Sitting Stark County Commissioner Thomas Bernabei was clearly anguished yesterday that "the drop dead date" for filing his candidacy as an "independent" candidate for mayor of Canton came - as a matter of election law - one day before the Democratic/Republican Party primary election day.
It is apparent to The Stark County Political Report that Bernabei gave the go ahead after much agonizing.
The Report has learned that one circulator was collecting signatures as late as 10:00 p.m. on Sunday night.
But in the end Bernabei's filing yesterday may have the effect today of an explosive torpedo of obliterating the Mayor William J. Healy, II candidacy for a third term.
And some Cantonians are unabashedly salivating over the prospect of a Healy loss.
Until yesterday's "May surprise," the SCPR's best guess was that Healy would win a relatively close race against Canton city treasurer Kim Perez mainly because of his gigantic financial resource (about 4 to 1) advantage.
From Healy's perspective, it is likely he's thinking that Bernabei waited until the filing deadline of May 4th to do his political bombshelling in order to maximize the effect.
The SCPR does not buy that line of thinking.
The Report believes Commissioner Bernabei in his saying to the SCPR that he did not want what he may or may not do yesterday to have any effect whatsoever on today's election.
He simply had no choice. The law of Ohio set yesterday as the final filing date. And, The Report believes, there were many Cantonians who bought into this SCPR blog message of April 16th and communicated same to one Thomas Bernabei:
It seems that Bernabei was simply responding to the call for an alternative.
Accordingly, if Healy loses and if there is a general recognition that the Cinco de Mayo (more or less) surprise was the precipitating factor, it is the SCPR's take that such was not Bernabei's intention but rather unhappily for Mayor Healy "collateral damage" given the time constraints within which Bernabei had to act or forever hold his peace.
It will be interesting to see on Wednesday (the day that Bernabei says he will speak in more specificity to the media) this candidate's take on the effect of his politically stunning action of May 4th should Healy lose today.
And, of course, he will have to answer questions about his legal eligibility to run for mayor of Canton as an independent given his strong, strong historical ties to the Stark County Democratic Party including his until the past week being part of the Stark County Democratic Party Central Committee.
If that were not enough, there is a question about his residency. As a Hills and Dales resident until very recently, he will in the words of national political figure Sarah Palin (undoubtedly one of Bernabei's favorites) "a lot of explainin' to do."
The "explainin' to do" has to do with "will his vote today" qualify to be counted and, if so, whom did he vote for in the mayor's race today ?
If Healy wins, then its political "game on" and you can bet your bottom dollar that Healy will unleash six years of pent up fury at having had his ego battered while Bernabei was his service director/chief of staff (January, 2008 through January, 2009).
Moreover, Healy with his Ohio Democratic Party connection (Chairman David Pepper contributed to his campaign), winner or not, (perhaps in a joint effort with Perez; should he be the winner will surely roll out the legal fire power of the Ohio Dems to challenge Bernabei on multiple (i.e. his eligibility to run as an independent; his residence eligibility to run at all) fronts.
While Bernabei has not been public in his expressed disdain and disgust with the multiple Healy teflon-esque screwups over his nearly eight years as mayor, there is no doubt that tales of same have made their way back to the mayor and he has been biding his time to square things up.
Should he survive today, the time has arrived!
The rallying cry of the Healy campaign?
Since the inception (March 12, 2008) of The Stark County Political Report it has been "let the good times roll" insofar as there being politically delicious material for readers of The Report to feast on.
With this controversy and the Cicchinelli (also likely to be challenged on his eligibility to run as an independent because of long and strong ties to the Stark County Democratic Party) one, it appears that the rich content of Stark County Political Report blogs have no end in sight.