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Les Compton should be removed as Monroe GOP chairman

By Scott Tibbs, September 3, 2010

I've seen political figures say and do some stupid things over the years, but this takes the cake:

Monroe County GOP Party Chairman Les Compton said he stands behind election board member Judith Smith-Ille — who has opposed opening any satellite voting sites for this fall’s election — and said anyone he appoints to the county election board in the future will not support such sites.

Compton said Wednesday he believes several Republican candidates lost races in 2008 due to heavy Democratic voter turnout at satellite sites in Ellettsville, on the city’s south side and on the Indiana University campus, most particularly on campus.

"In the general election of 2008, satellite voting accounted for 4,486 votes," he said in a letter stating his position. "Over 50 percent of those votes were cast on campus. Although there is no accurate way to measure the impact of satellite voting, I believe that it is safe to assume that the Democrats garnered a distinct advantage from it."

Even if that is your reasoning for opposing the satellite voting sites, you should never say that to the newspaper! This was not a case of Compton saying something stupid in an interview with the newspaper. It was a calculated, intentional statement in a letter that Compton wrote stating his position. The Monroe County Republican party is now on record that voting should be more difficult because it benefits Republicans.

Republicans have done a horrible job reaching out to the student vote the last few elections. Compton's foolishness just made it that much harder. How can Republicans expect students to vote for Republican candidates when we are basically telling them that we do not want them to vote at all? There was a time when Republicans aggressively courted the student vote, and Democrats were very worried about it in the 1995 and 2003 city elections.

One of the Republican Party's biggest advantages nationally is that Republican voters are much more enthusiastic about the election than Democratic voters are. Monroe County Republicans took a beating in 2004, 2006 and 2008 for a number of reasons, not the least of which was a heavily motivated Democratic voting base. The Republican Party chairman should not be giving Democratic voters a reason to be motivated. This will hurt Republican candidates up and down the ticket, and is especially unwelcome in the critical Ninth District Congressional race.

Back in July, Compton threw the Republican Party under the bus with an anti-factual rant about how Republicans couldn't fill the ticket. Republicans actually have done very well in filling the ticket this year. When you combine that foolishness with his latest gaffe, it is time for Compton to go. If he will not resign as chairman, he should be removed.