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Encouraging news for Monroe County Republicans
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