Tuesday, October 26, 2010


In October, 2008 when Governor Strickland came to Canal Fulton to campaign for Johnnie A. Maier Jr's handpicked candidate Celeste DeHoff for the Ohio House (50th), he said for all to hear with Maier beaming from ear-to-ear that Maier had delivered for him in 2005 by being the very first county party chairman to endorse his candidacy to be the Democratic nominee for governor.

Of course, any friend of Ted Strickland is a friend of Johnnie A. Maier, Jr.  On June 12, 2007 Boccieri announced at Bitzer Park located in North Canton (with the defunct Hoover plant as a backdrop prop) that he was running for Congress in the 16th Congressional District.

Strickland told the assembled crowd that he "loved John Boccieri" as a brother.

There couldn't be a closer political trio in all of Ohio than Strickland, Boccieri and Maier.

Boccieri, a major in the United States Air Force Reserve, who has piloted a C-130 in and out of Iraq many times, is known to have ferried Strickland across Ohio in his campaign stops.

As it turns out, both Strickland and Boccieri are in big political trouble in their quests to remain in office.  Strickland more so than Boccieri.  But both could easily lose.

Maier must be absolutely beside himself.  Would the sun come up for Maier on November 3, 2010 if either or both Boccieri and Strickland lose?

John Boccieri has apparently decided that his margin of victory in Stark County will determine whether or not he returns to the U.S. Congress.  It has been a full court press for him in Stark lately and the last week of the campaign may be exclusively Stark. 

Boccieri surprised all the political pundits when he rolled up an impressive victory in Stark over long time Stark political figure Kirk Schuring.

Boccieri will not win in Medina and Wayne Counties this time around.  Both are solidly Republican counties.  And, Jim Renacci is from Medina County where he served as mayor of Wadsworth.

Just look at the numbers from the presidential election of 2008 in which Obama only won Stark County among the counties that comprise the 16th Congressional District.

Boccieri's major hope in Ashland, Medina and Wayne is that Libertarian Jeffrey Blevins drains off enough Republican votes that Boccieri will be within hailing distance of Renacci.

Then he has to win by enough in Stark to just get by Renacci in the overall vote county.  The SCPR believes he must win Stark by 10% to eke out the narrowest of victory.

Of course, former Stark County chairman Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. wants to help Boccieri in the worst way.  And if he can help Strickland in Stark too (a much harder sell), all the better.  After all he has been good to Strickland and the Strickland administration has rewarded him with appointments for some of Maier's nearests and dearests.

Accordingly, the SCPR believes the idea to do a McKinley/Massillon football game tailgate party featuring former president Bill Clinton had to be Maier's brainchild.  Could be the co-creation of Maier and his "joined at the hip friend" and chief deputy in the Massillon clerk of courts office, Shane Jackson.  His mother, former Stark County Commissioner Gayle Jackson got a Strickland appointment to the Ohio Lottery Commission.

As an aside, Maier is known to be ga-ga over Clinton, too.  Maier came back to Stark County "higher than a kite" after attending a Clinton inaugural.

What Maier et al had not counted on was that arch political enemy Massillon Mayor Frank Cicchinelli would decide to be non-political and to say "no" to the tailgate party and is blessed that Massillon Superintendent of Schools Lisa Carmichael sees it the same way (reference:  Massillon says no to Clinton, Boehner rallies before game, Matthew Rink, The Repostory and The Massillon Independent, October 25, 2010)

Renacci should be credited with a crafty political move of his own.  As soon has he heard about "the best laid plan" of the mousy Democrats, he went out and enlisted the support of central Ohio Congressman John Boehner who is likely to become Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives in the new term of Congress.

The Republican counter tailgate party made it easy for Carmichael.  She was not about to allow the hallowed traditional regular season ending game to play second fiddle to the politicians.

While Maier is "a dyed in the wool" Tiger fan and most likely, under different circumstances might agree with the notion of keeping the politicians out of the mix.  But these are special circumstances and The Report has to believe that the stakes are so high for this consummate politician, that it was a political gambit worth trying.

Mayor Cicchinelli has been at political war with Maier and his followers (e.g. Kathy Catazaro-Perry (who likely will run against Cicchinelli in the May, 2011 Democratic primary), Judge Eddie Elum and others) for years.

Earlier this year Catazaro-Perry had a fundraiser for Strickland at her posh Massillon home, but guess who was not invited.  You've got it:  Massillon Mayor Francis H. Cicchinelli, Jr.!

One of the possibilities that Rink writes about is that Clinton and Strickland may participate in the flip of the coin to determine who gets the ball first in the McKinley/Massillon football blood feud.

So let The Report get this straight.  Bill Clinton who is being sent to districts where President Obama is not all that popular to campaign for the likes of Strickland and Boccieri appears on the 50 yard line with Strickland before 18,000 Cantonians and Massillonians and it is not political?

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