Commentary by John Accetturo
It was really strange going to Fort Wayne to attend the Republican State Convention after just spending several weeks in Italy. The terrain was so flat on I-69 as my wife and I headed to Fort Wayne compared to the mountains and hillsides we experienced as we drove through Italy. This time I was an observer at the convention with my better half, Christine Accetturo, an elected delegate.
There were 1,650 certified delegates at the convention but only 1,498 voted in the State Treasurer race that had three candidates – Wayne Seybold, Don Bates and Kelly Mitchell.
You might be asking, “Well, what happened to the other 152 delegates?”
They either did not show up or did not bother to vote. Unfortunately, some of the no-shows included elected officials from Carmel and Westfield. I won’t embarrass them by putting their names in this article, but they know who they are. The no-shows subverted others who were willing to serve. I really don’t know their reasons for not showing after being elected to attend, but shame on them.
The convention’s two main actions included the approval of the Republican State Platform and the nomination of the candidate for State Treasurer, which was a contested race.
Proposed changes to the platform to remove the sentence saying marriage is between and a man and woman were defeated by a significant majority.
The Treasurer’s race went three ballots with the underdog candidate getting the nomination on the third ballot. The breakdown was the Tea Party supported Don Bates, social conservatives supported Kelly Mitchell and party regulars wanted Wayne Seybold.
In the end, the Tea Party joined in with the social conservatives in the third ballot to give Mitchell the nod after the low-vote-getter Don Bates had been dropped from the ballot.
I believe the nomination of Mitchell shows the party establishment of the Indiana Republican Party is not as strong as it used to be.
So it now looks like the Indiana Republican party has three factions: the Tea Party, social conservatives and the party establishment. From what I saw at the convention, party delegates have become more conservative than ever, so the mainstream party people will need to work with all sides to get Republican candidates elected.
I see the same here in Hamilton County where there have been more challenges to party regulars than ever. I believe it is a bad idea to oppose candidates within the party just because of their affiliation in one segment or the other. Candidates need to be evaluated based on their qualifications, character and their beliefs, not which faction they fit into.
Likewise once a candidate wins the nomination, the Republican Party needs to support them 100 percent. In order to keep our cities, county, state and country going in the right direction, the Republican Party needs to work together with all of its members.