By Scott Tibbs, November 8, 2008
Tuesday night was very bad for Monroe County Republicans, as we lost even more ground. We went from a 2-1 Democratic majority on the Board of Commissioners to a 3-0 Democratic monopoly, lost the Treasurer's Office and were unable to regain the Auditor's Office. Not a single Republican won a contested race in Monroe, and I am guessing the Democrats are kicking themselves for not challenging Judge Kenneth Todd.
What a turnaround this was from 2002, when the Republicans won 3 of 4 district seats on the County Council for a 5-2 majority and unseated an incumbent Democratic County Commissioner for a 2-1 majority. Even Bloomington Mayor John Fernandez lost his home county to Todd Rokita in the Secretary of State contest. Two years before that, we won 2 of 3 at-large seats on the County Council (and very nearly swept all three) and unseated an incumbent Democratic Surveyor.
I am not sure we could have done anything differently in 2008. Our candidate for Treasurer had 14 years of experience in the office and 8 years as Auditor. Our candidate for Auditor had 25 years of experience as a deputy Auditor and the Democrats have turned the Auditor's Office into a disaster. Even in a race where voters choose up to three candidates, Joyce Poling was unable to get enough Democrats to vote for her to finish better than fourth. Republicans just got swept away in the Barack Obama tide.
Our role the next two, three and four years is to be the loyal and persistent opposition. When the City of Bloomington does things like threaten an apartment community with a $95,000 fine for a couple of balloons, Republicans need to be loudly criticizing the silly yet heavy-handed overregulation. When the Democrats propose restrictive new land-use regulations in the county (and they will) we need to loudly object. We need to be educating the voters and advocating for better public policy non-stop.
We need to realize that the 2012 campaigns began when the polls closed on Tuesday night and campaign for the next four years. We need to be planning and preparing for the 2010 county elections, the 2011 city elections and the 2012 Presidential election right now and we need to not let up until the races are over. With the Democrats holding the power of incumbency, we cannot expect to campaign for 4 or 5 months out of one year and win. Advocating for good government is a battle that has no cease-fire.