By Scott Tibbs, July 14, 2010
Last week, the chairman of the Monroe County Republican Party told the Herald-Times that he was having trouble recruiting candidates: "In 2008, we got our pants beat off. I think people are reluctant at this point."
This is completely unacceptable, not to mention counter-factual.
The Republican Party has candidates in the incredibly Democratic fourth county council district as well as the incredibly Democratic 61st state representative district. With all due respect to the candidates, it is extremely unlikely that a Republican will win (or even be competitive) either of those races because of the demographics of the districts.
It is significant that we have someone to challenge Peggy Welch in the 60th state representative district, despite the fact that Welch obliterated her challengers in 3 consecutive elections (in a heavily Republican district, no less) to the point that no one even bothered to challenge her in 2006 and 2008. In fact, two prominent Republicans competed in the primary for the right to challenge Welch in November.
Which seats are the Republicans not challenging? One glaring omission is the three judge seats. Nonetheless, this is understandable because it is very difficult to defeat an incumbent judge. Even though 2008 was sure to be a huge Democratic year, no Democrat stepped up to challenge Ken Todd. A Republican should have challenged Steve Galvin because of his ruling in favor of the city's fraudulent theft of Jeff Sagarin's property, but I can see why nobody wanted to take him on. Galvin is very popular, even if he is illiterate.
It is no surprise that nobody challenged Judy Sharp, who has won repeatedly with large margins. She won in a landslide even in strong Republican years like 2002, where the Democratic candidate for Secretary of State lost his home county, Republicans unseated an incumbent county commissioner and won three of four county council district seats.
The biggest disappointment is that no Republican is challenging incumbent Democrat Vic Kelson.
Republicans have had three consecutive bad county elections, bit those came after very good years in 2000 and 2002. The conservative base is highly energized, which is obvious by the large attendance at Tea Party protests. Outside of Kelson's race, Republicans have done a good job filling the ticket - even in races that may be unwinnable.
So why is the Monroe County Republican Party Chairman throwing his own party under the bus, in a year that is likely to be a strong Republican year and in a year where the candidate for Congress in the Ninth District is a Monroe County resident? The chairman should not be demoralizing party faithful about Republican chances in the fall with counter-factual pessimism. Let's not shoot ourselves in the foot.