Monday, May 6, 2013



A huge surprise coming out of the Massillon city elections of 2011 was the attainment by Massillon Republicans of a majority of Massillon City Council's 10 (counting the normally non voting council president) seats.

The current make up?

Seemingly, it is a tie:  5 to 5.  But not really.

The president of council only votes when the remaining nine councilpersons are tied, which, of course, means for such to occur a council person or three would have to be absent or abstain from the voting on a particular matter.

Hence the Republicans had a 5 to 4 marjority on council beginning with the new session of council on January 1, 2012.

Contrasting that with the 2010-2011 line up, quite a contrast, no?  Eight (8) Democrats, one (1) Republican.

And the SCPR is told that the Republicans is told that the turnaround from the Dems to the GOP was done without any meaningful help from Chairman Jeff Matthews and the Stark County Republican Party.

The question now going into the 2013 election cycle (for the 2014-2015 council make up) is:  whether or not Massillon City Council will remain in the control of the Republicans?

The SCPR thinks not.

Although in political predisposition Wards 1, 2 and 3 are said to be Republican in orientation, The Report thinks that the GOP has a difficult time holding on Ward 1 and it is highly likely that Democrat Andrea Scassa will continue to represent Ward 3 (perhaps, going way back, the most Republican ward in the entire city).  Only if someone files as a non-partisan or independent candidate by the filing deadline in August, will Scassa face any opposition whatsoever.  The SCPR does not look for that to happen.

The Report believes that former councilman (Democrat, at-large) Mike Loudiana (also, former Cicchinelli service/safety director) will end up as Ward 1 councilman.

Current GOP Councilwoman Sarita Cunningham has done nothing in the view of yours truly to distinguish herself.  The only question about Loudiana is whether or not Loudiana's health will hold up in what is likely to be a highly contested race.

In The Report's estimate Republican Nancy Halter survives in the 2nd ward.  Yours truly thinks she is the real leader of the Massillon GOP contingent on council due to her prior service on council in the late 1990s and because of her demonstrated legislative leadership on council during her current term.

The second ward is the one in which Frank Cicchinelli got his start in some three decades or so ago.

Halter likely will face a stiff test in November from the victor of Tuesday's Democratic Primary between Dave Irwin:
  • a employee of the Stark Co. Recorder's office
  • run by Rick Campbell, who is married to Shane Jackson's sister Lisa,
    • Shane is:
      • a staunch Johnnie A. Maier, Jr man; 
      • political director of the Stark County Democratic Party,
      • he's Maier chief deputy clerk of courts] 
    • Lisa Jackson Campbell
      • also happens to be Plain Township administrator, and
      • he daughter of former Democratic Stark County commissioner Gayle Jackson,
    • Gayle Jackson
      • was an appointee of former Democratic governor Ted Strickland to a regional Ohio Lottery post probably as a consequence of a lobbying effort of Johnnie A. Maier, Jr (a former Stark County Democratic Party chairman and currently Massillon's clerk of courts)

    • and Bobby Martin who is close to Loudiana and therefore likely supportive of former mayor Frank Cicchinelli.
    In an overall sense, while the contests may seem to be a Republican versus Democrat scenario, the real battle is between:
    • the forces of former mayor Frank Cicchinelli (defeated by the captive Johnnie A. Maier, Jr protege Kathy Catazaro-Perry in the 2011 Democratic Primary)
    • and the Maier forces
    • and to, a lesser extent those loyal to Massillonian (former Massillon law director and former Stark County Democratic Party chairman) John D. Ferrero, Jr.
    Even with the Republicans in control of council, they have nobody to rally behind in terms of Massillon's executive function.

    The GOP's candidate (Lee Brunckhart) against Catazaro-Perry in November, 2011 proved to be a political sacrificial lamb.

    In the fourth ward, Councilwoman Hampton is in the same situation as Andrea Scassa.  Only if a non-partisan or independent files, will she have any opposition.  Ward 4 is a base Democratic area of Massillon.

    However, the Republicans have convinced Republican Jim Triner to take the Democrats on in Ward 4.  Although The Report is told that he had to be nudged into do so.

    By all political rights Wards 5 and 6 should be served by Democrats.

    However, of late, Republicans have surfaced as the elected representatives.

    In Ward 5 (which folks say is Massillon's most Democratic ward), Donnie Peters, Jr., who many think is a RINO (Republican In Name Only) is currently councilman. However, he is not running for reelection.

    This ward presents an opportunity for the Democrats to gain another seat on Massillon City Council.

    The Democratic candidates are:

    This ward will be a test of political strength between the Maier and Ferrero forces.

    Ault is politically married to Johnnie A. Maier, Jr., to wit:

    Megan Starrett has to be an ally of John Dee Ferrero, Jr inasmuch as she is a Stark County prosecutor.

    She did not file a campaign finance report for the primary, but if she survives the primary, expect the Ferrero branch of the Massillon Democratic Party to open the wallets big time for her in the general election.

    Terry Geragherty appears to be unaligned and therefore is unlikely to surface in Massillon Democratic politics as the party's nominee.

    This race will be a barometer of the influence that Maier and Ferrero have in Massillon ward politics especially since the 5th is the heart of sole of Democratic politics in Tigerland.

    It does not appear that either Ault or Starrett wil have an easy time of it in November's general election.

    Republican Theresa Mattox (a sister of Repository reporter Todd Porter) is a formidable political force in Massillon politics.  The SCPR is told by a politically astute Massillon elected official that she is likely responsible for the passage of a Massillon school levy.

    In Ward 6 November general election, it is likely to be a head-to-head between Democrat Linda Litman and Republican incumbent councilman Ed Lewis, IV.

    Litman appears to be an organized labor candidate for council.  And, if elected, she likely would be aCatzaro-Perry supporter given the heavy union support she received in her 2011 Democratic Primary election victory over Frank Cicchinelli.

    Unless Republican Ed Lewis, IV makes a monumental goof between now and the general election, he should retain his place on counci as the sixth ward representative.

    While the SCPR thinks that Councilwoman Nancy Halter is the "real" leader of the Republicans on council, Ed Lewis appears to be their most articulate spokesperson and from looking at who is contributing to his campaign seems to be "a star on the horizon" in terms of potential future as a Stark County-based GOP standard bearer.

    Luminary contributors include:
    • Jane Timken, vice-chairman of the Stark GOP and co-chair of the Romney presidential effort in Stark County,
    • Stark County Commissioner Janet Weir Creighton,
    • Stark County Auditor Alan Harold,
    • Plain Township trustee Scott Halls,
    • Sarah M Brown (a former Alliance councilwoman) who is the wife of retired judge Charles Brown and was once chairman of the Stark County Republican Party,
    (Pre-primary report as reconstructed by the SCPR in a spreadsheet format):

    All that remains in the SCPR analysis of the ramifications of Tuesday's Massillon City Council election are the at-large seats.

    There are only three candidates (barring someone filing as non-partisan/independent):
    • Paul Manson, a long time Democrat on council,
    • Milan Chovan, a Republican vying for a second term, and
    • Michelle Del Rio-Keller, a Democrat who is a member of the Masllion Parks and Recreation Board (appointed by Mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry) and who is said to lunch with the mayor weekly and therefore has to be taken as and out-and-out Catazaro-Perry supporter.
    The SCPR thinks that the likely Republican victors, from a May 6, 2013 vantage point are Halter, Lewis and Al Hennon (a former Massillon City Schools superintendent), the latter of which is running for the largely procedure-only (voting only in the case of tie votes on council) president of council.

    If such is the case, then the Republican control of council will have been short-lived.

    But the R &D thing is not the main thing.

    The main thing is whether or not the winning 2013 general election candidates are pro or anti Catazaro-Perry.

    From that perspective, little change is in the offing in the make up of Massillon City Council.

    The SCPR projection of how the 2013/14 Massillon City Council will shake out come January 1, 2014.

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