WHOLLY WITHIN STARK COUNTY
OHIO HOUSE CONTESTS
UPDATED: 10:37 AM
2016 is the first year in the nearly nine year history of The Stark County Political Report for The Report to make candidate recommendations.
Although previous to this blog the SCPR has not made recommendations, it is not hard to tell from the tone of SCPR coverage of Stark's political landscape whom The Report thinks "well of" as contrasted with "not so well of."
As with the SCPR Stark County Political Subdivision Top 10 "Elected" Official List, to earn a SCPR recommendation as being thought "well of" is tough to come by.
Many of the "within Stark County 'only'" races listed in this blog, quite a number are "pick-em" listings.
"Pick-em" is a term The Report uses to say that neither candidate possesses qualities that earn a SCPR recommendation.
49TH OHIO HOUSE SEAT
DISCUSSION OF THE 48TH & 50TH DISTRICT RACES
For instance, let's take the 49th Ohio House District race as a SCPR "Pick-em" race.
Canton Ward 2 councilman Thomas West (a Democrat) is running in an "open" seat (Democrat Stephen Slesnick (who the SCPR has a very low opinion of as a public official) having been term-limited out after eight years in the Ohio House) against Republican Dan McMasters.
The 49th district is a seat which has been rigged (actually the proper term is "gerrymandered) by the heavily Republican dominated Ohio General Assembly including the likes of Stark Countian Republicans Christina Hagan (the 50th), Kirk Schuring (the 48th) and Scott Oelslager (the 29th, Ohio Senate) to weight down the 49th with a heavy predominance of voter registered Democrats (e.g. Canton and Massillon residents) so as to make it virtually impossible for a Republican to win.
As we shall see when we get to the Hagan race, she and her fellow Republicans have "rigged" the 50th House District to make it virtually impossible for a Democrat to win. A couple of months ago, Hagan's Democratic opponent John Juergensen announced he was suspending his campaign because of a personal matter he had to focus on. It was thought he he actually withdraw, but he has not. But whether he did or did not, in the view of the SCPR he had no realistic chance to defeat Hagan happily ensconced in her "rigged" Republican 50th.
Samo-samo with Kirk Schuring in the 48th. This year he has no opponent at all. He did, but she did and there is no replacement. Again, as in the 50th, the 48th is "rigged" Republican.
The Report sees Hagan as a "religious right" representative who wants to use state government to control the reproductive life of Ohio and Stark County women.
John Hagan, now a Marlboro Township trustee (from whence he came) is a highly marginal guy who was constantly being propped up, during his time in Columbus, by the Ohio and Stark County Republican establishment.
Once John was term limited out of the Ohio House, he decided like Democrat Stephen Slesnick to run for Stark County commissioner.
Despite receiving tons and tons of newspaper ink promoting his very limited accomplishments as a state representative, he lost to political neophyte and Democrat Pete Ferguson who the SCPR sees as having been a lightweight government official in his own right.
In a contest of the politically and/governance inept, Ferguson, (a former Stark County commissioner) believe it or not, came in third in a field four candidates.
The SCPR will have more to say about Slesnick's race against Republican Bill Smith in tomorrow's blog.
It seems to the SCPR that marginal types like John Hagan and Slesnick once they have sucked on the tit of governance they adopt a feeling of entitlement and seek out some office, any office, to stay on the tit the seemingly need in order to go on.
Christina's marginality dictates that she receives the same kind of "propping up" attention that father John did and has, again, like him, a "rigged" district to run in.
Schuring has been Stark County's
- most productive and responsive to the needs from Ohio government to Stark County political subdivisions
- especially in garnering state money and taxing authority (i.e. tourism district that Stark County alone qualifies for) for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Village Project (HOF-VP),
Of late the SCPR thinks Schuring has turned much more Republican political than he has demonstrated heretofore. Within the past year he was selected by House Republican as their majority leader and as such has hued the Republican Party line on every issue before the Ohio General Assembly including but not limited to:
- the undermining of Ohio's public school system by support of the for-profit charter school movement, and W
- accomplishing nothing in relieving the financial stress of Stark County cities caused by the Republican dominated legislature (a complicit Republican governor John Kasic) gutting of local government funding while building up a $2 billion surplus in the state's "rainy day" fund.
In West versus McMasters, initially the SCPR thought McMaster might be cut from a different mold than Schuring and Hagan. But as The Report has gotten to know him, that kind of thinking has evaporated.
McMasters main claimed strength as a candidate is that since the Republican Party hold supermajority edge, it makes sense that the Democrat voter registered majorities would find him an attractive candidate for as representative he would be in a better position to advocate for and perhaps deliver local government funding relief to the likes of Canton and Massillon.
The SCPR thinks that a Representative McMasters would melt like butter on a hot stove top in the face of fellow Stark Countian Republican Schuring who is undoubtedly committed to hueing the party line on making financial life for Ohio's Democratically controlled cities as much as they possibly can.
McMasters presents himself has being an independent minded candidate thereby suggesting that he might be apt to take on "the powers that be" in the Ohio Republican establishment.
A 49th District voter should not believe the McMasters presentment. The SCPR thinks that the McMasters self portrayal in a political mirage and he would be more of the same of the Schuring /Hagan model.
So is the SCPR bullish of Democrat Thomas West?
Not in the slightest!
He has been a Canton legislator for years and has produced very little for the citizens of Canton in terms of reversing the deterioration (financial, economic development and neighborhoods) of Canton that has occurred over those years and the years before he became a member of council.
A argument to be made is that West with a majority of his fellow Democratic councilpersons were aiders and abettors with electoral disposed Democratic mayor (for eight years) William J. Healy, II in creating a $5.1 million deficit for Canton for fiscal year 2016 when political independent Thomas Bernabei unseated Healy in November, 2015.
West was one of Healy's main supporters in council and for re-election.
While Ohio's cuts in local government funding clearly hurt both Canton and Massillon, in the case of Canton much of the $5.1 million deficit was owing to irresponsible administration and legislating a the Canton level.
West refused to appear with McMasters in a SCPR interview in which he and McMasters would have to answer the tough questions that would have been forthcoming as suggested by this blog.
West is very out front with his reasons why not.
Why would he provide voters with an opportunity the weigh the relative merits of he and McMasters in a side-by-side forum?
After all, if he does not stumble and bumble, he should win hands down by virtue of Ohio General Assembly Republicans having created a safe district for a Canton/Massillon area Democrat to run it.
Can't be more self-serving than that, no?
To Hell with fundamental democratic-republican constiutional government values! That seems to be West's attitude.
So the SCPR's conclusion in West/McMasters?
Neither candidate meets the SCPR's high standard for a recommendation.
The same of course for the Juergensen/Hagan 50th District race.
There is no race in the 48th.