Canton Repository - Kirk Schuring: Each Move Part of the Effort to Win the Seat of Retiring Ralph Regula
BY EDD PRITCHARD
Walt Grosjean knows Kirk Schuring's name. But the Wayne County Republican had never met Schuring. Never heard him make a speech.
Grosjean's chance came on Oct. 7.
Schuring attended a fundraiser for Ron Amstutz, a state senator now seeking an Ohio House seat. Grosjean has been attending Amstutz fundraisers at The Barn for years. He walks in just before the speeches start, grabs some food and listens while he eats.
Schuring doesn't spend too much time at the lectern. He offers an explanation of some of the mailings folks have received. Says national Democratic Party groups are spending plenty of money on the Ohio 16th District election.
"We're not going to be able to outspend the special interests," Schuring tells the 80-or-so people in the meeting room. He asks for help take a yard sign, make some phone calls, go door-to-door.
Grosjean's reaction is quick. No, he'd never met Schuring, "But I'm impressed," he says.
Between noon on Oct. 7 and noon on Oct. 10, Schuring participated in three candidates forums and one debate, attended a fundraiser for old friend Amstutz, and traveled to Ashland to honor U.S. Rep. Ralph Regula. He spent Oct. 8 preparing for the debate. The afternoon of Oct. 9 he recorded telephone calls with Regula.
Every move is part of the effort to drum up support for his bid to win a seat in Congress.
Since first running for the Ohio House in 1994, Schuring hasn't lost an election. His experience as a candidate and elected official shows during each event.
Schuring is at ease behind a podium or holding a microphone. He moves freely in a crowd, greeting people and stopping to listen. He enjoys trying to make a joke, sometimes at his expense and other times as a jab at opposing candidate, Democrat John Boccieri. It's always in good nature.
On the campaign trail, Schuring likes pointing out that he's reached out to Democrats as well as Republicans, in the Ohio General Assembly trying to get things done.
Audience members at the Alliance Chamber of Commerce Legislative Breakfast note that Schuring and Boccieri get along pretty well. No signs of animosity. Plenty of smiles between the two.
WORK AS A TEAM
When Schuring traveled to Smithville on Oct. 7 and to Wooster for the Oct. 8 debate, he brought along wife Darlene.
She is just as steady in a crowd as her husband, shaking hands and making introductions.
Darlene doesn't mind hitting the campaign trail. It's great to meet different people, she says. At both events she sees familiar faces, among the new folks she meets.
Oct. 7 has two events for the couple. After meeting folks in Smithville, the Schurings race back to Jackson Township for a candidates forum organized by the Arts Community of Canton.
Darlene drives, allowing Kirk some time on the cell phone to prepare.
Once at the Main Hall on the Kent State University Stark Campus, Schuring is greeted by familiar faces. He points that out during his presentation, a subtle way of reminding folks that he's the local guy.
The arts are important, especially in schools, Schuring tells the small crowd. Participating in the arts helps students foster innovation and creativity that can help them compete in a global market.
"We need to promote the public value of the arts," Schuring said.
'This election is not about me. I'm just the face that's associated with it. This election is about you.'
KIRK SCHURING, REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE FOR 16TH CONGRESSIONAL
WHAT OTHERS SAY ...
Ron Amstutz, a Wayne County Republican who has served in the Ohio House and Senate with Schuring, urged supporters at his Oct. 7 fundraiser to likewise support Schuring's congressional bid.
"This guy knows how to work," Amstutz said of Schuring.
Amstutz reminded his supporters that Schuring is running in one of the country's five most competitive congressional races. It's attracted a lot of attention, money and disparaging campaign literature. "It's a lot of drive-by stuff that's pretty frustrating," Amstutz said of mailings.
Mary Taylor, Ohio's auditor and the state's highest ranking Republican office holder, echoed Amstutz on Oct. 9 at an Ashland County Republican Party event. "People are angry, bitter, hateful and even a little downright mean," Taylor said of campaigning against Schuring.
Taylor called Schuring the right man to take over for Regula, saying Schuring always responded to constituents. "Anybody who calls him, he works hard for."
Mary Regula joined husband Ralph at the Ashland County event. "Just as you trusted Ralph, you can trust Kirk Schuring," she told the audience.
How does Mrs. Regula know that? Well, she knows Darlene Schuring. "If Kirk gets out of line, Darlene will straighten him out."
Bob DeSanto, Ashland County's Republican Party chairman, dislikes Boccieri's stance on the Iraq war. That's one reason he wants Schuring to win. But more than that, DeSanto believes Schuring will be someone who will do a a good job representing the district. "He's everything we stand for, folks," DeSanto told fellow Republicans.