“I don’t belong to any organized political party….I’m a Democrat”—- Will Rogers
Well, we drawing on to the end of September and the May primaries are eight months away. Still, as politicals know, the political season is already well under way, with many candidates having already announced and Facebook or other Social media being banged on with ‘friendly’ messages of our beloved candidates already becoming pretty much every where you look.
The Clark County Dems however, ain’t doing so well. And, sad to say, if they don’t straighten up, it looks like they are likely to cede more ground to the local Republicans come November 2014. Amazingly, the Dems haven’t seemed to register the fact that the ‘old ways’ don’t work anymore. For the first time in living memory, we have a Republican dominated Commissioners board, Council, Treasurer, Auditor and the whole City of Jeff. Hey…Goliath is KNOCKING….CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW????
Meanwhile, the party is already showing signs of continued free fall as we already have Dem candidates announcing for Primary challenges against incumbents. GREAT!!! You have to wonder just how much Jamie Noel and the Republican Central Committee are sitting back salivating at the prospect of the Dems self destructing in the late winter and early Spring while the Republican present a clear, unified field of solid candidates slate for the Fall contest.
The Dems showed SOME sense last year when they replaced Rod Pate with Bob Bottorff as their Chairman. But, it is becoming clear that it is pretty awkward for Bob to serve as Chairman at the same time he is running himself, as a candidate for County Prosecutor. With his own campaign at stake, he can hardly afford to stand up (or sit down) with the unruly elements in his party and knock heads. This dilemma was highlighted recently when Bob ….perhaps frustrated with his paralysis in campaign leadership, came out swinging against the Republican Commissioners plan to Re-draw the District lines…. a move that pitted Dave Abbott against “Toxic” John Perkins and saved Brian Lenfert and Danny Yost (republicans) from a show down.
Unfortunately, Bob, in his zeal, tagged the move to a ‘political donation’ by Lenfert to Commissioner Rick Stevenson. It looked like ‘big cheese’ on first glance …perhaps. $2,000 for Stevenson’s campaign. But, the allegation fizzled pretty fast when it became clear that the donation was $200…..not two grand. Even had it been two grand, nobody would question Rick Stevenson at this point in the game so the allegation failed to find any traction. When it turned out to be overstated by a factor of ten….the whole thing just blew back on the DEMS as so much hot air. To make matters worse, this ‘agitation of the fecal material” DID manage to out the claim that Democrat Commissioner, John Perkins was alleged to have offered to trade his vote for a redrawn line that spared him a primary challenge. Nice Job Dems….well played.
But….whatever legs this ‘mini-scandal’ was having (and indeed …it was mini for the vast majority of rank and file voters who pretty much understand that redrawn district lines and such are pretty much par for the course…..’to the victor go the spoils’ and not evoking the self righteous outrage that Bob and other Dems might have hoped for. Hey…face it…. Goliath is a Dem…and if it was up to him he would gerrymander the county so that Repubs lost every time..right?
But while this ‘scandal’ was sinking ignobly from the public consciousness and John Perkins was breathing a sigh of relief that not much was being made of his alleged ‘offer’…… a new scandal erupted on the pages of the News Tribune. Goliath had watched with some interest as the Sheriff’s race expanded with the addition of Brian Meyers. ( A Good Sellersburg Boy) Goliath heard this move had signified ‘something’ that had ‘gone wrong’ but, no one was talking. Then, Friday, the NT broke the story that Chuck Adams was ‘suspending’ his candidacy. This was on the heels of the disclosure of allegations by a former supporter that Adams promised a job in exchange for massive donations to Chuck’s campaign. DAMN! The story had all the elements to make it a beloved morsel for the scandal starved denizens of the political world and the Clark County Chatter where a thread was immediately opened and became “hot”. Because, people, in addition to secret betrayals by secret tapings, there was also the ‘revenge’ motive based on the allegation of Chuck asking his supporter’s girlfriend to send him ‘racy’ pictures on the old ‘smart phone’. So we got SEX, MONEY and POLITICS all in one story….what could be better? Except…it really sucks. After all, the fact is Chuck has given his whole life to Clark County. Sure, he had big ambitions to be the sheriff, and went after it like a dog on a bone. But, that is how you HAVE to go for that office. Meanwhile, a lifetime of service. I guess people don’t remember Chucks’ work day and night when Henryville was destroyed by a Tornado. He was every where at once and giving updates to the news and information to the displaced while working to get people food, shelter and …hope.
But, this gets forgotten when some snake records the unwise and offhand remarks Chuck made in a casual moment. But, that’s Clark County Politics BABY.
All of this adds to the overall disarray of the Clark County Democratic Party circa 2013. So, what can be done? Goliath has one suggestion: As much as Goliath loves Bob Bottorff being party Chairman…and knows how great a job he has done….Goliath suggests that Bob take a ‘leave of abscence’ as chairman until January, 2014. Meanwhile, the party should make SUSAN POPP the interim CHAIR during this election cycle. Susan is smart, competent, attractive and she understands the ‘new’ political reality.
The Dems need to recruit and run a slate of solid, clean, smart and competent candidates for the Fall 2014 election. Bob did a great job last cycle and is doing a better job than we have a right to expect now. But it’s a fact…his role as candidate has built in conflicts with the role we need to see him play as CHAIR. The Dems NEED to retain the Judge’s seats, the Commissioner spot, we need a good candidate for Auditor and Treasurer. Our Chair needs to be focused on that mission and not divided between that mission and winning their own election.