Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Widowfield Challenging for Cuy Falls Muni Clerk

What becomes a term-limited legislator most? Running for Muni Clerk of Courts apparently. Rep John Widowfield (R-42) has filed to run against appointed incumbent Democrat Lisa Zeno Carano. Widowfield is being a good soldier here. With his business experience and now ties in the Statehouse, he could do much better, but as the Beacon Journal story notes, there are a lot of patronage jobs at stake.

At first blush this looks like big trouble for Carano. Widowfield is, after all, the anti-Coughlin of Cuyahoga Falls. He's a nice guy, true moderate, bipartisan lawmaker who supports public schools and just wants the government to spend money wisely. But looking at the maps, I'd say it's Carano's race to lose.

The district of the Cuy Falls Muni Court comprises all of Widowfield's district, give or take a few precincts. In addition, it includes Tallmadge, Twinsburg, Northfield, Sagamore, Boston Heights and Peninsula, plus the surrounding townships. In last year's race, relative newcomer Paul Coloavecchio came within 1100 votes of Widowfield. He's not untouchable, or at least wasn't last year.

Meanwhile, the areas outside his legislative district but within the court district favor Carano. Tallmadge of course, is D country and Carano's base. Eyeballing the results for Governor and Attorney General in the last election, the other towns and townships generally trended D. If it again is a Dem year, Carano can certainly come up with more than an 1100-vote net return in the areas added to Widowfield's field of play.

At any rate, it's as close as we will have to an interesting race this fall.


Anonymous said...

Widowfield could not do much better. He's lazy and ineffective as a state rep. He has zero potential of going to higher office.

The clerk is cushy and light lifting. Just his speed.

I checked out his fundraising record at the Secretary of State's site. Not much there. He clearly has not spent a lot of time raising money, or maybe he's just such a non-entity in Columbus that he can't rasie it.

Scott Piepho said...

Not higher office, but he could do better in the private sector. As to fundraising, he's an Alex guy. Recall that he was one of the reps roadblocking a new SummitCo. judgeship. I don't know that it's a matter of not being able to raise money or if it's that he doesn't need to because Daddy Alex will provide.

Anonymous said...

Except that Daddy Alex is at his lowest point in years and his fundraising base is failing apart. No governor, no attorney general, no secretary of state, no Congress, and a lame duck White House means people have little reason to give. People weren't giving to Alex's machine because they wanted to.

Anonymous said...

Team Carano expect it to be uphill for them because Hudson, unlike the rest of the municipalities, is electing a mayor this fall. They expect this will draw more voters to the poll, and Hudson is predominantly (R).

Anonymous said...

Actually Pho you are correct. It is big trouble for Carano.

Widowfield has never lost an election, winning five in the last ten years.

I also checked Widowfield's fundraising and he raised more money in Summit County last year than any other local candidate.

The Republican bloodletting is gone, the Ohio General Assembly has a good favorability rating.

The northern part of Summit County trends Republican.

He will not lose a municipality this year, he'll even win Tallmadge.

This race is Widowfield's to lose, depending on how hard he works and how much he raises.

Anonymous said...

Are you serious? A monkey could handicap this race!

The Republican on the ballot for the first time (Coughlin) almost beat the 20 year incumbent Democrat (Czetli) in 2003!

Widowfield was one of only two Republicans to win ANYTHING last year, in one of the worst election years for Republicans EVER!

Look at the presidential polling in Ohio, Republicans are polling well against Democrats.

The tidal wave has crashed against the rocks.

If you couldn't take him out last year, you won't this year!

I agree with the other poster, he will not lose a district this year.

Scott Piepho said...

Well this has been fun to watch. Anon2 gets my position right, though I re-evaluate somewhat in light of Guy's comment (Guy being a real life friend with a more direct line into the Carano camp than I have.)

The 2003 race doesn't compare. In 2003 the Dems' fortunes were comparable to, well the Repubs now. Ms. Coughlin may have been a political newcomer but her name was hardly unknown.

More to the point, in 2004 Widowfield won 58% of the vote. In 06 he won about 52. Things have changed.

It won't be a cakewalk for Lisa. She's up against a more experienced campaigner who is more widely known throughout the district. But both parties will be throwing big jack at the race and team Carano has serious fire in the belly. It's going to be tight and it's going to be as much fun to watch as a clerks race can be.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Pho, I gotta go with anon 1, i don't see how widowfield loses....

I live in his old council ward and remember him coming by my door. I've followed his path since that first year. He's defeated three attorney's, two of them women. A finance guy, and a union guy.
i'm a yellow dog d but this is one of those guys who keeps pretty quiet and just wants to do a good job.

He has five wins and no losses, i think he gets number six this year...

Anonymous said...

has anyone heard Widowfield speak? He's a moron. the upside for him is there aren't exactly debates for the clerk position.

honestly, you don't walk away from an encounter with john widowfield with an impression that he's very sharp.

if I was Carano I would challenge widowfield to as many debates as possible.

Scott Piepho said...

Can't agree with the last Anonymouse. I've only heard him speak once -- at a candidate's night about education -- but he was solid.

Anonymous said...

I had a piece of Widowfield’s campaign literature dropped in my paper box the other day. I have never seen a campaign piece that says so little about the office he is seeking.

He has green camo paint (VietNam, right? No. Washington DC - a real war zone) looking like a boy scout waiting for a pat on the back from his scout master, " How do I look? Did I do good?"

He also highlights putting away rapists and criminals in the campaign piece. Another stretch by anyone’s imagination. You’d think he is running for town sheriff. I don’t think I know of any clerks who carry a gun and arrest people. In his mind he must be - Crimefighter John Widowfield – Clerk of Courts!”. From reviewing clerk’s offices websites around the State, it appears their actual job is to file all the court records. Someone better tell him what his job will be and that he filed to run for the wrong position. Watch out Drew - John thinks he is running for your job.

He doesn’t have any photos of his supporters on the campaign piece either. Where’s a photo of him with friends Bob Taft, Dave White Hat Brennan, or Kenny Blackwell?

I suspect he is running for a local office because he sees the writing on the wall with the State legislature going to the Democrats in 08. “Who’s your daddy” is tired of fighting for charter schools and big business. It’s high noon for Widowfield and Gary Cooper he is not. John wants to hop on his horse before the legislature turns Democratic in 08. Widowfield knows he will lose the seat next time. He barely won last time.

I can hear Arshinkoff singing in the background right now, "Now don’t forsake me Oh my darling.”

Anonymous said...

I have met Widowfield. He is a fair guy. He is not partisan, he is true moderate who leans to the right, so what! This anti-Republican mood has to stop and give the individual the benefit of the doubt. Sure; Taft, Bush, Ney and Noe give the GOP an unfavorable element; but Widowfield is sharp and straight up. This Lisa Carano has to earn her spot just as much as Widowfield. She was apponited, she was never elected. Forget the political yard signs, the independents, and the partisan dialogue. Widowfield has been a constant representative in cities like Cuyahoga Falls, Stow, Hudson, Macedonia, and Munroe Falls. He is not a politician. Therefore; he has my vote

Anonymous said...

No one can argue that Summit County is a "Blue County" and always will be. Fair Enough. Yet, why do citizens of Summit County always bash the Republicans who have no power, control, or presence - I guess except the Sheriff's and Engineer's Office - Big Deal! The constant and never ending degrading of the G.O.P. and those on the right in this county is mindboggling. How about questioning Plusquellic, Pry, Wayne Jones, Marco Sommerville, Akron City Council and all the other major players in the Democratic Party. People give too much credit and attention to Arshinkoff. Why? Is it possible that he can turn Summit County into a "Red County" - he has been Chairman since he was 25 years old. I don't think so. The Democrats in this county are naive and stupid. You have the power and influence - now do something about it and get things done without whining about the insignificant Republicans who you blame on all your shortcomings.