Harris on the Record

What impacts you and the media doesn't cover. – Art Harris

County GOP Failed Takeover Surprises

Last Saturday, an attempted coup d’etat of the Boone County Republican Party by the Zionsville-led forces of Chad Pittman et al crashed and burned big time.

And, Zionsville came out a loser.

Saturday, at the courthouse in Lebanon, county Republican precinct committee persons gathered to elect a slate of officers for the county GOP party.

Pittman’s horse was Steve Jacob, president of the Boone County Council, and vice-chair of the county GOP party.

Least you are unaware of Jacob’s credits, he married the daughter of Betty and Paul Green of Zionsville. Paul was a longtime former Boone GOP chairman, Betty’s father was also a county GOP chair.

Pittman was also backing Kate Swanson to become vice-chair.

Swanson was treasurer of the Pittman-organized Citizens for a Better Zionsville committee which swept the Zionsville Town Council elections in 2007.

Jacob also had the support Saturday of county councilor Gene “Dump the Bridge” Thompson, from Zionsville.

Pretty impressive bunch?

But, along came Debbie (Ottinger).

Ms. Ottinger, the county treasurer and longtime officeholder, was the reigning GOP county chair, and had second thoughts of passing the torch to Jacob.

She teamed-up with the popular Sheriff Ken Campbell as her vice-chair and the duo soundly tromped the Jacob-Swanson ticket by a goodly margin.

So, how will this play in Peoria for Zionsville?

Pittman and his camp may well be on the outs with the county GOP.

Pittman, of Zionsville, supported Joe Donnelly, a Democrat, for the U.S. Senate vacancy against Republican Richard Mourdock in the November ’12 election.

As a result, according to well-placed sources, there may be a move to strip Pittman of his precinct committee position because of his backing Donnelly.

About three years ago, Pittman, Jacob, and former Zionsville Town Council member Michelle Barrett began organizing a slate of precinct committee persons. Their the intent was to have supporters when occasions arose for committee persons to decide on candidates, such as a town council vacancy, as well as electing county political heads.

With the failed takeover of the county GOP machinery, fellow party members from Zionsville could get short shrift from the Lebanon Repubs when it comes time to fill party tickets, or fill party vacancies.

My advice to Pittman is to read Robrt Caro’s biography of President Lyndon Johnson, who when he was Senate majority leader always knew of his support ahead of a vote. He never failed to count his votes.


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