In his quest to replace Democrat Stark County Prosecutor John Fererro, Republican Mike Grady has a herculean task on his hands.
Not only does Ferrerro, on the basis of their recently filed campaign finance reports have a better than 5 to 1 advantage moneywise, the report also shows that some 48 of Ferrero's 68 or so employees have contributed to his campaign.
Undoubtedly, the 20 who haven't contributed will be doing so in the space between now and November. Accordingly, expect that number ($7,687.70) to grow dramatically.
As important as the money advantage is, the SCPR believes "hoofs on the ground" is more important.
Most of the prosecutor office employees likely, rightly or wrongly, believe that their livelihoods are on the line. You can bet that they, their families and friends will be stomping Stark County for their boss's reelection at their own initiative.
Additionally, many members of the Stark County Bar have jumped on board the Ferrero Express for re-election as demonstrated by their making financial contributions to help Ferrero get returned to office.
Of course, yours truly knows most of these folks.
To name some of them:
- Harry Klide (a former judge)
- Donald Miller
- Jack Baker
- Stephen Ginella
- John R. Hoffman (a former judge)
- George Kodak
- Wayne Kyhos
- Richard A. Nicodemo
- Robert Shedlarz
- James D. Snively
- Tzangos, Plakas, Mannos & Raies
- Wendy Rockenfelder
- Brian L. Zimmerman
- Stephen P. Okey
- R.R. Denny Clunk (a former judge)
- Michael Ogline
- Perry Stegios (Massillon law director)
- Sam Ferruccio (Demcratic appointee to Bd. of Elections
- Fischer, Evans & Robbins, LTD
- Mariella Mestel
- Krugliak, Wilkins, Griffiths, Dougherty CoLPA
- Phillip D. Schandel
- Jeffrey H. Weltman
- Black, McCusky, Sours & Arbaugh, LPA
- Gust Callas
- Anthony J. Cepedes
- Patrick Cusma
- Mary A. Falvey (sitting Canton Municipal Court judge)
- Anthony J. Flex
- Frank Forchione (sitting Stark Co. Common Pleas judge)
- Mario Gaitanos
- Douglas N. Godshall
- Scott Gwin (sitting 5th District Court of Appeals judge)
- Taryn Heath (sitting Stark Co. Common Pleas judge)
- Joe Martuccio (Canton law director)
- Rosemary G. Rubin
- Andrea Scassa (magistrate, Canton Municipal Court, Massillon councilwoman)
- Robert A. Zedell
- Edmond Mack (Canton councilman)
- Thomas P. Moushey
- Ronald G. McCala
- J. Fred Stergios
- Stanley R. Rubin
While Grady also had some legal types contribute to him, the list is much much much sparser than that of the sitting prosecutor. His list includes:
- Robert Lavery (sitting Alliance Municipal Court judge)
- Brant Luther (Stark Co. Family Court official and former Stark County auditor)
Notable absences from the Grady list of legal community financial supporters are the names Jeff Jakmides (a prominent Stark County criminal defense attorney and 2004 opponent to Ferrero) and local attorney and civic activist Craig T. Conley.
Conley, a Republican, has gone round and round (2010, 2011) with Ferrero on his dissatisfaction with the immediacy, pace and thoroughness with which the prosecutor's office pursued recovery provided for and authorized by Ohio law in the case of taxpayer monies coming up missing during the tenure of a county treasurer. * (* see footnote [#] at end of blog for a specific reference)
Isn't it interesting that Jakmides and Conley - at least as far as the SCPR can detect - are not Grady contributors.
Add this dearth of support from the legal community to his other problems as set forth above and the task of unseating the incumbent has to be all the more overwhelming.
It appears to The Report that a Grady defeat of Ferrero would go down as one of the all time Stark County political upsets!
As a sidenote, it is interesting to see that Ellis Erb (a Lake Township trustee) and Ben Sommers (Lake's fiscal officer) contributed to Ferrero's campaign.
Both are Republicans and one would think likely to support fellow Lake Republican Grady. However, the kicker is that Grady has weighed in on a lawsuit filed against the Lake trustees over an error in ballot language on a November, 2011 ballot initiative to take the Uniontown Police Department (UPD) township wide.
Hmm? Political payback?
Oh, by the way, yours truly supported taking the UPD township wide, but has criticized the Lake trustees and their legal counsel, the Stark County Board of Elections for not getting the language correct. The matter is now in the hands of the Ohio Supreme Court.
One name that does not appear on Ferrero campaign contribution report is that of Marlboro Chief of Police Ron Devies. Quite predictably, he is listed as a Grady contributor.
As readers of the Stark County Political Report know, Devies (and his son Kyle) was prosecuted by Ferrero (having asked for and secured grand jury indictments) under a fourth degree felony as well as misdemeanor counts on a matter which the SCPR believes was nothing more than a communication problem.
Here is a LINK to a prior blog (of a number) which details a number of the shortcomings that The Report believes that Ferrero has demonstrated as Stark County prosecutor.
Notwithstanding The Report's desire that Stark Countians see fit in November to replace Ferrero with Grady, it is pretty clear, just looking over and analyzing the numbers presented in this blog plus how embedded he is with the Stark County established order of things that such is not likely.
However, the SCPR believes that it is possible that given his "political" insider connections (a former Stark County Democratic Party chairman who was chairman when now former Stark County Treasurer Gary Zeigler was appointed by the Stark County Central Committee as treasurer, and who is thought by many to be a Stark County Democratic Party "good ole boy") that same could come back to haunt him in the hands of a politically savvy opponent.
In his 2004 race against Jakmides, Ferrero ran for a while in a trio-team effort with Zeigler and Stark County Sheriff Tim Swanson who were also up for reelection.
The Report is not optimistic that political neophyte Michael J. Grady will be inclined to play political hardball with the politically sophisticated and schooled Ferrero.
The SCPR believes that if Grady is to win: the gloves will have to come off.
The Report has a hard time imagining that a former corporate counsel for one of America's major corporations will prove to have the grit and determination needed to pull off a major political upset.
Grady gives every indication to The Report of being "a class act" a la A.R. "Chip" Conde and his Canton mayoralty race techniques and strategies against seasoned politico William J. Healy, II.
Laudable, but not a winning campaign approach!
# (Reference: former Chief Deputy Treasurer Vince Frustaci admitted theft of $2.45 million [thought by some to actually have been $2.96 million] of Stark County taxpayer money apparently from 2002 through 2009. Former Treasurer Gary Zeigler was not implicated in the theft, but was subject to recovery of missing monies by virtue of Ohio law. Zeigler negotiated a settlement with county officials whereby he resigned/retired on October, 19, 2011)