Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Last evening the SCPR had a conversation with former 16th District Congressman John Boccieri (presently living in Alliance) as to his thoughts on what appears to be Ohio's new congressional districts and what his immediate political plans are.

From that conversation and on the basis of analyzing other factors, The Report is ready to project that John Boccieri is likely - if he becomes a candidate at all -  to be a candidate for the "new" 6th (which also was the number assigned to the "current" district) congressional district.

Why does The Report say the 6th currently held by Republican Congressman Bill Johnson?

Three reasons.

First, in the conversation yours truly detected a focus on the 6th.  While Boccieri made it clear that he had a number of options on the table, The Report's interpretation of his comments was as said in the first sentence of this paragraph:  Boccieri seemed to dwell on the 6th as opposed to others.

However, The Report believes that the next option would be for Boccieri to run against Jim Renacci to re-claim the 16th district seat which still includes north central and northwest sections of Stark County.  He might even be able to maintain his Alliance residence since it is in Stark County and handle any potential hue and cry by Renacci that he does not live in the district (which, by the U.S. Constitution, he is not required to) by:
  • countering that Renacci lobbied Ohio Statehouse Republicans to put him and the Democratic strongholds of Canton and Massillon outside of the 16th, and
  • making the point that the 16th does indeed include parts of Stark and he lives in Stark.
Second, one of his foremost political mentors and sponsors, former Democratic Governor Ted Strickland (who, at Boccieri's coming out at North Canton's Bitzer Park as a candidate to succeed the retiring Ralph Regula in 2008, said that "[he] love[d] Boccieri as if he were a brother") has a storied history of winning in the sixth congressional district.  Undoubtedly, Strickland is having communication with and influence on Boccieri in whatever decision he makes.

In the last 20 years Ted Strickland won six times and Charlie Wilson, Jr. won twice with healthy Democratic margins.

With Republican congressional approval ratings as low as 13% across the nation and Johnson being a freshman legislator, Boccieri has to feel good about his chances in the "new" 6th.

A major obstacle in a Boccieri return via the 6th may be a desire by Wilson to re-claim the seat.  This is where Strickland and others Boccieri-politically-powerful-friendlies could be enormously helpful by persuading Wilson to step aside for the much younger Boccieri who seems to have a star quality about him, at least insofar as a number of leadership Democrats (local, state and national) seem to buy into.

The Wilson defeat in 2010 is not troublesome to Boccieri because he views the 2010 Republican/Tea Party landslide to have been a consequence of perfect political storm sequence of events not to be repeated (and, in large part reversed) in 2012.

Third, if Boccieri is going to move again (he moved into the 16th to counter his 2008 opponent Kirk Schuring's argument that he was not a Stark Countian) there is no place that he would rather be than Mahoning County (which is partially included in the 6th) from whence he came into Stark.

He has young children a number of whom are school age and no doubt he wants more than anything else to have a stable situation for them and a return to Mahoning would appear to offer an acceptable alternative to moving to parts of Ohio in which the family has no roots.  Moreover, he was recently promoted to lieutenant colonel in the United States Air Force Reserve and is set to serve as an instructor pilot at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station.

Those three are the reasons why the SCPR thinks former Congressman John Boccieri will surface by the filing deadline (which could be as early as December 7th) as a candidate for Ohio's 6th District in the Congress of the United States of America as a new district in the Republican gerrymandered 2011 every ten year reapportionment.

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