Hamilton County GOP & the General Election

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October 19, 2016 11:12 AM

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When I watched the October 18th League of Women Voters Hamilton County candidate forum in Noblesville, my thoughts went back to a conversation I had a while back with a young Republican.  He was concerned about his local party.

Why would he be concerned?  Republicans hold nearly every elective office in the entire county.  The Hamilton County GOP has been very successful.

That’s what concerned the young Republican.  Hamilton County Republicans have grown too arrogant, too overconfident, he told me.  He worried that the long-term future of his party was in jeopardy.

I thought about that when witnessing the candidate forum and no Republicans were in attendance for the two most important county offices on the ballot, County Commissioner and County Council.

When I wrote a story on my local news blog about the event and lack of Republican participation, responses I received from Republicans were instructive.

One person didn’t blame the GOP candidates for not wanting to appear with their Democrat opponents.  Why should they?

Another attacked the League of Women Voters as a liberal organization.  However, the League sponsored a candidate forum for the May primary and there were plenty of Republicans on hand for that event.

Yet another wrote that the real election in Hamilton County is the primary, so why should Republicans appear at a general election event?

That’s why my thoughts went back to my conversation with that young Republican.  Is the local party taking the general election for granted?

Look, I know there is very little likelihood that any of these Democrats can win in the upcoming general election.  But demographics can change over time and the huge built-in advantage Republicans enjoy in Hamilton County may not last forever.

I can remember when Marion County was a Republican stronghold.  That is no longer the case.

The Republican County Commissioner and County Council candidates failed to show for the 2016 general election forum and chose not to face their Democrat opponents.  This will probably not hurt them in this election cycle.  But I wonder whether these Republican candidates can continue this way and be successful into the future?

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