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Huntington Dems gather steam

The Republican party has been the acknowledged political juggernaut in Huntington County for decades, but these days, don’t take anything for granted. Huntington County and the rest of the Hoosier state are not unaffected by the “blue wave” of flipped special elections. Local Democrats are feeling the energy.

At Wednesday’s meeting of the local Democrat Party, it was clear they have a newfound sense of direction and empowerment. Party chair Gary Beatty noted the flips the country has seen in various special elections, from Kentucky to Alabama to Missouri and beyond.

“Those flips are happening because Democrats are getting out the rolls,” said Beatty.

Local party members are on board and ready to roll with that program.

“It’s a busy year,” confirmed Beatty.

The group has a number of events in the works, including a rally next month for District 3 congressional candidate Courtney Tritch. Party members are upbeat that folks will feel heartened to participate.

“This is something Huntington hasn’t done for a long, long time,” said Beatty. He and others in the room expressed the notion that voters are ready for options and will be supportive. “We know they’re there.”

Apparently they are, too. State Senate District 17 Democratic candidate Gary Snyder said that his recent event at Buffalo Wild Wings in Marion even took him by surprise with a turnout that overflowed the venue. 80 people showed up to shake hands with the candidate and be part of the effort.

“There’s a lot of enthusiasm out there, there really is,” said Snyder.

Tapping into that kind of momentum, Snyder is not being a slouch on the campaign trail. Look for him at Modoc’s in Wabash at an event later this month, and at a reprise get-together in Marion next month. The candidate is also organizing an event set for the night before the Indy 500.

District 50 Democratic candidate Jorge Fernandez similarly expressed the view that supportive folks are out there and ready to come out of the shadows.

“There’s an important group of voices that isn’t happy with what’s going on,” said Fernandez.

Meanwhile, the GOP is not sitting on their hands. They already held a number of candidate breakfasts to get their folks out in front of people, and have more in store. They also have the institutional clout of years in control. Indeed, the local ballot reflects an entire slate of Republican candidates.

Nevertheless, with numerous issues from guns to immigration, money in politics, education, equality, jobs, voter suppression and more forcing voluble ferment to the surface across the nation, it remains to be seen just how red, or blue, Huntington County and the rest of the Hoosier State really are.