Monday, December 13, 2010

Gary Conner Finds How Far Loyalty Goes With Greg Ballard

In an e-mail message announcing his candidacy for the Marion County Republican Party Chairman's position being vacated by Tom John, Gary Conner mentioned his work on behalf of Greg Ballard's uphill battle in 2007. "When Greg Ballard won election in 2007, he thanked his family, his campaign staff and then he thanked me, Gary Conner," he wrote. Greg Ballard said, "Without Gary, this doesn't happen." That was then and this is now. As Ballard has done to so many of the people who worked their butts off to elect him when Tom John, the Marion County Republican Party and other state and local Republican leaders did everything humanly possible to disparage his candidacy against Mayor Bart Peterson, Ballard kicked Gary Conner to the curb. Although Ballard had hinted to people his desire to find someone else to run the county party after his upset win over Peterson, he ultimately backed John for re-election. John had humiliated himself a short time earlier by filing to run in the wrong precinct for precinct committeeperson and wound up losing to someone else. John had to appoint himself to a vacant PC spot.

Conner learned today through a phone call from Ballard's campaign manager that Mayor Ballard would be endorsing Conner's opponent for county chairman, Kyle Walker, at tomorrow night's caucus election. Ballard couldn't even pick up the phone and tell his friend he wouldn't be backing him for county chairman. When Ballard ran for mayor in 2007, Walker worked as the executive director at the county party headquarters. Anyone who worked in Ballard's campaign will tell you Walker's boss and the county party staff provided little assistance to Ballard's campaign and discouraged would-be contributors from donating to his campaign. Once the election was over, Ballard betrayed the people who put him in office and turned to the very people who had worked against his campaign to assemble his new administration. Walker landed a new job at the City's Department of Public Works,  a position he utilized to schmooze city contractors. Walker parlayed his city job into a job as a government affairs representative for an engineering firm with city contracts, a job that allowed him to open his own political consulting business. Walker managed Mark Massa's failed candidacy for county prosecutor. Walker used his ties to the pay-to-play crowd to raise most of Massa's campaign money. Conner isn't a card-carrying member of the pay-to-play club. He never stood a chance of winning Ballard's support for that reason alone. So much for the end of country club politics, Greg. Conner is plowing ahead with his campaign for county chairman and is promising some surprises to the committeepersons during his speech.

UPDATE: Party leaders are warning that any appointed PC who supports Gary Conner in the chairman's race will be removed from their position if Walker succeeds in being elected as party chairman. These people would have loved the Soviet Union.

UPDATE: Star political columnist Matt Tully posted this item on Twitter: "Kyle Walker expected to win county GOP chair tonight. Challenger Gary Conner called to say his anti-Ballard speech will 'rock his campaign.'"

UPDATE: Gary Connor gave a valiant speech tonight in the face of the kangaroo court he faced at tonight's caucus vote with 80% of the 250 voting committeepersons populated with appointed PCs, most of whom have government jobs or work for government contractors. Connor, who was nominated by 2006 unsuccessful sheriff candidate Steve Davis, politely reminded the caucus of the party's miserable showing  in elections since 2007, particularly the drubbing the party took in this year's big Republican wave election. Connor told the PCs he only ran because he frankly thought someone else would step forward and challenge Walker, who has been part of the losing leadership team calling the shots at the county party. I learned Kyle Walker, who was introduced by Sen. Jim Merritt, can read. He literally read every word of his speech, which appeared to have been written by someone else. It had all the energy of a lead balloon. Perhaps the most disappointing sight at tonight's caucus was seeing Sen. Scott Schneider sporting a Walker sticker despite the fact that the very PCs who put him in office are one by one being driven from the party by the forces backing Walker. Mayor Greg Ballard gets kudos for the most memorable line of the night when he tells the PCs that high level Democrats are whispering in his ears what a great job he is doing and how they support him. Yeah, we'll see how far that quiet support gets him next year. Dream on, Greg. Dream on. Kyle's victory to night will prove to be a pyrrhic victory at that. It will be my delight to watch Mayor Ballard and his merry men go down to defeat next year. On a final note, Walker plans to take a salary to work as county chairman, unlike recent chairmen who volunteered their time. Why? Because Walker has never done any work for the Republican Party without compensation. Something to think about, folks.


thePoliPit said...

That's too bad. I attended a conference that Gary also attended this past spring and confronted him about Ballards record (I may have been a little too confrontational). Although he acknowledged that Ballard has been no friend to conservatives, Gary still defended him. He was loyal even while being confronted and corrected in front of others. I think he will be true to his principles. Let's hope he doesn't listen to the local pundits regurgitate the philosophy that the national platform is not as important locally.


Citizen Kane said...

I don't know Conner, but anyone not endorsed by Ballard is someone I want to support. I do know Walker - nuff said.

Cato said...

For over two decades, I was a proud Republican, but in that time the party never seemed to advance those issued about which I cared the most, and it did a lot of things I considered positively noxious.

I was finally forced to admit just what and who the Republicans really are.

Paul K. Ogden said...

I don't know about Schneider, but I wouldn't put much stock in a person wearing a sticker at a convention. I always, out of respect to a candidate, would agree to wear their stickers when asked. Didn't mean I would vote for them. I would occasionally refuse to wear stickers, but that's only when I really, really was against a particular candidate and wanted nothing to do with him or her.