Friday, February 6, 2015

Olgen Williams Withdraws from Indy Mayor's Race; Tactics of Party Bosses to Force Out Candidates Running Against the Slate Deserve Exposure

Yesterday, Deputy Mayor Olgen Williams announced that he will be withdrawing his candidacy for the Republican nomination for Indianapolis Mayor.  While there are two more Republican candidates on the primary ballot, they are considered minor candidates.  The field has essentially been cleared for Chuck Brewer, the hand-picked candidate of Marion County GOP Chairman Kyle Walker and his minions.  Brewer, the only candidate who appeared at Saturday's slating convention, received the GOP party organization's endorsement, albeit as noted on these pages over 81% of those voting at the convention would have been appointments of the county chairman, not elected party workers.

Deputy Mayor Olgen Williams
People expressed surprise why Olgen changed his mind about running.  I'm not.  Having been in rooms where the strategy to force a nonslated candidate to drop out was discussed by people like David Brooks, I can speak authoritatively on what Olgen would have experienced in the hours leading up to the deadline to withdraw.

Backing up a bit, the first step is to try to get the candidate to submit to slating.  Party bosses insist the process will be fair and above board.  Of course, it won't be.  Contrary to suggestions of some slating advocates, slatings would not be rigged by arm-twisting people at the slating convention which, frankly, I've never seen. Rather the vote is rigged before the slating convention even begins with the chairman's appointment to vacant precinct and ward slots "mummy dummies," i.e. people whose only job is to attend slating and vote a certain way.  As I wrote earlier, there are so few elected precinct committeemen in Marion County that 81% of the people eligible to vote at a county-wide slating convention are appointed by the county chairman.  It should be added that everyone but the elected PCs who attend the county convention are appointees of the county chairman and can be removed at will by the county chairman.  Further, the appointees can come from anywhere in the county as opposed to elected PCs who have to live in their precinct.

While the candidate can win slating against the wishes of the party bosses, it is extremely difficult.  It's like winning a 100 yard dash while granting an opponent a 25 yard head start.  The fact that slating has become more and more a rigged process is evident by the fact that, contrary to a couple decades ago, today there are extremely few slating contests. 

So what if the candidate, wisely, bypasses the rigged slating convention?  Then another strategy kicks in.  The party bosses will do everything they can to get a candidate to drop out.  They will find out who the candidate's friends are and try to get them to persuade the candidate to drop out.  Or they will promise the candidate a job or a contract.   If positive incentives don't work, they will try threats.   They'll go to the candidate's employer and encourage that employer to threaten the candidate's job if the candidate runs.  If they think there is something scandalous in the candidate's background, they'll threaten to expose that information.

If a candidate doesn't have a weakness, they will turn to family.  How solid is the candidate's marriage? Possibly the threat of exposure of infidelity can cause the candidate to drop out.  They will also evaluate the spouse and children's employment. Where do they work?  Can their jobs be threatened?  How well are they off financially?  Could a promise of a job for a family member persuade the candidate to drop out?

As I've been told by party bosses, virtually every candidate has a weakness that can be exploited with promises or threats.  I was an exception.  When I ran against slated Doris Ann Sadler for the Republican nomination for Clerk in 2002, I was self-employed, didn't have a scandal to exploit, and did not have a wife or children.  Still if I did have a wife and/or children who could have been threatened, that would have been a very persuasive tactic.  While I knew I would be shot at as part of politics, I would not want family members to be in the line of fire.

While forcing Olgen Williams out of the race so Brewer has an almost uncontested primary my seem like a good idea, it is a foolish move strategically.  Brewer, with zero political experience, needs the experience of a contested primary.  A contested primary would have also enlivened a dormant GOP electorate.  Of course, anyone who has been around Marion County Republican politics knows that the recruitment of Brewer was never about winning the general election.  It was about winning the primary to ratify that party bosses' authority to select the party's candidates.  In the general election Brewer will be nothing more than a sacrificial lamb.


Dem2016 said...

Don't you think that with olgen out and now Harrison likely to run as independent, this could be republican plan to have Harrison chip away at African American vote thereby making hogsett more vulnerable

Anonymous said...

Mistreatment will not soon be forgotten. What is wrong with the GOP in Marion County? Is it anybody but the black guy?