History has a way of repeating itself. Former State Rep. John Keeler tried serving as the county chairman while a partner at the Baker & Daniels law firm when Bart Peterson served his two terms as Indianapolis mayor. Real Republicans were disenchanted by Keeler's hands-off approach in dealing with Peterson as the leader of the opposition party. County Republicans would not learn until after he had served as chairman for several years that Keeler had signed a gag order with his law firm agreeing not to criticize Peterson in his role as Republican county chairman. That was a condition Peterson placed on the law firm under the terms of its engagement to represent the City on various legal matters.Welsh follows up this morning on the endorsement of Ping by numerous Republicans. It is a shame that those Republicans didn't push instead for a real reformer who would make structural changes that would rejuvenate the Marion County GOP. Ping, very much an insider, is unlikely to make those changes. Further, given her employment, she is also unlikely to be aggressive on taking on Democrat Mayor Hosett, which should be the primary job of the Marion County GOP Chair.
Following the 2015 Indianapolis municipal election debacle (at least for Republicans), GOP activist Marcus Barlow wrote an excellent piece on the INForefront blog assessing the problems with the message of the Marion County GOP:
We cannot continue to run as democrat-light, and expect the voters of Marion County to trust us with leadership ever again. What do I mean by democrat-light? As a Republican, I wish I could’ve read at least one article where it didn’t describe the Republican candidate as not being much different than the Democratic candidate. Social issues aside (although, as a social conservative, my county party gives me no indication that they even care about my vote, which is why many decided to stay home), even on economic issues, Republican after Republican was in favor of more government regulation, increasing the liability of businesses, and more spending. Our argument shouldn’t be: We will increase the size of government too, just a little bit less than our opponents.
We need to be bold. Every Republican should take a refresher course in conservative political theory and they’ll find that it holds solutions for problems at every level. The conservative movement needs to be revived in our county, and it should be the backbone of our policy. Good policy will lead to good messaging and good messaging will lead to good politics. ...Barlow is exactly correct. In addition to structural problems with the Marion County GOP, there exists the problem that at every turn Marion County Chairman Walker advocated for Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard's agenda of higher taxes and corporate welfare. Not only did Walker use his position to advocate fiscal liberalism, he also pushed a liberal social agenda, which included attacking Governor Pence for his support of religious freedom. Walker and Ballard provided conservatives no reason to turn out to vote this past November. The result was a landslide for Mayor-elect Hogsett and the election of a Democratically-controlled council.