Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Pry's Perfect Planning

We aren't even into the 2007 General Election and already it's fun to check out the early sniping between the Akron Lords of the Ring.

Russ Pry will announce tomorrow (Wednesday -- AkronNewsNow story here) he will try to make appointed elected with a run for the Summit County Executive job. He's been in the post since Jim McCarthy retired last summer, holding down not only the top county post but also holding on to the Democratic Party chairmanship.

Nice work if you can get it, and so far Pry's done a nice job of showing the doubters (myself included) that he's got a pretty good handle on not only talking the talk but also walking the walk. Pry's not only got the look down but he projects the leadership style folks look for in an executive-level post in the time he's been running the show. He clearly has a style different than McCarthy's rough-and-tumble moving up the ladder: Pry is smoother, appears to work more on building consensus and he hasn't missed many opportunities to build on those relationships as a constant presence on major political issues such as CSB, the Urban League's new headquarters building, trying to find the peace over management of the Summit County Fairgrounds and even tackling animal control.

By the way, the County is still doing it's water and sewer and economic development thing, too.

Folks expecting missteps have yet to be rewarded; so far no snide wars involving some of the more mercurial members of County Council. Pry gets high marks from other county elected officials, including GOP office holders in an environment where serving as County Executive usually means wearing a target on your chest because you control the flow of dough. Summit County is unique; the only county in Ohio with a charter government, one where a legislative body works with an executive branch (what a novel thought).

There's one job Pry's been holding that preps him well for 2008's election shenanigans now that his name's on a ballot a couple hundred thousand voters will decide on: a member of the Summit County Elections Board.

The Beacon Journal got some pithy thoughts from GOP Chairman Alex Arshinkoff's (Yin to Pry's Yang on paper even though it's really seen as an Alex v. Wayne Jones fight) on Pry's plans. Arshinkoff says Pry's been acting "like a Democratic officeholder" for his first 100 days.

No kidding, Alex -- Pry has been the Democratic officeholder, and with a reported $100k already in the kitty and the likelihood of banking even more makes him a strong opponent for any Republican. Or Democrat who thinks they can take him for a spin in the March primary.

Regardless of how he got there he's the incumbent, which is golden in a year of presidential and congressional politics. So long as Pry doesn't stumble, so long as there's no negatives, so long as there's no scandal it'll be tough for opponents to tag him as a rookie (not true since July) or too partisan (talk to the GOP'ers who govern with him) to force a change.

Shy of big names such as a Robart (unlikely) or a Coughlin (now waging a fight to the death with Alex for the GOP committee) there isn't a long line of Republican candidates in the wings ready for a bruising battle with the Democratic machine behind a well-financed incumbent -- even if he hasn't won a single election for the job he's holding.

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