FEBRUARY 21, 2016
"IN HIS OWN WORDS"
Most people the SCPR talks to these days think that former Stark County commissioner "Pete" Ferguson will be the Stark County Democratic Party nominee coming out of the Party's March 15 primary election.
If one only counts name I.D. alone, Ferguson is likely the Dems' best chance to reclaim a commissioners seat lost when Tom Bernabei opted out of being a Democrat to run successfully as an "independent" against incumbent Democratic Canton mayor William J. Healy, II.
The Report has this sneaking suspicion that name I.D alone is not going to be enough in the November general election.
Slowly but surely Stark's Republicans are taking over county government elective offices which were not that many years ago (except for countywide judgeships) were 100% held by Democrats.
As so whomever emerges from the Republican side of the next month's primary election is going to wage an all-out campaign to keep the Republican trend going.
As a Canton based chiropractor who over some 45 years as seemingly treated every Stark Countian with some sort of muscular-skeletal problem including a number of Stark County public officials, Ferguson easily disposed of former Republican state representative John Hagan in 2008.
He may be a terrific chiropractor but as an elected Stark County commissioner The Report thinks he was pretty much a failure. He was pretty much a wallflower commissioner who made very few if any waves and therefore was immensely liked by nearly everybody. He did put some effort in to getting the U.S. Veterans Administration into placing a facility either at the old Massillon Doctors' Hospital and or North Canton's Arrowhead Country Club but both proposals failed to make it beyond "first base."
If the SCPR has its terms of office aligned properly, Ferguson cost the Democrats presence/control on the Board of Stark County Commissioners in not running for re-election in 2012. Former Republican commissioner Richard Regula jumped all over his failure to run and took the seat away from the Dems in defeating Canton city political icon Bill Smuckler.
One would think that dedicated Democrats would be outraged that Ferguson gave up the seat in the first place and now wants to do a comeback.
Ferguson as a candidate in the Dems' primary has been pretty much invisible apparently relying on a word-of-mouth campaign among Stark political opinion makers that he is the candidate of experience in the upcoming primary.
Another "name I.D." candidate is state Representative Stephen Slesnick.
Slesnick has held what has basically been "the Canton seat" in the Ohio House of Representatives.
The outline and demographics of the seat has varied somewhat since the days that William J. Healy, Mary Cirelli, William J. Healy, II held the seat, but it still qualifies as being "the Canton seat" with The Report even though it now includes the city of Massillon.
It could be that this demographically Democratic seat will become Republican because of the non-existent manner in which Slesnick has manned the seat over the last eight years.
Slesnick appears to been bitten by the "what else can I do" bug as a term limited out state representative and the only choice available has been to run for Stark County commissioner.
He is reportedly telling public in his few public appearances that "he is not done serving the public."
He as got to be kidding, no?
The Report's take is that Slesnick has been a less capable state representative than Mary Cirelli and his poor track record as a legislator could cost the Democrats "the Canton seat" in the lower chamber of the Ohio General Assembly.
And the SCPR thinks McMasters will give either Canton councilman Thomas West or Joyce Healy-Abrams (vying for the right to succeed Slesnick as the Democrat's candidate) stiff competition in November's general election.
Now that he is an "independent," how about the prospect of Canton mayor Thomas Bernabei coming out for McMasters?
After all, a case can be made that McMaster played a large role in saving Bernabei's (and, of course the other commissioner's) bacon in coming up with the financial resources to make Stark County financially viable.
Slesnick has done very little for Canton as the city has struggled in the face of draconian state funding cuts.
So with the Slesnick legislative "I'm in a minority and therefore I can do nothing to stop the carnage" legacy, there is no reason for the mayor of Canton to support a Democrat for state representative inasmuch as there is likely to be a repeat of the Slesnick model.
Slesnick too (along with Ferguson) appears to being doing next to nothing in the way of a campaign and is relying on his notoriety with the well know Slesnick business name to pull him through in the Democratic commissioner primary.
Finally, there is Katherine Baylock who want to be the Stark Dems' nominee for commissioner.
The most that can be said for Katherine is that she attends Stark commissioner meeting nearly every week.
But The Report is told that in public appearances that she is saying that she cannot say what she will do as commissioner because even she does not know what she will do.
Her honesty is refreshing. But hardly reassuring.
The candidate who stands out as having a positive agenda and is working way harder than any of his tree opponents in his quest to become the Democratic Party nominee for commissioners is Canton Ward 5 councilman Kevin Fisher.
This from his Facebook page:
He has sent out a least one flyer to "the most likely to vote" Democrats across Stark County.
As far as the SCPR can determine, neither Ferguson nor Baylock have a social media page.
Slesnick does, but it has not been updated since January 21st and at that it is slim pickings when compared to Fisher's.
The Stark County Political Report caught up with Fisher after Monday night Canton City Council meeting.
Here is what Fisher had to say about his campaign effort and his plans for county government if elected a commissioner:
There is no doubt that Kevin Fisher is putting the most in to the Stark County Democratic primary election for the nomination to be the Party's representative in the November general election.
American mythology holds that "hard work pays off."
But does it?
The results in the March 15, 2016 Democratic primary election will be a read on whether what the SCPR thinks is mythology across much of America is just that - or - that Stark County is different.
If in Stark County politics and government hard work pays off, Kevin Fisher should win the March 15, 2006 Stark County Democratic primary election and represent the Party in a face off with Republican Party primary contestants Bill Smith and Dave Mungo.