Thursday, September 9, 2010


On Wednesday evening the Stark County Republican Party nominated former Alliance auditor and current North Canton Finance Director Alex Zumbar to be its nominee to run for Stark County Treasurer in November against Democrat Ken Koher.

There is a vacancy because on August 23rd, the Stark County commissioners vacated the county treasurer title held by Democrat Gary D. Zeigler.

Commissioners forced Zeigler out of office under the authority of Ohio Revised Code Section 321.38 because of the loss some $2.96 million of county money under his watch as county treasurer.  Former Chief Deputy Vince Frustaci has admitted to stealing of $2.46 million of the missing money. The remaining money has not been accounted for.  Zeigler has had a civil suit filed against him by the county commissioners to recover the missing money from him on a legal theory of personal liability.   Zeigler is contesting the suit.

The SCPR believes that the Republicans, like the Democrats did on Tuesday evening, made the best choice of the candidates in the running for the party nomination.

Zumbar is by all reports a no-nonsense type of guy who will thoroughly vet the treasury staff including nomination opponent Allbritain,  if he wins the election in November.

Allbritain may be an effective lower-level employee, but The Report does not see that she has the communicative and interpersonal skills to be Stark County treasurer.  From the day she was sworn in as interim treasurer, she has blown off the SCPR several times on requests to ask her some questions.  She talked a good game of accessibility and transparency, however, the The Report's experience is that she has not delivered.  Undoubtedly, she feared she could not handle The Report's questions.

Unlike the Democrats who shared with the Stark County public how the votes were spread out among the candidates, Republican chairman Jeff Matthews (a man who totally underwhelms the SCPR) said he was keeping the numbers secret.  Some Republicans (the likes of Matthews) seem to have this thing about "unity."

Apparently, Matthews thinks that if any of candidates other than Zumbar got votes, it would be a breach of Republican unity to divulge this reality to Stark Countians.  This from a man who talked about transparency and accountability in critiquing the Zeigler administration of the the Stark treasury.

With the nomination of Zumbar, it appears to the SCPR the Republicans are likely to pick up three countywide offices this November:  the auditor's office, the treasury and the full term commissioner's seat.

But the impending success certainly has nothing to do with Jeff Matthews.  It will occur notwithstanding Matthews being the chairman.

Stark's Democrats have imploded and therefore have encouraged the likes of Janet Creighton and Alex Zumbar (who collectively represent the strength of Stark's organized Republicans) to come forward to run in a very positive environment for Republicans.

One office-holding Democrat has told the SCPR that this is an anti-incumbent year.  That may be to a certain extent.  While Creighton and Zumbar (a close protege of former Stark Republican chairman Charles Brown - now a Common Pleas Court judge) are not incumbent elected officials, they are veteran former elected officials.

So how is it that they as more or less establishment political figures seem to be in good stead in a seeming political environment that the voters want fresh faces?

Zumbar will be going head-to-head with a novice politician.  Being new will not be an advantage to Democrat Koher.  It will be a liability in light of his party being besieged by the negative public perception legacy left to his political party officialdom by the commissioner deposed Gary D. Zeigler.

Creighton is going up against Steve Meeks who is just as much a political insider as she is.  However, Creighton has always demonstrated political strength in Stark County.  She even managed to defeat Canton Councilman Bill Smuckler in the heavily Democratic Canton in 2003.  Meeks has never run countywide.  He was s trustee in Jackson Township for a number of years.

The Report does not believe that the Stark County Democratic Party has the resources to prop up its neophyte  candidate.

Zumbar is likely to win handily.

Here is a video of the Zumbar and Allbritain speeches.

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