Tuesday, March 6, 2012


  1. Analysis of GOP presidential primary (a Stark County/Ohio perspective),
  2. Local Republicans:  Who will win the Sarah Brown/Beth Williams face-off for 29th District for Republican State Committeewoman?,
  3. For sheriff:  Who will be the GOP standard-bearer in a three man race?
  4. Local Democrats:  Political heavyweights Canton Mayor William J. Healy, II and Stephen Slesnick (and, parenthetically William Smith) vie for 29th District Democratic State Committeeman, who comes out on top?
  5. The Stark Democratic precinct committee flap:  the Healy/Gonazalez battleground for ultimate control over the Stark County Democratic Party.

Stark County could well be a key as to whether or not former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney surfaces after today's SuperTuesday (10 primary states, 1 caucus state) Republican primary as the de facto nominee for president.

Ohio is in the "too close to call" category for most political pundits as Ohioans go to the polls beginning at 6:30 this morning.

Ohio is classic in terms of political topography as to whom among Romney and former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (PA) will ultimately as the nominee.  Newt Gingrich and Libertarian-esque Republican Ron Paul are "also rans" in Ohio.

The Buckeye state as well as Stark County has urban, suburban and rural political constituencies which make the Romney/Santorum race intriguing.  Romney does well among Republican urban/suburban voters whereas Santorum appeals to rural voters and, where they have a strong presence, Tea Partiers and strong social conservatives.

It appears that most of the Stark County Republican political establishment is lining up in the Romney camp (e.g. Stark County commissioner Janet Weir Creighton, Stark Board of Elections member and former Stark GOP chairman Curt Braden and Jane Timken of the highly regarded Stark County-based Timken family).

The SCPR projects that it is likely that Romney wins Stark and that such indicates, perhaps, a statewide victory.




Both the Democratic and Republican state political party organizations have big political fights going on as to who will be the party chairman going forward.

On the Republican side, Governor John Kasich has let it be known that he wants Kevin DeWine replaced as party chair.  Normally, when the word is dropped that the governor wants a change in the leadership in the state party, the non-anointed existing chair gracefully steps aside.

But not state GOP Chair Kevin DeWine.

He wants to stay notwithstanding Kasich's wishes on the matter.

DeWine wants to stay so badly that he recently pushed through a state central committee rule that even if elected in today's primary, candidates who had not voted in two consecutive GOP primaries will not be seated on the committee.

Stark County, The Report, is told by an area Tea Party official, has the potential with one of its candidates, to collide head on with the DeWine orchestrated rule.

The Ohio Tea Party sides with Governor Kasich on his desire that DeWine step aside and has recruited candidates across the state to challenge for GOP state central candidate.  Included in the recruitment list is a Stark Countian.

As the SCPR sees The Tea Party might as well as saved itself the effort in putting up a candidate to challenge prominent Stark GOPer Sarah Brown.

It would be quite a political coup were Tea Party candidate Beth A. Williams to defeat Brown.

Sarah Brown is in the judgment of The Report is the penultimate (i.e. next to Stark County Commissioner Janet Weir Creighton) Stark GOP woman.

Brown, the wife of Stark County Court of Common Pleas Judge Charles E. Brown, Jr., has been a member of the Alliance City Schools Board of Education, Alliance City Council, the Ohio Ethics Commission and state central committeewoman for the 33rd District.

With the constitutionally required decentenial redistricting of Ohio House and Senate districts, Alliance (where Brown lives) has been shifted from the 33rd to the 29th District.

Her Ohio Tea Party endorsed Opponent Beth A. Williams who works at VXI Global Solutions of Canton (a customer call center recently lured to Canton by Canton Mayor William J. Healy, II's administration) is not in the same league with Brown.

The Report believes that there is not a significant difference between Brown and Williams on their support of Governor Kasich's preference that Kevin DeWine step down as party chairman.

Moreover, Brown does not face a challenge to her right to take her "duly elected to" seat in the highly likelihood of her winning election today.


Former Alliance Chief of Police Larry Dordea will handily win the Stark County Republican Party nomination for the right to run against Democrat and Chief Stark County Deputy Sheriff (Jail Division) Mike McDonald.

Dordea is currently the Hartville police chief and an at-large Republican member of Alliance City Council.

Dordea was the GOP's nominee in 2008.  He ran a spirited and competitive campaign against Sheriff Tim Swanson back then.

All the more politically wiser and experienced for having run in 2008, Dordea faces Republican opponents who lack voter I.D.

Dordea who is generally recognized in the policing community as a proven law enforcement officer who is up to taking over the administration of Stark's countywide policing unit.

John Grogan, former mayor of Canal Fulton (who was involved in a controversy or two during his term) and a lieutenant in the Summit County Sheriff's Department (also marked by at least one controversy), likely will come in third in this race.

If he had a higher political profile and a more populous political base, Beach City Police Chief Jim Wood might seriously challenge Dordea for the right to be the Republican nominee to run in the November general election .

But he doesn't and consequently The Report sees him as no better than second in this three man race.



In all due respect to candidate William Smith, the SCPR does not see him as being in play to become the elected Democratic representative on the Ohio Democratic Party State Central Committee.

Stark County "voting" Democrats could send a powerful message to the Stark County "organized" Democrats that the likes of Healy and Slesnick will not be abided in a political family fight that appears to be taking place between the two by voting for the alternative:  William Smith.

But don't bank on that happening.

Rather this election (together with a number of precinct committee races - see commentary later on in this blog) may determine for the time being whether Canton Mayor William J. Healy, II  (who the SCPR believes has designs of becoming the political boss of the official Stark County Democratic Party) or  state Representative Stephen Slesnick (who The Report sees as a stand-in candidate beholden to Stark County Democratic Party Chairman Randy Gonzalez and his political lieutenant Johnnie A. Maier, Jr., Massillon clerk of courts and former Stark County Democratic Party chairman) is winning what appears to yours truly to be a battle for control of the Stark County Democratic Party.

Healy was beseeched to run for state central committeeman by current Chairman Chris Redfern.

Though Slesnick says he will remain "open-minded" on whether or not Redfern should remain chairman, The Report and many other Ohio-based political analysts including the SCPR believes (and, apparently, Redfern himself a evidenced in getting Healy to run) that there is little chance that Slesnick would ever support Redfern in his attempt to remain party chairman.

Healy is avowedly a Redfern man, through and through.

This race is very difficult to call.

The Report talked to a Canton-based elected official yesterday evening and the official says he is totally freaked out in having to choose between Healy and Slesnick.  He considers both as very capable politicians.

The SCPR, believing Healy to be a much more accomplished politician,  tends to think that he is the the odds-on-favorite to win.  However, Healy's polish as a politician may actually work against him; especially with those rank-and-file voters living out in the townships and villages of Stark County.

Accordingly, the SCPR is unable to call this race.

Post-election The Report will be looking at William Smith's share of the vote in an endeavor to determine whether or not he played "spoiler" for either Healy or Slesnick in the outcome of the race.


By the hour, the plot seemingly thickens.

Minutes ago yours truly got a telephone call from C. David Morgan regarding the SCPR blogs on an apparently bogus letter that is being generated and sent out across Stark County by someone other than the person him or herself who is running for a Stark County Democratic Party precinct committeeperson slot.

His is another tale of a letter that is being sent out which is obviously the clone of a letter sent out in the name of former Perry Township trustee James (Jim) P. Holmes.

Pastor Morgan, a long time foe of Canton Mayor William J. Healy, II, has been precinct committeeman in Canton's precinct 9H.  However, with precinct cost saving consolidation initiated by the Stark County Board of Elections, Morgan decided not to seek the office in his redesignated precinct 9G. 

Not knowing this, Morgan says, Mayor Healy prevailed upon his management assistant Derek Gordan to run in 9G.  

What's more is that long term Stark County Democrat George Mullane (who Morgan says is the uncle of Stark County Board of Elections Director Jeanette Mullane) because of the consolidation also found himself switched from precinct 8B to a reconfigured 9G.

About 10 days ago, Morgan says, he got a letter purportedly (though unsigned) from George Mullane asking for Morgan's support in a format that Morgan says is the same as the Holmes letter (see below) EXCEPT FOR the precinct designation and, of course, the typed, unsigned name of the candidate, to wit:

Holmes denies that the letter was in fact generated by and sent by him.  He says he only came to know about the letter because whoever fabricated it made the mistake of sending a copy to his wife.

Holmes is matched up in Perry precinct 13 against J. Fred Stergios.  Holmes told The Report that Stergios describes himself has being a political enemy of the Maier political machine.

Morgan says that about two days ago he got a letter which sounds very much to him as actually being George Mullane and that it is totally different than the purported Mullane letter of ten days ago.

Massillon political gadfly Scott Graber emailed the SCPR this morning with a copy of a letter he received purportedly from Grace A. McGraner, (his opponent via BOE precinct consolidation) to wit:

This is what Graber had to say in an e-mail to the SCPR yesterday:
they did the same to me.   no notice of pending election sent to Scott Graber, public enemy number one of Johnnie Maier Jr.
The SCPR has other reports of letters going out under the name of precinct committee candidates which fit the description of the Holmes and McGraner letters.

So you have several persons who have received the form letter speculating to the SCPR that they think the letter may have been generated by the Massillon-based Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. political machine.

The SCPR has written going back to last fall that yours truly believes that there is a political war going on between Stark County Party Chair Randy Gonzalez (Maier being a key supporter of him) and Healy as to who, out into the future, will be controlling the Stark County Democratic Party.

Inasmuch as it takes a number of precinct committee elections to change the balance of power within either the Republican or Democratic Party, the seeming political jockeying is no surprise to the SCPR.

It appears that Healy may be trying to change that balance whereas the Gonzalez/Maier forces may be putting up the fight of their political lives right under our noses.

Unlike the Republican presidential election, the Brown/Williams face off and the Healy/Slesnick/Smith contest which will be decided later today; the ramifications of  Stark County Democratic Party precinct contests may not be known or understood in terms of their import for two to four years.

Very interesting political stuff, no?

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