(*Update #1* According to a source at tonight’s Decatur Township GOP meeting, Republican Council President Bob Cockrum announced that Ed Coleman has left the GOP, his committee assignments have been stripped and that this is the first time a Third Party has had a seat at the Council.)
After rumors swirled on Hoosiers for Fair Taxation (though the post was pulled) and Advance Indiana, sources confirm to me that Marion County City-County Councilman Ed Coleman is switching parties from Republican to Libertarian.
Coleman, who was first elected as an At-Large candidate in the Republican take over of the Council and Mayor’s office in 2007, has come under fire from the fellow Republican Councilmen and the County party for bucking party line on votes as well as voting against the Mayor on issues he deemed too intrusive for government…even local government. Coleman, who apparently has been mulling a switch for quite some time, was originally targeted by Democrats as a potential new party member, but conservative political convictions kept him from such a switch.
Sources also indicate that after some party bucking votes, Coleman would receive nasty text messages from people such as former State Rep. Jon Elrod, fellow Councilman Ryan Vaughn and Marion County GOP Chairman Tom John.
(*Update #2* I have been informed via a confidant of Ed Coleman’s that Jon Elrod did not send him any nasty text messages.)
(*Update #3* Councilor Ryan Vaughn called me and categorically denied sending any nasty text messages to Ed Coleman regarding any votes that may have bucked the party)
Now I’m sure the howling from GOP faithful will begin fairly soon. But keep one thing in mind here. The Republicans will still control the Council. Coleman will still likely vote more with them than with Democrats. But he will surely be castigated for his move. The question is, should he be?
Coleman’s move is not uncharacteristic while serving as an elected official. It’s not even uncharateristic for this decade. Some will probably make the notion that he should step down. Did Jim Jeffords? (I will admit, at the time, I was one of those who said he should) Did New York city Mayor, Michael Bloomberg after he switched mid-term from being a Republican to an Independent? One of the more well known party switcheroos came from Texas Senator Phil Graham in the 1980’s. He switched from Democrat to Republican, stepped down and ran for his seat again. He was so popular in Texas he won re-election.
Ed Coleman, the Libertarian Party of Indiana and the Marion County Libertarians will be holding a press conference tomorrow at the Columbia Club at 10:30am to discuss in more detail as to why he is making his switch. Your faithful Hoosier Access correspondent will be there to cover all of the action.
(Originally posted to Hoosier Access)