Saturday, April 30, 2011


There has been a lot of buzz among area media types and, of course, Stark County politicians looking on.

"The man quit his job, to run for mayor."  "Really?"

Kind of sounds like the man - Leon Gerig - has a call from On High?

The SCPR believes that if he is to become mayor, it definitely will take divine intervention.  For in looking at his pre-primary campaign finance report, one sees very little that he is on the brink of winning the May 3rd Republican primary against fellow Republican A.R. "Chip" Conde.

It is not merely the dearth of money he has raised, but it is the make up of his contributors.  No disrespect intended, however, they are hardly the core/mainstream of the Canton/Stark County Republican Party.

Gerig and Conde have run a classy campaign.  Gerig sprinkles evangelical terms throughout his presentations.  It seems as if he is expecting the miracle that yours truly things it will take for him to be the Republican nominee come May 4, 2011.

Here is the complete list of his contributors:

Friday, April 29, 2011


CORRECTION:  05/10/2011

While Jennifer Drlik confirms that she was a contributor to the "Chip" Conde campaign corrects the SCPR to the effect that she is NOT employed by the United Way of Stark County as originally reported.

The Report apologizes for the error.

Original Blog

There is no better politically collected person in all of Stark County than Stark County Commissioner Janet Creighton.  And, A.R. "Chip" Conde is richly blessed to have her in his corner in the race for mayor of Canton that is currently underway.

The first step in Conde's quest to do what appears to be impossible in a 9 to 1 Democratic registration plurality in Canton is easy.  He will, in the opinion of the SCPR, easily defeat Leon Gerig in the Republican May 3rd primary for the right to move on to the general election in November.

Conde's entrance into the Republican primary seemed to be a surprise to Gerig.  Yours truly interviewed him on the eve of the candidacy deadline and he appeared not to know that a "name" Republican (compared to Garig himself) was poised to enter the race.  Without naming the person, Creighton had tipped off the SCPR that there was likely to be someone more formidable than Gerig entering the race.

The Report believes that Creighton, more than any other Republican, is effectively and quietly at work to put Republicans in control of Stark County government including its county seat (Canton).  The Report has learned that she is encouraging a widely talked about possible Republican candidate for county prosecutor to take on Democrat John Ferrero.  Her activity obviously included (though she does not admit to it to The Report) persuading Conde to take on whichever Democrat survives the primary.

One has to believe that there is a desire on her part that Healy be the target.

Conde had served at the very highest level in the Creighton administration.  Commissioner Creighton is very bullish on "Chip" Conde's abilities and will do all she can to see to it that he is elected mayor of Canton.

Conde's second step will be much more difficult than the first (the general election trek) whether the Democratic candidate is Mayor Healy or Councilman at Large Bill Smuckler.

Of course, in either event, there will be a "pay back" quality to the November match up if sort of Creighton proxy Conde is the nominee.  Healy, of course, defeated chief Conde political sponsor Janet Creighton in November 2007 in her quest to be re-elected mayor having defeated Bill Smuckler in 2003 (who had defeated Healy in the Democratic primary).

Many Stark County political observers believe that Conde does not have the notoriety needed to take on the well known Healy or Smuckler in the 9 to 1 Democrat enclave.

The SCPR is not among that group.  Why?

Because of Janet Creighton being closely tied to the Conde campaign.

Otherwise, the group think seems to be valid political analysis.

The Report believes that Creighton is still stinging from the 2007 Healy defeat and that her overwhelming win (predicted from the get-go by the SCPR) over Stark County Democrat Steve Meeks (a favorite of Stark Dems Chair Randy Gonzalez) has not abated the intensity of her desire to right the mar on her political success visited on her by Healy by better than 1,200 votes.

In examining Conde's pre-primary campaign finance report, you can see Janet Creighton's influence all over the place.  And, it will become even more evident if Conde becomes the Republican nominee for the general election.  For her own part, Creighton certainly has put her money where her mouth is.

If Healy is the Democrat nominee, one factor that Conde can add to the multiple differences between him and Healy will be that a huge majority of his contributions come from Canton and Stark County whereas Healy's is from out-of-town.

Here is the Conde report:

Thursday, April 28, 2011


When the SCPR talked with Canton Councilman-at-Large Bill Smuckler a few days ago, his conversation reeked with glorying in the fact that two of the Timken's heavy hitters (CEO James Griffith and VP - Gov't Affairs Bob Lapp) had come out as being for Smuckler for Mayor as between Smuckler and Mayor Healy.

But The Report asks:  for how long?

Probably until next Tuesday when the results of the Democratic primary become known as to who wins between incumbent Mayor William J. Healy, II and challenger Bill Smuckler.

Obviously, if Smuckler loses; the Timkens and their company leaders are not going to be supporting Healy against either Republican (Leon Gerig - A.R. "Chip" Conde), and, moreover, The Report, believes that it would be incredibly naive for Smuckler to think the Timkens would stay with him in the general election.

Nevertheless, it is important for Cantonians to be getting a signal from W.J. Timken et al (inasmuch as the Timken Company is about the only good thing going for Canton on the economic front these days) that in their judgment the Healy administration has not gotten the job done for Canton.

When one looks at Smuckler's pre-primary campaign report as well as that of Healy (the "out-of-towner") one is struck by the fact that most of the contributors are high rollers.  Smuckler is being bankrolled by a large number of company presidents, owners and the like.  However, Healy is not exactly standing on the street corner begging for passers by to contribute to his campaign effort.

Healy is getting heavy union support but not from individual contributions of folks who happen to be union member.  The contributions are "top-down" decisions to support Healy with large contributions that outstrip anything Smuckler is getting from the entrepreneurial/corporate bigs.

If Smuckler wins - and he is saying that his pollster indicates he enjoys a double digit lead currently - he will have to find a way to get back into the good graces of the Stark County union movement.  For the Timkens (the family and their company leadership) and their "good government fund" will be long gone and ensconced in the Republican cause.  After all, Bob Lapp is on the executive committee and the central committee of the Stark County Republican Party.

Undoubtedly, Smuckler is enjoying the Timken flirtation for as long as it lasts.  For the general election, he will have to turn to his "old" and "reliable" friends like the Slesnick family (relatives of his) for a good chunk of his campaign financing.

Here is Smuckler "entire list" of contributors as set forth on his pre-primary campaign finance report filed last Thursday:

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Readers will recall that William J. Healy, II created controversy in his 2007 run for the Canton mayoralty in terms of the number and source of campaign contributions from out-of-town (meaning outside of Canton proper).

While the cast of characters has changed somewhat (i.e. identity of the contributors), the phenomenon hasn't.  By the Stark County Political Reports "rough" calculation, it appears that only about 20% of Healy's pre-primary contributions came from Cantonians.

The Report has not gotten to the reports of Smuckler, Conde, and Gerig, it would be surprising indeed if they rivaled William J. Healy, II in this respect.

It is somewhat ironic that Healy would try to portray himself as the arch defender and proponent of Canton's "proprietary?" interest when it comes to involving Canton in efforts by county officials (most notably Stark County Commissioner Pete Ferguson) for mergers/consolidations of Canton/Alliance/Massillon/North Canton (and township) operations on such things as building departments, health departments and 9-1-1 call receiving/dispatch when he obvious thinks the world is his playground when it comes to getting campaign contributions.

Healy's campaign finance geographic list is interesting, to wit:


Another interesting aspect of the Healy contribution list is the number of engineers/engineering firms contributing to the campaign.


A source tells the SCPR that one analysis of the race has it boiling down to Wards 3 and 8.   When asked by The Report as to whether or not he agreed with the analysis, Healy opponent Bill Smuckler was skeptical.  He says that his campaign is a citywide campaign and he cited former Stark County commissioner/Canton Muny clerk of courts Tom Harmon's work in Ward 5 whereby he stopped by each and every voters home on behalf of Smuckler.

Take a look for yourself at Healy's far flung campaign contributor list.