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President Barack Obama wins Indiana

Mitch Daniels dominates Jill Long Thompson with 57.8% of the vote

By Scott Tibbs, November 5, 2008

I wasn't planning on posting election commentary until tomorrow but I woke up early and cannot sleep. I woke up to the result I expected in the race for President: Barack Obama will be the 44th President of the United States. For the first time since 1964, a Democrat won the state of Indiana. The Associated Press reports that with 99% of precincts reporting Obama has 1,352,356 votes, John McCain has 1,329,370 votes and Bob Barr has 28,980. McCain's margin of loss was 22,986 in results that are not quite final.

While not every vote that went to Barr would have otherwise gone Republican, most of them probably would have. Since it is entirely possible that Barr's candidacy handed Indiana to Obama, Republicans should sit up and take notice. The GOP has for too long been identified as the party of big government, with the 1994 Republican Revolution a distant memory. If we are going to win nationally again, that has to change immediately. I was one of the people who voted for Barr over McCain, because I was tired of voting for the Republican because the Democrat is so much worse. I voted for Bob Dole in 1996, and George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004.

It looks like Monroe County was a total loss. Despite 25 years of experience in the Auditor's Office working for Auditors of both political parties, the Democrats making a complete disaster of the Auditor's Office and a campaign that saw the Democrats take a tremendous beating in the Herald-Times, Vivien Bridges lost 25763 (48%) to 28346 (52%). Cathy Smith, the former Chief Deputy and current Financial Director in the Auditor's Office, defeated Barbara Clark 29875 (55%) to 24771 (45%). Mark Stoops and Iris Kiesling each won with 62% of the vote, giving us a 3-0 Democratic majority and the Democrats swept the at-large County Council seats again, leaving Marty Hawk as the only Republican on the County Council dominated by 6 Democrats. Even Christine Talley Haseman, who was endorsed by two Democrat judges, lost her race for Judge.

It is too bad to see Mike Sodrel lose, especially by the margin he did. He is a good man. He was exactly the kind of conservative that House Republicans are going to need in the next two years as Obama pushes through his socialist agenda. I doubt Sodrel will run again in 2010, so it will be interesting to see who steps up to challenge Baron Hill next. And while Ninth District Republicans may be tired and discouraged after tonight's loss, the 2010 campaign should be in full swing right now.

Speaking of 2010, Obama's victory presents Republicans with the same opportunity we had in 1994. If Obama tries to implement the same big-government agenda Clinton did in the first two years of his Presidency, Republicans could win back the House in two years and make gains in the U.S. Senate if they do not win it outright. Indiana Republicans should target Evan Bayh and meticulously follow every vote he casts. The same should be true for Baron Hill and Brad Ellsworth. Hopefully, Republicans will learn that we simply cannot win when we increase the size of government just a little bit slower than the Democrats.

I am not discouraged by Obama's electoral landslide and seven million vote margin for a 52% to 47% majority of the popular vote. First, I did not support John McCain and I did not vote for him. He is one of the weakest candidates the GOP has had in decades, but despite having everything break against him (the tanking economy, an unpopular incumbent Republican President and a Republican base with which he has clashed many times before) the fact that the popular vote was not a complete blowout has to be seen as a victory.

Indiana's statewide races at least present a bright spot for Republicans. Mitch Daniels dominated Jill Long Thompson with 57.8% of the vote while Greg Zoeller defeated his opponent 1,301,967 to 1,259,740. Tony Bennett's victory continues a string of Republican victories for Superintendent of Education. On a night where county races are a total loss, Barack Obama will be the next President and the Democrats have significant majorities in both the House and Senate, the landslide victory for "My Man Mitch" is extremely encouraging.

I was telling people privately a year ago that I thought Daniels would cruise, but very few agreed with me. I just was not impressed with what the Democrats were offering from a campaign perspective. And while some of the policies Daniels has implemented have generated a great deal of criticism, his aggressive agenda for change resonated with Indiana voters and they voted to have him serve four more years as Indiana's governor. Congratulations, Mitch Daniels, on a hard-earned and well-deserved victory for a second term.