The Stark County Political Report has created a Candidate Political Strength Index for the competitive countywide races this coming November.

By comparing indexes, The Report has come up with a statistical formula which when coupled with substantive factors, serve as a basis for projecting the likely outcome of countywide races for commissioner (2) and auditor.

For instance, statistically Auditor Kim Perez sets the benchmark for countywide running Democrats whereas former Canton mayor Janet Weir Creighton sets the standard for Republicans.

In pairing of actual candidates, the index provides quantitative guidance to which The Report adds subjective analysis in order to come up with a call as to whom is likely to win s particular match up.

First, the auditor's race:  Perez versus Harold.

This is a race that Republicans think they can win.

The Report expects Republican Harold and his Republican campaign force to invoke a strategy (already in evidence) of trying to tie Perez to Stark County treasurer Gary Zeigler and the troubles in the Stark treasury on the basis that both work with county finances and therefore by virtue of their responsibilities are somehow connected.

For this strategy to work, it will take "a smoking gun" revelation to turn a majority of the Stark County voting public against Perez on the apparent Harold strategy.

Perez is the strongest vote getting Democrat in all of Stark County.  The Report has heard him criticized by one leading Stark County Democrat on his lack of energy demonstrated in campaigning.  But The Report does not agree.  All Perez has done as a politician is to win and win with relative ease for each of he has run for.

The is a silver lining in this race for Harold.  He will get a lot of experience in what it is like to run against the wily politico Kim Perez.

The experience will put him in good stead to run for Stark County treasurer in 2012.  If Zeigler makes it to the end of his term, The Report cannot see any scenario that he can be re-elected should he decide to try.

If or some reason Zeigler does not serve out his full term, The Report sees the Stark County Democratic Party filling out his term with Steven Meeks who will likely be ex-commissioner Steven Meeks after his race against Republican Janet Creighton in November.

With the experience of having countywide twice, the Harold index will improve significantly and he will be in a position to actually win against either Zeigler or Meeks in 2012.

Second, the four year term commissioner race:  Meeks versus Creighton.

This is a race that Democrats hope against hope that they can win.

This is a corollary contest to the Perez v. Harold race.  Except this time it is the Republican who is the proven candidate.  Although Creighton did lose as a incumbent with a record to defend against Healy in 2007, that happened because Canton is a Democratic bastion on the slide (set in motion by Creighton's predecessors) and her normal "holding her own" with Democrats ebbed enough for Healy to win, but he had to work very hard to do so.

If Creighton had chosen to wait to 2011 and run against Healy, she would easily reverse that loss.

In running against former Jackson trustee Steven M. Meeks, Creighton is running in a highly competitive Stark County.  But Creighton has a strong track record of running and winning several times as county recorder and county auditor.

Moreover, she will run competitively in Alliance, Canton and Massillon whereas Meeks (being a suburbanite) will run weakly for being a Democrat.

Good luck to Meeks campaign advisers in coming up with a political strategy for defeating Creighton.

The former Canton mayor will run on having governed two county offices and the City of Canton.  Her never having had to co-govern on a board like the three member county commissioner board, could be the one question that Meeks could inject to question her suitability for the office of county commissioner.

If such a point were to influence voters,  the SCPR believes it will be lost in light of the fact that currently the board of commissioners in totally controlled by Democrats.  The Report thinks that if any such concern gets legs, it will be more than offset by voter desire to put come political balance into the staffing of the commissioner board by electing a Republican.  Not just any Republican.  Rather a Republican of the stature of Janet Creighton.

Another Creighton advantage will be the Creighton personality.  Some made light of her for being a cheerleader for the well-being of Canton.  But most Cantonians like the cheerfulness of Creighton and this personality trait will play well across the county.

Third, the two year term commissioner race:  Bernabei versus Walters.

Although the relative index appears close, the SCPR doesn't think it really is.  A factor here is that Jamie Walters (a sitting Jackson Township trustee) had a relatively close race against Lake Township Republican, an largely politically unknown, Dean Windham.

The SCPR termed the Walters/Windham contest as a flip-of-a-coin type decision for Republican voters.  The Report proved to be prophetic on this score.  And it appears that flipping a coin is exactly what voters outside of Jackson and Lake Township did.

Democrat Tom Bernabei (a former city councilman, law director and chief of staff/service director [Healy administration]) will roll up a huge majority in Canton for sure and very likely in Alliance and Massillon.

Walters' only hope is for him to run substantially ahead of Bernabei in the rest of Stark County.  This will not happen.  Why?  Because James N. Walters in no Janet Creighton. Bernabei will do in the rest Stark County (hold his own) as the reverse of what Creighton will do in Canton in her contest.

Walters is a rather obscure Stark County politician who has not distinguished himself as a Jackson trustee.  The Report believes he would never have become a Jackson trustee but for the audacity of Steve Meeks (when he left Jackson to serve in Democrat Governor Ted Strickland's administration) to try and keep the trusteeship in the family by having his wife Patty run.

Bernabei, on the other hand, is a well known Canton based political figure who Republicans and Democrats alike believe served Canton effectively and with distinction in the offices he has held.

Moreover, he has gotten tons of favorable press in the pages of the Canton Repository (like Janet Creighton) over many years and so he has very good voter i.d. notwithstanding the fact that he has never run countywide before.

Contrast the Bernabei public relations advantage to Walters sitting on his duff during the primary running (a time he could have been working on his low voter identity) a "front porch-esque" campaign.  Yours truly did not see one Walters political sign.  Did he send out any campaign literature? Hmm?

The election is about six months away, but the SCPR is confident that The Report countywide office Candidate Political Strength Index will be borne out come November.

1 comment:

charmingtail said...

Perez is the type of politician we will be working on to get rid of. We are sick of these Stark Co "families" using government like a family business!