Monday, June 21, 2010

With Less Than A Week To Go...It's Still Anyone's Race for Secretary of State

By Jon E. Easter

Republicans got together on Saturday and nominated Charlie White to run for Indiana Secretary of State. I guess they are ok with the Fishers Town Council member representing them on the ballot in November. They may regret their choice as Democrats will get together this Saturday to vote on who faces White. Two supremely qualified Central Indiana residents continue to duke it out for the nomination: Vop Osili and Tom McKenna. While the time continues to wane before the convention, everyone from candidate to delegate to rank-and-file Democrat is looking forward to what could be a photo finish.

Architect Vop Osili continues to crisscross the state visiting all 92 counties and picking up key endorsements. Recently, he received the endorsement of the crucial Lake County Democratic Delegates. He also has significant support in Marion County with campaign co-chairs Joe Hogsett and Andre Carson among his most ardent supporters. Osili has picked up crucial union endorsements as well including that of the United Steelworkers Local 1999 and Sub-District 3. He also won the endorsement of the State District Council of Laborers. Osili has a strong background as a business owner and founder growing his originally small architecture into something bigger.

McKenna's strong resume is his strong suit. He has served three Indiana Governors, run a state agency, managed businesses, been an attorney, served as a Deputy Prosecutor, taught and coached at the high school level, and run labor relations for A.K. Steel in Ohio. It's clear that McKenna knows the state. On the campaign trail, he has been vocal in the advocating the repeal of the Voter I.D. Bill, and he says he's more ready to lead on the first day in office.

Above board, it's been a very civilized discussion of issues. Below board, supporters have quietly exchanged charges looking at Osili's pre-1998 voting record which, as Vop freely admits, had some Republican votes on it. Osili's supporters have attacked McKenna for pushing his perceived electability, his experience and resume but providing little in the way of substance as to what he would do as Secretary of State. For a race this close, though, the candidates have been nothing but gentlemen.

Another complicating factor is that no one knows quite for sure where the key counties and the Indiana Democratic Party stand on the race. The state's second-largest Democratic County, Lake County, has endorsed Osili, and the whispers around town say the Marion County Democratic Party is pulling for him. In the next breath, the same whispers are saying that the IDP is quietly rooting for McKenna and that he enjoys support from several other counties as well. It's that close! No one knows quite for sure where the truth lies.

With Tom, you are getting a professional who understands the state. He understands state government, and he understands how an executive office is run. With Vop, you are getting a professional that brings an outsider's perspective in. A guy that understands business and what it's like to own one, grow one, and maintain one in this economy. Both men have spoken passionately about the Voter ID bill on the campaign trail, and both will serve as great advocates for citizens of Indiana in the area of voting rights and regulating securities.

This one is coming down to the final gun, and I don't know how it will end. What I do know is that, again, one way or another, the Democrats will have the stronger candidate that will bring either experience or diversity to the statewide ticket. With Pete Buttigieg running for Treasurer and Sam Locke running for Auditor, the Democrats will be putting up an extremely qualified and capable ticket against the GOP. With most of these state offices closer than you might imagine in 2006, it's going to be a battle through to November.

I am a delegate, and I have made up my mind as which candidate will receive my vote. That is (CONNECTION TERMINATED).

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