Ken de la Bastide: Ken de la Bastide column: Lack of Democrats running for office

Feb. 3—How things have changed over the past half century when it comes to politics in Madison County.

Back when General Motors provided thousands of jobs for area residents and the two United Auto Workers unions were strong, it was the local Democratic Party that held sway over city, county and state offices.

There were some election cycles when the Republican Party was able to claim victory in only a few city and countywide races.

That trend has completely reversed itself over the past two decades.

Aside from holding a majority in the Anderson and Elwood city governments, the Democratic Party has been shut out when it comes to county and statewide offices.

There are currently no Democrats in county elective office and none in the area districts of the Indiana General Assembly. The Republican Party holds all seven seats on the Madison County Council and all three positions on the Board of County Commissioners.

With this being a presidential election year, it appears that local Democrats will again have little, if anything, to celebrate on election night in November.

With a week remaining in filing for the May 7 primary election, only two Democrats have filed their declarations of candidacy for a county office.

Ollie H. Dixon, a current member of the Anderson City Council, is running for a second time for a seat on the Board of Commissioners.

Robert Glazebrooks II has filed to run for county coroner.

No Democrat has filed for a seat on the county council, or for auditor or surveyor.

Of course, Democratic Party officials will have until July to fill ballot vacancies, which does allow potential candidates the opportunity to avoid spending money in a primary election.

There should be little doubt that the newly elected Democratic leadership of Terri Austin and Norman Rayford are working on attracting candidates for county office.

But it has to be a thankless task, since Democrats for the first time since 1978 lost a county sheriff's race in 2022; plus, former judge Thomas Newman Jr. lost an at-large bid in 2020.

No Democrat has yet filed to run against State Rep. Kyle Pierce, whose district covers most of Anderson.

Another interesting note is that the 5th Congressional District seat is open with the decision of incumbent Victoria Spartz not to run for a third term.

No Democrat has filed to try and flip the seat. There are eight Republicans seeking the congressional nomination.

It will be interesting to see if any Democrats step forward by next Friday.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.