Sunday, February 21, 2010


It looking more and more like the plan of Steve Meeks, Stark Democratic Party chairman Randy Gonzalez, former chairman Johnnie A. Maier, Jr and Tom Bernabei to keep control of the Stark County commissioners, with Meeks remaining in office, is unraveling.

For the record, the SCPR believes that the Democrats will continue to have a majority of commissioners, but it is not likely that former Jackson trustee Steve Meeks will be one of them.  Rather the Democratic line up will read more like Bernabei and Ferguson.

Why does the SCPR say "unraveling?"

On Friday, the SCPR had a conversation with a leading Stark County Democrat who says he might well come out publicly in support of Republican Janet Creighton in her race for county commissioner against the Democrat-hand-picked Steve Meeks.

If this Democrat endorsement materializes, The Report believes that the political floodgates will open in favor of Creighton and that she will win big; not just win - as the SCPR is already projecting unless the unexpected happens.

Creighton is one of two, maybe 2-1/2 Republicans who The Report hears from a number of Democrats that they like and will consider voting for.

Another is Kirk Schuring and to a lesser degree Scott Oelslager (he's the 1/2).

But, depending on the mix, Democrats "saying" they might vote for a Republican is just talk unless and until the walk into a voting booth and vote for the Republican.

The SCPR was astounded when Schuring got waxed 57 to 42% (Stark County only results) in his 2008 match up with John Boccieri in the 16th district congressional race.

How did that happen?

The Report's answer:  Schuring did it to himself.  He became too much of a Republican. Evidence of the SCPR's premise?  The famous YouTube video with Schuring trashing the folks of Canton at a Ashland  County campaign rally (remember? - "those people").  Moreover, Schuring hung out, on the advice of his NRCC handlers, in the very Republican parts of the district and only pushed his Stark County connection at the end.

Big mistake!

Do not look for Janet Creighton to make the Schuring mistake of  becoming too much of a Republican.  Creighton does not shy away from her Republican ties (after all she served in the very Republican Bush administration), but she demonstrates in the three offices she has held in Stark County (county recorder, county auditor and mayor of Canton) that she can and does work with Democrats.

The SCPR has more than a few Canton City Council Democrats say that the lines of communication between Creighton as mayor and Council were infinitely superior to what is going on between Council and Democrat mayor Jamie Healy.

If Creighton does not change into someone else on the advice of others, she should get a considerable number of Democratic votes across Stark County.

Perception is very important in these races.  While Creighton herself says that she is an unabashed Republican whereas you never hear Steve Meeks brag about being a card-carrying Democrat even in the face of being in office due to insider Democratic politics; the SCPR's take is that general public sees Creighton a far less partisan than Meeks.

This means that she should do well with independent voters.

The Report believes that Gonzalez et al should have sought to put Bernabei in a Bernabei/Creighton squaring off.


Because Bernabei might actually beat Creighton.  A Bernabei/Creighton face off would end up being a "get out the vote" political exercise.  Creighton would work the suburbs and Bernabei the urban vote.

Who wins?  It would be a "pick-em" type of situation.  Either one could win.  The best organized campaign would end up being the winning one. A Bernabei/Creighton clash would truly be a Stark County political toss-up.

At least in that scenario - in the leftover race, Meeks has a solid chance to win against Republicans Walters and Windham, depending on whom comes out of the Republican primary.

With or without the Democratic elected official endorsement, the Stark County Political Report is already projecting a Creighton win.

With the endorsement, its a Creighton slam-dunk win!

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