Thursday, November 15, 2012


Anytime unions figure into an election in a committed, big-time way, Republicans usually do not fare too well.

The SCPR recalls a bygone conversation with an East Central Building and Construction Trades official about an entreaty by a leading Stark County Republican official (at the time) to the union that it consider a more balanced alignment  between Democrats and Republicans as to whom unions put "boots on the ground" for and "money in the pockets" of in terms of political support.

Well, such has never happened.  Stark County unions have been the captive of Democratic candidates.  And in closely contested races, it has proved more often than not to be a difference maker.

Such appears to the SCPR to have been the case in the contest between Republican Larry Dordea and Democrat Mike McDonald as to whom among the two was going be be elected this past November 6th as Stark County sheriff.

The one part of union movement that Republicans can have some success with are the fire, police and teachers unions.

That is until Senate Bill 5 (State Issue #2 - November, 2011 election) and its perceived "anti-public-worker" stance.

Now, it appears, that opportunity may be evaporating.

In the case of the Stark County sheriff face off, The Report believes that Chief Deputy Sheriff Mike McDonald was able to capture the overwhelming allegiance of local fire and police unions and therefore get the edge over Dordea.

To be sure, other arguments can be/have been made as to the reasons why McDonald defeated Dordea.  The SCPR deals with these "other" factors in a prior blog. And there are likely a number of them that contributed in a significant way.

However, It became apparent to the SCPR in conversations with both Dordea and McDonald that the "police/fire endorsement" thing was a "really" big thing with the two candidates.  And in the judgment of The Report, for good reason. 

Why so?

Because such endorsements are way more powerful and effective than, let's say, newspaper endorsements.

In fact, in the Dordea/McDonald match up, The Repository endorsed Dordea.

And Dordea tried to capitalize on it in campaign literature, but there is not any capital to be had from newspaper endorsements these days.

The Rep also endorsed Democrat Bill Smuckler over Republican Richard Regula in their competitive commissioners race.  The winner?  Regula.

Moreover, Smuckler has never been a favorite of the Stark County union movement.  That William J. Healy, II was able to capture the loyalty of Stark's unions was likely a huge difference maker in their mayoralty competition back in the May, 2011 Democratic primary.

Smuckler was clearly organized labor's choice over Regula, but not with the vim, vigor and vitality necessary to make a candidate a winner.

There are endorsements and then there are endorsements.

A typical voter, no matter how diligent, has a difficult time knowing who is the better qualified in certain types of election contests:  judges, prosecutors and sheriffs come to mind as prime examples.

So what are these voters to do?

In the case of sheriff candidates, everybody knows a cop.

Answer:  ask your acquaintance, friend or relative who is a cop for a recommendation.

That is why the fire/police endorsements were such a crucial matter to Dordea and McDonald.

More importantly than the campaign finance factor, is "boots on the ground."

A policeman or Stark County sheriff deputy telling a voter his/her choice for sheriff played large in the McDonald/Dordea race.

In the end, the SCPR believes that the fire and police endorsements (the McDonald advantage, if you will) made Chief Deputy Sheriff Mike McDonald - Sheriff MIke McDonald.

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