JOHNSON COUNTY— Voters elected the first Republican to the Johnson County Board of Supervisors since 1958 last night. There was no surprise.
In a county with better than a 2-1 Democratic registration advantage, the enthusiasm of general election years has been supplemented with paid staff. During the 2012 presidential election, the most paid staff ever dominated the local GOTV effort. Campaign work is mostly done by a local party organization in other counties. When the 2012 election was over, the exit of paid staff created a vacuum, which sucked Terry Dahm’s campaign into the vortex, leaving a weak party organization and John Etheredge as our new supervisor.
Dahms was not as exciting a candidate as Janelle Rettig was when she won the January 2010 special election, to which this contest has been compared. Etheredge was less a public lunatic than Lori Cardella was in 2010, and that served to his advantage. Local Republicans were slow coming to modern electoral political campaigning developed during the Howard Dean and John Kerry campaigns of 2004, but they have figured it out, and were able to win last night.
The snowstorm leading into the hours the polls were open didn’t help, but it was a minor problem compared to the lack of a party organization and related voter apathy among Democrats.
A Republican victory has been a long time coming to Johnson County court house races, and one supposes last night’s win is like a burr that will be sanded off in the carpentry shop of the 2014 general election, returning the board of supervisors to all Democratic. Such an outcome is predictable, but remains to be seen. Today’s congratulations go to the Johnson County Republicans for last night’s win.
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