Friday, July 02, 2004

Woody Done Proud

For years, the Hamilton County Democrats have been AWOL. In fact, they haven't challenged most seats here for about 30 years. As Chair of the Libertarian Party of Hamilton County, I saw this as a huge opening for us. A growing community needs some sort of opposition voice, even if we sound very similar to the entrenched Republicans on taxes and property rights issues. My mantra with our members is the Woody Allen Rule: "90% of success is just showing up".

So, we made it a point to fill our ballot to the extent we could with qualified candidates. This is an objective no matter what, since we are a political party. If a political party fails to put candidates on the ballot, it is truly irrelevant. The Democrats have been irrelevant in Hamilton County for about 30 years. We have not made our approach a secret, and we have not hidden the fact that we aim to become the county's #2 party. The Dems were allowing this to happen.

Until yesterday. This changed when they filed a full slate of candidates, challenging every race in the county. Noblesville Ledger story.

We have candidates in place to challenge several offices. The paperwork will be filed this morning. I was holding it until near the deadline because I was hoping that the Democrats would continue their generation-long trend of not running locally. Alas.

I have no doubt that the activity of local Libertarians led to this hasty mass filing. It certainly was not a reaction to the dominance of the Republican Party here. If that were the case, the last 30 years are extremely mysterious.

It's a function of strategy. 2004 is the big election year in Indiana, where the Presidency and the Governor's Office are decided, so voter turnout will be high. Democrats will turn out November 2, even here in Hamilton County. When they do, they will vote for John Kerry and Joe Kernan, and then, had the Dems not filed, their voters would have had three choices in the local races: vote for the Republican, the Libertarian, or nobody. Noting the extreme negativity of the campaigning of national Democrats, I believed that there was going to be a significant portion of Democratic voters willing to vote for Libertarians purely because they aren't Republicans, the party of George W. Bush. We might not have won many or any of the races, but we'd sure pull percentages in the 30s and 40s.

New Democratic Chair Jan Ellis must have recognized this, so they loaded up. Congrats to her on following Woody's sage advice, just as we are. Kudos also for getting the press and leave us with the, 'but us too!' coverage. Well done.

Above, I called the filing hasty. This is because I have noted that the Dems filed a candidate for Surveyor. We did not file a candidate in this race because we have only one person who has any qualifications to run for it- me- and I don't meet residency requirements for this ballot. The Surveyor's Office is enormously technical, and probably shouldn't be an elected office. Frankly, it would be a nightmare if a non-technical person won this race, even if it were a Libertarian. It's not an office that interests me a whole lot because the headaches are unreal. Hats off to long-standing Surveyor Kent Ward for his ability and his fortitude. At any rate, I know that the Democratic candidate is not a professional Land Surveyor, and a little research will tell whether or not he is a Professional Engineer. Short of those qualifications, the best manager could still screw this job up royally.

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