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PILLIE: GOP should put more energy into tech

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PillieWe’re about to leave one unique facet of Indiana politics and enter another.

While once every four years we go through a year free of any political elections save the random caucus or ballot initiative, every 12 years we have an election with no presidential, gubernatorial or senatorial candidates on the ballot.

The last time this event rolled around, in 2002, it was the race for secretary of state that launched Todd Rokita’s political career and a step in the checkered path of Richard Mourdock’s political ambition.

In 2014, the focus again seems to be settling on a single race—ironically, to replace the term-limited Mourdock as state treasurer.

The main lines of this contest are already being drawn, well in advance of the May convention that will decide the Republican nominee for this contest. Marion Mayor Wayne Seybold, former candidate for nominations to Congress; Don Bates, who ran for U.S. Senate; and Office of the Treasurer employee Kelly Mitchell are all actively running for the position.

In a recent article in National Journal titled “Stopping the New Todd Akins,” Alex Roarty suggested that Republican officials are wringing their hands over the prospect of advancing candidates like the Missouri congressman who suggested women could prevent pregnancy from occurring as a result of rape.

Indiana’s own Mourdock created a similar situation in Indiana’s last election cycle, preventing him from prevailing in what had been a close race and receiving the blame from many quarters for underwhelming results for the statewide Republican ticket.

Republicans are divided. They want to run a national brand focused on issues they feel appeal across party lines: that President Obama has overstepped his authority; that the federal government has too much control over our lives; that government-sponsored or -administered programs are by their very nature challenged to deliver services in a manner Americans are used to receiving.

Republican Party officials worry that socially conservative candidates may slip up or otherwise jeopardize this opportunity to make significant gains at the national and state levels.

So should Indiana Republicans be worried? Do elections with no marquee campaign open up the possibility of “dangerous” candidates gaining a higher position than they’d normally attain?

Party leadership is far too worried from the top down about the quality of our candidates. There are far more pressing issues.

We have candidates over-performing in recent elections in no small measure due to the widespread dissatisfaction with President Obama’s signature health care program and how it has been implemented.

What Republicans haven’t had is an organization focused on delivering the resources candidates need to win elections. If they would focus resources on issues that can help all candidates—like technology, infrastructure and data aggregation—Republicans might win some of these close elections.

Candidate recruitment is by and large a local concern. County and state chairmen need to have the flexibility to focus their efforts on recruiting quality candidates, not fending off national reporters asking them to comment about quotes from party strategists and consultants who know what it takes to win.

There will be candidates who say stupid things that will cost them elections. No amount of planning and strategizing will prevent that from happening.•

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Pillie is managing editor of the conservative blog Hoosier Access and a former congressional aide in Washington, D.C., and Indiana. Send comments on this column to ibjedit@ibj.com.

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  1. President Obama has referred to the ACA as "Obamacare" any number of times; one thing it is not, if you don't qualify for a subsidy, is "affordable".

  2. One important correction, Indiana does not have an ag-gag law, it was soundly defeated, or at least changed. It was stripped of everything to do with undercover pictures and video on farms. There is NO WAY on earth that ag gag laws will survive a constitutional challenge. None. Period. Also, the reason they are trying to keep you out, isn't so we don't show the blatant abuse like slamming pigs heads into the ground, it's show we don't show you the legal stuf... the anal electroctions, the cutting off of genitals without anesthesia, the tail docking, the cutting off of beaks, the baby male chicks getting thrown alive into a grinder, the deplorable conditions, downed animals, animals sitting in their own excrement, the throat slitting, the bolt guns. It is all deplorable behavior that doesn't belong in a civilized society. The meat, dairy and egg industries are running scared right now, which is why they are trying to pass these ridiculous laws. What a losing battle.

  3. Eating there years ago the food was decent, nothing to write home about. Weird thing was Javier tried to pass off the story the way he ended up in Indy was he took a bus he thought was going to Minneapolis. This seems to be the same story from the founder of Acapulco Joe's. Stopped going as I never really did trust him after that or the quality of what being served.

  4. Indianapolis...the city of cricket, chains, crime and call centers!

  5. "In real life, a farmer wants his livestock as happy and health as possible. Such treatment give the best financial return." I have to disagree. What's in the farmer's best interest is to raise as many animals as possible as quickly as possible as cheaply as possible. There is a reason grass-fed beef is more expensive than corn-fed beef: it costs more to raise. Since consumers often want more food for lower prices, the incentive is for farmers to maximize their production while minimizing their costs. Obviously, having very sick or dead animals does not help the farmer, however, so there is a line somewhere. Where that line is drawn is the question.

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