UPDATED 04/17/2016 AT 12:32 PM
SAYS HE WILL & ACTUALLY DOES
AT FIRST, WEST & McMASTERS AGREE TO JOINT DISCUSSION OF ISSUES
On March 28th Canton councilman Thomas West (Ward 2) agreed to participate in a series of SCPR joint interviews between himself and his Republican opponent running from the middle of April through the end of October conducted on a single matter/issue in two week intervals.
Why such a long extended time frame?
The Ohio House of Representatives considers many issues during their two-year terms that might directly affect the lives of each and every one of us as citizens in an Ohio political subdivision (cities, villages, townships, school districts, et cetera) and yet few of us know before electing a representative very much about where a candidate stands on strong sampling of those issues.
One of the strengths of the likes of The Stark County Political Report is that this blog has the space and time to do in depth and continuing coverage of political campaigns.
The Report has done many thoroughgoing blogs Stark County-based campaigns, political personalities and issue disputes.
But never—on political campaigns— in the exhaustive depth as planned for McMasters versus West.
The SCPR does not endorse candidates for public office.
However, these blogs make readily apparently (the opinion part) who impresses and who does not impress yours truly.
Notwithstanding the SCPR assessment, these blogs are designed to encourage readers to think for themselves in agreeing or disagreeing with this writer.
Apparently, West, after the first blush of readily agreeing to the extended format, thought better of it.
- West aspires to succeed Democrat Stephen Slesnick as 49th District representative in a district gerrymandered by the Republicans in supermajority control of the Ohio General Assembly to pack as many registered Democrats in urban districts thereby more less assuring Democratic victories in those districts so that Republicans have a very good chance to dominate the rest of the districts which comprise the Ohio House and the Ohio Senate.
- With all of Canton and most of Massillon being a part of the 49th, registered Democrats greatly outnumber registered Republicans,
- So: Why would Democrat Thomas West provide an opening for Republican Dan McMasters to show qualities that trump West's and thereby do the unthinkable:
- A Republican defeat a Democrat in a "safe" Democratic district?
West is far being unique in this regard.
You can be sure the 48th district long time Republican incumbent Kirk Schuring
- now in the House, but formerly in the Senate as he and and current 29th District senator Scott Oelslager play a version of "musical chairs," with each ending up with a seat, just a 'different' seat in the Ohio General Assembly in order to get around term limits
Schuring and Hagan will make no bones about it, they will outright refuse to provide their opponents with any opportunity to engage in a forum in which voters will be able to be able to make a side-by-side, on-the-issues and on personal qualities comparison.
Their primary concerns are their individual political well being as well as that of their political party and not in voters making in formed decisions.
Schuring and Hagan are, of course, incumbents.
The 49th is an "open seat."
Incumbency should not be a shield to having to answer questions especially on issues already voted upon, but there is a case to be made that voters do have in the case of incumbents a track record on which to judge a candidate for reelection or not.
Nobody should gain access to the Ohio General Assembly just because she/he is a member of a certain political party running in a gerrymandered district.
Thomas West apparently wants voters of the District 49 to be ignorant of his positions on the issues that he is likely to face if elected to the Ohio House.
WEST'S OSTENSIBLE REASONS FOR RENEGING
In setting up the joint interview forum, the SCPR had easy and rapid communication with Candidate McMasters via e-mail.
The Report sent the original "set-up" e-mail to both.
On April 5th, the SCPR was present at a Pro Football Hall of Fame meeting designed to update Canton councilpersons on the progress of the building of the HOF Village Project which Canton has invested $5 million in.
Councilman West was present and on SCPR inquiry promised to get back to yours truly the following day confirming that his schedule allowed for his interview participation on the 13th.
Not hearing from West, follow up calls were made and only one contact was accomplished and that one did not produce the requested confirmation.
However, The Report did get an e-mail from West backing off his original promise (March 28th) to participate subject only to the interview schedule being compatible with his availability.
As can be seen in that e-mail, there are differences between West and yours truly on whether or not West responded as promised to The Report's confirmation inquiries.
In the above-email it is confusing as to what West did or did not receive in terms of communications from the SCPR.
But all that is beside the point of whether or not he will contend with McMasters, as The Report thinks the communications fuzziness is betrayed as being a subterfuge in his landing point in the e-mail being "no, I will not do joint interviews with McMaster" until July or beyond (emphasis added) because of what yours truly thinks are pretextual reasons, to wit:
- the tone of a SCPR e-mail endeavoring to get a response from West (probably, my statement, after citing all the contacts with West unresponded to: "I will not be making any more contacts to Mr. West),
- he wants to give people a break from politics, and
- he will be spending his time working on legislation for the city of Canton,
The reasons for doing so are twofold.
First, as readers of the SCPR know, it is standard operating procedure for yours truly to post videos, audios, letters, e-mails that convey the point-of-view of SCPR blog subjects,
Second, yours truly thinks that:
- West's e-mail is disingenuous at the very least and was purposefully constructed to cast blame on West backtracking on his original commitment on the SCPR (e.g. "After reading the tone of the e-mail), and
- beyond that:
- to paint himself as a sensitive politician over and above other politicians in that he says he wants to "giv[e] voters a break on campaigns ... " and
- to in a sarcastic tone ("enjoy your summer") while I do the serious work of legislating for the good of Canton and the 49th Ohio House District
What a laugh: Thomas West "above politics" and being productive as a Canton legislator.
Maybe he knows something that the rest of us have missed?
Maybe he will reveal it in his campaign literature?
He certainly would not want to answer any on-camera questions about his claimed accomplishments, no?
The SCPR thinks all the foregoing West justifications for not participating in this SCPR series are a smoke screen of his real reason.
"Beyond" is the operative word in West's e-mail.
How about "beyond" meaning after November 8, 2016?
Undoubtedly, West thinks the favorable to a Democrat running in the district index is all he needs to become the next 49th District state representative.
The Report goes into a detailed analysis of the numbers later on in this blog.
Yours truly sees a pathway to victory by McMasters and West post-general-election may see himself as on the outside looking in as a Republican wins this safe Democratic seat.
McMasters says he believes that West has too much explaining to do on his poor record as a Canton councilman going on 13 years now to engage him in a joint discussion of 49th District issues.
The Report thinks McMasters is right on the mark with his analysis of West's on and off about participating in a "look me in the eye" joint interview.
West appears to be in a "protect my self-interest" over the public interest in knowing all there is to know about candidates in his defaulting to relying on the heavy 49th District Democratic index.
THE CANDIDATES BIOGRAPHIES
Notwithstanding Candidate West's rejection of the SCPR offer to participate in this "inform the voters" project, The Report will endeavor to present his side to the extent they are available from prior SCPR blogs and other Internet resources.
The West Biography
The McMasters Biography
SCPR ANALYSIS - THE 49TH DISTRICT ELECTION
Let's take a look at some 2016 primary election data.
Of the 94 Stark County precincts in the 49th, the combo of West/Healy-Abrams polled a majority in 73 precincts over McMasters; leaving him with a majority in a mere 21 precincts.
The Democratic candidates out polled Republican McMasters by about 3,000 votes.
Of those 3,000, some 70% came from Canton City precincts with West/Healy-Abrams outdrawing McMasters in the remaining precincts by 200 or so votes, to wit:
- Massillon (except precincts in Ward 6), [plus 464 West/Healy-Abrams]
- Bethlehem Township (except Precinct 1),
- Canton Township (except Precinct 3),
- Pike Township (except Precinct 1),
- Plain Township precincts:
- 1, 4, 12 and 25,
- Tuscarawas Township (except Precinct 3)
- [Note: In the township vote, McMasters outdrew West/Healy-Abrams by 265 votes]
In the 49th, of voters willing to identify either as Democratic or Republican; 76.5% are registered Democrats.
On the face of this registration number, Republican Dan McMasters would not seem to have "a snow ball's chance in Hell" of defeating Democrat West in the upcoming general election.
There are about 59,000 "independent" or "non-partisan" voters.
However, McMasters should not take much comfort in the "independent" vote as a source to overcome West. The SCPR thinks that in reality these nominal independents/non-partisans are just that: nominal. In reality in the 49th District context they likely lean Democratic to the tune of about 3 out of 4 such registered voters.
And many if not most of these folks will not vote in November.
That they do not vote in primary elections going back three years (the true definition of an "independent or non-partisan) and therefore likely not "in reality" highly partisan might offer McMasters some opportunity to make inroads if he can get them to the polls.
McMasters might want to concentrate on voting precincts in Wards 7, 8 and 9 in Canton, Wards 1, 2, 3 and 5 in Massillon and all of the township precincts.
One factor that is apparent from the videotapped April 13th "Getting to Know the Candidate McMasters" interview which is posted at the end of this blog is his ability to work with influential elected/appointed Democratic officials.
While they may not want to come out publicly to endorse/support Republican McMasters, they might be induced to sit on the sidelines with respect to the West campaign.
McMasters in the video cites the many Stark County civic efforts he has been part of including teaming up with staunch Democrat Billy Sherer, Sr. as co-chairs to gain passage of the Stark County Justice System Sales Tax issue in November, 2011.
Speaking of the McMasters April 13, 2016 SCPR interview, here is Dan McMaster "in his own words" to the questions posed by the The Stark County Political Report:
(Note: On April 27th, the SCPR will interview McMasters on the dramatic slashing by the Ohio General Assembly (starting in 2011) of State of Ohio funding of local government.