By Scott Tibbs, July 8, 2011
The Bloomington Herald-Times editorial board revealed their true colors again, calling for the end of the Monroe County Republican Party after incompetent GOP chairman Les Compton failed to file the paperwork on time to put the candidates the GOP had selected in a caucus one week earlier on the ballot.
This is simply inexcusable, and there is no doubt that the Monroe County GOP is in shambles. This is a deadline the GOP should have known about months in advance. The chairman had all day Wednesday, Thursday and Friday last week to meet the deadline, plus half the day on Tuesday. This is an unmitigated disaster.
The voters of Bloomington deserve better than this. The candidates deserve better than this - especially David White, who already had T-shirts printed at the 4th of July parade and who already launched a campaign website.
But does this mean the Monroe County GOP is dead, and should be abolished? No. That is just silly.
Just last year, the GOP picked up a seat on the county council, going from a 6 to 1 Democratic majority to a 5 to 2 Democratic majority. Republican margins across the board were better than in 2006 (the last election when we actually had a viable Republican Party organization in Monroe County) and 2008. Jim Fielder won the Recorder's office (taking it away from the Democrats) and Republicans were very close to winning the county clerk's race. Republicans are rebuilding.
Despite some counter-factual whining from the GOP chairman last summer, The GOP filled the majority of the spots on the ballot with a few exceptions.
The Republicans did not find anyone to run against incumbent Democratic judges, but that is understandable because it's nearly impossible to defeat a sitting judge. No Republican challenged Judy Sharp for county assessor, but she has so dominated her races for the last 20 years I cannot be surprised by that.
The only glaring omission from the 2010 ballot was the GOP's failure to field a candidate in county council district 1, because The GOP could have defeated Vic Kelson.
But the GOP contested the majority of the ballot. Republicans even ran a candidate in 4th county council district, which was drawn (by Republicans) to pack in the most Democratic areas of Monroe County. Republicans had a candidate in the heavily gerrymandered 61st state representative district for only the second time since 1998. Republicans had a candidate in state representative district 60 for the first time since 2004.
Let's not forget that it was only nine years ago that the Republicans picked up 2 seats on the county council for a 5-2 majority and unseated an incumbent county commissioner for a 2-1 majority. The Republican candidate for secretary of state won Monroe County despite the fact that the Democratic candidate was the Mayor of Bloomington. With a viable organization, Republicans can win.
So what is the deal in 2011? Why is the Republican Party AWOL from the election? In 2007 and 2011, Republicans did have a very difficult time finding candidates to run for office - in Bloomington city elections. (Of course, the GOP filled the ballot in 2003 and were a couple hundred votes away from winning control of the city council in 1999.) County elections are another matter entirely.
Now, because of one person's incompetence we should just abolish the Republican Party? That is either a hysterical drama queen reaction or it is an absurd fantasy - most likely the latter. Les Compton cannot leave as chairman quickly enough, and the Republican Party needs an active, loyal chairman who will work tirelessly - starting right now - to recruit for 2012 and 2014.