Wednesday, November 6, 2013





Massillon Republicans were jubilant last night as they huddled together (along with Democratic councilwoman-elect [at-large] Michelle Del Rio-Keller) at Massillon's Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Henderson Lodge to check out election returns.

From the get-go incumbent Republicans Sarita Cunningham-Hedderly (Ward 1), Nancy Halter (Ward 2) and Ed Lewis, IV were ahead in the vote count and each of them maintained the lead through the final count.

But they were very, very close races.

In the case of Halter and Lewis, the Maier-Jackson (former Stark County Democratic chairman and Massillon clerk of courts Johnnie A. Maier, Jr and Stark Dems political director and Maier chief deputy clerk of courts Shane Jackson) wing of the Massillon Democratic Party came within 25 votes and 27 votes, respectively; of gaining council support for Mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry; a Maier-Jackson political ally to say the least.

"Close, but no cigar" is the adage that best describes the Maier-Jackson effort.

For all their supposed political expertise, Maier-Jackson could not oust the Ward 2 and 6 Republican incumbents.

And, in the view of The Report, their falling short will prove to be a very good thing for a "brighter future" for Massillon given all its current financial difficulties which appears to been "politically induced" by the mayor in her refusal to work with the current council on a "come and let us reason together" basis on the matter of raising sorely needed new revenues.

It appears to the SCPR that only the newly elected (last night) Shaddrick Stinson (Democrat - Ward 4) will be a dependable (vote-in, vote-out) supporter of the Catazaro-Perry administration.

For a political novice, Republican Jim Triner showed pretty well in Ward 4 which is the most Democratic (in terms of registration identity) of all six of Massillon's wards.

But Councilwoman Quenessa Hampton's husband did draw off 72 votes from Stinson that presumably would have gone to Quenessa had she been the Democratic candidate in Ward 4.

Once thought to be in sync with the Maier-Jackson folks, she had a falling out them and The Report is told that they pulled their support from husband Edward as an alternative when it was learned that Quenessa (a member of the military) had to withdraw because the Hatch Act (a federal law) prohibits military (among other federal employees) from holding partisan political office.

Interesting enough, Quenessa made an appearance at the FOP Lodge gathering last night.

Though the Mike Loudiana (former safety-services director in the Frank Cicchinelli administration) and Sarita Cunningham-Hedderly race was also close (only 42 votes separating them); had Loudiana won, there would have been no comfort for the Maier-Jackson folks because Loudiana is an avowed political enemy of anything Maier-Jackson/Catazaro-Perry.

Perhaps, had Donnie Peters, Jr run for reelection in Massillon's Ward 5, the Republicans would have retained their current 5 to 4 majority control of Massillon City Council.

But he decided to step aside, he tells the SCPR, to devote his full attention to other Massillon civic activities he is involved in.

Consequently, Massillon's "fragmented" Democrats number-wise will have a 5 to 4 majority in the 2014-2015 terms of council.

It does not appear to the SCPR that it is a majority that will in any way, shape, or form hold together along partisan lines when it comes to key votes on council.

They may not even be able to come together to organize council. 

Perhaps either Paul Manson (Democrat, council-at-large) or Michelle Del Rio-Keller (Democrat, council-at-large); maybe both (who also were at the FOP gathering), will join the Republicans to organize the 2014-2015 version of Massillon City Council?

Lame-duck Councilman Larry Slagle (Democrat, at-large) was also in attendance last night at the FOP.

The SCPR did speak with Cunningham-Hedderly, Halter and Lewis after they believed that they had won reelection.

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