As the filing deadline looms on June 30, 2011, it appears that the opponents of Senate Bill 5 (SB 5) have had a massive response in the quest to place a voter referendum on the question of whether or not the people of Ohio will validate Republican Governor John Kasich's attempt via SB 5 to gut public sector unions.
A humongous 714,137 collection of signatures has been collected. Only 231,149 are needed.
While November, 2012 seems to be far off, it really is not. If the March 12, 2012 primary date holds, partisan candidates for the 2012 elections will have to be filing their petitions to run not later than December 7, 2011 which is less than six months away.
For Republican state representatives Kirk Schuirng (Jackson Township - the 51st) and Christina Hagan (Marlboro Township - the 50th), the December filing deadline will reveal the identity of the persons who will be attempting to exploit their support of and votes for SB5 as a basis of a Democratic campaign to unseat them.
Despite the fact that Kasich et al will put up a vigorous fight to retain SB5 via their "political action front group" - Building a Better Ohio, in certain partS of Ohio (the urban/suburban areas where public sector unions are strong), being an elected Republican state representative who voted for SB5 is likely to make one a big time political target. Such is likely to be what is in the offing for Hagan and Schuring here in Stark County.
November, 2012 offers Stark County Democratic Party Chairman Randy Gonzalez a prime opportunity to wrestle the long time 50th and 51st Ohio House seats away from the Republicans.
Gonzalez was not only handed the plum of Hagan and Schuring having voted for the Kasich anti-union measure but will also have soon their recorded vote in favor of Kasich's budget bill which contains gigantic cuts, over the 2012-13 fiscal biennium, in local government funding.
Chairman Gonzalez should be particularly motivated to find a strong candidate to take on Schuring. He is the fiscal officer in Jackson Township and knows first hand how severely the draconian local government cuts in state funding together with the loss of revenue from Ohio's estate tax will impact Jackson.
He tells the SCPR that the losses in revenue will deprive Jackson of needed funds to maintain and enhance its first-rate park system.
However, to pull off the takeaways, Gonzalez will have to tap into the outrage at SB5 by Republican Party supporting unions, that is to say: Stark County's firefighters, the police and teachers. Moreover, he will have to fan the fires of lost revenues with township trustees as well as city and county officials across Stark County. One would think that his hope would be to - at the very minimum - neutralize Republican trustees, councilpersons, mayors, commissioners (including 2012 commissioner candidates) in terms of support for Hagan and Schuring.
Being handed the issues he has been will be a test of whether or not Gonzalez is up to being chairman of the Stark County Democratic Party.
His best hope to make inroads for Democrats in 2012 is on the Hagan and Schuring races.
On countywide offices, it is a different story. Because of the 2009/2010 Frustaci scandal, he faces an uphill battle to retain for the Democrats the sheriff's office and the prosecutor's office as well has the two Democratic commissioner seats (Ferguson and Bernabei).
You can bet that Stark's organized Republicans will be keeping the Frustaci thing alive when it comes to the countywide races.
Conversely, will Gonzalez be able to forge the necessary political alliances with Stark County public sector unions and political subdivision officeholders in order effect a Hagan/Schuring removal from office?
Will he be able to make the spectres of their having voted to gut public unions and local government come alive in November, 2012?