Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Strategy Behind The Delayed Announcement of Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi

This morning I intended to blog about Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi and the delay of his announcement which I have always contended will be that he won't run for a third term, Before I could post, Gary Welsh of Advance Indiana beat me to the punch with an excellent analysis of what's going on. I found the most interesting to be Welsh's final paragraph:
It is puzzling that the leadership of the Marion County Republican Party would just sit on the sidelines and watch Brizzi let the future of the party flap in the wind. I suspect Marion Co. GOP Chairman Tom John has already been told by Brizzi that he isn't seeking re-election. The two have chosen to keep this news quiet until the last possible moment. The only person who will be poised to file by the January 15 deadline will be the handpicked candidate of John, Brizzi and David Brooks, who doesn't even reside in Marion County but is allowed to hold a leadership position in the party. Their strategy, while self-serving, will ensure the defeat of the candidate they pick and ram down the throats of committeepersons at next month's slating. Shifting demographics are already making it difficult for Republicans to win countywide in Marion County. Having Carl Brizzi remain in office until the end of the year ensures that no GOP candidate will be able to hold on to this office.
A few weeks ago, I ran into a Democratic elected official who asked me about the Prosecutor's race. He said he thought Brizzi was going to run for a third term otherwise he would have already announced. I told him I was sure Brizzi was not going to run for a third term and explained to him that I felt the late announcement was part of a deliberate strategy by Brizzi and party leadership to keep out of the slating all but Brizzi's handpicked successor. The official noted that that strategy was suicidal and almost ensure that the GOP candidate was so far behind in organizing and fundraising that he or she could not compete with whoever the Democrats nominate. He couldn't imagine why GOP party leadership would do such a thing.

The explanation is simple. The Marion County GOP leadership would much rather lose a race than win with a more independent-minded candidate who they could not "control." I believe that philosophy dates from a time when the local GOP leadership dominated Marion County politics and the only concern was who won slating and/or the nomination.

Times have changed though. If Marion County GOP Chairman Tom John and others in the Republican leadership knew about Brizzi's decision months ago but deliberately kept it quiet so they could pick the slating winner/nominee at the cost of winning the general election, they need to resign. We need to have GOP leadership that is interested not in handpicking candidates, but in winning elections.

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