Wednesday, August 31, 2016
STARK DEMS UNDER GONZALEZ, GIAVASIS HEADING TOWARD MINORITY STATUS IN CONTROLLING COUNTYWIDE OFFICES?
UPDATED: 09:00 AM
The "high water mark" of the Stark County "organized" Democratic Party over the last 15 years occurred under the leadership of Massillon clerk of courts Johnnie A. Maier, Jr.
By the time Maier, Jr. was through as Dems' chair (2009), the Dems held all non-judicial countywide elective offices.
The "low water mark" of the Stark county "organized" Democratic Party appears to have set in with "the upon us" 2016 countywide elections under the chairmanship of Canton clerk of courts Phil Giavasis, to wit: (Note: all graphics on elective office are extract screen captures from the Stark Board of Elections website, highlighting added)
To boot, contrasted to the end of the Maier, Jr. era (2003-2009) when the Dems dominated countywide government, today under the successive stints of Randy Gonzalez (former Canton chief deputy of the Canton clerk of courts and current Jackson Township fiscal officer) and Phil Giavasis (current Canton clerk of courts), the Dems are holding on for dear life as the dominate countywide political party.
Republicans now hold the auditor's office, the treasurer's office and, likely, on January 1, 2017 all three county commissioner slots. Republican Janet Creighton (elected in 2010) will likely be joined by incumbent Republican commissioner Richard Regula and Canton Township trustee Bill Smith.
And, they might also capture the Stark County prosecutor's office. Republican Jeff Jakmides is financing his own campaign and has united all of Stark County's leading Republicans (including but certainly not limited to Janet Creighton, Alan Harold, former North Canton mayor Daryl Revoldt) in a passionate effort put Dems' Maier, Jr. predecessor chairman John Ferrero on the sidelines.
Some think that with Donald J. Trump at the head of the Republican ticket, there might be a down ticket problem for local candidates.
If so, the SCPR thinks it will come not from Republicans voting for the Democratic candidate along for their dissenting on Trump (currently trailing Clinton "on average" 3.8% in Ohio) vote in favor of Democrat Hillary Clinton or one of the third party candidates; but, rather, in substantial numbers of Republicans not showing up to vote at all.
An indicator of the foregoing (i.e. Trump being a drag on Republicans down ticket), are polls showing incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Rob Portman with an average 7.5% lead over former Democratic governor Ted Strickland. (ironically, in the sense of being "a canary in the coal mine; a Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. favorite)
The most important task for Jakmides' chances to defeat Ferrero is for himself and the likes of Creighton, Harold and Revoldt is to GO"R"TV (get out the Republican vote).
There is, in the estimate of the SCPR, absolutely no chance of the replacement for Horner (Debbie Cain, a member of the Lake Board of Education and former president of the Ohio Board of Education) unseating Republican Alex Zumbar (originally appointed to the position by the Dems under Gonzalez).
Maier, Jr. got out just in time as chairman.
For on April 1, 2009, "all Hell broke loose" for Stark Dems' and then new chairman Randy Gonzalez.
As it turn out, upwards of $3 million was missing from the Stark County treasury having been stolen by then chief deputy Vince Frustaci.
By October 31, 2011, Zeigler retired/resigned and the Dems' under the prodding of Gonzalez (note: Democrats Allen Schulman and William J. Healy, II were resisting) appointed Republican Zumbar to replace Democrat Gary D. Zeigler as Stark County treasurer.
The SCPR thinks that Schulman and Healy could see clearer than Gonzalez that Zumbar's appointment by the Dems foreclosed any chance that the Stark County treasury would be under the control of Democrats in the foreseeable future.
Many think that Democrat county auditor Kim Perez (who defeated Republican Brant Luther [appointed when Janet Creighton became mayor of Canton in 2003]) who had political close to Zeigler was a casualty of the political turmoil that ensued with the revelations of April 1, 2009.
Democrats are highly likely to retain the countywide offices of sheriff, county recorder, clerk of courts, coroner and engineer, but the halcyon days of Maier, Jr led dominance are over.
While the county recorder, clerk of courts, coroner and engineer offices are certainly important offices, in the minds of Stark's Democrat and Republican politicos they are not at the level of county auditor, prosecutor, sheriff and treasurer.
The SCPR thinks that come January 1, 2017, the Dems will only control the sheriff's office held by a man named Maier (George T., Johnnie's brother) and that only after a life and death political struggle with the Republicans fielding a candidate (Hartville police chief Larry Dordea [former Alliance police chief] who was nowhere near a match for what the SCPR has termed the Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. Massillon-based political machine.
Dordea should have won in 2014 when John Kasich was re-elected in epic proportions over the Democratic candidate for governor.
When the SCPR learned that Janet Creighton was lukewarm at best on the Dordea candidacy, it really look dire for Dordea.
Although Dordea lost by a relatively narrow margin, he ran far, far, far below Kasich and the governor who now says he is focusing on local races did not make one appearance for Dordea focusing on the Dordea candidacy.
And who was Kasich's northeast Ohio lead campaign person?
Republican commissioner Janet Weir Creighton.
Creighton makes "a really big deal" out of being a loyal Republican except, it seems, when Larry Dordea is the candidate for sheriff.
Creighton has told The Report that she meets periodically with former Democratic commissioner Gayle Jackson who is a political devotee of Johnnie A. Maier, Jr.
Jackson was the very first Stark County Democrat of note (then a Perry Township trustee) to support Maier when good fortune in the form of then 56th Ohio House state Representative Charles "Red" Ash (Canton Township) ran into legal difficulties.
One has to wonder whether or not the Maiers were able to persuade Creighton not to be all out for Dordea, no?
And, of course, it is well known in Stark County political circles that Republican commissioner Richard Regula has a strong association with Maier, Jr.
Though he hasn't been chairman for seven years now, what clout and strength that Democrats have in Stark County politics is still owing to one Johnnie A. Maier, Jr.