Thursday, January 1, 2015

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard to Exit Leaving Marion County GOP in Shambles

In the Summer of 2007, the fortunes of the Marion County Republican Party seemed in inevitable decline.  Just eight years earlier, the Marion County Republicans held every county-wide office and had majorities in 8 of 9 townships..  That began to change in 1999, when Democrat Bart Peterson won the Mayor's Office.  Four years later, Peterson was elected and the Democrats won a majority on the council.  When the November 2006 general election results were in the books, the Democrats
Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard
had won every county-wide office except for prosecutor (which they would eventually win in 2010).  Going into the 2007 municipal elections, the Republicans could only recruit a third tier candidate to run, a candidate then Marion County Republican Chairman wrote off as having no chance to win.

But Republican Greg Ballard, running as a tax-cutting, man-of-the-people populist did win.  True Ballard was aided enormously by Mayor Peterson shooting himself in the foot by, in the midst of a property tax revolt, pushing for a 65% increase in the county option income tax increase.   

But a win is a win is a win.  On the night of Ballard's victory, the mayor-elect and the GOP leadership were blessed with an opportunity to begin rebuilding the Marion County Republican Party.  Rather than a lengthy period in political purgatory for Republicans, Ballard by virtue of his position of Mayor would have countless opportunities to promote his brand of GOP populism to Marion County voters and expand the grass roots of the party.  With the renewed strength of the GOP, top flight Republican candidates would be willing to throw their hats in the ring.

That, of course, never happened.  The minute Ballard won, selfishness and greed overtook the Ballard transition team and GOP leaders.  Instead of seeing the upset win as a way of rebuilding the Republican brand, those around Ballard saw the victory as a way that they and their friends could cash in.   And boy did they ever cash in, with Republicans (and their Democratic allies) pocketing millions off an administration that always put the interests of taxpayers secondary to opportunities to enrich contractors at the public's expense.

With seven years of a Republican mayor, the Marion County GOP should be stronger than ever.  Instead the party today is far weaker than it was in 2007.    In the 2014 elections, the Marion County GOP failed to contest 8 of 15 house seats in the county.  During that same election, Marion County Republicans, for the first time in maybe 80 years or more, failed to field a candidate in a county wide office.   Now with another election right around the corner, Republicans can't find a candidate to run for Mayor.

Who is to blame?  Certainly former Marion County GOP Chairman Tom John and current Chairman Kyle Walker have done nothing to promote the Republican Party during their tenure.   High on the blame list should also be people like council members minority leaders Mike McQuillen and Ben Hunter who supported every one of Ballard's 40 tax and fee increase and corporate welfare proposals.  They left conservatives with absolutely no reason to support the Marion County Republican brand.  Also, some share of blame should go to former GOP state chairman Eric Holcomb and current chairman Tim Berry who repeatedly passed on opportunities to intervene while the Marion County GOP continued to slip toward irrelevance during Ballard's tenure.

But the major share of the blame rests on no one other than Greg Ballard.  Not only did Ballard do nothing to promote the Marion County GOP, he, in fact, actively undermined the party.  A perfect example is Ballard's campaign team instructing Republican council candidates in 2011 that they were not allowed to promote their candidacies when going door-to-door. Rather they were only allowed to promote Mayor Ballard and pass out the Mayor's literature.  

It will take decades for the Marion County Republican Party years to recover from legacy Greg Ballard leaves behind when he departs office on January 1, 2016.


Nicolas Martin said...

In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican. -- H. L. Mencken

Anonymous said...

The blame also rests with Governor Pence. As the actual head of the Indiana GOP, he has abdicated his role as ultimate arbiter of its activities. While he doesn't have the time to micromanage every local Republican group, a county as important as Marion's demands some type of intervention to right a sinking ship. Actually, at this point, the local GOP is a ship that needs salvaging from the bottom depths it has sunk to.
If Pence were the man of integrity and character he claims to be, he would intervene in the local GOP, use his position to recruit a decent, proven, civic minded individual to run for Mayor, throw out the incompetent GOP placeholders who do noting but keep the bars open at downtown watering holes, and bring in a fresh crowd of committed, eager volunteers committed to the real Grand Old Party-not the (Bob) Grand Old Party.

Anonymous said...

Year by year, the Republican Party becomes more:


*pro-police power

*pro-wealth consolidation by the top 1%



*using the government to enrich political friends

*using the government to remove economic competition for political corporate supporters





*anti-civil liberties

*pro-domestic martial law

*supporters of every abuse of other humans

The Republican Party has become the party for angry, White, old, stupid people. Ballard is simply a typical Republican of the day.

I feel sorry for anyone who watches Fox News.

Anonymous said...

The political class wrongly asserts branding over principle, undermining, cheapening, devaluing the party's platform, reducing it to KMart status.

Branding sounds "smart" to the political class, because it serves the narrow interests of principals while sounding like it promotes principles which an awakened base has realized, it does not.

Narrow interests of principals or the elite political class, divide & disconnect the base which can only be galvanized by shared principles. The Republican name exists more like the KMart name on an empty building than in minds of its awakened base. Would the last person out of that building please turn off the lights?

Anonymous said...

Anon 1/3 8:49 is just full of it and does little more to vomit up the false storyline of every extremist left-of-center socialist Democrat owned by the likes of leftist billionaire George Soros.

Exhibiting their usual false sense of moral superiority, the liberal Democrats willfully suspend reality by intentionally refusing the see in their own eyes every one of the motes they accuse others of having.

Anonymous said...

I agree that Welsh's ongoing series of the lies of the Balard administration (in general) and about the "Justice" complex (specifically) are outstanding and unparalleled in this State.

A reader to one of Welsh's investigative reports about the "justice" complex moaned "get over it, it's a done deal". Welsh shows exactly why this deal should not be allowed to proceed and, if it should, exactly which inside players and politicians are culpable and should be in federal prisons.

Thank you Mr. Welsh and Mr. Ogden for keeping the hotpoint of truth on the foul Republicans AND the lying Democrats who continue to turn a once very affordable city into another Detroit.

Anonymous said...


You're foolish and blind.

That the Democrats have problems does not mean that the Republicans aren't a nasty, fascist, martial-law group of murderous tyrants.

Grow up.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to say that Anon Jan 5 5:19 makes mature, non-petulant, critically well-composed arguments that eviscerate devastate.

I'd like to say that.

But I can't

Like a baboon, the best the childish Anon 5:19 can do is show his rear end with every churlish comment posted.