Wednesday, January 09, 2008

SummCo Dem Chair Russ Pry Stepping Down Early

Democratic county Chair Russ Pry announced to a packed house at party headquarters that he will step down as party chair two months before the end of his term. Pry, who was appointed County Executive last July, originally planned to serve out his term. When he saw that Joe Finley is running a primary challenge against him, he decided to step down early.

In the party press release Pry notes that, “Quite frankly, it would not be fair to me or my opponent. I plan on running a very strong race in the next 50 days, while continuing to give over 100% to the people of Summit County as their Executive. . . Leaving the job as Chair just 6 weeks early will not jeopardize any of the work I have done.” In addition, he stated at the press conference that Finley's challenge "Raises issues that can harm the party." Stepping down now protects the work he has put into the party.

The press conference was an opportunity to review Pry's accomplishments as party chair. He helped organize a Young Democrats organization, reached out to other Democratic organizations and recruited quality candidates. At the podium, he placed the biggest emphasis on his first decision as chair -- recruiting Wayne Jones to be Finance Chair. The presser notes that at the time he took over "the party had only $700 in the bank."

Russ's legacy of accomplishment is undeniable. As noted elsewhere, much of the strife in the Republican party is thanks to him. Through the nineties the Dem party was a hollow shell. The party had taken union support for granted and, as the rubber factories shuttered, found itself gutted. Ten years ago, most Dems wouldn't know where Dem HQ was, much less be able to pack it on a Wednesday afternoon. In this environment, Republicans took for granted that they would outperform their numbers and that Alex Arshinkoff was the reason. Now that the Dem party is a power again, winning isn't as easy and Alex is getting the blame, though his tactics haven't changed.

Party Vice-Chair Madelyn Bozelli will serve as the Chair through the end of the term. She states that she has no interest in taking over the Party Chair after that. (She also hadn't heard the word "blogger" before I talked to her so probably a wise move, that.) Wayne Jones is planning to run for party chair and will certainly be the favorite if there is a challenge.

Once Pry had the party business out of the way, he spent the rest of the conference making his case to be kept as County Executive. He ran through his accomplishments -- resolving the fairgrounds dispute and helping to keep Goodyear in Akron, among them. Council President Nick Konstandaras and Council Member Cazell Smith spoke from the podium on his behalf. If their testimony is any indication, among Russ's accomplishments is establishing better relations between the Executive and Council after the at times fractious tenure of James McCarthy.

More coverage
from ABJ.

Apologies to Russ for continually recycling this horrible photo from Election Night '06. One of these days I'll remember my camera and get a better one.


Anonymous said...

Hey Russ, I think you left your dildo at Mike Curry's meth lab last night. Swing by the Board of Elections and pick it up from Mrs. Balthis.

Anonymous said...

nice pic of u Rusty... seems u can keep your mouth open for quite some time. Keep up the fantastic work!

Anonymous said...

The dildo comment is just out of line. Please, let's be nice to Mr. Butt Pry.