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May 10, 2014

DODD: The fallout from Tuesday

“The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.” — Winston Churchill

My, oh, my — what a week it has been in Clark County, Indiana, at least for the 13 percent of registered voters who decided to express their approval or disapproval of the status quo of the county.

Yes, 13 percent of you made some game-changing moves this week.

First of all, we had the judge’s races. To Laura Harbison, I have egg all over my face. Congratulations for proving me so dead wrong. Good luck to you in November and congratulations for pulling off what most Democratic Party old-timers and insiders had led me to believe couldn’t happen. It could and it did with your Clark Circuit Court No. 2 primary victory over Judge Jerry Jacobi.

Three of my predictions came true by correctly picking the Circuit 1, County Clerk of Courts, and the sheriff’s race (all on the Democrat ticket). I also missed Dennis Ettel against David Abbott in the County Commissioner’s race, which I considered my upset pick.

And now for some bad news for the Democratic winner in the Circuit 2 race: I think the Republican Party is going to run their very best and brightest against Harbison in November.

I really have no idea who that might be, but I can name some suspects for Circuit 2. My very short list would be attorneys Jake Elder and Brad Jacobs. I would suggest neither of these young men thought they might be in this position.

This was and will continue to be in the fall a game changer. If I were to speculate, I don’t think Elder will leave the county attorney position he now holds and think Jacobs might consider the spot. I have heard attorney Nathan Masingo might be a possibility.

The results of the Circuit 1 race was perhaps the biggest game-changer in the courthouse. I don’t suspect a real hard challenge to Drew Adams in the fall, but hey, who really knows what will happen by June 30, the deadline for the GOP to pick a candidate if they choose to.

The county commissioners race had a kind of familiar feel to it. Look out Democrats — David Abbott and Bryan Glover are going to square off in the fall general election. The Republicans have a very good chance in this one.

The sheriff’s race will now officially have Bryan Meyer, Jamey Noel and Mac Spainhour vying for that spot. I don’t think an independent can win the race, but know for sure Spainhour will get a lot of votes. The big question is whose votes will he be taking, whether the Democrat Meyer or the Republican Noel.

This will certainly be the most contested race going into the fall. History tells me I have to see a Republican win a countywide sheriff’s race, but feel like if any Republican can do it, Jamey might be that one.

The prosecutor’s race will pit Chief Deputy Prosecutor Jeremy Mull against attorney and former Deputy Prosecutor Bob Bottorff. I personally know and like both men. This one should be close. I think that regardless of the outcome, Clark County will get a very good prosecutor.

I know that the election Tuesday was just a primary vote, but the abysmal turnout was low even for my very low expectations. It makes me wonder what to expect in November.

If you have a situation where a sheriff, a judge and a prosecutor are in a room you have a very powerful triumvirate. These positions have a tremendous amount of clout, authority and responsibility.

Anytime an election holds such potential to elect this power base, it should be a big deal. However, only 13 percent of the registered voters thought enough to basically decide the cast of candidates for the November vote.

Perhaps interest will be generated to bring out a larger percentage in the general election. However, in a nonpresidential election year, I am not overly optimistic.

This past Tuesday in some races was a major deal for Clark County. The men and women who compete for the offices will be responsible for budgets that determine in large part where your tax dollars are spent.

 At this time in the present situation, the Republican Party has a chance at several offices they have not held in a long time, and never at the same time. It is possible that of the races for Circuit Court 1, Circuit Court 2, county commissioner, sheriff and the prosecutor — independent of any of the others — the Republicans could win any of the offices at stake. While it is very unlikely they could sweep all five, even a two or three office Republican gain would be historic in nature and significantly shift the power base of Clark County.

This fall’s election will be a very important one for years to come. I know the 13 percent who bothered to pick the candidates who will be on the fall ballot will come back on the first Tuesday in November. I am not sure however that the other 87 percent who didn’t bother this past Tuesday will realize just how important the choices are.

To let just one out of every 7.69 registered voters make these decision seems not only a bit risky, but rather almost downright the opposite of a democracy.

— Lindon Dodd is a freelance writer who can be reached at lindon.dodd@hotmail.com

 

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