UPDATE: 05/13/2013 AT 05:32 AM
Re: Edward Hampton filed petition, see ABJ article (LINK) on battle in Summit County as to whether or not a Republican affiliated candidate will be allowed to run for a clerk of courts position as a "non-party" candidate.
Late last week the SCPR got a tip that something unusual was going on in Massillon's Ward 4 in terms of the upcoming November Massillon City Council election.
The Report was told to check Stark County Board of Elections candidates' filing website for November.
Because there was a filing for a candidacy for Massillon Ward 4 councilperson that might seem a bit odd, perhaps, even shocking.
Sure enough, on checking the records yours truly did get a jolt.
What is jolting about Edward F. Hampton filing with the Stark County Board of Elections (BOE) to run as a "non-party" council candidate in Massillon's fourth ward?
How about this for an answer?
On February 1st she filed her petitions to run for Ward 4 councilperson with the BOE.
What is this - two Hamptons living at the same address filing to run for the same office all about?
The SCPR tracked Quenessa down at Monday's (May 6th) council meeting and among other things asked her about the Edward Hampton filing.
She was so closed mouth about it that she would only say that if elected Edward would do a fine job for the residents of Ward 4.
She declined to tell the SCPR whether or not she and Edward are spouses.
That information (that he and Quenessa are married and live together at 123 Shriver Avenue) came in a telephone conversation between The Report and Edward on Wednesday.
Of course, the SCPR being the political sleuth that yours truly is, is not quite buying any notion that an apparent Hampton v. Hampton (husband versus wife) match-up is about political differences between the two.
Edward's explanation to The Report is that he will make a better councilperson than his wife is hardly the stuff of irreconcilable political differences that would promote him to run against her.
The SCPR sees Edward "waiting in the wings" as indicative of some political strategizing going on.
Quenessa did hint (the SCPR's inference) in our conversation that perhaps Edward's move might have something to do with the fact that she currently is a member of the National Guard. But she would not go into any detail.
Edward told yours truly that there was no strategizing going on and that his filing a petition of May 1st was not promoted by any dealing with or consultation with Stark County or Massillon Democratic Party officials.
When the SCPR first got wind of the seemingly competitive husband/wife filing, an email was sent to Stark Dems chairman Randy Gonzalez, to wit:
On Tue, May 7, 2013 at 8:46 AM, Martin Olson <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Qu[e]nessa Hampton, as you undoubtedly know, will become the Democratic Party nominee for Massillon City Council's Ward 4 seat today inasmuch as she is running unopposed.
Yet on May 4th [actually, it was May 1] of this year an Edward F. Hampton listed at the same address as Quinessa filed a "non-party petition to run for the Ward 4 seat which Qunessa was appointed to fill a vacancy caused by Tony Townsend's selection as council president (a vacancy caused by Glenn Gamber's late 2012 resignation) by the four (4) members of the Massillon Ward 4 Democratic Central Committee precinct members at Stark County Democratic Party headquarters on Thursday, February 21st, under your supervision,
Why would Edward F. Hampton of 123 Shriver Ave SE, Massillon be filing as a non-party candidate against Quinessa N. Hampton of 123 Shriver Ave SE, Massillon and, of course, the Republican candidate (Triner) in November's general election?
It appears that perhaps the Stark County Democratic Party through presently unidentified to the SCPR persons (in terms of political advice being given) seemingly in coordination with Edward and Qu[e]nessa may be doing some "political" hedging with respect to the Ward 4 seat.
As party chairman, your response; your explanation?
Stark County Political Report
Today was the first I heard of this I have no idea what the issue is/was. Ms. Hampton was duly elected by the precinct pe[r]sons of the 4th ward to fill the vacancy. Where it goes from there is up to the electors of the 4th ward in Massillon.A well placed Massillon political figure has told the SCPR that he understands that there might be a problem with Quenessa being in the National Guard and being a political party connected officeholder as she presently is.
The Report's source further says that Quenessa may be permitted by the military to fill out her appointment (which runs through December 31, 2013) but not actually run for election in November.
Yours truly has turned to the Internet for information on what a member of the military may or may not do in terms of holding political office (LINK, LINK re: National Guard).
Seemingly, not very much.
However, there is this language (LINK):
When circumstances warrant, the Secretary concerned or the Secretary's designee may permit a member covered by the prohibition against holding public office, above, to remain or become a nominee or a candidate for civil office. What that means is that if a Congressman, retired from the military were recalled to active duty for more than 270 days, the Secretary of the service could allow them to retain their public office (or, even become a candidate for re-election).Could it be that the Hamptons are working with the military to get special permission for Quenessa to be allowed to stand for election in November?
If such is the case and permission materializes, then presumably Edward withdraws as a candidate.
If such is the case and permission does not materialize, then presumably Quenessa withdraws and then the "non-party" Edward advances to run against Republican Jim Triner in November.
But could there be a problem if Edward is pressed into service?
The SCPR has checked the latest BOE registration data from the Ohio secretary of state website and sees that Edward is listed as a Democrat.
So the question is whether or not someone will object to Edward running as a non-party candidate?
The SCPR has been told that a Board of Elections member is suggesting that anyone running as a non-party candidate who currently is listed in BOE voter registration records as being of one political party or the other may not be approved by the board to run in the November 5 election as a non-party candidate.
If it turns out that Quenessa cannot run, and there is a successful challenge to Edward running as a non-party candidate, does this mean that the Republicans gain a seat that one would expect to be a Democratic seat?
If such is a real question, wouldn't it stand to reason that someone in the Massillon Democratic political hierarchy is very much involved in helping to construct a scenario that the seat does not fall into the hands of the Republicans?
Does the unfolding of the Hampton situation - if it eventuates into a "nobody but Triner" running - suggest a change in the outlook for the post-November election Massillon City Council line up?
A Ward 4 race with only Triner running would be a political coup for the Massillon GOP.
By the SCPR Party Index Calculation (PIC), the Democrats are at 60% in Ward 4.