Sunday, May 6, 2012

Marion County Slating System Comes Under Full Assault

The continued erosion of the credibility of Marion County slating is reflected by the shockingly number of quality challenges to the so-called "endorsed" candidates.  On the judge races, both sides feature 12 candidates running for 10 spots.  I can say that all four unslated candidates (Greg Bowes, Mark King, Judge Carol Orbison and myself) are more qualified to be judge than many if not most of the slated candidates.  All four unslated judicial candidates have run spirited, albeit low dollar campaigns.
Tim Motsinger

But those aren't the only challenges to the slate.  YR activist Daniel Kinnamon is challenging Sen. Michael Young in Senate District 35.  While admittedly I don't understand Kinnamon's problem with Sen. Young, who is one of the more independent-minded Marion County legislators we have, there is no denying that Kinnamon has raised money and worked his tail off and for that he should be applauded.    While Sen. Young crows about his Marion County slating endorsement, Kinnamon is not persuaded as to its importance.  Further, after redistricting, the district now includes two Hendricks County townships, including the City of Plainfield.

An even bigger westside challenge to the slate is taking place in the House.  Long-time Wayne Township GOP activist and IMPD officer, Tim Motsinger is seeking to replace retiring Phil Hinkle in House District 92, which is entirely in Marion County.  Motsinger had been a candidate for Sheriff in 2010 and had received a large contribution from now indicted Tim Durham.  To Motsinger's credit, he immediately returned all the money he had received from Durham, unlike many Republican elected officials.

Brad Rider
Motsinger was endorsed at the Marion County slating convention.  Liquor store owner Brad Rider, however, wasn't persuaded by the significance of slating.  Rider is extremely well-financed and  reportedly has the support of people in the state party in his endeavors.  As far as Motsinger's touting his endorsement, Rider has cleverly turned that against the IMPD officer, calling Motsinger a "machine politician."

District 92 also features a battle on the Democratic side. Slated candidate Karlee D. Macer is facing two very active opponents in Brian M. Cooper and Tyjuan Garrett. 

Then you have another Democratic battle in House District 100, a district which stretches from Irvington to the near south side.  Mulholland went to slating and paid the fee, which entitled him to a list of those eligible to vote at slating.  It turns out though that half the people on the slating list were relatives of Dan Forestal who had been appointed to go to slating and anoint Forestal.  Mulholland though chose to go ahead and run anyway.  He appears to be well-financed and is extremely well-organized.

Beating the slate is always difficult. This time around thought the party chairmen, fearing the number of strong challenges to the slate, decided that the bogus claim of a party endorsement was not enough.  They decided to further rig the system against the unslated candidates by denying them the right to obtain list of the primary voters and contact information, information readily available to all the slated candidates.

Perhaps this tactic will work for now.  I know it made my campaign very difficult.  My efforts at going door-to-door was certainly crippled by the fact I did not know which homeowners are Republican.  I also wasn't able to do a mailing because I don't have a list of Republicans, information the slated candidates receive.  You have to be able to target your efforts in a primary.  If you can't target, the time and cost of campaigning multiplies ten-fold.

Nonetheless, the field of strong candidates against the slate suggest the so-called "endorsement" process is losing credibility.  Older voters who used to blindly vote the slate, are dying off, being being replaced by younger voters who are more likely to see slating as nothing more than corrupt machine politics.   But a lot of slating's demise is the result of greedy county chairmen who preferred rigging the system so they can pick the slated candidates instead of party workers.  For all his faults, long-time GOP County Chairman John Sweezy understood that the credibility of slating depended on party workers, and not party bosses, dominating the process.  While the system was often manipulated in Sweezy's day by powerful township chairmen, we did have spirited slating contests because the outcome was not pre-ordained by the county chairman.  In fact, Sweezy had a policy of staying out of slating battles and with few exceptions, steadfastly lived up to that policy.


FiniFinito said...

About damn time. I've been supporting candidates who bust the slate since Woody Myers in 08. Glad to hear the anti machine politics movement isn't a fad.

Paul K. Ogden said...

No, it's not a fad. It's a trend. Not sure it will be enough to help out the anti-slate candidates Tuesday, but clearly the quality of the opponents indicate the slate has lost a lot of credibility with the parties.


Quick our votes count if we only vote for less than the total number of positions?

I plan to vote for the non-slated candidates plus Judge Keele and Judge Welch.


Wait....I can't vote for D candidates, can I? Or do they put out all the judge candidates on the ballot?

Paul K. Ogden said...

HFFT, no if you take an R ballot, you can't vote for a D like Judge Welch. She's a good judge though. I would recommend though that my Democratic friends certainly vote for Greg Bowes and consider voting for Mark King. The insiders need to get the lesson about slating and their $12,000 slating fee. (For D's it's $13,600),

Irishking23 said...

I also would have voted for Judge Welch had she been on my Republican Party ballot this morning. She's fair and compassionate.

Voting for the O's gave me a lot of personal satisfaction. It was like 'Win One for the Gipper'!

Irishking23 said...

Paul, I wish to extend a hearty congratulations to you on a race that was hard fought and well run. While the end result may not have been what we had hoped for, you certainly gave the endorsed slate a run for their political money. All the best!