Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Barbara Sykes to Run for Auditor


St. Rep. Barbara Sykes (D-Akron) has announced her candidacy for State Auditor and her entry into the Democratic Primary for that office. Sykes' announcement is suprising because just two months ago the State Representative had announced her intent to retire entirely from state politics. In her reasoning to retire from state politics Sykes said to the Akron Beacon-Journal, "There are other things I can do. I am looking forward to not driving to and from Columbus, attending long meetings and ending up at the same place every week." She added that she'd rather go back to doing work "at her own pace and on her schedule." (Akron Beacon Journal, 11/15/05) But suddenly now she is ready to become Ohio's next Auditor, almost reminiscent of a Ted Strickland who wanted to stay in Washington to tackle issues near and dear to his heart but now is the leading Democrat running for Governor. Sykes replaced her husband in the state legislature after he was forced out of the seat due to term limits. Barbara Sykes has served as President of the Black Legislative Caucus in the General Assembly. She served on the Akron City Council in the 1980s and ran as the Democratic candidate for State Treasurer in 1994 but was defeated by incumbent Treasurer Ken Blackwell. Now Sykes' husband, Vernon Sykes, who Barbara Sykes herself replaced, is taking out petitions to run for the legislative seat. Interesting hypocritical action from a political party that has recently denounced tactics by statewide Republicans and viewed their process of 'musical chairs' as undemocratic, as the LincolnLog blog intelligently argues.


Sykes' change of heart in deciding to continue her political career is being linked to her secret meeting with DNC Chairman Howard Dean last Wednesday when he came to Columbus to unveil the Democrats' political corruption reform package. Dean's strong encouragement for Sykes to enter the race for Auditor is almost a direct slap in the face to Mahoning County Treasurer John Reardon, who before Sykes' entry, was the absolute favorite for the being the Democratic nominee. But that is no more for Reardon. Dean's overt recruitment of Sykes may have something to do with the remarkably lack of diversity (always a paramount concern of Democrats) in their potential statewide candidates for 2006. Other then potential Secretary of State candidate Jennifer Bruner, there is not much diversity among the candidates to speak of. Meanwhile, the Republicans may have two African-Americans running statewide in 2006 with Ken Blackwell for Governor and Jeanette Bradley for Treasurer. Mary Taylor and Betty Montgomey are also heavy favorites in their respective primaries for statewide posts as well.

But whomever ultimatey wins the nomination for Auditor in the Democratic Primary, the candidate will have to gear up for the November general election against CPA & St. Rep. Mary Taylor (R-Green), who will almost assuredly be the Republican candidate.

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