Published October 7, 2006
Now that the Washington Post has all but declared the 6th Congressional District race over the newspaper contends that Democratic state Sen. Charlie Wilson is in such a strong position to win that the national Republican Party has decided not invest any more money in Republican state Rep. Chuck Blasdel's campaign this question looms: Is Mahoning County Commissioner Anthony Traficanti on Wilson's short list for a staff position?
Traficanti, who worked for Congressman-turned-federal prisoner James A. Traficant Jr., has made it known that he would like to return to congressional service. And everything seemed to be in his favor until his decision to take on millionaire mall developer Anthony Cafaro over the issue of the Mahoning County Jobs and Family Service and Child Support Enforcement Agency leases.
Cafaro is fighting to hold on the JFS and CSEA, which are located in the undesirable McGuffey Mall on the East Side, but Traficanti and Commissioner David Ludt have voted to move the agencies to Oakhill Renaissance Place, the former South Side Medical Center complex.
Given that Wilson, like Cafaro, is a millionaire, will money talk? And if it does, will Traficanti become the pawn in this high-stakes game? Will he find out just how high a price he will have to pay to get the congressional job he desires?
Here's a cynical take on what will transpire between the Nov. 7 general election and Dec. 31, if Wilson wins the 6th District race: Traficanti will change his vote and join Commissioner John McNally in blocking the JFS and CSEA move from the McGuffey Mall.
Should that happen, Cafaro will secure another long-term lease with Mahoning County government, and will remove any impediments to Traficanti's joining Wilson's staff.
But that's the cynical view of things.
Traficanti might truly be a man of principle and stick to his guns regardless of what might happen to his future.
Time will tell.