Tough Times for Daviess County Democrats

Reporter: Ben Jackey

The help wanted sign is out for Democrats in Daviess County, Indiana.

Several Republicans are running unopposed, threatening to continue the GOP's dominance of county positions.

It's believed the tide turned to the GOP following the Roosevelt years. Eventual Indiana Senator Homer Capehart held a two-day event, called the Cornfield Conference, to rally Republican support in the area.

That may have been years ago, but the politics stuck. And now the Democrats are stuck trying to find new ways to beat the GOP juggernaut. Radio station owner and state representative Dave Crooks has several Democratic counties in his district, making it a little easier to get a seat in Indianapolis, than in the Daviess County courthouse. "It's a tough county to win as a Democrat."

Republican deputy treasrer Martin Mumaw says, "We had a Democrat commissioner. He switched to become a Republican. We had a Democrat county councilman who switched to become a Republican."

There are no Democrats to be found in more thana dozen county positions. And, there are only a handful of Democrats opposing them this year. So, just to find someone to run, the Democrats went unconventional. Crooks says, "This is not a normal situation. So, they chose to do mass marketing advertising for the community."

So for one day Democrats bought commercial air time on local radio. But, they didn't stop there. They also put a help wanted ad in the newspaper. Mumaw says, "In 34 years of being active in politics, I've never seen anything quite like that before."

Mumaw says the ad promotes the wrong principles. "The primary emphasis on selecting a candidate should be on the quality of the people involved, not on the dollars."

Roger Cox is the county Democratic chairman. "We need to do whatever we can to get more people involved. And, if that's what it takes, that's what it takes. But, that doesn't mean we're going to go down to a lower level of people."

But Crooks calls these desperate times. The city is also turning towards the GOP. The council is now controlled by Republicans, as is the mayor's office for the first time in 16 years. Crooks is hoping for a small change in the numbers soon before his party becomes a distant memory in Daviess County. "They told David it would pretty much be an uphill battle when he took on Goliath, but David pulled it off. We think the right people are out there, we've just got to connect the dots, so to speak."

If Democrats find a suitable candidate they must appoint them as a representative of their party for the general election. They will, obviously, not be eligible for Indiana primary next week.