Thursday, July 19, 2018




The "favoring a Republican Party candidate" political index is about +12 in Ohio's 7th Congressional District.

In very blunt terms, Democrat candidate Ken Harbaugh is going to have to win traditionally Republican votes in order to unseat three term incumbent Republican Bob Gibbs on November 6, 2018.

Harbaugh appears to be doing everything right in terms of:
  • having gotten out into the public early on with his candidacy (June 2, 2017),
  • being competitive with Gibbs in campaign financing and accepting no PAC campaign financing in contrast to Gibbs who gets almost all his money from PACs/corporations,
  • having a first rate campaign staff run by his highly politically skilled wife Annmarie that is working the phone and door-to-door at a frenetic pace,
  • pretty much on the go 24/7 with campaign appearances throughout the district, and
  • focusing on Stark, Lorain, Medina and Tuscarawas counties which constitute the controlling vote as to whom gets elected in the 7th
Nevertheless, as The Stark County Political Report sees this race it is much like that in Ohio's 12th Congressional District in which a Washington Post article identifies a winnable on August 7, 2018 by the Democratic candidate (O'Connor) over the Republican candidate on the retirement before his current term expired Republican congressman Pat Tiberi on January 15, 2018.

Tiberi was re-elected in 2016 by nearly a 40% margin in a district that went 11.5% for Trump  and had been in Congress since January, 2001.

While a article today cites polls which show Balderson with a 5/10 lead, Kyle Kondik of the University of Virginia Sabato Chrystal Ball indicates that O'Connor could still pull off an upset.

So how is it that Democrat Danny O'Connor has a chance to take this Republican seat over Republican candidate Troy Balderson who is a longtime state legislator?

In a word:  TRUST that seems to exist between O'Connor and Balderson.

This is how the Post article put it:

“Bashing Trump is not going to win the election for Danny,” said Zack Space, a former Democratic congressman and current candidate for state auditor, whose old district included parts of the new 12th District. “What wins the election is if people trust him. He’s done a good job distancing himself from the powers that be.”

To the SCPR, it sounds a lot like the Ken Harbaugh campaign and what it needs to do in order to unseat Gibbs.

The Report has covered three Harbaugh campaign events beginning with his March 15, 2018 appearance at a Town Hall meeting at the Canton Veterans of Foreign Wars post.  The Harbaugh campaign seems highly transparent and accepting of media and the general public in contrast to the Gibbs campaign.

Here is what a Republican attending Monday night's education roundtable discussion had to say about the session:

"He has a competent amount of charisma and a friendly gift of gab.  He displayed good people skills, telling his own story but also listening.  He gave background of his philosophy but little concrete personal policy vision.  Of course, this meeting was billed as a round table discussion, not a chest thumper."

This blogger has tried repeatedly to get access to the Gibbs campaign even to the point to being willing to travel some 80 miles to Shelby, Ohio in April, 2018 at which he denied SCPR access.

Last night the SCPR was at Harbaugh education forum held at the Stark County District Library's Perry-Sippo branch beginning at 6:00 p.m.

As at other Harbaugh campaign events covered by the SCPR, the candidate reeks of political authenticity.  And, one can see in the faces of those who came to hear him take questions and intently listen to the comments/observations of those in the audience that the actually believe this guy is a "country over party" politician.  A rare, rare, rare commodity these days.

Like O'Connor in the 12th, Harbaugh has said that if elected he will not vote for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker of the United States House of Representative.

And like O'Connor, Harbaugh (in the words of former Congressman Zack Space): Ken Harbaugh, so far, has done a good job distancing himself from the [Democratic Party] powers that be.

Exactly, the type of person the SCPR covets running for public office whether the candidate be a  Democrat or Republican.

Here is Harbaugh in his own words when implicitly being urged to play political hardball in advancing traditional "organized" Democratic Party positions in dealing with 7th District campaign issues. (2 min 56 sec)

As readers know, this blogger pays no attention at all as measure of the person whether a given candidate is a Republican or a Democrat.  The only term in identifying context that catches the attention of the SCPR is "independent" as in former Democrat Thomas Bernabei abandoning his longtime Democratic heritage to run against two term, seeking a third term, Democrat William J. Healy, II in November, 2015.

And even if a candidate/elected office holder wears a party label, such is fine with the SCPR so long as this blogger believes that the person will abandon the political party when the needs of our country, state and local communities demand it.

As supporters are sometimes wont to do, there was an exchange on Monday evening at Perry-Sippo in which Harbaugh could have played out an all Democratic Party partisan role.

It was a compliment to the SCPR when he acknowledged the presence of this blogger as he composed himself in responding to a point made by an attendee that could easily devolved into a partisan rant but for his self-control in staying on focus with his "country over party" campaign theme.

He had to be aware that his Republican opponent has a 96.5% in agreement with the Trump-ized Republican Party according to Nate Silver's 538 blog.

Harbaugh also has to know that he cannot win "being the consummate partisan" in the 7th Congressional District.

Here is the video of that exchange.

As the SCPR nearly always does, the entire Harbaugh education forum is viewable in the appendix section of this blog.  There were a couple of recording glitches due to a tempermental SD card.

The forum on Monday was attended by about two dozen Stark County educators and a few non-educators.

One thing that was apparent to The Report from what the educators had to say is that teaching these days is a stressful thing to do and teachers need the support of government at all levels to devise methods, strategies and remedies for what ails American education.

Here is a LINK to an article by Carolyn Warner originally written in 1992 for a speech she gave at a Summer Leadership Academy which, in 2018, is likely magnified in spades.

There were a number of exchanges which the SCPR shares with readers for individual attention in this blog.

First up in SCPR segmented videos on Ken Harbaugh education forum this past Monday is Ken describing his and his wife and his wife's family connection to public education (2 min, 50 sec).

Next is Candidate Harbaugh speaking on his reaction to the Trump/Putin Summit in Helsinki on Monday the 16th.

Here is his Twitter post referred to in the video.

The video (1 min, 20 sec)

Next:  Ken Harbaugh on what motivated him to run for Congress.

Next:  What was the origin of campaign theme "Country over Party?"

Next:  Forum discussion of teachers carrying guns in classroom (5 min 35 sec)

A week from today, the Harbaugh campaign will be doing another Stark County sited Town Hall meeting.

Where will Gibbs be over the weekends when he is back in the district from Washington?

Can anybody in their wildest imagination fathom Bob Gibbs' getting anywhere near southeast Canton with his campaign?

Not even Stark County native and current Republican state Representative Kirk Schuring (Jackson Township) felt comfortable in Canton during his campaign to succeed Stark's beloved Ralph Regula on Regula's retirement at the end of 2008 when "all of Stark County" was in the 16th Congressional District.

In his 2008 losing effort against Democrat John Boccieri, Schuring, in a campaign appearance in an Ashland campaign stop, Schuring said this:

Gibbs likely shares Schuring's view of "the center of Canton" and will not be scheduling a heart of the City of Canton campaign stop in this election cycle, no?

Nothing on his Facebook/Twitter/Website pages about where he will be this weekend or any other time (e.g. the annual August Congress recess) promoting his campaign for re-relection.

Of course, it appears that for whatever events he has, the public notice has been and likely will remain very sparse and, of course, only "select" media are allowed access.

Why is Bob Gibbs hiding from 17th Congressional District voters?

Will his campaign aloofness make him ex-Congressman Bob Gibbs come November 7, 2018?

Like O'Connor in the 12th, the SCPR figures that at best Ken Harbaugh has a 50/50 chance to defeat Gibbs.

A little over three (3) months (111 days) remain until election day November 6, 2018.

It seems that the Gibbs campaign style is making a Harbaugh victory more and more likely each passing day.

Stay tuned!


Here is the entire "unedited" SCPR video of the Harbaugh forum on education issues held by the candidate at the Perry-Sippo branch of the Stark County District Library on Monday, July 16, 2018 lasting 1 hour and 04 minutes;

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