Tuesday, April 7, 2015


Just days after The Stark County Political Report selected "independent" councilman-at-large Richard Hart (formerly a Republican ward councilman years ago) as #6 on the SCPR Stark County Political Subdivision "Top 10 List," yours truly was surprised to learn at last night's council meeting that Hart is considering another run for mayor on November 3rd.

While not counting Canton city treasurer Kim Perez out, The Report thinks it is likely that Mayor Healy survives Perez's Democratic Party challenge on May 5th and BUT FOR a Hart candidacy would be uncontested in November.

The Report is surprised but not shocked that Hart is considering another mayoralty try.

Of late, Hart had been telling the SCPR that he likely would be filing by the 4:00 p.m. Stark Board of Elections deadline of May 4th (the day before the primary election) for reelection as councilman-at-large.

However, The Report has noted Hart's dissatisfaction with Healy's leadership of Canton in recent interviews including this one following the mayor's State of the City address of March 18th.

Yours truly always welcomes political competition but sees a Hart mayoralty candidacy against either Healy or Perez as a doomed effort in a city in which Democrats hold a 9 to 1 registration majority over Republicans.

Hold on Martin!  Hart is not a Republican.  And as in many of not most American electorates these days "independents' or if you will "non-partisans" generally outnumber both Democrats and Republicans.

So wouldn't that factor bode well for Hart in November's general election?

The SCPR thinks not.

The Report thinks that most registered "independents" or "nonpartisans" are closet Democrats or Republicans in that they generally do not vote in political party primary elections.

And Republicans, as scarce as they are in Canton, will be motivated to show up in force given the hotly contested judicial race that is in the offing for the Canton Municipal Court which be a Curtis Werren (the Republican) versus Democrat Kristen Guardado who the SCPR thinks is the likely nominee coming out of the Democratic Primary between Guardado and Angela Alexander.

Of course, the Canton Municipal Court District comprises of much more than the city of Canton.

Hart is likely to do well with the few Canton Republicans that make up the city's electorate (even if they vote in high percentages) despite the hostility that it appears that Board of Elections director and Stark County GOP chairman Jeff Matthews has towards him.

And he might do pretty well among "independents" and "non-partisans," but many of the latter will not be voting in an "off-year" (i.e. non-presidential; non-gubernatorial election year).

To repeat, as much as the SCPR would like to see either Healy or Perez have political competition in November, Hart as the competitor as a much better chance to be reelected councilman-at-large.

And as The Report sees the likely field of candidates, only Bill Smuckler has qualities that make for an effective legislator.

Fellow Democrats Jimmy Babcock, Mary Cirelli and former Canton clerk of courts and Stark County commissioner Tom Harmon are not in Smuckler's and Hart's league.

Either way, the SCPR thinks that it is good news that Richard Hart will be a candidate for a Canton city government office in 2015.

The best news and most realistic for him is to seek to be one of the top three vote getters in Canton's 2015 councilperson-at-large race.

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