Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Congratulations to Scott Schneider, State Senator, Senate District 30; Future of Ryan Vaughn

At the Senate District 30 caucus last night, former councilman Scott Schneider pulled out a surprisingly easy win (61-38) besting councilman Ryan Vaughn who had the backing of Mayor Greg Ballard, the Marion County GOP organization leadership and virtually every GOP insider. I understand that even state agency chief for hire Mitch Roob showed up to try to help Vaughn. Not sure how Roob could have any influence whatsoever with any PC, but his presence was noted.

Watching the results come in last night on Hoosier Access and Abdul's twitters, was one of the enjoyable experience I have had in politics. While some may question Scott Schneider on some of his conservative positions, you would be hard pressed to find anyone more genuine and with more integrity than Scott. He has had plenty of chances to sell out his soul in his political career to get ahead and has never done it. Scott has also been his own man, not someone subject to manipulation by party leaders. People like and respect that. That's why he won the votes not only of conservative PCs last night, but also moderates and even liberal Republicans.

The importance of political independence is a message I tried to get to Ryan Vaughn several months ago. At 31, Ryan is a baby in terms of the political game. What I conveyed to him via an email last year was that although he appeared to be making all the "right" connections to political movers and shakers in order to advance his political career, those connections would come back to haunt him should he seek higher office.

The first sign of that was last night when, according to Advance Indiana, Ryan Vaughn failed to even win the votes of PCs within his own council district. Ryan needs to do a 180 from his current course of trying to please all the big political insiders to get ahead in politics. Instead he needs to concentrate more on the people, include the rank and file Republican workers who are tired of being dictated to by party elites, like Bob Grand, Joe Loftus, Tom John and, yes, Mayor Greg Ballard.. Ryan has the ability and the time to set his political career in a new direction. He will have the perfect opportunity on the council in the weeks ahead to show his independence from the unpopular Mayor and the anti-Republican, anti-populist policies his bosses at Barnes & Thornburg, Grand and Loftus, want him to pursue. We will see what he does. Probably his first step is to start looking for another job.

Back to Scott Schneider, a good thing happened last night to a good man. I wish him the best in the State Senate.

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