Thursday, September 27, 2012


Updated:  4:30 PM

On Tuesday night yours truly was watching CNN when up popped a graphic of Ohio in a political analysis piece by John King.

What was different about this particular graphic is that it showed county detail as to how Obama was achieving an 8% point lead.  And, Stark County is being shown in the "blue" (Democratic) column.

While CNN has not revealed the actual county percentage breakdown, that Stark is shown in "blue" (indicating an Obama win) could have a impact of how Stark County races (in whole or in part [i.e. the congressional races]) could play out.

As the SCPR sees it, the Obama advantage, if it holds, bodes well for Democrats running in "close" countywide races.

The Report believes that there are two close countywide match ups:  McDonald (D) versus Dordea (R) for sheriff and Regula (R) versus Smuckler (D) for county commissioner.

Moreover, it appears that the 16th (Renacci [R] versus Sutton [D]) and 7th (Healy-Abrams [D] versus Gibbs [R]) congressional races are close.  In each of these races, only part of Stark County is in play.
  • On the Regula/Smuckler race:
    • Smuckler is a Canton politician  (served for years on Canton City Council and ran for mayor twice; losing both tries) who has no countywide "running for office experience" whereas Regula does.  
    • Regula lost in a county treasurer race against Gary Zeigler in 2000 and again to political upstart Todd Bosley in 2006 for county commissioner.  Regula was running as an incumbent.
    • The SCPR is told that Regula is a "born-again" politician who has mended his lazy campaigning style and is determined to take advantage of the Regula name (he is the son of former long-term Republican congressman Ralph Regula) and having been a commissioner in order to best Smuckler.
    • Smuckler understands that it is not the best political background for a Canton politician to be running countywide as a Democrat.  Even the Canton popular  politician Tom Bernabei (a former Canton councilman and long-term law director) would have lost his 2010 contest for county commissioner against James Walters had a conservative independent candidate not been in the race.
      • Who wins?  It depends.  If Obama wins by a healthy margin in Stark, it will likely be Smuckler,  If Obama squeaks by, then it is anybody's guess.  If Romney wins Stark, the it looks like a Richard Regula victory.
  • On the McDonald/Dordea race:
    • Larry Dordea (Chief of Police in Hartville, a former Alliance police chief and an Alliance councilman-at-large) ran a very solid race against retiring sheriff Tim Swanson back in 2008.  Dordea's prior countywide exposure should give him an advantage.  Moreover, he enjoys a solid reputation as a first rate law enforcer among the Stark law enforcement community. Among the Dordea endorsers from the Stark County police community are:
      • the Alliance Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 73, and
      • Mike Grimes, retired North Canton police chief.
    •  Mike McDonald has been one of Swanson's top two men as chief deputy of the Stark County Jail Division for years.  While he has never run for office before, he has been a highly visible chief deputy (with plenty of press over the years) and is well liked and well respected within the Stark County policing community.  Among McDonald's endorsements are from the police community are:
      • the Canton Police Patrolmen's Association
      • the Fraternal Order of Police McKinley Lodge #2, and, of course,
      • Sheriff Tim Swanson.
    • One of the questions about McDonald is whether or not his ties to Swanson (who has generated some political controversy in being a strong supporter of former Stark County treasurer Gary Zeigler and in supporting the 2008 commissioner decision [Bosley, Harmon and Vignos] to "impose" a 0.5% sales tax) will rub off on him in a "guilt by association" fashion.
    • Another concern has been his health.  Some months ago McDonald let it be known that he was suffering from esophageal cancer.  But he has told the SCPR that treatment has been successful and he is fit to run.
      • Who wins?  The SCPR believes that Dordea is the odds-on-favorite win but that a big Obama win in Stark County could allow McDonald to eke out a narrow victory.
  •  On the Renacci/Sutton race:
    • The Renacci/Sutton face-off (two incumbent members of Congress running against each other because of redistricting) is likely to be a nail-biter.
    • A poll done months ago showed Sutton ahead by the very slightest of margins.  
    • As the SCPR sees this race, Sutton likely ousts Renacci if the Obama numbers hold up at half the plurality of the CNN numbers or the ten point statewide Ohio poll favoring Obama published yesterday by Quinnipiac/CBS News/NY Times.
    • For Renacci to win, Romney is going to have to make a miraculous recovery in the dimensions of making the presidential race a dead heat by November 6th.
  • On the Healy-Abrams/Gibbs race:
    • In the Healy-Abrams/Gibbs match up, The Report believes that Healy-Abrams is within hailing difference and could be posed to pull off an upset.
    • The Report is told that Obama lost the district that now composes the area covered by the 7th congressional district 52% to 48% to John McCain in 2008 whereas Sherrod Brown (D - incumbent U.S. Senator ran at 56% in 2006),
    • Being a political neophyte, Healy-Abrams certainly will not poll higher than President Obama.  So if there is a case for a down-ticket-effect to drag a candidate to victory, this contest is one where strong Obama numbers will be needed for Healy-Abrams to pull the upset.
    • A marginal victory in Stark and other parts of the district is not likely to be enough to produce a Healy-Abrams victory.
Other Stark County races are likely to be unaffected in terms of outcome no matter what happens at the presidential level.

The Report expects Democrats Ferrero (prosecutor), Murthy (coroner), Campbell (recorder) and Reinbold (clerk of courts) to win with comfortable margins even if Romney were to take Stark County.  Moreover, Republican Alex Zumbar wins retention as the Stark County treasurer even in the face of an Obama Stark County landslide victory, should such a turn out to be the case.

Also,  in the Stark County-based Ohio House District races, Democrat Stephen Slesnick (the 49th), Republicans Kirk Schuring and Christina Hagan should win in a walk and whom between Obama and Romney piles up Stark County presidential votes will not affect the outcome of the final result.

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