Sunday, May 06, 2007

Marion County GOP's Bleak Outlook

The Star's Brendan O'Shaughnessy takes a look at the Marion County GOP's efforts to rebuild, or lack thereof, depending on how you view the party's current state of affairs. O'Shaughnessy describes the party as being in its "weakest position in decades." Political columnist Matt Tully chimes in, comparing the local party's fall to Britney Spears. Ouch!

Party leaders offer different accounts of why the GOP collapsed. "Democrats say Republicans took their former dominance for granted and slowly lost business and community support after Democrat Bart Peterson won the 1999 election for mayor, O'Shaughnessy writes. "Republicans, however, blame a shift in the county's demographics, saying affluent members of the GOP have fled to surrounding counties in search of lower taxes, less crime and better schools," he counters.

There's no question there has been a significant shift in the county's demographics, but it hasn't all been bad from the party's perspective. The inner city has seen a resurgence in more affluent, highly educated persons rebuilding old neighborhoods and purchasing pricey, newly-constructed condominiums and homes. The problem is the party hasn't tailored a message to attract the new class of voters moving into Marion County, particularly in Center Township.

Newly-elected GOP chairman Tom John seems to understand what Mike Murphy could not understand. O'Shaughnessy writes, "Tom John, who became county GOP chairman in February, said his party has to rebuild using the example provided last year by Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi and state Rep. Jon Elrod, two Republicans who won despite challenging odds." "John said those victories occurred because the candidates worked hard, picked the right battles and won back the support of a business community that had sided with Democrats on government consolidation issues."

Brizzi and Elrod also reached out to voters the GOP in Marion County traditionally refused to woo. Unfortunately for John, I don't see a whole lot of difference in the people running on the GOP slate for the city-county council races than I've seen in the past. More troubling is the increasing number of government employees seeking public office, both on the Republican and Democratic tickets. I counted 14 Republican council candidates who earn their living working for the government, while the Democrats fielded 16 candidates who work for the government. We could well wind up with a council comprised of a majority representing government employees.


Wilson46201 said...

Maybe I should post an inflammatory comment here just to get things started? I had expected this topic to be a red-hot discussion thread but oddly enough, it's quiescent...

Gary R. Welsh said...

Why don't you offer your prediction, Wilson, on how many people will even bother to vote tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

The whole blog has been quiescent lately.