Marion County Republicans elected Thomas John as their new party chairman this morning in a slating convention that did not endorse a candidate for mayor.
The party has until the Feb. 23 filing deadline to decide on a mayoral
candidate to challenge incumbent Bart Peterson. Peterson's campaign manager, Mike O'Connor, said the inability to field a candidate at this point shows that the community thinks Peterson has done a good job as mayor.
John said the party has good candidates in the wings to challenge Peterson's record on crime and economic development, but they would rather wait for the right person than choose the wrong one today. He said former Marion County Coroner John McGoff is considering entering the race.
John, an attorney for John Lewis and Wilkins LLP, said the party can win
back positions it has recently lost in Marion County if it makes candidate recruitment and party organization top commitments.
The GOP lost a majority on the City-County Council and all the countywide elections except prosecutor in the last two elections after decades of dominance in Marion County.
This is really sad. Mayor Peterson so deserves a strong opponent as he seeks a third term. A strong, two-party system is critical to good government. Without it, the people have little say over who is elected. Instead, we're stuck with the best the party in power can offer from its backroom deals. In the case of the Democratic Party, that' s been a pretty pathetic lot as of late. The GOP might be kicking itself later this year for failing to produce a strong ticket if a rumored federal investigation into corrupt local pols breaks out into the open later this year.