There is a saying in politics: "Early money is like yeast."
The extract from Harold's recently filed pre-primary finance report shows that he, going into today's primary, has raised $33,860.00.
And that is no easy task for someone running for county office.
As we all know, the yeast raises the dough to be even more dough.
And it appears that Republican Stark County auditor Alan Harold has learned his political lessons and is not about to lose his grip on being Stark County auditor.
By comparison, his opponent come this November, Canton City Schools chief financial officer Jeff Gruber (a Democrat, of course), has raised only $2,620.00.
Jeff Gruber was hired as Canton City Schools' (CCS) chief fiscal officer in May, 2009 after having been the treasurer of R.G. Drage Career Technical Center for the two years preceeding his CCS hire. And before the Drage stint, he had worked in the State of Ohio auditor's office for seven years.
Politically, it appears to the SCPR that Gruber is a novice and likely in for the political lesson of his life in his November match up with incumbent Alan Harold.
His principal political sponsors appear to be former Stark County commissioner and former long time Canton Municipal Court clerk of courts Tom Harmon and his wife Carlene (a former Nimishillen Township fiscal officer), both Democrats.
The early fund raising disparity is a sign that the Gruber/Harold square off is likely to result on a lopsided general election victory for Harold.
The Stark County Political Report first ran into Alan Harold at former Democratic Congressman John Boccieri's campaign event (his opponent was Kirk Schuring [then a state senator]) at the Sunoco gasoline station located on West Tuscarawas back on June 27, 2008.
Harold was across the street (on the south side of Tuscarawas) with a bunch of Republican activists screaming (sound familiar) "Drill Baby Drill!"
At the time gasoline prices were skyrocketing and the Republicans were trying to make Boccieri into some kind of pro-environmentalist who was not interested in tapping into America's oil reserves.
From a November, 2012 SCPR blog:
In 2008, Harold was all set to run against then sitting Treasurer Gary Zeigler when at the last moment - sources tell the SCPR - Harold's employer at the time (Huntington Bank) told Harold that if the ran against Zeigler he would be fired.In hindsight, it was a good thing that he did not run against Zeigler because there is no doubt to the SCPR that he would have lost "big time" to Zeigler in November, 2008.
Harold did have another "political" bump in the road when he ran for and lost his bid for a seat on the Stark County Education Service Center board (note: The Report's spouse is a member of that board).
But then what local civic activist Craig T. Conley tabbed as being "Zeiglergate" happened.
From a recent blog:
He [Harold] ousted Democrat Kim Perez in November, 2010 probably as a consequence of Perez being perceived by the Stark County voting public has having been "politically" too close to former Stark County treasurer Gary D. Zeigler who The Report thinks the public blames him for not having had administrative practices, procedures, polices and secure facilities in place so as to have prevented his former chief deputy treasurer Vince Frustaci from having stolen perhaps as much as upwards of $3 million in Stark County taxpayer money.So now in 2014 Harold has to run in "normal" political times.
How, the SCPR asks, is he likely to do?
As stated above, he is being a prudent politician and raising a ton of money and is generally perceived across Stark County as doing a excellent job as Stark County auditor.
Taking those qualities and combining them with running against political novice Gruber, The Report is projecting now (the date of the "primary" election) that Harold will make quick work of the Canton City Schools' chief operating officer in the upcoming general election.
The SCPR thinks Harold has positioned himself to be the successor (in the sense of being a member of a younger generation) to Stark County current "most popular Republican" (countywide); namely, Janet Weir Creighton.
Creighton is not done.
She is running for reelection (uncontested) for Stark County commissioner. She, fellow Republican Richard Regula and Democrat Thomas Bernabei have done such a bang up job as commissioners restoring trust in county government that one Stark County political figure and official said to the SCPR yesterday that this board of commissioners is likely the best that Stark County has ever had.
The point is that if Alan Harold is eventually to fill the shoes of Janet Creighton when she retires from public life, he has a ways to go to be able to do so.
His largest task in that regard is "self-management."
He does have a tendency to "go off the reservation" in his zeal to be "the perfect" public official and his sometimes "over-the-top" Republicanism.
But he is relatively young.
The Report thinks he has a chance to become "the Republican go-to-guy" as he accumulates experience and wisdom.
Do not look for Harold to be Stark County auditor long.
As he gains stature, pressure will be brought to bear on him to carry the Republican banner for higher office either at the state or national level.
He certainly has to be impressing Stark County Republican pols in his fundraising prowess.
Just take a minute to scan this impressive list of about 160 donors (some repeats) in his accumulating his nearly $34,000 in pre-primary contributions: