Monday, September 17, 2012


To the Stark County Political Report it is "unreal" that "Real Clear Politics" can rank the 16th congressional district race (which includes a part of Stark County) a "toss up."

It appears to The Report that Renacci was pretty much given carte blanche by Republican Speaker of the U.S. House John Boehner (Republican - Ohio's 8th) in directing the gerrymandering Republican faction controlling the Ohio General Assembly as to what his new district (as a consequence of Ohio's loss of decennial population causing a loss of two Ohio congressional seats and required redistricting) should look like.

To be sure, he did come away with a Republican leaning district.

Here is a chart that shows the "favorable" Republican index.

But it seems to the SCPR that it may be the wrong mix insofar as Renacci's political fortunes are concerned.

The Report believes that it was a major goof up on Renacci's part to allow Stark County to be fragmented into three districts in the new Congress.   And the screw up could cost Stark County GOP chairman and executive director of the Stark County Board of Elections Jeff Matthews' wife Heidi her job as a congressional staff member.

Readers of the SCPR will recall that Matthews and Republican state Representative Christina Hagan (the 50th - Marlboro) said that they thought that Stark being politically fragmented was a good thing for Stark.  For it would give Stark Countians three congresspersons to beseech for help in dealing with countians federal government problems or in providing access.

Of course, being the avowed partisans they are, Hagan and Matthews failed to factor in a possiblility that the division might result in perhaps all three districts be represented by Democrats


So Stark County in the new congress will be the 7th with Republican Bob Gibbs as the incumbent; the 13th with Democrat Tim Ryan as the incumbent; and the 16th which should be advantage Renacci even though he is running against fellow-incumbent-but-Democrat Betty Sutton.

It is The Report's belief that had Renacci left Stark entirely within the "new" 16th, he would pretty much as been a shoe-in to win re-election no matter how the national political factor (i.e. the Obama/Romney) played in and having an incumbent Democrat running against him.

That the implication of this language of an column by Brent Larkin of the Plain Dealer:
The obscene redrawing of Ohio's congressional boundaries by Ohio's Republican-run legislature -- done with lots of guidance from Speaker Boehner -- has shifted the most important part of Renacci's district away from Canton into the western suburbs of Cuyahoga County (Ohio's 16th District's new boundaries will another donneybrook, June 17, 2012)

Betty Sutton is unknown in Stark County.  What's more she is a political liberal who will not play all that well in Stark County.  And her anemic Stark County effort in the areas that remain in the 16th betray her belief that Stark County is not fertile political ground for her.

So Renacci could expect to win by a healthy margin in Stark no matter if Obama wins a majority of Stark County voters.  For if Obama does get a majority, it will be by slim numbers and there will be very little, if any, "coattails effect" for Sutton.

As it is, Renacci will most certainly pile up a solid win in those parts of Stark that remain in the 16th:  Jackson township, part of Lake township and Lawrence township (including Canal Fulton).

But in allowing significant parts of staunch Democratic Summit County and Portage County as well as Cleveland's west Republican leaning suburbs of Strongsville, Middleburg Heights, Parma Heights, Parma, North Olmsted, Olmsted Falls, Fairview Park, Rocky River and Westlake to take root in the new 16th as an acceptable substitution for the remainder of Stark,  the SCPR believes that Renacci may have unwittingly sowed the seeds of his defeat on November 8th.

The converse of the Stark County situation exists for Renacci in the Cleveland suburbs.  While yes they are Republican leaning, Renacci is not that well known in those areas and thus Sutton has a better opportunity to make inroads on the independent set (voters who are registered non-partisans, but are likely Republican-leaning independents) in the burbs.

He thought he had pulled a coup in forking down deep into Canton (Democratic Councilman Kevin Fisher's 5th Ward) to capture The Timken Company complex.  But The Report hears that his advisers even screwed this move up in that the lines failed to include the part of the Timken complex that includes "the fundraising side," of the complex.

If Renacci retains his seat (which the SCPR would not count out by any measure), he can thank his lucky stars, not his disasterous redistricting wheeling and dealing.

For it is obvious it has put him into the political fight of his life!

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