(BLOOMINGTON, Ind.) — State Democratic chairman John Zody will step down in March.
Zody says he’d planned to leave the chairmanship regardless of how the election went — his eight
years in the post makes him the party’s third-longest serving chair. Democrats haven’t won a single
statewide election in that time. On Tuesday, they posted their worst-ever showing in the governor’s
race, lost four seats in the Indiana House, and came up short in a race for the Fifth District
congressional seat in suburban Indianapolis. Democrats did gain a seat in the state Senate, with
former Indianapolis city controller Fady Qaddoura ousting Republican John Ruckelshaus, but
Republicans retain a 39-11 supermajority.
Zody says the party had the right strategy in focusing on the Indianapolis suburbs. He says the
trends are moving in the right direction for Democrats — they just didn’t get across the finish line this time. Meanwhile, the House incumbents who lost all represented districts won by President Trump four years ago — Representatives Melanie Wright of Yorktown and Terry Goodin of Crothersville are in districts Trump won nearly two-to-one. Zody concedes the party needs to find a way to appeal to rural voters.
While Trump appears headed for defeat nationally, he carried Indiana with 60% of the vote,
and Zody says that was too much for Indiana Democrats to overcome.
Woody Myers captured less than a third of the vote for governor, the worst finish a Democrat has
ever had, and finished third behind Libertarian Don Rainwater in nearly a third of Indiana’s counties.
Zody says Republican Governor Eric Holcomb’s huge war chest made it difficult for Myers to raise
Zody’s declining to suggest who the new chairman should be, or even what characteristics the new
chair should bring to the job, other than a willingness to work hard.