Thursday, December 2, 2010

Marion County GOP Finally To Change Horses

Tom John is leaving the Chairmanship of the Marion County Republican Party, and the feeling that I get from many Republicans is that he won’t be missed. In leaving, John went for the old 'hard to spend time with my family and balance this job' excuse.

John was elected Chair in 2007 and capitalized on the anti-incumbency angst in watching the Marion County GOP recapture the Mayor’s Office and the City-County Council, but he couldn’t carry that over any further. Just a few years later, the Marion County GOP appears poised to return the Mayor’s Office and the Council to the Democrats and, besides a few township wins here and there, John has done little to push forward the GOP attack.

In fact, under John’s watch, Democrats have captured an office they had been trying to capture for 16 years, the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office. John even had the deep pockets of a, let’s face it, pretty big-name Governor named Mitch Daniels behind a good candidate in Mark Massa, and he couldn’t close the deal for his party in a year where Republicans claimed historic success in statewide races.

John also brazenly sent shade the way of Marion County Democratic Party Chair Ed Treacy when the veteran Chair reclaimed the spot following Mike O’Connor’s tenure. He said that Treacy had been "exhumed" from the political graveyard. At the time, it brought a few chuckles, but you cannot deny that Treacy’s return has been marked with wins for the Democratic Party. For the most part, Treacy has beaten John time and time and time again. It's not even close.

Treacy now has his sights set on reclaiming the Mayor’s Office and the City-County Council as he puts together a team to do that. Granted, he is doing it in an undisputedly blue county but, as Treacy has said, herding Democrats is like “herding cats.” Unlike Treacy, John’s control has been weak. His successor will find a Marion County GOP that controls the Mayor’s Office and Council but little else.

John should be commended for simply being Chair when Greg Ballard stoked the fire of the 2007 property tax angst and anti-incumbent wave into office, but his term since then has been unremarkable. He has been outmaneuvered and outdone by Democrats in Marion County who have solidified their majority in the county offices and made the climb for an incumbent Mayor uphill even though he has significant cash.

It will be up to the next GOP Chair to pick up the pieces and try to salvage what’s left of the once-proud and dominant Marion County Republican Party.

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