To the Stark County Political Report, the upcoming general election between Republican incumbent Christina Hagan (Marlboro Township) and Democratic candidate Debbie Cain (Lake Township) has from the get go been a slam dunk for Hagan.
But, on second thought, maybe not?
The Report was asked by a top Stark County Republican elected official what the SCPR's take on the race is?
On reflection, the mere asking of the question is a clear indication that - at the very least, the Stark County GOP - is not so sure Hagan is going to breeze through on November 4th.
After re-evaluation, The Report stands by the SCPR blog of January 2, 2014.
Notwithstanding apparent Republican concerns, the SCPR still sees Hagan as a cinch to win in November.
The Report hastens to add that Christina Hagan being part of the Stark County delegation to the Ohio General Assembly, Stark County is the worse off because of it.
And to be non-partisan about it, the same needs to be said for Democrat Stephen Slesnick.
It is not enough that Slesnick is a highly ineffective legislator (owing more to his lackluster legislative abilities than to his being part of a superminority Democratic Ohio House caucus), he had to embarrass himself and Stark Countians in being cited by the State Highway Patrol on February 13th for DUI.
It only took local mainstream media about 90 days to ferret this news out. And, of course, Slesnick did not send them a press release about the occurrence when it happened.
So why would anybody connected with the Stark County Republican Party wonder at all about whether or not Hagan is going to reelected?
Probably because in looking at the contributor base in Cain's campaign, it is clear that she is "the candidate" that the Stark/Ohio Dems are pushing for in this election cycle and the hope that Cain with:
- some campaign money,
- some big Dem names behind her, and
- the fact she is a member of the State Board of Education (having been its president during the Democratic Strickland administration years),
- being an undistinguished member of the Ohio House for over four years now, and
- being in lock-step with the Tea Party/religious right crowd
While Cain as of the pre-primary campaign finance reports has more money that Hagan, don't look for that to last long.
(SCPR Note: Campaign finance data in this blog was extracted from campaign finance reports located on the Ohio secretary of state's website)
Compared to the Hagan reports:
To The Report, that the Dems think they can unseat Hagan with Cain in 2014 is evidence that they are on a nomadic trip across a political desert and are experiencing a mirage.
They may think they see some sort of political oasis off in the distance, but as they approach "the spot" of their attention they figure out there is nothing there but more desert.
Recently, Canton's treasurer Kim Perez appeared at Canton City Council and spouted off about how local governments are getting screwed by the Ohio General Assembly. And, the SCPR agrees they are.
The Report laughs at Perez because it appears that his spouting off is nothing but political rhetoric. Look at his support of Democratic candidates for state office going back to 2010 (when Kasich was elected).
And where is his support for Debbie Cain?
For a man of Perez's mouth, there is very little evidence that "he puts his money where his mouth is," no?
And The Report has heard Stark County Dems chairman Randy Gonzalez (a Cain contributor) do the same thing as Perez, repeatedly.
But guess who Gonzalez got to run against 48th Ohio House/Senate (the 29th, formerly) J. Kirk Schuring?
How about nobody!
Of course there is nothing wrong with the likes of Gonzalez (Jackson Township fiscal officer) getting along with Schuring (Republican - Jackson Township) even though they are of different political persuasions, but the SCRP's take is that Gonzalez likes Schuring in that Schuring has helped him get legislation passed (e.g. SCOG matters and funding sources for 9-1-1 centralized dispatch) and it seems to the SCPR he only puts a lukewarm, at best, effort into getting a viable a candidate to run under the Democratic Party label against Schuring and Republican state Senator Scot Oelslager as well.
It is one thing for a state legislator to do a few good things for his constituency and be appreciated for the production, but is quite another to roll over for him when it comes to provide stiff opposition to him come election time.
The SCPR has always said that Kirk Schuring does not depart from the Ohio House Republican Caucus position (usually bad for the hoi pollio) on "the really big issues" that affect all Ohioans and therefore on balance (the bad outweighing the good) is deserving of a vigorous test of whether or not he should be reelected.
All of which makes the SCPR wonder whether or not Gonzalez (a Democrat in a sea of mostly Republican voters) is looking out more for his own political hide at the sacrifice of local government services ( due to inadequate state funding) to Stark Countians and, indeed, all Ohioans in not seeing to it that Schuring is meaningfully challenged.
So Perez can grandstand all he wants about the shafting that the Republicans are giving local governments, but with the likes of his Stark County Democratic chairman not providing a candidate, let alone a viable candidate, against a member of the "screw you, local governments" crowd; who is going to take Perez's rant seriously?
The Report doesn't know why Natkin withdrew but suspects that she figured out that she clearly was going to be a political sacrificial lamb.
Something that Debbie Cain has not figured out.
If this was a presidential year election (about the only time Democrats vote in significant numbers), there might be some basis of optimism that someone like Debbie Cain can be elected.
She is clearly the substantive superior to Christina Hagan.
But 2014 is not a presidential election year and Republican governor John Kasich is going to take Democratic challenger Ed Fitzgerald to the cleaners on November 4th and any thought of a Cain upset of Hagan will perish in flood that is going to engulf down ticket Democrats.
It is prudent that Stark Republicans should worry about Hagan because she is in way over her head as a legislator.
To repeat, so is Democrat Stephen Slesnick.
Stark GOP chairman Jeff Matthews has done a "virtual" Gonzalez (reference: the 48th and Schuring) with regard to Slesnick in that their is only a write-in Republican running against him.
However, Matthews has not been heard to sign the praises of Slesnick as the SCPR has heard Gonzalez do of Schuring.
Who would want to be the candidate of a Party chaired by Randy Gonzalez?
A bit of SCPR political advice for Ms. Cain.
Figure this year's race as "a dry run" for 2016. Only in presidential years does a Democrat have a chance to win in the gerrymandered 50th.
In a few words, Christina Hagan and the Republicans "have nothing to worry about" for election year 2014!