STARK NOT ONLY SPLIT INTO THREE DISTRICTS (WHICH STARK GOP CHAIR MATTHEWS SAYS IS GOOD), BUT IT ALSO SHARES IN BEING AMONG 400 CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS WHICH ARE LARGELY NON-COMPETITIVE DUE TO GERRYMANDERING. WITH RENACCI MOVE, NO CONGRESSIONAL OFFICE LOCATED IN STARK.
UPDATE: 09:43 AM
VOTE OF STARK COUNTY'S "THREE" CONGRESSMEN ON PASSAGE OF "AVOIDING FISCAL CLIFF"
GIBBS - 7TH - NO
RENACCI - 16TH - NORYAN - 13TH - YES
Where are Stark Countians who remain in the 16th congressional district going to have to go to visit their congressman?
Wadsworth located in Medina County, that's where!
The Medina Gazette is chortling over the move of Congressman Jim Renacci's office from Belden Village to an office complex located in Wadsworth.
And, of course, Stark Countians have Stark County GOP Chairman Jeff Matthews (also, STARK COUNTY Board of Elections director), state Senator Scott Oelslager (R, Plain [Stark County] - the 29th) and state Rep. Christina Hagan (R, Marlboro [Stark County] - the 50th) to thank for either endorsing and/or participating in the gerrymander Republican-skewed drive (at the hand of Republican dominant Ohio General Assembly) that took place in late 2011 that resulted in Stark (which was the main act in the "old" 16th) being split into three congressional districts.
For those readers who need a refresher on the background on the redistricting process, here is a LINK that provides a thoroughgoing analysis of the process.
The dominant Stark County populated congressional district is the 7th.
Compared to the other 9 counties composing the 7th, Stark is far and away the largest player.
In the 2012 election, Stark County cast 33.57% of the total votes voted. However, even lackluster Democratic candidate Joyce Healy-Abrams (brother of Canton mayor William J. Healy, II) beat Gibbs by sizable majority (given the volume of 105,964 votes).
Consequently, you can bet your bottom dollar that Republican Gibbs will not giving Stark County top billing in terms of attention.
After all he is a politician. And we all know that politicians look after their own hides first and foremost.
So, despite the fact that Chairman Matthews and Representative Hagan said back in 2011 that having three districts would be good for Stark, a rational look at the numbers show their analyses for what they are: partisan political spin.
Stark having the attention of one of three congressmen is problematical at best, and, perhaps "not in the cards!"
Rational political thinkers will conclude from the numbers presented in the chart above that Stark is very likely to get short shrift from Gibbs whereas Holmes at 82% for him (his home county), Ashland, Knox, Richland, Huron, Coshocton, Tuscarawas (all producing 60% plus for the congressman) will undoubtedly get the lions share of his attention.
Does anyone (who has their head in political reality) doubt that perhaps Lorain and most certainly Stark are in for a taste of political oblivion as far as Gibbs in concerned.
And we have Matthews, Oelslager and Hagan to thank for justifying and and endorsing (Oelslager and Hagan by virtue of their votes for the enabling legislation [HB 319]) not having the ear of the congressman even though the county has by far the largest plurality of constituents.
Well, maybe Stark can do better with the alternative districts?
Let's take a look at those numbers in the 16th and then the 13th congressional districts.
First, the 16th.
The 16th is the best prospect for Stark County's voice to be heard in the halls of Congress.
Probably the most compelling factor in Congressman Renacci hearing the pleas of Stark County interest is the fact that Heidi Matthews works for him. She is the wife of Jeff Matthews. And, Matthews was the party chairman from among the Republican Party chairmen in the "old" 16th (Stark, Wayne, part of Ashland and part of Medina) who initiated the drive for Renacci to become the party nominee in his successful bid to unseat Democratic congressman John Boccieri of Alliance.
However, what works against Stark having much pull with Renacci is the fact that Stark represented only some 19% of the total 2012 vote in the 16th. The good in the "however" is that of that 19% Renacci received 57% of the vote; the highest of all five of the counties that comprise the "new" 16th.
And the case can be made, that - but for Stark and its Renacci plurality of 9,069 votes; Renacci might well have lost to Democrat Betty Sutton. She had 3,499 vote edge in the four other counties of the 16th.
The SCPR thinks the numbers so far in The Report's analysis (the 7th, the 16th) show that the 16th is the best bet.
The index for the 16th for Republican Renacci in a presidential year election for is 50.92%. Not much of a margin.
Accordingly, the pressure is on for him to shore up his numbers in Cuyahoga, Portage and Summit Counties or face close race after close race after close race every two years.
A future strong Cuyahoga County-based candidate could prove to be his political Waterloo, no?
So he might be tempted to "not appreciate all that much
what Stark County did for him in terms of putting him over-the-top given that Stark only represents 19% or so of the vote, no?
On to the 13th congressional district numbers.
Forget it! Stark County.
No help here!
Even though folks from Marlboro Township (Hagan's home) and the Alliance area gave Congressman Tim Ryan (Democrat - Youngstown) a solid victory (62.90% of the vote), it paled in comparison to the other counties (Mahoning [78.96%], Portage [68.13%], Summit [68.85%] and Trumbull [73.42%]) and more importantly Stark only represents 3.11% of the total voting this past November.
So how much attention is Tim Ryan going to pay to a county that comprises 3% or so of the total vote in a presidential year?
You've got it. It's between "slim and none" and slim just left town.
A Democratic favorable index of 72.64%. Wow!
Dump as many Democratic areas as possible in two northeast Ohio congressional districts (the 11th [Cuyahoga] and the 13th) and thereby preserve the 16th for the Republicans and Renacci, even if narrowly.
As a consequence of the Republican gerrymandering, Ohio ended up with 12 of Ohio's 16 congressional seats being Republican, to wit:
The Ohio incongruity is indicative of what is happening nationwide at the hands of Democrats and Republicans who capture control of state redistricting processes and use the process to abuse democratic procedures.
And this historical phenomenon is no trifling matter.
As the SCPR's favorite (because he is the most reliable) political blogger Nate Siliver of the 538 political blog points out, what used to be over 100 competitive congressional districts (1992); only 35 remain.
So the next time you see one of your local political party die-hards (e.g. Matthews, Hagan and, surprisingly by virtue of his HB 319 vote, Oelslager [Republicans] or the likes of former Stark County Democratic chairman Johnnie A. Maier, Jr), be sure to give them a big sarcastic thank you for their serving political party and their individual political interests over the public interest of having competitive democratic processes.
Matthews, Hagan and Oelslager have said in their statements and by their actions that political competition is best sacrificed to parochial partisan interests.
In the end, given the numbers published in this blog, Stark Countians might well have no one among Gibbs, Renacci and Ryan to turn to have our voice heard in Washington.
But we should think it is a good thing that Stark County is represented by three different congressmen?