Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Akron GOP to offer a "pleasant" candidate for mayor?

As the dust of Mayor Don Plusquellic's decision to retire filters through the local paper, there remains the current state of the county Republican Party's effort to find a worthy candidate for the November election once they stop dancing in the aisles at party headquarters.

The only published clue so far has been party official  Bryan Williams' assurance to the voters that his side will have a "first -class" candidate who will be a "pleasant alternative"  to the departing Democratic mayor.  Your pleasant guess is as good as mine.

As a witness to the party's off-stage existence for at least the four decades that I can remember,  the local GOP has fallen on harder times since the passing of hometowner Ray Bliss. In more recent times, Chairman Alex Arshinkoff has showcased a swing to the right at his coming-out annual dinners.  The latest featured Lincoln Day speaker was Rep. Jim Jordan, a four-time high school wrestling champion from Urbana , Oh., who is generallly regarded as  one of the most conservative  hombres on Capitol Hill.

Others who preceded him at Alex's annual  shindigs were such right-wing luminaries as Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee.  You can include Bryan Williams, recently of the State Board of Education who was forced out as a lobbyist for a company running a charter school.  How pleasant must that have been?

So will the GOP candidate be an ideologue with a fringe social media agenda?  Whatever else you might think of Plusquellic, he was always committed to a stable city with an improving economy, stronger public school system, clean hands at City Hall  and all of the amenities from sports to the performance arts that made a city livable.  His popularity  and noteworthy successes led to more than one thought from the state Democrats for him to run for governor.  Sorry, Akron was his home forever.

But as one source put it, Plusquellic simply burned out from life at the crazy front. Will the local Republicans foolishly try to pour gasoline on their long-smoldering Plusquellic fire, or will they face up to what it takes to manage a modern city with their choice  for a successor?    It will take more than pleasantries.

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