Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Primary Election: Which Ballot?

I had every intention of crossing over and voting as a Republican in today’s Indiana primary. I wasn’t going to vote in the Republican primary because I’m a Republican (far from it, as anyone who reads this blog surely knows), but rather, for the sole purpose of giving a vote to someone other than Rep. Dan Burton. I’ve been embarrassed to have Rep. Burton as my Congressman for a long, long time. I firmly believe that he would have lost the primary in 2008 if Hamilton County Democrats didn’t finally have something to vote for (remember that little tussle between then-Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. Clinton…?). As it was, Rep. Burton was barely able to beat challenger Dr. John McGoff.

And so I had every intention of pulling a Republican ticket this morning and voting for Dr. McGoff. From what I’ve seen and read and, most importantly, from what I learned from actually talking to Dr. McGoff, he seems like the most moderate of the Republican candidates. Don’t get me wrong: He is still a conservative Republican and I found myself disagreeing with him on a lot of issues (we did agree on some things…). But I found his knowledge of the issues to be commendable, his willingness to engage in discussion and debate to be refreshing, and his sanity to be … um … well, un-Burton-like. So, he would have gotten my vote today.

However, I responded to an appeal from the Hamilton County Democratic Committee asking Democrats not to cross over into the Republican primary and, instead, to vote in the Democratic primary in order to select Dr. Nasser Hanna to challenge Rep. Burton (or whoever may win the right to replace him as the Republican candidate). Unfortunately, the Democratic party has a history of nominating (accidentally or through a total lack of knowledge) not just unelectable candidates, but total nutjobs (like cross-dressing, check-kiting, judge-impersonating, name-changing Bobby Hidalgo Kern). This year could be more of the same, for Dr. Hanna’s challenger Tim Crawford (who identifies himself as an “American Realist”) appears to be yet another in that line. From reading Crawford’s bio and issue statements, I’m not sure that he’s really even a Democrat; he sounds more like a tea party candidate to me.

Do I think Dr. Hanna has a chance to win in Indiana’s 5th Congressional District, often considered one of the most Republican districts in the country? No, of course not. But do I think he will be capable of running an effective and viable candidacy that will at least require the Republicans to make some effort and spend some money? Yes. And getting the Republicans to focus on this race, even just a little, means that they will have that much less time and money to spend on tighter races where those few extra dollars could have been important.

So I cast my ballot for Dr. Hanna today and I look forward to supporting him in his challenge to the Republican stranglehold on the seat for Indiana’s 5th Congressional District.

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