One of the things I found most interesting about the 2016 election here in Monroe County was how the down-ballot races broke regarding county government races. This should provide some encouraging news for Republicans going forward, with a major caveat.
That interesting fact is this: With only one exception, all of the Republican candidates for office in county government outperformed the Republican candidates for U.S. Congress, U.S. Senate, Governor and President by at least two thousand votes. All of the Democrats running for office in county government under-performed relative to the Democratic candidates for the same four offices, by at least a couple thousand votes each. The biggest vote-getter among Republicans was Ann Collins, who was running for county Treasurer.
This should be encouraging for local Republicans. It has not been that long since Republicans were winning elections here. What was different then was that Republicans were either winning Monroe County at the top of the ballot or reducing the margin of loss enough that county candidates were within striking distance. Had the difference between the Democrats at the top of the ballot not been so extreme, Republicans could have won several county government offices.
They key for Republicans going forward, then, is to reduce that margin of loss. It simply does not matter how great our candidates are or how terrible the Democratic candidates are (and some of them were abominations) if the margins at the top of the ballot are too great to give local Republicans a fighting chance at winning anything. This will not be easy, and the Democrats’ dominance of Monroe County elections will not be turned around for at least a couple of election cycles, but I truly believe it can be done.
Democrats – Top of the ballot
- President — Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine (D) — 34,183
- U.S. Senate — Evan Bayh (D) — 34,198
- U.S. Congress — Shelli Yoder (D) — 36,049
- Indiana Governor — John Gregg and Christina Hale (D) — 36,303
Democrats – Monroe County government
- County Treasurer — Jessica McClellan (D) — 30,199
- County Coroner — Joani Shields (D) — 31,324
- County Surveyor — Trohn Enright-Randolph (D) — 30,735
- County Commissioner, D-2 — Julie Thomas (D) — 32,674
- County Commissioner, D-3 — Amanda Barge (D) — 32,301
- County Council At Large — Lee Jones (D) — 28,527
- County Council At Large — Geoff McKim (D) — 24,533
- County Council At Large — Cheryl Munson (D) — 27,535
Republicans – Top of the ballot
- President — Donald J. Trump and Mike Pence (R) — 20,527
- U.S. Senate — Todd Young (R) — 20,994
- U.S. Congress — Trey Hollingsworth (R) — 19,314
- Indiana Governor — Eric Holcomb and Suzanne Crouch (R) — 19,866
Republicans – Monroe County government
- County Treasurer — Ann Collins (R) — 25,562
- County Coroner — Eric S. Powell (R) — 23,772
- County Surveyor — Russell J. Stanger (R) — 23,809
- County Commissioner, D-2 — Nelson Shaffer (R) — 22,238
- County Commissioner, D-3 — Paul White Sr. (R) — 22,416
- County Council At Large — Hal Turner (R) — 22,779