Thursday, April 25, 2013


As to who will win the Democratic Primary for Canton city treasurer on May 7th, one veteran Canton politicians tells the SCPR that he thinks:
  • Kelly Zachary wins Wards 2 and 4,
  • Kim Perez wins Ward 1 (his former ward when he was in council),
  • Mary Cirelli wins Ward 3 (which she formerly represented) and Ward 5 and, perhaps 6, and
  • Wards 7, 8 and 9 are up for grabs,
The overall winner, he thinks, will be the candidate that gets her/his voters to the polls.

Not a whole lot there to disagree with from the SCPR's vantage point.

But there are a number of things to consider.

First of Ward 5 councilman Kevin Fisher has sided up with Kim Perez.  He worked for Perez when Perez was county auditor.  And it would have been surprising indeed for Fisher to abandon him in the treasurer's race.

So Mary Cirelli winning Ward 5 with Fisher doing a campaign flyer for Perez?  The SCPR is skeptical.  It makes a lot more sense that Fisher pulls Perez through in Ward 5.

If he doesn't, he may give pause for thought for someone to take him on two years down the road.

The Report believes it is likely that Cirelli comes in a competitive second in the 5th and by coming in second in the wards she does not win could be the key for a squeaker overall victory for her.  Should she slip to third in this ward, it could portend a Perez victory.

Also, Ward 6 is a troublesome spot for Cirelli.  Majority Leader Dougherty is the councilman for Ward 6 and one only has to take in his sighs of exasperation when Cerelli speaks up at council meetings to pretty much know that he (being Healy's point man on council) is going to be supporting the mayor's choice who, of course, is Kim Perez.

So yours truly does not see Cirelli winning Ward 6.  But she does come in a relatively close second.

But she will have to place first somewhere other than in the 3rd to become Canton treasurer.

Cirelli wins the election if she is victorious in Wards 7 and 8. 

They are Canton's largest (in terms of number of voters who show up on election day; election year-in, year-out) voting wards.  And they are Canton's most Republican wards.  Of course, this is not the general election and Republicans do not factor in.

The only question along these lines would be if the Democrats in these wards are more Republican like than any other wards in the city?  If they are, Cirelli wins because Perez is the personification of Democratic establishment politics (i.e. one of the Dems "good ole boys").

Keys in these two wards are Councilmen John Mariol (who is running unopposed in the 7th through the general election) and Edmund Mack (unopposed in the primary in Ward 8).

You have to believe that they are leaning Mary's way inasmuch as they often vote with Mary when opposing controversial Healy administration legislative proposals.

A Cirelli triump in Ward 9 (Frank Morris' ward - likely to have a large turnout because the of the Morris/Cole face off) would be icing on her political cake.  Cirelli is nonstop wearing her Group 175 button in support of Vassar Park (located in the 9th Ward) resident Bruce Nordman's campaign to force Canton to add 25 or so police offices to the Canton force.

The SCPR thinks her solidarity with the Vassar Park folks could be a key to a Ward 9 win for Mary.

Speculation is flying around that Fisher and Councilman-at-Large Jimmy Babcock (who also worked for Perez at the county auditor's office) are in line to work for Perez once again.

Fisher says emphatically that he will not be becoming a Perez employee.

Political sideliners seem convinced that Babcock will be off to the treasurer's office in a heartbeat if Perez wins.  And so he is certainly going all out for his former boss.

Why is the SCPR focusing on Cirelli and Perez and pretty much leaving Kelly Zachary out of the discussion up to this point?

Though she has impressive educational background and has the support of the Stark County Black Caucus (Caucus) and current treasurer Bob Schirak, the SCPR sees her likely to take Wards 2 and 4 and running third in the rest of Canton's wards.

It is hard to see how she has a winning campaign strategy.

She is part of a line up at a  Stark County Black Caucus Candidate Support Gospel Concert Rally to be had at the Mount Olive Baptist Church this coming Saturday beginning at 5:00 p.m.

While the Caucus should be able to deliver Wards 2 and 4 to her, the SCPR believes that such a base is a losing proposition citywide in heavily Democratic Canton with the likes of Kim Perez and Mary Cirelli on the ballot.

However, one has to wonder whether or not she might be vulnerable to being upset given her thrashing (though running as the incumbent) at the hand of current Councilwoman Chris Smith in the 2007 Democratic Primary?

Smith is now solidly behind Zachary and a good word from Chris may pull her through to victory.

Cirelli and Perez are proven vote getters citywide in Canton.

The city treasurer match up will be unlike Zachary's race against Republican Alex Zumbar in November, 2012 in which Zachary ran well against the Republican in Canton (winning by a substantial majority) but losing it once she got out into the townships and burgs of Stark County.

Her real role in the city treasurer's face off, the SCPR believes, revolves around the question:  Can she be a difference maker as between Perez and Cirelli?

Potentially she can be.

However, only in the sense of BUT FOR ZACHARY being in the race, the Caucus undoubtedly (with Councilpersons Smith and West being solid Healy supporters and therefore presumably Perez supporters) would steer the Caucus to endorse Perez which could have produced enough votes for him to edge out Cirelli citywide in a nip and tuck contest.

Other than being in an off-hand spoiler role, the SCPR does not see Zachary as having much to do with the overall outcome of who becomes Canton city treasurer.

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