Indy Politics Political writer Jerry Kemp says the recent Republican debate for the 9th Congressional District was a lot like and episode of Thomas and Friends.


What does a political analyst do?

wiseGEEK says, “A political analyst reviews statistical data pertaining to election results, polls and opinions and attempts to make predictions about upcoming political events and trends… (and) learns about the impact that past economic and political decisions had on various populations around the world.”

Now, nowhere in this definition is there a mention of entertaining.  But nowadays, aren’t we all entertainers?  Besides, who wants to read the same old dull, dry analysis in that you can get from the usual BORING writers?  That was rhetorical…

In analyzing the recent 9th District Debate, I’m going to go back in time and around the world to the island of Sodor to give you my analysis.  Let’s say that the debate was like an episode of Thomas and Friends (formerly called Thomas the Tank Engine).

Well, who showed up at the debate:

Edward was the first character to appear in The Railway Series by the Rev. W. Awdry.  He is the oldest and wisest engine in the core fleet, and other engines often find themselves indebted to his knowledge and sharp skills.  Edward was played by Attorney General Greg Zoeller.

Gordon has always viewed himself as the most important engine, mostly because of his size and strength. However, he usually learns his lesson, realizing that all engines have their place in the team.  Gordon was played by Jim Pfaff.

Toby is old and wise, and is always willing to share his experience and knowledge with other engines. He is careful in everything he does, which means he very rarely has any accidents.  Toby was played by Robert Hall.

Thomas can be described as a cheeky, fussy little engine.  He often gets into scrapes, usually by being over-eager to do things best left to bigger and more sensible engines.  But clouds never last long in Thomas’s world and he’s soon bustling about again, playing his part in the yard and on his very own branch line, of which he is extremely proud.  Thomas was played by Brent Waltz.

Of course, I get to be Sir Topham Hatt (also known as The Fat Controller) for two reasons.  First, I’m a bit overweight (watch the debate video).  And secondly, I always call the hat when playing monopoly!

This, being the first debate of the 2016 Election season, William Ellis (Monroe County Republican Party Chairman) was excited about the size of the audience.  But he wrote to me after the debate, “The biggest disappointment, for me, was the disengagement of major media.  Here, we are hosting the FIRST Congressional Primary Debate for the 9th District, in a fairly central location to the Indianapolis and Louisville markets, yet none of the papers, TV stations or radio stations could send someone down to cover it?”

Again, after the debate:

Panelist Skip Daley wrote to me, “This first 9th district congressional debate was an amazing opportunity to engage the community in the political process.  The venue was packed, the audience provided high levels of energy through their participation, and the candidates were on point with their responses and on stage interactions.  Regardless of political ideology, one has to be pleased that the residents of the Indiana’s 9th district are engaged.  2016 should prove to be a pivotal election year!”

Panelist Julie Beasley wrote to me, “All four candidates expressed heavy anti-establishment feelings at Tuesday night’s GOP congressional debate at the Monroe County Public Library’s auditorium.  Each candidate outlined their stance in response to audience questions ranging from international relations, immigration, job creation, the right to work, the drug abuse epidemic plaguing the state of Indiana as well as the nation…and their view on the current state of Washington.  All four clearly stated they are not happy with the direction that this country is headed…and hope to make a difference primarily in repealing Obamacare and making some form of change in the tax code, whether it be abolishing the IRS and personal tax to moving toward a fair or flat tax.

Bob Hall, a manufacturing consultant from Bedford, (claimed) he is the ‘most conservative’ of the four candidates.  Senator Brian Waltz, who has served three terms, stated that you would not find a ‘single candidate’ on the stage that did not believe in the right to life and support the 2nd Amendment.  Jim Pfaff spoke heavily on his experience both with Focus on the Family and his pro-life view as well as his time serving as Chief of Staff for Congressman Tim Huelskamp in Kansas.

My biggest take away is that Senator Brian Waltz made Greg Zoeller, who’s served  as attorney general since 2009, out to be the ‘candidate to beat’ as Waltz questioned him on his track record as well as his ability to uphold the Constitution.  This will make for an interesting race.”

Finally, all of the candidates seemed to have the criteria one of the candidates said voters are looking:

  • Elect-ability
  • Record of Accomplishments
  • Money

Stay tuned!  We’ll see who emerges as the star of the show during the next episodes before the primary cliff-hanger in the spring!


Jerry Kemp is a Bloomington resident, author, radio show creator, speaker, seminar presenter, inventor (TexTo Mobile Silent Auction Systems), founder of a nonprofit (The UPDRAFT Supplemental Scholarship Project, Inc.), and a financial consultant with over 35 years of experience in the financial services industry. He is currently licensed as a life/health insurance agent with over 20 years experience as a stockbroker. Jerry’s experience includes Vice President Human Resources for a publicly traded semiconductor company headquartered in Austin (Texas) and former policeman.