Tuesday, January 3, 2012
DOES CANTON'S MAYOR HEALY HAVE A LONG RANGE PLAN TO GET STARK COUNTY BACK IN PLAY FOR A CONGRESSIONAL SEAT?
The significance of Canton Mayor William J. Healy's sister filing for the Democratic Primary (March 6, 2012) for the new 7th congressional district should not be lost on Stark County political operatives and for that matter sitting Republican Congressman Bob Gibbs.
On the Democratic side of the Stark County political isle, the Stark County Political Report's master politician is not: Chairman Randy Gonzalez, former chairman Johnnie A. Maier, Jr., and certainly not the politically servile political director Shane Jackson.
Rather The Report's assessment is that Canton Mayor William J. Healy, II is in the process of consolidating his power among activist Democrats and even now has surpassed Gonzalez, Maier, and his political acolyte Jackson, individually or in combination, as being the dominate Democratic player in Stark.
It is obvious to the SCPR that Healy has much higher political ambition than being mayor of Canton and is in the process of putting together a plan of developing a political infrastructure to enable him to springboard to higher office.
While Gonzalez has dropped the ball in securing a viable candidate to oppose Republican Congressman Bob Gibbs of rural Holmes County (Lakeville), Healy appears to have been out shopping for a Stark County name to plant in the minds of the voters of the newly created 7th congressional district. The 7th came into being due to the loss of two Ohio congressional seats on the basis of Ohio having lost population in the 2020 census.
In the move from the 18th (the old district from which he was originally elected) to the 7th, Gibbs (with only one two year term as congressman) is forced run a largely reconfigured district in which he is not known in a significant part of the district. An another interesting note is that before his election in 2010 over the incumbent Democratic Congressman Zack Space the 18th (being the totally rural district it was) elected a Democrat (that, of course, being Space).
One would think that these circumstances, and 2012 being a presidential year in which Democrats vote in greater numbers, would have prompted Gonzalez to look for a Democrat that can appeal to the general Stark County desire to have their congressman be from Stark (or at least from nearby [e.g. Renacci - the 16th district - Wadsworth]) and parlay that sentiment in to a strong Stark County vote for a Stark County based candidate.
But he didn't and thereby has opened up an opportunity for Healy to take advantage.
The opportune time for Healy himself to have run for Congress against Gibbs would be 2012. But having just been re-elected mayor of Canton, it would not set well for him (even for Stark Countians who would like to see a Stark Countian as congressman) to do so.
However, 2014 will be a different matter.
Healy will just have one more year left on his second term as mayor of Canton. Barring some major negative happening (which Healy is fully capable of), he undoubtedly can remain mayor for a very long term.
But anyone who knows Healy should understand that Healy has already fried that fish (vindicated his father's loss in the mayor's race of 1991) and 2014 would be a good time to move on to fry other fish.
Since it is not a politically pragmatic thing for Healy himself to have run this year, the next best thing is to have Joyce Healy-Abrams on the ballot.
Because of the family connection, the composition of the Healy-Abrams campaign in terms of the intensity of the effort and the amount of money raised and from whom (i.e. from Mayor Healy's documented supporters?) should tell a lot as to how much the mayor is invested in the campaign.
One wouldn't expect Healy-Abrams to be in a position to pull off a political upset. But if she does, yours truly can see her handing it off to brother Bill when he decides it is time to move on from being mayor of Canton.