Friday, February 18, 2011


The Stark County Political Report has learned that it appears that the Stark County Democratic Party hierarchy has concluded (rightly so, in the view of The Report) that Stark County Sheriff Chief Deputy Rick Perez cannot be elected in his own right as county sheriff.

Taking a cue from the defeat of Kim Perez as county auditor (Kim is Rick's brother), the bigs of the organized Stark Dems have hatched up a plan to have Canton Safety Director Tom Ream as sort of a Madison Avenue-esque sheriff run, but once elected, to turn the actual sheriffing over to Perez.

Had Stark's countywide elected Democrats not fallen on hard times with the troubles of former Stark County Treasurer Gary Zeigler (which The Report believes cost the Dems the auditor's and treasurer's office), the plan is believed to have been that current Sheriff Tim Swanson would resign short of filling out his full term and that the organized Democrats would appoint Perez his successor.  The timing was to be that Perez would not have to run in November, 2010 and would have two years before having to stand for election in November, 2012.

Before Swanson and his pals at the Stark County Democratic headquarters realized that Perez was unelectable, he told a Signature group of Leadership Stark County candidates (which included Perez) that Perez would be Stark County's next sheriff.

Well, all that is now changed.

The SCPR believes that "the Ream plan" probably will not work.

The Report believes that the Dems are on the brink of losing at least two more countywide offices in 2012:  the sheriff's office and the prosecutor's office.

Stark County Republican officials are urging Larry Dordea (Hartville Police Chief, Alliance City Councilman and former police chief of Alliance) to run for sheriff a second time.  He lost to Swanson in 2008.

Moreover, the same officials are putting pressure on Stark County civic activist and attorney Craig T. Conley to run against Prosecutor John Ferrero next year.  Ferrero and Conley have had their run-ins.

Do not expect an formal announcement from Safety Director Ream about running for sheriff until it is known whether or not his current boss Canton Mayor William J. Healy, II will be continuing on as mayor.  Healy faces a challenge from long time Canton Councilman Bill Smuckler (a Democrat like Healy) in the Democratic primary in early May.  If Healy survives the primary, then he faces formidable Republican opposition in November.

Ream will not want, one would think, to detract from or damage the Healy candidacy.

But once Healy's fate is determined, look for Ream to throw his hat into the ring to succeed - sort of - Sheriff Timothy A. Swanson.

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