Thursday, November 9, 2017


There are some highly partisan politicians who are "leaders" and then there are those who are "followers."

The main difference is that quality "leaders" generate ideas to advance the cause(s) of constituents and secondarily his/her political party.

"Followers" are political party hangers-on who are into politics to get whatever they can for themselves and are so appreciative of the morsels they get that they put political party interest ahead of constituent interest.

In Stark County, the SCPR thinks that the two (one from each political party) quintessential "followers" are John P. Hagan (Republican) of Marlboro Township and Stephen Slesnick (Democrat) of Canton.

There is a parallel between the two.  Both served eight years in the Ohio House of Representatives from a gerrymandered therefore politically safe district making it nearly impossible for challengers from outside their respective parties to mount "a chance of a snowball in Hell" challenge.

Another parallel is that both were totally ineffective during their eight years in terms of having their names indelibly stamped on legislation which benefited millions of Ohioans or in their respective districts.

A third parallel is that neither would answer the questions of The Stark County Political Report.

Only "suck-up" media need ask questions with any hope of getting an answer from either Slesnick or Hagan.

Likely because both of them appear to be just "marking time" as elected public officials and cannot stand the scrutiny of their respective records.

Slesnick even went so far as to try to get the SCPR camera banned from a public debate event.

Slesnick's "political" death occurred on November 8, 2016, to wit:

Hagan's "political" obit was likely published late Tuesday night with this Stark County BOE publication:

John Hagan got started in Stark County politics/governance with his becoming Marlboro Township trustee-elect on November 3, 1999.

Note:  The SCPR thanks Travis Secrest of the Stark County BOE for digging the above-record out of BOE not-published online files.

The 2017 Marlboro trustee race, which may be John Hagan's last) is the second of a Eddleman versus Hagan face off.

As "political" luck will have it, it so happened that the 2009 Marlboro Township trustee election came in the wake of a political firestorm in which then sitting trustees Tim Wise and Dave Wolf took on the Marlboro police chief Ron Devies and son in a controversy over the Marlboro Township computer operations.  Trustee Wayne Schillig was not part of what some citizens thought was a political witch hunt on the part of Wise and Wolf.

Then-citizen Eddleman stepped forward in full support of Chief Devies and his son.

Hagan had been term limited out of the Ohio House (end of 2008), had lost a county commissioner race to Democrat Pete Ferguson (November, 2008) and was looking for a "political" place to land.

One would think that a guy who had served years as a Marlboro Township trustee and as a state representative in a gerrymandered Republican district would have capitalized on the newspaper ink that goes to an office holder to have won easily against a well known Stark County chiropractor but political neophyte, no?

The surprising result.

The question for Hagan.

What to do next?

Lo and behold!—a "perfect" political "storm"—with only incumbent Wise running in 2009, it looked like a shoe-in for Hagan.

In January, 2009, the SCPR predicted Hagan's return.

2017 was a different story for Hagan.

And it was!

Eddleman by November, 2017 was firmly ensconced as a Marlboro Township trustee and with the entrance of former long time trustee John Battershell into the race, Hagan found himself in jeopardy of being "the-odd-person-out."

Although Battershell insisted with the SCPR in a telephone (11/04/2017) interview that he considered himself as being friends with Hagan (with whom he had served in the past), he admitted to the SCPR that he was telling his Marlboro voter contacts to vote for Ken Eddleman second after voting for John Battershell.

It became apparent to The Report from the tone of the interview that Battershell did not take it kindly that he (as current township zoning inspector) viewed himself as being picked on by Hagan with nitpicky observations about Battershell's performance as zoning inspector.

Moreover, as zoning inspector, Battershell says he told trustee Wayne Schillig that he could not continue to serve as zoning inspector because of a retirement snag respecting his eligibility to continue to receive health care coverage while working as zoning inspector.

Accordingly, he would have to step down as inspector.

Trustees Schillig and Eddleman, as Battershell's account of discussions suggest, thought so well of Battershell's service as zoning inspector that they agreed to support having Marlboro Township government provide him with the financial ability to obtain health care coverage to the tune of aboutr $3,000.

Thereafter, Hagan, according to Battershell began to  in effect "taunt" (the SCPR word, not Battershell's) him about the extra $3,000 he was costing Marlboro taxpayers.

It is unclear as to the significance of what, if any, effect that Battershell's promoting Ken Eddleman's candidacy had on the "apparent" outcome of Tuesday's "unofficial" election results.

But if you are John Hagan knowing John Battershell's clout in all things Marlboro Township, don't you have to think that Battershell's advocacy for Eddleman was a difference maker?

Notice that the SCPR has not headlined this blog:  "Eddleman Defeats Hagan!"

Such will likely be the outcome, but the official results do not come out until November 28th.

And, there are 1528 (780 absentee, 658 provisionals) ballots yet to be counted.

However, very few, if any, of the 1528 outstanding ballots will play into the "official" count number come the BOE published official number on or before November 28th.  Readers should also note that in the end some of the provisionals will not make it into the final "official" vote count.

If the numbers hold, it appears to the SCPR that Hagan will be entitled to an paid for by the taxpayers recount, to wit:

There were about 76,000 votes cast countywide in Stark County with the election voting period ended at 7:30 p.m. on November 7th.  Of that number 2,230 were cast in Marlboro Township or about 3%.  Taking the 3% times 1,528, perhaps 46 additional votes might figure into the ultimate outcome of the Marlboro trustee's race.

Whatever that number turns out to be, as they figure into the "official" final result, will we know whether not an "automatic" taxpayer paid for recount occur.

According to Ohio Revised Code section 3515.011, there will have to be .5% or fewer votes separating Eddleman and Hagan (the SCPR's interpretation) for there to be an invoking of 3515.011, to wit:

3515.011 Recounts ordered by board.


If the number of votes cast in any district election for the declared winning nominee, candidate, question, or issue does not exceed the number of votes cast for the declared defeated nominee, candidate, question, or issue by a margin of one-half of one per cent or more of the total vote, the secretary of state shall order a recount which shall be conducted as provided in sections 3515.04 and 3515.05 of the Revised Code.


Correction of original text which indicated that the "unofficial results" indicated an automatic recount.

A SCPR recalculation of "unofficial" results shows a 0.669% separation which above the 0.500% threshold provided for by Ohio law.

Here is a concrete specific to Marlboro Township example of how a recount might play out in the Eddleman/Hagan scenario:

It could turn out that John P. Hagan did not suffer a "fatal" political defeat on Tuesday night.

But the odds are against it.

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