Mike McQuillen, a City-County Councillor and leader of the GOP Council Caucus, was named the party chair. McQuillen was elected to the Council in 2007 and was part of the Republican majority that took the Council over from 2008-2012. When the Democrats retook the Council, McQuillen stepped in as Minority Leader, and he has served in that role since then.
McQuillen is a level-headed Republican, and I like him very much. He is a student of politics and collects and peddles political memorabilia. He trends, as he Marion County Republican Party should, a little bit more moderate than the statewide GOP.
He has a great task ahead. The Marion County GOP was once one of the envies of the Republican National Committee. Indianapolis was, until the late 1990's, a major city that had seen YEARS or GOP rule. That came with a strong Republican machine that controlled most aspects of city, township, and county government.
Little-by-little, Democrats chipped away at the GOP majorities in Marion County. When Bart Peterson became the first Democratic Mayor of Indianapolis in over 30 years, he ushered in a Democratic majority on the City-County Council for the first time since UniGov was the law of the land. Republicans briefly returned to power for two terms with Ballard as mayor and the City-County Council majority for four of the eight years of Ballard's term.
Democrats also took the Marion County offices over the years. Before you knew it, the entire City-County Building's blue exterior matched its interior.
I don't know where to tell McQuillen to start over, but Jennifer Ping wasn't in office long enough to do much before state law forced her out. This is going to be an entire rebuild. The GOP first probably needs to shore up what they have and then try to expand out from there.
I think it's a tough job. Republicans increasingly have settled around Indianapolis rather than in it, but maybe an effort to pull some new folks from the suburbs to the city might have an effect for the Marion County Republicans. I think he's fighting a losing battle, and it's only going to be tougher as he continues to work on the Council while trying to build a party.
Nevertheless, McQuillen is a smart and effective leader, and the Republicans could not have done much better from their bench.