Tuesday, February 9, 2016



(Photo, underline and text added by SCPR)

Aha!  A case of The Stark County Political Report trying to help state Representative Stephen Slesnick become a Stark County commissioner?

Not at all.

Quite the opposite.

Actually, this blog is a commentary focusing on the fumbling, bumbling seemingly comatose Stephen Slesnick who - if the Democrats nominate him - the SCPR thinks will make it easy for the Republican primary winner (Canton Township trustee Bill Smith or Alliance Republican David Mungo to make the Stark County commissioners "all Republican" come January 1, 2017.

The Report was amazed on seeing the Slesnick fundraising flyer that he proclaims tonight's event as the "kickoff" for his campaign for Stark County commissioner as the Democratic nominee for November's general election.

If his last campaign finance report is any indication of the health of his campaign bank account, he had better hope that lots of supporters with loads of campaign finance contributions in hand show up at tonight's event.

 If on February 8, 2016, some 36 days from the Dems' primary election (March 15th) he still only has $1,665.77 on hand, it appears that his campaign finance status is:  "on life support."

In contrast to Slesnick's late start, one of his chief opponents, Canton Ward 5 councilman Kevin Fisher has this flyer out in the mail already:

And Katherine Baylock (who ran as a Canton Charter Commission candidate) has been attending Stark County commissioner weekly meetings; week-in and week-out.

Former commissioner Pete Ferguson?

He may be even more low profile than Slesnick.

But interesting enough most Stark County political cognoscenti types are saying that either Ferguson or Slesnick is likely to be the Democratic primary winner.

If these politicos are correct, "organized" Stark County Democrats better hope that Ferguson wins because the SCPR thinks Slesnick, notwithstanding all the "free" ink he as gotten in The Repository over his 8 plus years in the Ohio General Assembly on very little of substance, would loose big time to either of the Republicans that is victorious in the Republican primary.

The Report figures that Ferguson is the Dems best bet to win in November.  However, yours truly is getting the feeling that Ferguson's passion for running again is way down from when he defeated Republican John Hagan in 2008.

The Report has learned that Ferguson filed his petitions to run for the vacated Commissioner Thomas Bernabei seat (Bernabei a former Democrat who took office as mayor of Canton as a political independent on January 1, 2016) only on learning that former Democratic county commissioner Gayle Jackson (appointed by Democratic governor Ted Strickland to the Ohio Lottery Commission in 2007) was not going to run.

Hagan like Slesnick had spent eight years in the Ohio House getting all public relations media releases one could possibly hope for - being term limited out beginning with the coming of January 1, 2009 - had to land somewhere and thought he could parlay being state representative for all those years into becoming commissioner.

Hagan apparently thought he was "entitled" to another office by virtue of legislated out of his Ohio House office.

Ditto for Slesnick on his current run for county commissioner.

Hagan, who the SCPR thinks, was only marginally better than Slesnick as state representative although he was a member of a majority/supermajority Republican Ohio House Caucus, lost rather substantially to then political neophyte Ferguson.

There was pre-filing talk that Hagan would file to run for the Republican nomination.

Had Hagan filed and won and Slesnick won the Democratic nod, wouldn't that have been a terrific choice for Stark County voters to have to hold there noses on in the process of voting in November?

Given Ferguson's seeming lack of passion for running for commissioner again, is this four person Democratic line up (i.e. Baylock, Ferguson, Fisher, and Slesnick) the optimum situation for Kevin Fisher surprise many and come out of the Dems' primary as the nominee?

The Report thinks that Fisher with his all-out support from Stark County's organized labor might be the best bet for the Dems' to re-claim the Bernabei seat

One of the reasons that Slesnick gives as a reason for his marked ineffectiveness as a state representative in terms of his being effective for Stark County is the reality that he was for most of if not all of his 8 years plus a member of a minority/superminority Ohio Democratic House Caucus.

The Report's response to that is that talented politicos find away around institutional barriers favoring those in charge.

Just follow newly appointed Youngstown area (Poland) Ohio House member John Boccieri.

He faces the same minority status problems that Slesnick did.

Nevertheless, one hears Boccieri's name frequently in his push to get things done in the Ohio General Assembly for the benefit of Ohioans and constituents in his district:

Slesnick's forte seemed to be pushing legislation to honor/remember this or that public figure.

And the SCPR thinks Slesnick would be the same kind of county commissioner.

Readers know that yours truly thinks Democratic Canton councilman Jimmy Babcock is "a wallflower councilman" who is where he is politically because of family factors (his father a former Canton mayor, his mother a long time councilperson).

Slesnick came out of political nowhere in early 2008 in winning the Democratic primary for what was then the 52nd Ohio House District, to wit:

Over 7 of 10 Democrats voted for someone other than Slesnick and the SCPR thinks hindsight being 20/20 the seven were correct in thinking that someone other than Slesnick was the best choice.

It certainly wouldn't have been Babcock from the The Report's perspective given given a commonality in the backgrounds of the Canton councilman and Representative Slesnick.

So how did Slesnick according former Stark County Democratic Party chairman Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. way of computing math (see this SCPR Link on Maier's mathematical skills), achieve an "ass kicking" victory with 29% of the vote?

The Report's take?

The Slesnick family name, that's how, to wit:

The Slesnick name has been associated with recycling in Canton since 1924 [Editor's note:  1919 according to material at LINK #2 below], when Barney Slesnick started collecting recyclable metals, paper and rags. Barney’s son Sidney, who lived to the age of 95, joined the family business and eventually assumed leadership of it. What they created represents the start of not one but two recycling companies spanning four generations of leadership. (LINK #1 and LINK #2 to history of Slesnick family as Canton-based businesses)

As the SCPR computes the above timeline, state Representative Stephen D. Slesnick as a politician is trading on the Slesnick family business name going back nearly 100 years.

What an advantage, no?

Combing Slesnick's Facebook page (began July 30, 2010 and "apparently" ending on August 6, 2013, LINK), there is very little that one can garner that he has accomplished that directly benefited his Stark County-based Ohio House District.  Here are excerpts in the form of the beginning entry and the ending entry:

And a review of Slesnick's activity in the current Ohio House of Representative session (2015-2016) shows a lot of honoring/memorializing this or that person (LINK to Ballotpedia [see extracts below] but little if anything of substance directly benefiting Stark Countians, to wit:

One Canton politico cautions the SCPR "not to count Slesnick out" on winning the March 15th primary election.

And The Report thinks that the politico's caution is sound advice based on the family name factor alone.

However, yours truly thinks that the Slesnick name is mostly an advantage in a Canton-centered political environment.

A run for county commissioner, of course, involves "all" of Stark County.

In a Stark County wide environment, one has to give the edge to former commissioner Pete Ferguson.

But with Ferguson appearing to be lackadaisical coupled with the aggressive countywide campaign that it appears Kevin Fisher is running, Canton Councilman Kevin Fisher could well be the surprise victor in March 15 Democratic primary election.

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