Recently, the SCPR spent time talking with a number of the candidates for Massillon City Council (both Rs & Ds) as well as an official in the Cicchinelli administration about their take on the upcoming election.
The read that The Report is getting is that this will be a very close election across all the contested races for council (ie. Wards 1, 2, 3, 6 and the last spot for council at large).
Control of council will likely be 5 to 4 either way. But for Republicans to win control, nearly everything - in terms of the highly contested races - will have to fall their way. They will have to win four of the five contested seats, assuming that Councilman Donnie Peters holds his seat in Ward 5.
Either way the citizens of Massillon win in the event of a one vote margin by the prevailing party. Both parties will have to pay closer attention to the will of the people of Massillon looking forward to the 2115 election. Overwhelming Democratic control has not served Massillon well.
COUNCIL AT LARGE
The SCPR believes that Republican Milan Chovan, Jr. may be able to salvage one of the three council-at-large seats for the GOP. Democrats Paul Manson and maverick Democrat Larry Slagle should win two of the three seats for the Dems merely because overall Massillon is solidly Democratic.
Had the Republicans not run two candidates in 2007, it is likely that Democrat Hersher would not have won one of the three seats then and would not be an incumbent this time around.
Republicans have learned that lesson. They are only running Choven this time around. But it could be too late. Now that Hersher is an incumbent, he will be more difficult to defeat.
However, the Maier faction of the Massillon Democratic Party appears to dislike Hersher because they view him as a loyal foot soldier for Mayor Cicchinelli. If the Maier faction let it be known that Republican Chovan is preferred over Hersher, the Republicans' faux pas of 2007 may not come back to haunt them.
McCune is another councilperson who is not a favorite of the Maier faction.
This ward is one that the Republicans are counting on.
Ward 2 Republican council candidate Nancy Halter (a former Massillon councilwoman) rounded up GOP candidates (including Lewis, but not Chovan) so that the Republicans could have a nearly full slate (4th Ward excepted) and thereby enhance their chances of gaining control of council.
If he loses, it will be quite a fall for McCune. Last time out, he ran unopposed.
The Report believes Lewis has a chance to unseat McCune. And if the Republicans are going to control council, he will have to.
Seems solid for incumbent Councilman Donnie Peters. Though it appears to him that Democrat Vaughn Mohler is not running much of a campaign, he is not taking his reelection for granted, as he tells The Report that Ward 5 is a Democratic predominate registration area of Massillon.
Peters was unopposed last time out. In 2003 he lost by a handful of votes to Council President Glenn Gamber (a Democrat).
If Republicans win five seats, Peters says he will be president pro-tem.
WARD 4 - Democrat Tony Townsend (uncontested).
This is Kathy Catazaro-Perry's ward.
However, before she was elected in 2003, this was a Republican-leaning ward.
With Catazaro-Perry vacating the seat in her run for mayor of Massillon, two political newcomers are vying for the right to represent the 3rd.
Who wins in the 3rd, is anybody's guess.
Scassa tells The Report that while Catazaro-Perry has provided her guidance on how to win in the ward, she is running her own campaign with the help of relatives, and that as a councilperson, she will be her own person.
In terms of the outcome of this race, a big question remains:
Were the Catazaro-Perry victories in 2003/2007 an indication of a shift to Democratic leaning? Or can Republican Hayden depend on it returning to the Republican fold?
If anyone deserves to win a seat, it might be Nancy Halter. She is the driving force behind getting Republicans to run in all the wards except for the fourth. Moreover, she is at least as experienced in the ways of council as Anderson.
She was an at-large councilperson from the mid-nineties through 2003.
Anderson has been an avowed "anti-all-things Cicchinelli" councilperson. Is this enough of an agenda for the voters of the 2nd Ward to want to return him to office; especially in light of the fact he will not have Frank Cicchinelli to kick around any more?
Halter may be able to take this one for the Republicans.
Another key to which party controls Massillon City Council is Ward 1.
If the Republicans are to take control of council, they will have to overcome the entry of Marc Sober into the race. He describes himself as a Libertarian-leaning candidate which indicates to The Report that he is likely to siphon off votes from Republican Sarita Cunningham.
Cunningham should be the favorite because she narrowly lost (47 votes) to Ronald Mang (who is not running for reelection) in 2007. Accordingly, she will have a voter name ID advantage over Sober.
If she can find a way to convince the Republican part of the electorate to stay with her rather than drift in significant numbers to Sober, she might still win despite his presence.
However, that will be a tall order for her.
Democrat Majcan (who The Report understands in connected to Johnnie A. Maier, Jr in that his wife works for Maier) undoubtedly will be looking to the Maier factor to play to his advantage.
But will it be? Or, in the first, could it be a disadvantage?