Friday, May 3, 2013


Frank Morris is no stranger to close Democratic Primary elections.

In 2009, with 689 votes cast, he lost by a mere seven (7) votes to the late Joe Carbenia.

Then on August 10, 2009 Carbenia passed away.

One would have thought that the Stark Dems would have selected Morris to be his successor inasmuch the May 5, 2009 primary election was a virtual tie.

But no, it turns out, it is likely that there was some resentment among Stark County Democratic Party officials that Morris challenged Carbenia in the first place.

And beyond the Stark Dems factor,  the nominee (Brian Horner) had connections to the Carbenia family through his wife (a cousin).  It appears that the family may have weighed in with the Dems as to the family's preference.  (LINK to prior SCPR blog which goes into more detail)

So between the two factors, it was a "no go" for Morris in 2009 and he had to wait until 2011 (Horner having decided he wanted no part of Canton politics) to take office, ironically, running - get this , "unopposed" in the 2011 Democratic Primary.

There were 562 votes in that primary election.

Going back even further to the 2007 election, we find that there were 759 votes cast in the Democratic Primary.

So it seems as if we can expect anywhere from 550 to 750 or so votes in next Tuesday's hotly contested race between fellow Democrats Morris and Joe Cole (a councilman-at-large who got hoodwinked by Mary Cirelli into giving up his at-large seat [see this LINK to a prior SCPR blog which details the hilarious account of how Cirelli did Cole in]).

On Wednesday the SCPR learned that Ward 9 resident and voter Mark Bowman was engaged in a big time calling program on behalf of Morris.  By election day on Tuesday he says he projects that he will have made 865 calls.

What is interesting about the calls is the information he shared with the SCPR as to the nature, content and responses he is getting to his "cold" calls made to likely Democratic voters, to wit:
  • the calls' entree are that they are tailored to remind Ward 9 voters that Tuesday's primary election is at hand and that the caller is asking for voters to help reelect Frank Morris as the ward,s councilman on the basis of the good job Frank has done for the ward over the past couple of years,
  • out of every 100 calls, he is getting voice mail responses for about 45 to 60 of the calls and he simply leaves messages promoting Frank Morris,
  • of the 45 or so calls per 100 in which voters engage Bowman, he gets some 10 to 15 who favor Morris whereas an average of 2 to 4 favor Cole,
  • by the time election day rolls around he will have reached in pre-determined limit of 865 calls, and
  • that is is cautiously optimistic that Ward 9 voters will reelection Frank Morris as the ward's councilman,
To the SCPR, the disparity between those who are pro-Morris as compared to those who are pro-Cole is validation of The Report's earlier projection (based on a number of non-quantified factors) that Frank Morris is very likely to win over challenger Cole.

One does have to be a little hesitant about making such a projection given that Cole has already raised over $11,000 and The Report understands that he had another fundraiser Wednesday evening.  (LINK to a SCPR blog detailing the campaign finance reports submitted by the candidates by the reporting deadline of April 25th).

In a relationship that nobody can figure out, Stark County's trade unions have pumped some $8,000 into the Cole campaign and it is likely that after Wednesday's event it will be $10,000 or so.

Plumber and Pipefitters business agent Dave Kirven denied previously to the SCRP in an email that the unions were going to put $10,000 into the Cole campaign.


The campaign finance reports tell a different story.

And, of course, Frank Morris hasn't exactly been "chopped liver" in his raising of money.  He's at $6,360 as of the April 25th report.

Normally, if a candidate puts $1,000 into a Canton council race, that is a big deal.

But the Morris/Cole match up is not just any race.

It, coupled with the Greg Hawk/Tim Porter (Mayor Healy has put $500 into Porter's campaign) first ward race, is about which power bloc in council will control going forward into 2014.

Depending on how Wards 9 and 1 go, this election cycle's results could mean a 7 to 5 majority for the victorious bloc.

Voting blocs on council?

Yes.  On certain key issues that come along, to wit:   traffic cameras, merging parks and recreation, a $1 million tax abatement for a proposed hotel, giving $175,000 to the Canton Chamber of Comerce, et cetera.

As the SCPR sees council, for lack of a better descriptor, there is the anti-Healy-bloc and the pro-Healy-bloc.

The anti-Healy folks (more or less):
  • Frank Morris,  III, Ward 9,
  • John Mariol, II, Ward 7,
  • Edmond Mack, Ward 8,
  • Kevin Fisher, Ward 5,
  • Greg Hawk, Ward 1,
  • Mary Cirelli, at-large,
The pro-Healy folks (more or less):
  • Jimmy Babcock, at-large,
  • Joe Cole, at-large,
  • David Dougherty, Ward 6,
  • Jim Griffin, Ward 3,
  • Chris Smith, Ward 4,
  • Tom West, Ward 2
Coming on council for sure (in the opinion of the SCPR) are former Councilman Bill Smucker and Roland Burns, II (as at-larges) who are likely to replace Mary Cirelli (who is running for Canton treasurer) and add one to the "anti-Healy-bloc."

This scenario would give the anti-Healys a 7 to 5 margin.

However, if Cole were to defeat Morris and Tim Porter were to take out Greg Hawk, the margin swings 7 to 5 in favor of the pro-Healys.

Of course, in case a reader does not already know, Healy is Canton mayor William J. Healy, II.

Healy has proven to be one of the most polarizing mayors in Canton's history (at least, in the modern era) pretty much because is consumed with a quest to political power (either "in your face style," or through finesse or manipulation) so that he can enforce his basic way of administration which is to say "my way or the highway!"

Until Cole opened his mouth at the council meetings of April 22nd (calling the votes [including Morris'] against giving $175,000 to the Chamber deplorable) and disparaging some Vassar Park (located in Ward 9) residents (i.e. calling them right wing Tea Party types, charlatans, and snake oil salesmen), it appeared that with all the money the unions pumped into the Cole campaign, that Morris could be in trouble.

And it could be that he is,

But the SCPR is skeptical.

The Report believes that Cole has so discredited himself that all of the money in the world is not going to help him retain a seat on council.

But we shall see come Tuesday, May 7, 2013!

The important question is how are those 550 to 750 Ward 9 residents going to react to the unprecedented barrage of politiking (probably involving total expenditures of $20,000) going on in their ward?

Total expenditures nearing $20,000.


Such should tell anyone that the stakes in the outcome of this particular election could not be higher!

No comments: