Sunday, December 19, 2010


One of outgoing Congressman John Boccieri's best political friends is Governor Ted Strickland.  Strickland has be sort of mentor to Boccieri and may serve (by way of his own political history) as a guide as to how Boccieri can find his way back to Congress.

In 1992 Strickland defeated incumbent Republican Congressman Bob McEwen in the newly formed 6th Congressional District (a merger of the 6th and 10th district because of census driven redistricting).  In 1994, Strickland was defeated by Republican Frank Cremeans whom he defeated in 1996 to regain his district.  Thereafter, Strickland was pretty much an automatic in the 6th.

If he runs to regain a seat in Congress, Boccieri may have the reverse of Strickland's situation.  It is unlikely that the 16th as we know it will exist insofar as Stark County is concerned.  It is less likely that both Boccieri and Renacci will actually live in the same district (whatever the number assigned to it is).  However, as the politically knowledgeable know, it is not a requirement that you live in a district in order to run for a congressional seat.

The SCPR would not be completely surprised to see Boccieri to relocate out of Alliance.  It appears that the main reason that he moved into the district in the first place was to blunt criticism about not living in the district by then opponent Kirk Schuring.  It should not have been surprising that Boccieri moved into the eastern fringe of the 16th congressional district.  After all, his lifelong base has been Mahoning County (the Youngstown area).

However, there is no chance at all for Boccieri to become the congressman for Mahoning County as that is locked down by sitting Democratic congressman and Boccieri friend Tim Ryan.  So maybe Boccieri will stay put in Alliance.

Should Democrat Boccieri choose to run for Congress again, will there be a rematch with Republican Renacci?  Probably not, because of the redistricting.  But it could be and if such turns out to be the case, then an attempted political resurrection of John Boccieri could have an added element of drama to it.

The SCPR has little doubt that Boccieri will be running for Congress somewhere in Ohio in 2012.  This past week the Boccieri's communications director Rebecca Kershaw was busy sending out press releases on Boccieri's vote supporting the Obama/Republican compromise on the Bush tax cuts and the continuance of unemployment benefits for the long term unemployed.

So while Strickland - in sort of a way - is a structural model for a Boccieri pathway back to the United States House of  Representatives, whether or not the soon-to-be ex-congressman can make it back in 2012 is tied to Barack Obama and his success in convincing the American voters that he has achieved over four years what he did not achieve in two years (likely causing the defeat of the likes of Boccieri), and therefore should be re-elected.

Despite noises to the contrary on various issues during his term in office ("Cap and Trade," and the healthcare bill), Boccieri has proved to be an Obama loyalist.  In the long run this probably was a wise decision by Boccieri.  While the loyalty and merely being a Democrat officeholder likely cost him his seat in 2010, he remains one of the bright stars of the Democrats' political aspirations and should Obama pull off a political renaissance, Boccieri should realize political dividends for his loyalty.

In the meantime, will the Obama administration find a White House political appointment for Boccieri as a way station from which to plan his political comeback?

One has to believe that such will be the case.

In the final analysis, look for John Boccieri to be spending the next year and one-half (until the 2012 Democratic primary election) positioning himself for a return to Congress.

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