Indiana lawmaker quitting after split over GOP redistricting

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A southern Indiana legislator who was the only Republican senator to vote against the new GOP-drawn election district maps has decided to resign with a year left in his term.

Republican Sen. Ron Grooms of Jeffersonville had said in June that he wouldn’t seek reelection next year to the Senate seat he first won in 2010, but he announced Thursday he would step down from office effective Tuesday.

Grooms’ decision comes after final approval earlier this month of the Republican redistricting plan that eliminated his district that included Jeffersonville and New Albany by splitting the two cities between other GOP-controlled districts. Grooms joined all Senate Democrats in voting against the redistricting bill.

Grooms, a retired pharmacist, didn’t mention the district elimination in his resignation announcement, saying he looked forward to spending more time with his family and pursuing new opportunities.

A caucus of Republican precinct committee members from his current district will select a replacement for the 2022 legislative session.

Grooms’ resignation follows that of Democratic Sen. Karen Tallian of Ogden Dunes, who said she decided to leave her seat in frustration over iron-fisted Republican control of the Legislature. A Democratic caucus last week elected Rodney Pol Jr., an attorney from Chesterton, to fill the northwestern Indiana seat.

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10 thoughts on “Indiana lawmaker quitting after split over GOP redistricting

  1. Why quit, leaving your constituency unrepresented? What a weak move. Obviously he’s not being re-elected, but if that’s the only reason to do your jobs and serve the public… well then it sheds some light on the true motives of these people.

    1. The legislature isn’t in session, and his replacement will be in place before the next session starts. No one will be “unrepresented”.

      I don’t love much about the Legislature, but there does seem to be an efficient process for putting replacement legislators in place promptly after a resignation or death.

    2. So he’s so frustrated with the party he’s quitting and letting them pick his replacement in private.

      It’s becoming quite the trend that legislators are being chosen by private caucus, apparently nearly a quarter of the Legislature got their start that way.

      I understand the costs for a special election … but given the power of incumbency, and we apparently have the money for yet another tax cut while our roads still fall apart, maybe special elections are a matter worth re-exploring.

    3. I actually agree with you about special elections instead of party caucuses. But what we have is party caucuses, and they do work to fill the jobs quickly…which is the point I was addressing (“unrepresented”).

      Until we somehow un-gerrymander the legislature, I think special elections probably are a waste of money, as the Republican caucus will still pick the Republican candidate who will win in at least 2/3 of districts…

    4. You lost me on the relation to gerrymandering, though I agree the caucus may well pick the most likely candidate to win in many districts.

      If anything, a lightly voted special election, I would think, would lead to more potential “upsets”.

      I fail to understand exactly how expensive it is to run a special election with hand-counted paper ballots … and the candidate with the most votes wins. It worked for many years…

  2. Actually, Joe B., I’ve worked in politics for 40 plus years and I can’t remember a single special election. Given Indiana’s law regarding replacing incumbents, I’m not sure they’d ever be needed.

    Putting on elections is very expensive. The Clerk’s Office has to hire people to do the prep work, pay election day workers, and pay people to count the votes. Using paper ballots does not reduce the cost. Counting paper ballots is very time consuming. And you already have the equipment already purchased to count the votes electronically. So there is relatively little out of pocket cost for that. The best method is paper ballots which are electronically counted. Very important to have a paper trail.