Sunday, June 18, 2006

Indiana GOP Struggles To Find Delegates To Attend State Convention

As further evidence of a weakening state party, Niki Kelly of the Ft. Wayne Journal-Gazette reports that the Indiana GOP is struggling to find enough delegates to fill all the open slots for the convention scheduled to take place tomorrow and Tuesday. At least one-third of Allen Co.'s GOP delegate positions will go unfilled despite the fact that native son and current State Treasurer Tim Berry will be nominated to run for State Auditor. Kelly writes today:

Having an Indianapolis-approved, hand-picked statewide ticket should make for a relatively harmonious state GOP convention this week. Or it could mean a boring time had by all. With no heated races for the convention to decide, Allen County Republicans are having a difficult time finding people to attend the event in Indianapolis, which begins Monday with a talent contest dubbed “Republican Idol” and then much of its official business Tuesday.

Steve Shine, local party chairman, said Allen County will send between 50 and 60 delegates to the convention, less than two-thirds of the 98 delegates allotted to the county.

“While an uncontested state convention is good for harmony within the state organization, it dampens the interest level as a result of there not being something for the delegates to decide upon,” Shine said.

He said the excitement of selecting a lieutenant governor or picking from a field of candidates for secretary of state, state treasurer or auditor is absent this year.

Indiana GOP executive director Jennifer Hallowell paints a different picture. Kelly writes, "But Jennifer Hallowell, state party executive director, said she expects 1,600 of the 1,900 statewide delegates to attend the event. She said that is the number of people who normally participate in the convention. 'From everything we’re hearing, folks are getting pretty excited,' she said."

What is absolutely shocking to me is that Gov. Daniels scheduled his trade mission to Japan so that he would be unable to attend the event. The idea of a governor skipping his own party's state convention for any reason other than health, a family wedding or a death in the family is simply unfathomable. Kelly offers this explanation, "He said it was probably his fault, saying it was difficult to find time to go to Asia in his schedule. 'But I will be there by videotape,' Daniels said. 'They can have a great meeting without me.'"

Daniels is not alone in skipping the event. So too will state school superintendant Suellen Reed be absent. Kelly reports, "Hallowell said Republican Superintendent of Public Instruction Suellen Reed isn’t expected because of a simultaneous high school summit, and she is not part of the official program."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

To be fair, of course, this is a problem that plagues both State parties. But I cannot let it go unsaid that by scheduling their convention on a weekday (the D's had ours on a Saturday), the R's are saying, "Hey, we want you to come if you have a job with lots of flexibility and vacation time, or if you're independently wealthy." Or, I guess, unemployed although the gas to Indy is not cheap.