ANOTHER HIGHLY PARTISAN FIGHT OVER A "NON-PARTISAN?" STARK CO JUDGESHIP!
UPDATED: 08:30 AM
As far as The Stark County Political Report knows neither Republican David Nist nor Democrat Jason Reese are very well known out in the hinterlands of the Stark County electorate.
Even yours truly had the sketchiest knowledge of both before researching them for purposes of this blog.
Though the general election season will not begin until March 16th, the SCPR was stunned to see that Candidate Nist had pumped over $100,000 of his own money into his campaign already per revelations in his pre-primary campaign finance report (CFR) filed last Thursday, March 4th.
What does this fact mean?
Perhaps trying to be the Donald Trump of Stark County in the sense of self-financing his campaign?
Democratic opponent Jason Reese hasn't been exactly sitting on his hands.
But his $29,900 pales in comparison to Nist's $100,000 plus.
The Nist/Reese pre-primary CFRs indicate that yet another monumental political battle is shaping up in Stark County as to whom is going to be the next succeed Republican Michael Howard as one of three Stark County Family Court judges.
Note that the SCPR has taken a Stark County Common Pleas Family Court website photo of the three judges and outlined them in red.
And this is no recent development.
Yours truly personally recalls the line of Republican family court judges going back to the 1970s including the following (other than those pictured above):
- W. Don Reader,
- John R. Milligan,
- Bob Mylett,
- Julie Edwards,
- David Stucki
Indeed, the Family Court jurists have been 87.5% (7/8) Republicans as contrasted with General Division which is comprised of four Democrats (Forchione, Haas, Heath and Chryssa Hartnett) and Republican Kristin Farmer (hence 80% Democratic)
The remaining Common Pleas judgeship (Probate Division) is staffed with Republican Dixie Park who might be (sarcasm folks, sarcasm!) the favorite SCPR Stark County judge.
While political considerations are not supposed to be part of holding public office in America, who believes that is the reality. When it is apparent to more than a few citizens that politics has prevailed (e.g. Bush v. Gore), a great undermining of our democratic republic occurs.
Gubernatorial appointments of judges as in Ohio of of that ilk.
And Stark County has way too many instances of the best qualified person not becoming judge out of the gubernatorial process as do all of Ohio's 88 counties.
Voters ought to be suspect when a judge attains his/her office through the gubernatorial appointment process and/or is tainted by out-and-out partisan political battles.
The Nist/Reese battle appears to be more about political parties and their hold on Stark County's various offices than about the best qualified Stark County lawyers running for judge.
The Report believes that was the case in the Guardado/Werren match up for Canton Municipal Court judge last year.
Werren is embedded in The Report's thinking as being too politically based with Republican politics (e.g. two Republican governor John Kasich appointment to Stark County judgeships) for the public to rest assured with his being a judge.
Angela Walls-Alexander was far more qualified in the opinion of the SCPR "on the merits" of her work as an attorney to be Canton Municipal Court judge than was either fellow Democrat Kristen Guardado and Republican Werren.
As far as The Report is concerned, both Guardado and Werren in terms of their relationship with "organized" political party officialdom, were at the time of their face off "like two peas in a pod."
The question in the Nist/Reese match up is whether or not either candidate is "among the best" Stark County family law attorneys, the best are running for the judgeship being vacated by Mike Howard.
The Report suspects that such is not the case.
Howard could have pulled a Sinclair or Brown (a former chairman of the Stark County Republican Party) and retired mid-term and in which case Republican governor Kasich appoints but "no Democrats—a la Hartnett, no matter how much more qualified—need apply.
But he didn't and so Stark Countians should be pleased, no?
In he case of Nist, why would someone pump $100,000 plus of his own money into his campaign at the primary elections stage unless it was to send a message that he is entitled as a Republican appointee by three Republican judges to keep the line of Republican succession in place.
And look at this expenditure list:
And, to boot, he went out and recruited one of Stark County's most accomplished Republican politicians in Alliance Councilwoman Julie Jakmides.
Seems as though Nist knows he is in a Battle Royale to keep the Stark County Family Court "all Republican," no?
Buckle up Stark Countians!
Things are likely about to get politically ugly in the Reese/Nist match up at least in the underbelly of Stark County politics.
Undoubtedly, the likes of he Gonzalezes (Randy and Kody) are smarting that there are no Democratic judges on the Family Court bench.
Ditto for former Stark County clerk of courts Nancy S. Reinbold who is the wife of former Democratic judge Richard Reinbold who is serving as Reese's campaign treasurer.
Nancy Reinbold, the SCPR believes, is totally committed to having Democrats in office.
To her credit, she did bolt the party in the Canton mayor election in coming out early and strong for former Democrat and "independent" in the mayor's race Thomas M. Bernabei.
More like her is her participation in what the SCPR thinks was seems to have been a political conspiracy with the Giavasis' brothers to pass the Stark County clerk of courts office from Phil:
- former Stark County clerk of courts,
- Canton Municipal Court clerk of courts, and
- now chairman of the Stark County Democratic Party)
Ohio law prevented Phil from hiring Louis when Phil was the Stark County clerk of courts.
- Tom Harmon retires as Canton Muny clerk of courts,
- Phil Giavasis resigns as Stark County clerk of courts,
- Phil is appointed by Stark Democrats as Harmon's successor,
- (August, 2007) Phil weighs in on having Nancy Reinbold appointed Stark County clerk,
- (February 4, 2008) She hires Louis (also a Plain Township trustee at the time), and
- (September 10, 2015) Louis on Reinbold's retirement is appointed by Stark Dems to replace her,
If could, of course, be that the all the above-bulleted points were mere happenstance and there was no concerted, conspiratorial political effort to keep the Stark County clerk of courts position in the Giavasis family.
But, even is such is the case, who is going to believe it?
Getting back to the campaign finance statements of Nist and Reese, let's take a look at Democrat Reese's list of contributors compiled by Reinbold:
The overwhelming majority if not all of those on the list have to be Democrats. Note the number of judges and Stark County prosecutors supporting Reese.
It looks likes many if not most of all of Stark County Justice System (who happen also to be Democrats) are support Jason Reese for Stark County Family Court judge.
And nearly the entire Canton Law Department is on record of contributing to and thereby supporting his campaign.
Think these folks aren't hungering and thirsting for at least one Democratic judge in Stark's family court?
And you can add apparent Democratic partisans (except for Canton mayor Thomas Bernabei, who many suspect remains a "Democrat-at-heart") from among the Stark County attorney rolls.
Only surprise here is: Where is Allen Schulman, Jr, the president of Canton City Council?
Look at the remainder of the Reese list.
All those Akron-centered attorneys. Looks like Angela Walls-Alexander's CFR when she ran for Canton Municipal Court, no?
And, to boot, a couple of Republicans; one a former judge the other from none other than Family Court itself.