Updated: 09:45 a.m.
Down-ticket statewide Democrats are getting worried that the political butt-kicking that Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ed Fitzgerald is about to take on November 4th at the hand of incumbent Republican Governor John Kasich is going to do-in their candidacies.
Recent polls show Kasich with as much as a 12 percent lead.
Of the statewide Democratic candidates, only Connie Pillich seems to the SCPR to have much of a chance of winning.
And, that, it appears to the SCPR, is due to series of bad press phenomena suggesting Ohio treasurer Josh Mandel is doing a rather superlative job of politically self-destructing.
Registered Democrats are prone to vote in substantially lesser number than their Republican counterparts in non-presidential and off-year (i.e. odd numbered year) elections.
The SCPR is predicting on this August 15, 2014 that Kasich will win with a 60% to 40% spread, if not greater.
Here is what Democratic secretary of state candidate Nina Turner had this to say to the Cleveland Plain Dealer recently:
The FitzGerald effect
Turner said problems plaguing Democratic gubernatorial nominee Ed FitzGerald in the news recently has had an effect on her campaign. Northeast Ohio Media Group previously reported FitzGerald's early morning incident with a woman who was not his wife in 2012 and the 10 years he went without a driver's license. (color text emphasis added by the SCPR)
Channeling Winston Churchill, Turner said, "When you're going through hell, you keep on going and that's pretty much what we are doing."
"He has apologized," Turner said.
"People are human. People have failings. It's unfortunate people want to keep piling on people's failings."
Turner said FitzGerald's "challenges" don't change the environment in Ohio, and that people still have reasons to vote for Democrats.
Reference: Nina Turner says secretary of state should provide more help to new businesses: 4 takeaways by Jackie Borchardt, Northeast Ohio Media Group on August 13, 2014 at 4:32 PM, updated August 13, 2014 at 6:20 PM"THE FITZGERALD EFFECT" IN STARK CO.
While the SCPR does not think he will take a "butt-kicking," Stark County Democratic Party Central Committee sheriff appointee George T. Maier is likely to take a political hit because of "the Fitzgerald effect.
The more that Kasich expands his polling leads (and thereby fuels a public perception that "the election is over"); the more rank and file Democrats will get discouraged, the more likely it is that their voting numbers will go down which makes it more likely that down-ticket Democrats, including at the county level, will become victims.
Nevertheless, the Dordea/Maier contest is likely to be relatively close.
The SCPR sees Dordea winning by about a 53% to 47% margin. It could be as much as 55/45 or as little as 51/49.
The Report has a source saying that the Democrats have taken a poll on the Dordea/Maier race and that it came back with Dordea up 12 percentage points. The SCPR is skeptical first, that there is that wide of a margin between Dordea and Maier, and second, that if the Democrats had such a poll done that they would share it with anyone who might leak it.
Dordea's margin may be dependent on him being at the side of Kasich each and every time he appears in Stark County between now and November 4th. The Hartville police chief needs to get himself in media photographs arm-in-arm with Kasich. Moreover, getting the governor to say how important that it is that Dordea be elected Stark County sheriff would be political "frosting on the cake."
The Chryssa Hartnett (a Democrat) versus Curtis Werren Stark County of Common Pleas judicial race is likely to be even closer than the Dordea/Maier match up.
If Hartnett is to pull off a victory in the face of the expected Kasich landslide, she will have to emphasize that she has been "a top-gun" prosecutor and one way or another emphasize to the public that Werren is a political appointee whose legal experience pales in comparison to her own.
Registered Democrats (including the Maier loyalists) will vote for Hartnett. Registered Republicans will vote for Werren. It will be the non-party-registereds who decide this election if Hartnett is to win.
One politically active Stark County Republican tells the the SCPR that he figures that Hartnett will attract the votes of Republican women who have the advancement of women at the top of their political criteria list.
It is sort tricky for a judicial office candidate to emphasize his party affiliation. But that he is a Republican in this election year advantages Werren. We shall see how creative the Werren campaign can be in getting the message out that John Kasich is the one who put him on the bench in the first place.
If Hartnett runs "the perfect campaign," she wins 51% to 49%. But if she does not, then Werren could well win by a comfortable margin.
Had Lou Darrow been the Dems' choice back on February 5, 2013 to replace November 5, 2102 sheriff-elect Mike McDonald (who could not take office on January 7th because of an illness which cost him his life in February), the Dems' would not even have "a fightin' chance" this November.
Darrow is all policeman and not a politician in any sense of the word.
And that's the way it should be.
But being completely non-political does not usually get people elected to political office.
Had Lou Darrow been more of a politician (let's say with the William J. Healy, II wing of the Stark County Democratic Party), he would have been the February 5th appointee.
But, to repeat, he isn't political and it appears that "it was only a matter of time" until he left the sheriff's department, now under the control Maier. Darrow's departure as of August 1st as a retiree was a function of the aforesaid "it being a matter of time."
Maier not only has the FitzGerald problem but he also has a significant part of the Stark County Democratic Party (e.g. Prosecutor John Ferrero, former Sheriff Tim Swanson) that will make his bid to become the "elected" sheriff and uphill climb.
Of course, Darrow likely continues to be one of Maier detractors. But he should be of no worry to the Maiers (a reference to George and his well-heeled "politico" brother Johnnie A. Maier, Jr; a former Stark Dems' chairman) inasmuch as he does not have a political side to him.
But Ferrero and Swanson are significant and they could turn out to be decisive factors should George lose in a nail-biter type of election.
It appears to the SCPR that Swanson's civil liability lawsuit against Maier for usurping the office of Stark County sheriff (according to the Ohio Supreme Court in its November 6, 2013 quo warranto decision) will be decided within 30 days of November 4th.
Headlines of a $90,000 or so judgment against Maier immediately before the election would not be a positive development for him.
Moreover, The Report is hearing that "the honeymoon period" between Maier and the troops (especially the top echelon) at 4500 Atlantic Boulevard is evaporating.
The initial "this Maier guy" is a vast improvement over the "gone fishin" Swanson has turned out to be a bittersweet thing.
The hope at the sheriff's compound that things - in an overall sense - have improved with the appointment of Maier, seems to be turning South.
The Report hears that there is growing dissatisfaction with Maier's imperial, swashbuckling style and that rumblings of disaffection within the sheriff's digs are growing louder and more rampant by the day.
In addition to Darrow leaving, The Report hears that another top sheriff's department official will be retiring reportedly because of the "in-your-face-ways" of Maier.
It appears to the SCPR that Maier is being the quintessential politician in his first try for elective public office.
To some Stark Countians, Maier's saturation in "all things political" will be more than a little disconcerting.
After all, he is Stark County's chief law enforcement officer.
Seemingly, he never wears civilian clothes.
On-duty, off-duty, George T. Maier "plays the role" of being the consummate cop. How convenient this is when he drops in on a political event in full sheriff's dress, no?
Though, as Stark's appointed sheriff, the department he heads up does not police the City of Canton, Perry Township and North Canton, where does he hold his "Coffee With A Cop" session? You've got it! Canton, Perry Township and North Canton. Hmm?
While the Coffee With A Cop program did show up in Plain Township on Wednesday which contracts with the sheriff's department for policing services, the program has yet to show up in an area of the sheriff's jurisdiction in which there is no extra incentive (i.e. the $1.5 million or so contract with Plain Township) or which holds much political prospect for Maier's candidacy.
While "the official line" on the sheriff's office taxpayer support website is that the Coffee With A Cop was "a national initiative adopted by the Stark County Sheriff’s Office," the more discerning among Stark Countians might think their was a political dimension to the adoption (announced in April of this year, right before the primary election in early May).
It could be true that Maier's motive was civic in nature; however, the timing is such that it falls into the category of "who is going to believe" that?
Needless to say, George T. Maier is quite the opposite of Lou Darrow.
With Maier, one has to wonder whether he ever does anything without an eye being on the politics of the matter.
Should he lose on November 4th, it certainly will be a crushing blow to his ego.
And, if he does, he will have a ready built excuse.
It was "the FitzGerald effect" bleeding down to the county level, no?
And you know what?
The SCPR thinks it will not be an excuse but the political reality that 2014 was not a good years for statewide and county level Democrats!