Friday, October 3, 2014





Recent Ohio political news indicates that the Democrats have given up on the November 4th election.

It is looking more and more like Republican John Kasich's margin of victory will challenge George Voinovich's resounding defeat of Democrat Rob Burch back in 1994.

Two days ago, the SCPR got this email (extract):


Democrats are just two points away from a complete wipeout.

That's what a Quinnipiac pollster announced today. But he also said something else -- that nearly half of Ohioans don't know enough about what's at stake in this election and that a quarter of the people supporting the current governor are likely to change their minds.

Melissa Klide Hedden
Finance Chair
And a few days ago, this from the Cleveland Plain Dealer "online" edition:

One might think that these headlines spells doom for the candidacy of Stark County Democratic Party appointed sheriff George T. Maier.

But not necessarily.

George's brother Johnnie A. Maier, Jr survived the 1994 candidacy of Burch (losing 72% to 24% to Republican Voinovich) and, in fact, pretty much reversed the percentages (66% to 34% [rounded off] in his reelection bid to the Ohio House of Representatives.

Twenty years later, is Stark County political history about to repeat itself?

Not likely, because a number of things have changed.

First, the 56th Ohio House District is not the equivalent of Stark County as a whole.  Junior had the Democratic stronghold of Massillon in his district.

While the SCPR thinks that Stark County leans Democratic (especially in presidential years); the county is pretty evenly divided in terms of the chances of a Republican or a Democrat being elected.

Second, the Maier name in terms of political oomph, even is Massillon, is not what it used to be when Johnnie got the family enmeshed in local politics.

At one time, the SCPR thought Johnnie was an up and coming, democratic-republican system enhancing public official.

But no more.

Beginning in 2002, yours truly has gotten an "up close and personal look" at Johnnie and in seeing all of his political warts, The Report now sees him and his sidekick Stark County Dems' political director Shane Jackson as being Stark's foremost political bullies.

And it seems that more and more Stark Countians are taking on the SCPR's view of this former chairman of the Stark County Democratic Party.

From what The Report has experienced of George since he became the Stark County Democratic Party appointee as sheriff, it appears that he is also a "you can agree with me or you can be wrong" sort of guy.

He exudes arrogance.

Exactly what one wants in a law enforcement officer, no?

While The Report does not think George, in his race for sheriff against Republican Larry Dordea, can match Johnnie's 1994 feat; he just might show like - "a Salmon swimming up stream against a rushing current" in the species' annual trek to the spawning grounds - that he can withstand the Ed FitzGerald generated political Tsunami that is about to engulf Ohio and Stark County.

A Maier survival seems plausible in light of what the SCPR views as a Dordea "patty cakes" campaign approach and the apparent unwillingness of a key Stark County Republican (Creighton) to go "all out for Larry."

Maier received a boost on Wednesday from Stark County Commissioner Thomas Bernabei who, in a press conference (question posed by an Akron Beacon Journal reporter) at the end of the regular weekly meeting of the commissioners, endorsed George.

Richard Regula (a Republican, and son of former long time 16th District Congressman Ralph Regula, now retired) repeated his "I am going to be neutral" stance which the SCPR blogged on recently.

The Report does not believe him, given his connections to what the SCPR calls "The Maier Loyalty Club."

Commissioner Janet Creighton, Stark County's most influential and powerful Republican politician came off very disloyal to fellow Republican Dordea in her statement that she is for herself (Ha! Ha! Ha! - she's running unopposed) and for Republican gubernatorial candidate John Kasich.

She very obviously refused the opportunity to endorse Dordea.

Creighton is heading up Kasich's reelection effort in a northeast Ohio multi-county area (including Stark County).

She did sign his petition in January of this year when he filed to run for sheriff.

The SCPR's take is that with political friends like Janet Creighton, who needs political enemies, which, of course, Dordea has in spades with the Maier Loyalty Club who are "all out" for Maier.

One thing that the Dordea campaign needs to put him over the top next month is to be embraced in Stark County by Kasich.

Crieghton is in a position to facilitate such a connection, but the vibes that The Report is getting is that such is not currently on the table.

Given the shellacking that Kasich is going to visit on FitzGerald, Dordea certainly would benefit from videos, billboards, campaign literature and the like showing him arm-in-arm with the governor with a statement from the lips of Ohio's chief executive saying: "Vote for me and my friend Larry Dordea."

Another problem for Dordea is a surfacing of discontent within the upper level Stark County Republicans with campaign chairman Alex Zumbar who is the Stark County treasurer.

He is described by a top notch Republican as being extremely conservative in what he is willing to counsel Dordea to do in tactics and campaign strategy.

Some Republicans want Dordea to go after Maier on character issues.

In the view of the SCPR, there is plenty to go after.

Off the top of the head, there are three opportunities for Dordea to use to "seal the deal" with Stark County voters; namely:
  • his "alleged" derogatory treatment of state highway patrolmen as the assistant director of Public safety,
  • claims of "over-the-treatment" of Lawrence Township trustee Michael Stevens while he served as a streets department supervisor in the Cicchnelli adminstration, and
  • what number of Stark Countians think to be his politicizing of the Stark County sheriff's department.

In August, 2008 the Columbus Dispatch published an article about allegations that Maier had abused Ohio state highway patrolman, to wit:

Some troopers and officers whom Maier once commanded as a captain accused him of threats, intimidation, favoritism and creating a hostile workplace.

When state troopers leveled charges of misconduct against the assistant director of the Ohio Department of Public Safety, the top boss and top cop began butting heads.

Col. Richard Collins, superintendent of the State Highway Patrol, strongly urged that Ohio's inspector general be brought in to investigate Assistant Public Safety Director George Maier.

However, Public Safety Director Henry Guzman declined to dig into the charges against his No. 2, ruling that there were no grounds to justify either an in-house or outside investigation of Maier.

The article goes on to describe the allegations:

Some troopers and officers whom Maier once commanded as a captain accused him of threats, intimidation, favoritism and creating a hostile workplace.

The Dispatch tried to interview Maier, but he refused.

As far as the SCPR knows, Maier has never told his side of the story.

As a candidate to Stark County's "top cop" position, The Report thinks is obligated to.

Obviously, he is not going to step forward on his own.

Exactly what is the Dordea campaign doing to "smoke Maier out" on this issue at joint appearances and by having campaign supporters question him in campaign appearances?

Moreover, why aren't the "unanswered questions" being trumpeted in campaign literature and on the social media?

You can bet that tables were turned, Maier supporters would be all over Dordea.


Back in 2012, before George T. Maier was a candidate for sheriff, the SCPR did a blog on allegations of mistreatment by Maier made by Lawrence Township trustee Mike Stevens in his capacity as a streets department employee of Massillon city government.

Here is a summary of Stevens account:

Again, the SCPR thinks that Maier owes it to Stark County voters to give his account.

But he won't.

If any part of the state highway patrol allegations and the Stevens' allegations are true, it certainly bears on the question to be decided by Stark Countians on November 4th:  Is George T. Maier suited to be elected Stark County sheriff?

Dordea appears to be taking the "high road" and that is commendable.  But it might well mean  that he setting himself up to lose once again in his quest to become Stark County sheriff.


The SCPR thinks so.

The Report blogged on this issue on Wednesday.

This campaign should be Larry Dordea's to lose in light of the favorable political environment for Republicans and the political baggage that George T. Maier carries.

The Report thinks it is highly "chancy" for the Dordea campaign to primarily be relying on 2014 being a banner year for Republicans.

Such appears to be the case.

If it is and folks like Creighton do not pick up the pace, Dordea and Zumbar and the Stark County Republican Party may well wake up on November 5, 2014 to this SCPR headline:


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