Indiana’s Democratic Party is in line to get a new leader, and the daughter of a former Republican governor of Indiana is hoping to get the job.
Trish Whitcomb is the daughter of the late former Gov. Ed Whitcomb, who served as governor from 1969 to 1973. Whitcomb has had a prominent career in politics having served as campaign manager for Glenda Ritz in 2012, who had an upset victory for the office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.
That’s the last statewide office that Democrats have held in the last decade. Whitcomb hopes to take over as the leader of the State Democratic Party with current party chairman, John Zody, expected to step aside in March.
“People vote for a reason. Either they are unhappy or they really want to see a change,” Whitcomb told WISH-TV’s All Indiana Politics. “For the last several election cycles we have seen the unhappiness come out in voters. That’s why the Trump wave was so strong.”
Whitcomb, who also served as the executive director of the Indiana Retired Teachers Association at one point, feels Democrats have lost their way when it comes to campaigning on the local level in Indiana.
“You have to have enough money to do the basics right, but you also have to have that grassroots network talking to neighbors,” she said. “That’s what really gets people elected.”
“Our county parties have been left to their own devices,” she continued. “There has been a big emphasis on picking a big race at the top of the ticket and the state party promoting that race.”
Whitcomb wants a more from-the-ground-up approach. She says because of this big focus on one big race every election cycle, county parties have been “decimated” and that the party needs to get back to getting Democrats elected to county trustee positions other local leaderships.
Whitcomb says even though she is a Democrat, she and her father agreed on a lot of bare-bones issues that are still relevant today.
“My father was a Republican governor in Indiana many years ago. When I was in college he and I would talk about things and government policies, and campaigns. That sort of thing,” she said.
“Good quality public education, good quality protection for the environment, and a tax structure that was fair to individuals, and also supported local government. We agree on all of those things. We just had different ideas on how to get there.”
Ed Whitcomb died in 2016.
Trish Whitcomb feels Indiana could be the next Georgia, in terms of turning a red state blue. She refers to the blue wave in Georgia that former candidate for governor in that state, Stacey Abrams, sparked in 2018.
Whitcomb feels Indiana could be in for a similar “Stacey Abrams miracle.”