Pharos-Tribune

Opinion

October 25, 2012

Will 2012 be year a streak ends?

As the days wind down before the November election, there are few really interesting story lines brewing in Cass County political races.

But one that has been interesting as it has developed is the race – or races – for the Cass County Council. It’s interesting for a couple of reasons. One is that Democrat Scott Peattie has run the most aggressive, thorough campaign of any at-large county council candidate in recent memory. Another is that Terry Homburg, a former Logansport City Councilman who ran for mayor in 1995, also is seeking one of the three at-large seats. Unlike the four district council races which are held in off years, the at-large races have become a virtual “winner take all” situation for political parties. In a county that has had the longest running Lincoln Day Dinner and historically a strong Republican county in rural areas, it has become a difficult feat for Democrats to win even one of the three seats.

In fact, if Peattie or Homburg win, they would become the first Democrat or Democrats to win one of the at-large seats since 1976. The late Pete D’Andrea edged out a Republican to capture one of the seats. Another Democrat, Fred Grusenmeyer, narrowly finished out of the running after winning many precincts that year.

But it has been 36 years since then and Republicans have won 24 consecutive times in races for the at-large seat on the council ballot. Not coincidentally, the GOP has held majority control throughout that period, though Democrats were able to cut the margin to 4-3 during the 1990s.

Peattie’s name recognition stems in part from operating his own bait shop for several years. Presumably his customer base included people from outside the city where Peattie will have to run well to win.

Likewise, Homburg hails from Logansport, but the Homburg name is well-known in rural portions of the county. Ironically, what Homburg brings to the ticket is more government fiscal experience as a councilman than any of the Republican candidates running, or for that matter, any of the Democrats.

Republicans have an unusual irony in this election cycle. George Stebbins, the incumbent council president, has never won an election. He was appointed to the seat when former Clerk and Councilwoman Charlene “Chod” Gibson resigned.

Stebbins, who also is a local businessman, and another incumbent, Jeff LeDonne, could be characterized as Cass County’s own version of Log Cabin Republicans, though not in the sense that the national party’s Log Cabin Republicans embrace inclusion. Stebbins and LeDonne both cast votes that wiped out county funding for the Cass County Historical Society Museum after the museum had negotiated an ongoing funding agreement with the county. Once funding was wiped out, the county said goodbye to the only real log cabin from the county in the public domain. County historical officials gave the log cabin to a sister organization in Carroll County. The cabin was a focal point at the entrance of France Park, which also was impacted recently by the council when it turned the Cass County Parks and Recreation Board upside down until its members were gone, along with the park superintendent.

What are the chances of this streak – which may be the longest by either party on either the city or county council in local history – coming to an end? That’s a good question, but much of the answer will be determined by voter turnout. With recent projections forecasting Indiana as a “pink” state that does not have a clear majority for Mitt Romney and could conceivably tilt to Barack Obama again as it did in 2008, the chances are decent if Democrats and independents will turn out not only for Obama, but for gubernatorial candidate John Gregg, Senate candidate Joe Donnelly and incumbent Circuit Judge Leo Burns. In Gregg and Donnelly’s cases in particular, independent and moderate Republican voters will be key. The same could be said for Peattie and Homburg because the number of registered Republicans outnumbers Democrats in Cass.

If the streak does come to an end, it will have to be because Peattie or Homburg do well in Clay Township, which has the largest group of voters outside the city of Logansport and the closest proximity to the city. Democrats up and down the ticket will have to do well in Jackson Township, Jefferson and Washington to have any hopes of carrying the county.

What will happen? Nothing is set in stone, at least not yet.

And that’s one of the reasons why there are elections – and why we should be interested in them.

Dave Kitchell is a columnist for the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached through the newspaper at ptnews@pharostribune.com.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • OUR VIEW: Police force turning into military? The images this week of Ferguson, Mo., in the wake of the civil unrest caused by the death of unarmed African-American teenager Michael Brown have been shocking to say the least. Were the dateline removed from the pictures, one could easily imagine t

    August 19, 2014

  • MARCUS: Hoosier workers not gaining on the nation A few readers of the South Bend newspaper have sent emails complaining that either they do not understand my columns or that I waste their time by not sticking to the facts. That I include some of my conclusions from the data seems to be an irritant.

    August 19, 2014

  • VILLAGE IDIOT: Stock market guru will work for food At the height of its power, the photography company Kodak employed more than 140,000 people and was worth $28 billion dollars. They even invented the first digital camera. But today Kodak is bankrupt, and the new face of digital photography has becom

    August 19, 2014

  • HAYDEN: Craft brewers and vintners return to fair Brad Hawkins felt right at home hawking his beer at the Indiana State Fairgrounds last week. When Hawkins opened his Salt Creek Brewery in a converted filling station in tiny Needmore three years ago, some tee-totaling neighbors protested he was putt

    August 18, 2014

  • LYONS: Climate change deniers resort to attacks Recently a friend posted a video on Facebook that he asserted would demolish the Godless theory of evolution. On it, a fellow sitting in a pickup and wearing a backward baseball cap smugly explained that Darwinian evolution contradicts the Second Law

    August 18, 2014

  • OUR VIEW: Depression a disease, not a mood Robin Williams had it all.A picture perfect family — the supportive, doting wife and three loving children.Talent beyond belief.The admiration of the masses.Riches and all the luxuries they provide.Yes, Robin Williams sure did have it all.But he had

    August 17, 2014

  • KNISELY: Heading back to school It never ceases to amaze me the wildly different views my nieces have of getting ready to go back to school and actually going back to school every year. As school time approaches, they are ecstatic about all the stuff they get to do. One of those th

    August 17, 2014

  • Stu Engle P-T columnist sig ENGLE: Motivation that stays year round Every year I hear from students, “I will do better in school when I get paid for it.”My response, “What you are learning today will determine your future pay.”The mind-set for some teens exists in short-term benefits. They live in the here-and-now. A

    August 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • STANCZYKIEWICZ: Mental health and suicide Terre Haute native Tommy John understands all too well how the pain of depression can lead a talented entertainer like Robin Williams to commit suicide.Like Williams, John achieved national fame, posting 288 victories as a Major League Baseball pitch

    August 17, 2014

  • PUBLIC FORUM: Letters for Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014 Festival the work of many volunteersThe Fulton-Liberty Lions Club currently has 20 members, certainly not enough to run our Fulton Fun Days Festival. If not for the many volunteers, the festival would not take place. We can’t begin to express the app

    August 17, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Does Indiana need a statewide water management plan and an administrator to implement it?

Yes
No
Unsure
     View Results
Featured Ads
AP Video
US Trying to Verify Video of American's Killing FBI Director Addresses Ferguson Shooting in Utah Raw: Police at Scene of St. Louis Shooting Police: 2 Calif. Boys Planned School Shooting NOLA Police Chief Retires Amid Violent Crimes Lunch Bus Delivers Meals to Kids Out of School Water Bottles Recalled for Safety Researcher Testing On-Field Concussion Scanners Rockets Fired From Gaza, in Breach of Ceasefire Raw: Japanese Military Live Fire Exercise Police, Protesters Clash in Ferguson Independent Autopsy Reveals Michael Brown Wounds Nashville Embraces Motley Crue Obama: 'Time to Listen, Not Just Shout' Lawyer: Gov. Perry Indictment a 'Nasty Attack' Raw: Russian Aid Convoy Crosses Into Ukraine Iowa Man Builds Statue of a Golfer Out of Balls Assange Gets Cryptic About Leaving Embassy in UK Raw: Building Collapse in South Africa, 9 Dead Raw: Pope Francis Meets 'Comfort Women'
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.