Friday, June 6, 2014



No doubt it is politically incorrect (as far as Stark County Democratic Party officialdom is concerned) not to get in line with all the King's Horsemen and the King's Men in an effort to put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

True to form, the Stark County Political Report is not about to say that Randy Gonzalez's reign as Stark County Democratic Party (Party) chairman was a success.

However, as The Report nearly always does, this blog will let those who differ have their say.  Accordingly, the SCPR has included in this blog Gonzalez's self appraisal, the remarks of various other leading Stark County Democrats and the presentation of new party chairman Phil Giavasis make their own case.

The truth of the matter, as The Report sees it, is that Gonzalez's five years plus as party chairman has not been a success for the Party and much more importantly has,  to say the least, been a trying time for the citizenry of Stark County which likely has resulted in an overall subtle decline of the public's confidence in the institutions of local government.

The Stark County commissioners' office (Democrat Thomas Bernabei and Republican Janet Creighton, in the main) have been the only force in local government that has performed since 2011 in a fashion to undo the damage (which did not materialize until 2009) some think was put in motion when the Stark Dems' (ironically, in 1999 under the chairmanship of now Stark County prosecutor John Ferrero) appointed  one Gary D. Zeigler as Stark County treasurer.

In his day, Zelgler's primarily qualification to be appointed treasurer seemed to be his persistent and enduring work on behalf of the Party's causes and his carrying the Party banner in "sacrificial lamb" sorts of  multiple tries for political office of the 1990s.

Moreover, when Gonzalez became chairman Stark's organized Democrats held all non-judicial countywide offices.

In the 2010 elections, the Dems lost the treasury and the auditor's office.  While Zeigler was restored to office in August, 2011 by the Ohio Supreme Court because the pre-election-of-2010 Board of Stark County commissioners (Democrats Bosley, Ferguson and Gonzalez confidant Steven Meeks) had unconstitutionally removed him as a consequence of what local attorney ancd civic activist Craig Conley has termed as being Zeiglergate, it was clear to one and all that Alliance Republican Alex Zumbar (who won the 2010 treasury election which the Supreme Court invalidated) would have to because of public demand be appointed by the Democrats. 

Last night's Dems' meeting was in celebration of Party loyalists.  That is to say, those loyal to the political machine built up over time (going back to the late 1980s) by Johnnie A. Maier, Jr of Massillon.  But, of course no direct mention of Zeigler was made.  (for those readers unfamiliar with Zeigler's time in office, here is a LINK to get up to speed with).

The - sore point - oblique reference to the Zeigler years in office was made by Chairman Gonzalez last night as he recalled and described how he had to lead the fight within the Party to appoint  Zumbar to replace Zeigler when Zeigler resigned/retired on October 19, 2011.

Zumbar in the November, 2012 general election easily defeated the token Democratic candidate put up to oppose him.

Gonzalez as he is prone to do (a la the Democrat's very best political spin artist; i.e. Canton mayor William J. Healy, II) put the best face on the unpleasantness of appointing Zumbar.

However, a number of "official family Democrats" are still upset that Gonzalez caved in to public pressure.

To be sure, the Democrats still have a tight grip on most non-judicial countywide office.  The fear now is that they could lose the sheriff's office come November.

At least some of Stark's organized Democrats are concerned.  Others may just as soon see Republican Larry Dordea's election.

These may include those who did not support either in February or December, the selection of George T. Maier to be the Party's appointed sheriff.

If George is elected, then the Maier faction of the Stark County Democratic Party (the controlling faction) will have achieved its deepest reach into Stark County government.

Though not nearly inclusively enough, here is a graphic created by the SCPR to give a semblance of the Maiers' reach into Stark County officialdom government.

And most of them were main players in last night's gathering.

The machine itself was rocked on February 5, 2013 when Junior's brother George T. Maier narrowly defeated the politically unknown and unsophisticated Louis Darrow for the Stark County Democratic Party Central Committee's  (SCDP-CC) appointment as Stark County sheriff (LINK to circumstances and background of the appointment for the unfamiliar).

Everybody was stunned when Maier had to fight hard to eke out a narrow 92 to 84 over political novice Darrow.

It remains to be seen as to whether or not the George T. Maier appointment will stick.

It is one thing for him to have navigated the waters created by brother Johnnie over nearly 30 years of politiking, but it quite another to have to get the endorsement of Stark County voters in an election year that without a doubt is going to be a banner year for Ohio Republicans.

If Republican John Kasich runs as well as the SCPR and many other political analysts think he will, it will be difficult indeed for George T. Maier to win election even if (as the SCPR expects he will) runs well ahead of other Democrats running this election year in Stark County.

And it was obvious from the remarks of the Maier controlled Stark County Democratic Party officialdom that though there may be other Democratic Party candidates on the November 4, 2014 ballot; nearly all the local Party's resources are going to be dedicated to the George T. Maier effort.

The SCPR dubs the Maier/Dordea (Republican Larry Dodea, former Alliance police chief and current Hartville police chief) as "Dordea's to lose."

"Dordea's to lose" in the context of the "up-ticket" drubbing that the Democrats are likely to take in the November election is the SCPR's take on the November Stark County sheriff races match up.

If this were 2016, the tables would be reversed and Maier would be the odds-on-choice to win.  For Democratic political organizations can only seem to get the Democratic base out in big enough numbers in presidential years. 

If Maier is to win, then new chairman Phil Giavasis (Democrat; currently Canton Municipal Court clerk of courts, formerly Stark County clerk of courts) will have to demonstrate tremendous leadership skills in terms of bringing a divided political party together.

In any event, whether Maier wins or loses, Giavasis, the SCPR assesses, is only a "temporary" chairman.  The chairman-in-waiting, The Report is convinced is Randy Gonzalez's son Kody who succeeded father Randy as chief deputy clerk of courts under guess who?

You've got it:  Canton Municipal Court clerk of courts Phil Giavasis.

As promised, here is a series of videos the SCPR took of last night of the "Maier Loyalty Club" rally.





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