To repeat the headline question: Any election excitement building for Stark County 2012 elections?
Answer: yes and no.
Obviously, first and foremost is the Republican presidential primary election which is a part of the overall March 6th Ohio primary elections.
A recent Quinnipiac University Ohio poll shows former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum leading former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney 36% to 29% with former Speaker of the U.S. House Newt Gingrich coming in at 20% and Texas Congressman Ron Paul at 9%.
However, the big factor two and one-half weeks out from Ohio's primary is the estimate that as many as 50% of those polled say that they are not fixed in their choice.
While Santorum is presently leading across the state, the SCPR believes that Romney is likely ahead in Stark County inasmuch as Santorum appeals to the most conservative part of the Republican Party and The Report does not see Stark Republicans as fitting that description.
The Romney campaign website claims that many prominent Ohio Republicans have endorsed him (e.g. U.S. Senator Rob Portman - January 19, 2012).
It will be interesting to see who, if any of the candidates, actually show up in Stark to campaign, and, more importantly, who shares the stage with the candidate - as a tip off - as to who the local Republican establishment is to support.
Stark County Commissioner Janet Creighton tells the SCPR (as of yesterday) that she is undecided.
Other than the Republican presidential race, there is not that much going on for Stark Countians in the primary.
There is a GOP nomination for U.S. Senator contest going on for the right to match up with Democratic United States Senator Sherrod Brown going on, but it looks as if Josh Mandel (Ohio treasurer) has it locked up which makes the race ho-hum.
Ditto for Brown. He has two "write in" opponents.
However, there are two "inside the Columbus beltway" intraparty fights with a Stark County aspect that is likely lost on most Stark County primary voters which could affect who is chairman of the Ohio Republican Party and the Ohio Democratic Party.
First, the Beth Williams versus Sarah Brown 29th District State Central Committee Woman race.
The SCPR's impression is that both Brown and Williams favor DeWine's removal.
It is hard to imagine Sarah Brown not winning a Stark County Republican Party intraparty contest.
Secondly, there is similar fight is going on within the Ohio Democratic Party (ODP) as to whether or not Chris Redfern is to remain as chairman of the ODP.
Redfern has recruited Canton Mayor William J. Healy, II to be his man from Stark County. Healy interesting enough is opposed by his successor 52nd District Ohio House state Representative Stephen Slesnick.
The SCPR believes that Healy is trying to position himself to take over control of the Stark County Democratic Party. This race will be an indicator of how much strength Healy has among rank and file Democrats.
If Healy wins this race and if Democrats take a bath in the newly formed Ohio House districts (i.e. the 48th - Schuring, and the 50th - Hagan) which the SCPR projects they will, then there might be renewed impetus to set current chairman Randy Gonzalez aside to be replaced by Healy or one of his political confederates with a mission to reinvigorate the Stark County Democratic Party which has fallen on hard times over the last several years.
The Dems could be looking at a loss of the prosecutor's office, the sheriff's department and, perhaps, even the coroner's office come the general election of 2012.
Stay tuned. The SCPR expects the general election of 2012 to be all excitement!