Zody to retire as state Democratic Party chair after GOP rout

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Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody does not plan to seek another term as the leader of the party after years of tough election losses.

Zody, who has been the party chair since 2013, told reporters on Friday morning that he will finish his term through March and then help the party reorganize its leadership.


“Win, lose or draw, after eight years it’s a long time,” Zody said. “I am as much of an advocate as anyone for fresh perspectives. … I’ll be moving on after March.”

On Tuesday, Democrats lost the governor’s race, the attorney general’s race and the 5th Congressional District, even though political pundits believed it was leaning Democratic. The party also lost seats in the Indiana General Assembly, allowing Republicans to strengthen their supermajority in the Indiana House.

Zody is resisting any suggestion that he step down prior to March, saying it’s “inconsequential” whether he leaves tomorrow or in several months when his term ends.

He said anyone who is interested in running for party chair should speak up and start to discuss their vision for the party. But he declined to comment on any specific characteristics that party leaders should seek in the next chair.

“I’m not going to start speculating on who the next chair is going to be,” Zody said. “All I know is it needs to be someone who is willing to roll up their sleeves and do a lot of work. This job requires a lot of work.”

The State Central Committee of the Indiana Democratic Party is responsible for electing the next chair.

Democrats picked up two seats in the Statehouse this year—in House District 89, Democrat Mitch Gore beat Republican incumbent Cindy Kirchhofer, and in Senate District 30, Democrat Fady Qaddoura beat Republican incumbent John Ruckelshaus.

But Republicans flipped five House seats, so the GOP has a net gain of four seats in that chamber.

Indiana Democrats also struggled in 2018, when former U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly lost his seat, making it so the party no longer controlled any statewide elected offices. And that was in a year that Democrats performed well nationwide.

In 2016, the party lost the governor’s race, the U.S. Senate race and the superintendent of education race. In 2014, Democrats lost in three statewide races.

On Friday, Zody said he was disappointed by the results this year, but argued that the northern suburbs of Indianapolis are still shifting in their political flavor and that Democrats are competing in the right places.

“There are trends here,” Zody said. “We just didn’t get there this year.”

Zody mostly blamed losses on Republican President Donald Trump’s popularity. Trump won Indiana by about 16 points.

“It ended up being a tough year for us,” Zody said. “We just gotta keep slogging away here.”

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10 thoughts on “Zody to retire as state Democratic Party chair after GOP rout

  1. Nobody cares. The truth is that Hoosiers are basically smart enough to see thru Democrat nonsense. The party of no ideas and no future in Indiana. We don’t need em and we don’t want em. When you mention the “pundits” in the story, would these be the same ones that were wrong NATIONWIDE? Or just the same Indiana lightweights that projected Ted Cruz as the “overwhelming” pick to win in the 2016 Indiana R primary THREE DAYS BEFORE THE VOTE?
    Pollsters are worthless & Should be big box store greeters. Then they’d be in tune with real people instead of their own media cabal who themselves are biased and out of touch.

    1. I’m sorry, but the party of no ideas didn’t even have a platform this year, nor a replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act.

  2. Yeah, he needs to go. He AND Pelosi and all the old Dems who don’t value the Black vote need to step aside. Learn from Biden—value the BLACK VOTE for a change. Indiana could have easily turned BLUE has Indian DEMS valued BLACK VOTERS and working-class Hoosiers.

  3. Yeah, he needs to go. He AND Pelosi and all the old Dems who don’t value the Black vote need to step aside. Learn from Biden—value the BLACK VOTE for a change. Indiana could have easily turned BLUE had Indiana Democrats valued BLACK VOTERS and working-class Hoosiers.

  4. Dems in Indiana need to stop being Republican-light and have some brand-differentiation in the marketplace of ideas. Many ideas championed by some within the party would benefit many working and middle-class Hoosiers but the Democrats in Indiana are generally too afraid to firmly back such ideas. The result is a muddled platform message that fails to resonate with voters.

    The only path forward for Dems in Indiana is fighting hard for real progressive values that will benefit most of the people in our state and forget about trying to be a watered-down conservative.

    1. No. Indiana knows exactly what the Democrats stand for. Believe it or not, some principled individuals simply don’t WANT your platform of wealth redistribution and government control! Some people have enough backbone to refrain from voting themselves other people’s stuff.