Whitcomb joins race for Democratic state party chair

Editor’s note: Shortly after this story was published Wednesday morning, candidate Karlee Macer withdrew from the race for Indiana Democratic Party chair, citing an undisclosed “family medical emergency.” 

Original story:

Another Democrat has formally jumped into the race for state party chair.

Trish Whitcomb, who served as the campaign manager for former Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz in 2012, announced Wednesday that she would be seeking the position.

“I have the experience and the skills that the party needs right now,” Whitcomb said.

Former state lawmaker Karlee Macer is also running for the position.

John Zody, who has been party chair since 2013, announced in November that he would retire when his term expires in March.

Whitcomb, 67, is the daughter of former Indiana Gov. Edgar Whitcomb, a Republican who served from 1969 to 1973.

“Some people ask me why I am not a Republican and instead choose to be a Democrat, and my response to that is the Republican party in which my father served is not the Republican party of today,” Whitcomb said.

She said as party chair she would focus on four things—providing support at the county and precinct level, building stronger relationships with community groups, improving communication throughout different levels of the party and administering party functions efficiently.

“We need to improve communications vertically and horizontally so that if folks at the precinct level have information or need resources, and the county party can’t address those needs immediately, there may be a way that the district organization or the state party could help,” Whitcomb said.

Democrats have struggled in recent elections, losing the governor’s race, the attorney general’s race and the 5th Congressional District in 2020, even though political pundits believed the district was leaning Democratic.

One bright spot for the party last year was picking up one seat in the Indiana Senate, but the party lost four seats in the Indiana House, which allowed Republicans to strengthen their supermajority.

Democrats haven’t controlled a statewide elected office since 2018, when then-U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly lost his seat. In 2016, the party lost the governor’s race, the U.S. Senate race and the superintendent of public instruction race. In 2014, Democrats lost in three statewide races.

Whitcomb said she thinks it’s possible for the party to win statewide again and to take back some seats in the Indiana General Assembly.

“I think there are people in Indiana we can reach with a positive message of how better government will positively impact their lives,” Whitcomb said.

Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

Story Continues Below

Editor's note: You can comment on IBJ stories by signing in to your IBJ account. If you have not registered, please sign up for a free account now. Please note our updated comment policy that will govern how comments are moderated.

7 thoughts on “Whitcomb joins race for Democratic state party chair

  1. Quote: “Some people ask me why I am not a Republican and instead choose to be a Democrat, and my response to that is the Republican party in which my father served is not the Republican party of today,” Whitcomb said.

    Here’s a news flash, Trish: The Democrat Party of 1969-1973 is not the Democrat Party of 2021, either. Sadly, they’ve changed enormously when compared to the Republican Party in which your father served, which really isn’t all that much. In fact, what would be a major policy difference between a 1969 Republican and a 2021 Republican?

    Meanwhile, the Democrat party has morphed into a hodge-podge of whiners and losers who think the answer to every one of society’s problems is “the government.” NOT.

    1. Major policy difference between a 1969 Republican and a 2021 Republican: Nixon didn’t have a problem with deficit spending. Today’s post-Trump Republicans (the same ones who voted for giant tax cuts and deficits) are “deficit hawks”.

      .

      Major policy difference: 1969 Republican Nixon opened diplomatic relations with China and supported multilateral world organizations. 2021 Republicans? Not so much. (Taxes on Chines imports; Anti-Iran Nuclear Deal; anti-WHO; anti-Paris Climate Accord)

      .

      Major policy difference: 1969 Republicans favored law and order. 2021 Republicans led an insurrection at the Capitol that left five people dead.

    2. Don’t forget Nixon was for universal health care, too. And supported the idea of federal environmental standards. When the Clean Water Act was vetoed by Nixon for cost purposes, it was passed into law over his veto with the votes of 96 Republicans.

      Bob, I admire your persistence, but I am amazed at how frequently you have a poor grasp on history and how quickly a Google search shows the inaccuracies of your perspectives.

      https://www.commonwealthfund.org/blog/2017/lessons-universal-coverage-unexpected-advocate-richard-nixon

  2. Trish’s comment about how the Rs have changed, and changed greatly, since the 1960s is a common theme among older Rs. If Bo P thinks government is not the answer, live your beliefs Bob; don’t drive on those socialist roads, don’t allow those socialist garbage trucks to haul off your trash, and if you ever have a fire or an emergency, don’t allow those socialist police or firemen and women to help you, and of course stay out of those socialist libraries and parks. If you get sick in many small counties Bob, you may be surprise to learn that your only treatment option is at a public hospital, more socialism. It’s ignorant people like Bob who hate government but have their hand out for all that government offers without knowing about it. Ignorance is not bliss, it’s damaging.

  3. Trish Whitcomb has been a Democrat for over 40 years. She’s worked on Senator Birch Bayh’s staff, has helped energize Democratic women state-wide, managed Glenda Ritz’ successful campaign for State Superintendent, and helped countless other Democrats with direct mail, polling, get-out-the-vote efforts, and fund-raising. Her Democratic bona fides are long, strong, and expert.

  4. Hopefully, Chris B, yours will be the most ridiculous thing posted on social media today: “Major policy difference: 1969 Republicans favored law and order. 2021 Republicans led an insurrection at the Capitol that left five people dead.”

    Utterly stupid and unsubstantiated. You think that fewer than 400 or so people who breached the Capital on January 6 represent Republicans in general, or even Trump supporters in general? That’s idiotic.

{{ articles_remaining }}
Free {{ article_text }} Remaining
{{ articles_remaining }}
Free {{ article_text }} Remaining Article limit resets on
{{ count_down }}