Let’s Make A Ruckus at the Caucus!
5:26pm – Welcome to the Marion County Republican Caucus for the Special Election to fill the vacant seat in the 7th CD. Thanks to fellow blogger Mike Jezierski, I have the ability to live blog from the caucus since my computer (using Vista) doesn’t want to accept his wireless card and his computer (using XP) does. Maybe those commercials are right!
Currently the PC’s are registering and auditorium is starting to fill. The candidates are milling about with Jon Elrod and Gabrielle Campo making the biggest showing in terms of “stuff”. Tom Rose has been hastily putting literature on seats. And since I have no clue who Greg Stroud is, I can’t say if he’s doing anything at all.
6:00pm – The slating portion of the evening is about to start. The slating portion should include the county wide candidates (I have no clue who they are) as well as the congressional candidates. My guess is whoever wins the slating has the advantage heading into the caucus. Why they are slating first is beyond me.
6:06 – Dan Tierney just got up to the microphone and said the show will begin around 6:15.
6:14 – I think we’re about to start. As I sit in the back, I see a lot of people wearing Jon Elrod shirts and stickers. I’ve also seen Tom Rose milling around PC’s getting his message out since not a many of these people know how he is. The candidate who has impressed me the most in terms of organization, has been Gabrielle Campo. She has a surprising amount of volunteers and her literature is everywhere. For a candidate who is a virtual unknown, she has a decent amount of money to spend.
(Jump into live blogging goodness of the caucus after the jump)
6:20 – The convention hasn’t started yet. The turnout is high and the mood is fairly serious. “bit” wondered if people were showing up half drunk, but so far everybody seems to of sober mind. Now afterward…..
The Campo supporters have been very active and loud. Again, I’m impressed with this political neophyte. I don’t think she’ll make much of a showing in the voting, but she seems to be positioning herself for something in the future.
6:33 – Looks like we’re starting. We’re starting with the slating of the 7th CD.
6:37 – After the Call to Order, the prayer, and the pledge, Tom John is recapping the good year for the Marion County GOP. That will be followed by the “Statement of Compliance with the Law”.
6:38 – A “frequently banned” (Jacob Perry) Hoosier Access operative has been making the rounds talking to PC’s and candidates and he’s hearing that tonight’s contest is going to be a horse race. Both Jon Elrod and Tom Rose appear to be nervous. Gabrielle Campo however, is looking calm and collected.
6:42 – We’re now adopting the rules. They’ve been approved unanimously.
6:45 – We’re about to hear from the candidates. They each get five minutes. Elrod has been heard from before, but this will be the first time many have heard from Camp and Rose. The first candidate we’ll from is Tom Rose.
6:48 – Rose opens his speech with a prayer on behalf of the our fighting men and women. Very slick move. His speech is focusing on the “unheard of” candidate and how that candidate can win.
From there he goes into what he believes. He’s a born and bred Hoosier who embodies fiscal conservatism. He wants to bring the best back to Indianapolis. “Tonight starts, not a marathos, but a sprint.” He knows that this will take anywhere from 250,00 to 400,00 dollars. Smart move to talk about the reality of how much this will cost. “If we run a conventional candidate with a conventional message, we’ll have a conventional outcome. If we run an unconventional candidate we can have an unconventional outcome.” Honestly, he gave a very good message.
6:55 – Next, Jon Elrod. Jon begins by admitting that he was told by “establishment” that he shouldn’t run. That he should run for his state Rep. seat. WOW!!!! He didn’t make any friends in the high places there. But he’s pressing on anyway. He talks about his crossover appeal. He also mentions that since he announced early, his name has been out there and people know him. He brings up the survey commissioned by Carolene Mays and how he has the best chance to beat Andre…a survey commissioned to sway Democrat voters from voting for Andre. Jon says his appeal to fiscal conservatives and independents would help him in the special, the primary and the general. His speech is dynamic and he shows leadership. He’s showing fire that I’ve never seen before.
7:01 – Now, Gabrielle Campo. Who is she? She explains. She is Italian-American. She is a social and fiscal conservative. As a social worker she can relate to those in lower class communities. She wants to build community strength. She is giving a standard conservative Republican message. She comes across as young and lacks the energy from Jon’s or even Tom Rose’s speech. As impressive as her crowd and her supporters are, but her speech isn’t anything new or inspiring. She should not be overlooked however. While she may not have much of a chance tonight, she has definite potential for something in the future. The question becomes, will the party see that and use that to their advantage. As Jacob said, “she hit a long single, when she should have hit a home run.” I say she’s better suited for a State Rep. seat.
7:08 – Now the voting begins.
In the end, all candidates performed well, but Elrod hits a possible costly home run with his speech. Costly, because he outed the party’s move to eliminate him from today’s slating. A home run because of his appeal to court crossover voters and the overall passion. Tom Rose performed well and hit a “well placed” triple. His message was on, but it might not be enough for voters who are thirsting for a candidate who has the broad appeal to numerous voters to pull out victory. His admission that this will be a costly race that he knows he can get the money for could help him. His message resonated with many conservatives in the crowd and those who know he’s backed by power brokers could propel him to victory. Campo, was a solid conservative message but not nearly inspiring enough to make a dent in the voting. Again, she has future potential for sure.
7:18 – For those who were wondering, the slating convention was for the party. Whoever emerges from the slate will be the Marion County choice for the primary. The caucus is put on by the State Party. Whoever emerges from that will be the special election candidate. At least that’s what I’ve been told so far. More, as it becomes available.
7:23 – Early chatter has Elrod winning. The fact he “outed” the party may resonate with PC’s who believe the party didn’t support Ballard in the municipal election. What could hurt with party insiders could potentially put him over the top with voting PC’s. Tom Rose should not be counted out yet though.
7:30 – I’m hearing that early results show that Elrod will come out victorious. More on this as it develops.
7:40 – The votes are in and counted and we should have an announcement here very soon.
8:00 – It’s taking longer than I expected, but I’m told the announcement should be coming very soon.
8:01 – No formal announcement yet, but it’s been leaked to me that it’s Elrod in a landslide for the slating convention. Apparently, Tom’s prayer backfired on him and turned off a lot a of PC’s. One specific precinct (Pike), I’ve been told, gave Jon a 42-3 vote.
8:07 – Looks like they are about to make a formal announcement.
8:11 – Jon Elrod has been announced as the winner of the slating for the May primary. The caucus vote for the special election on March 11th will take place now.
8:16 – They are allowing candidates to give speeches again. The message won’t change so I’m not going to bother blogging about them.
8:17 – This bears mentioning, Tom Rose just endorsed Jon Elrod in this caucus vote.
8:20 – Greg Stroud is giving a speech and to be honest I’m not paying attention, but he mentioned something about China and then complained about the slating fee. He sounds like a big whiner. He makes Bob Croddy sound reasonable.
8:24 – Murray Clark is about to pull the hook on this guy as he’s been going on for about 10 minutes and he was given three. Honestly, Murray is pointing at his watch.
8:25 – The voting is about to begin.
8:42 – Voting is about to close in the next 10 minutes.
8:52 – They’re starting to take the machines down so hopefully we get an announcement soon.
9:02 – Still waiting. You’d think that it wouldn’t take as long to count machine votes as it does paper ballots (that’s what was used in the slating vote).
9:21 – It appears as if people are voting and leaving because it’s so late. Early numbers I’m hearing indicate that Jon will emerge victorious here too. I’m not sure if he’ll give a victory speech or not, but I hope to have the video of all this up no later than tomorrow.
9:24 – And our winner is…..Jon Elrod.
9:24 – Jon thanks everybody for their support.
9:25 – I’m done for tonight folks. More to come tomorrow.