Now that the sentiment in Canton has clearly changed from 13 years of Republican rule to a new era of Democrat leadership under Mayor Healy, will the focus become the 2008 Presidential election and what this Mayor’s race might mean?

I think it should. The New York Times did a great piece back during the ’04 election and indeed deemed Stark to be a bellwether county:

Stark County, which went narrowly for Mr. Bush in 2000, has voted for the winner in every election since 1962, save in 1976, when it supported Gerald Ford over Jimmy Carter. In a county poll at the end of September by the local newspaper, The Repository, Mr. Bush led, 46 percent to 44 percent. The margin of sampling error was four percentage points.

The article was later corrected to start the trend in 1964, and we know that Kerry won Stark 51/49 in 2004, despite a Bush win overall. 1 time in 40 years it didn’t hold true – and we’ll all agree it was no normal election!

If you bet on odds, the bet is that Stark will break for the winner and the Mayor’s race might provide insight into becoming the one who causes these mostly independent, blue collar, middle American voters to break for their candidate. Make no mistake. Stark is a county in Ohio to watch as the ’08 Presidential draws closer. Astute political operatives will know this and not downplay the events of last night in which an incumbent Republican Mayor was unseated after 13 years of Republican Mayors.