Friday, December 10, 2010

Reformer and Conservative Gary Conner Announces for Marion County GOP Chairman

It is so good to hear that someone who believes in real reform in the Marion County GOP has thrown his name in the ring for Marion County Republican Chairman. Today, Gary Conner, Lawrence City Councilor At-Large has filed to run for county chairman.

Just the other day, Conner sent out a letter announcing his interest in running and suggested reforms. Looking over the reforms, it's clear that Conner understands the need to strengthen the grass roots of the organization, including the need to get back to elected neighborhood precinct committeemen. Current county chairman Tom John actively opposed elected PCs in preference to those appointed (and controlled) by him. As a result, slatings and county committees became top-heavy, autocratic affairs, controlled by party leaders.

The only other candidate, Kyle Walker, was executive director of the Marion County GOP under Tom John. Enough said there. We do not need more of the same.

I don't envy the uphill battle Conner has. The insiders will rig the county convention in favor of Walker. Every mummy-dummy PC Tom John has ever appointed will show up to outvote the real grass roots workers who do the actual work of the Marion County Republican Party. The leaders will also direct threats toward Conner and his family if he doesn't drop out of the race. I've seen that game played during my 24 years working in the party, and threats and arm-twisting has gotten much worse under John's leadership.

I agree 100% with the guiding principles outlined in Conner's letter:

Republican Friend,

As you know the position of GOP County Chair will be voted on next week. The most recent news I have heard says that only one person has file to be considered for this position. That person worked closely with the previous Chair to bring us the results we experienced in the last election cycle.

I am looking for a Chair candidate that will stand up for at least these basic principles:

#1. The core values of the Republican Party, as stated in the latest National GOP platform committee report.

#2. The party organization should never send out mailers attacking a GOP candidate.

#3. The process of Slating needs to be review to see if a workable system can be created.

#4. The GOP County Board should include Republicans from each of the townships and no one from another county should hold a leadership position in our county.

#5. Only elected PCs should be allowed to vote to determine the direction of our party. Allowing appointed PCs and Vice PCs seems to be a way for party leaders to try to control the party as opposed to listening to the grass roots of our party.

#6. Slating has not worked well in Indianapolis and should not be used in smaller communities, like the City of Lawrence.

If I do not hear about a candidate with these basic values, I am planning on running to serve as our next GOP County Chair.

Please, let me your thoughts and if you know of another conservative Republican candidate!

Gary Conner
City Councilor At-Large
City of Lawrence
(317) 547-4679, Ext. 127


Gary R. Welsh said...

Paul, I'm an elected PC and the only candidate I've received anything from is Kyle Walker. Had no idea this guy was running. I wasn't even planning to waste the time to go to the caucus because it appeared only one candidate was running.

Paul K. Ogden said...


I'm not sure what list he is working off of. The email was written BEFORE he announced and got the list of PCs. As you know though the organization can be highly secretive regarding names of people actually in the organization and eligible to vote.

If only Kyle Walker is a candidate, I wouldn't go otherwise Abdul and his ilk will claiim you voted for him when they do the vote by acclamation.

NAIREB-Director said...


Thanks for posting my email!

I sent the email, you posted, to a group of Republican friends to see if there was another like minded Republican who might be thinking about running. Although I heard several names of some who people thought might be running, after talking to the potential candidates, I was the only one who wanted to take on the challenge.

Officially, I registered to run yesterday afternoon, Friday, Dec. 10th.

I will be seeking to get an email out to all the PCs, Vice PCs, Ward Chairs and Vice Chairs if I'm able, but I hope that all Caucus voters will make up their minds after they hear the candidates speak on Tuesday evening.

If your readers would like to know a little more about me they can visit my website at:

Thanks again!

Gary Conner