In the early 2000s, Bloomington’s local newspaper, the Herald-Times, was sprinkled with mentions of the Monroe County Green Party—about 50 references from 2000 to 2006. Only a couple mentions are recorded after that—and those are historical references.
In that era, local Green Party candidates included 8th District congressional seat write-in candidate Marc Haggerty in 2000, Jeff Melton as a candidate for the same congressional seat in 2002, and county council candidate Julie Roberts, also in 2002.
At the library’s bricks-and-mortar building on Kirkwood Avenue, local Greens followed their first organizational meeting in late October with a second one on Tuesday. Leader of the current effort to achieve recognition as a local party organization, Randy Paul, says he wants the local Green Party to have an influence longer into the future.
At Tuesday’s meeting, the roughly 10 people present elected five interim officers, including Paul as one of the two co-chairs. The other co-chair is Nile Arena.
Three candidates appear on November’s general election ballot for the seat representing Bloomington’s District 3 on the nine-member city council. One is the Democratic Party nominee, Ron Smith. The other two are independent candidates—Marty Spechler and Nick Kappas.
If Spechler or Kappas is elected, it would make District 3 special, because either candidate would be the first ever independent to win election to the Bloomington city council.
But that potential historical distinction is not what Sue Sgambelluri meant, when she spoke up at the Monroe Democratic Party headquarters during a caucus held Monday night: “First, I want to congratulate District 3 on having replaced District 2 as the most interesting race this year. Well done!”
Sgambelluri is the Democratic Party’s nominee in District 2, facing Republican Andrew Guenther.
Sgambelluri’s line got its intended laugh among the three dozen or so precinct representatives. They had gathered to discuss Spechler’s candidacy for the city council as an independent, while sitting in a different elected office as a Democrat.
Spechler was elected to the Bloomington Township board in 2018 as Democrat, a position he currently holds. (Townships overlap with the city.) That situation led to the convening of the Monday night caucus.
A single question was printed on the written agenda Monday night:
Should a sitting Democrat be allowed, without denouncement by the county party, to run as an independent against another Democrat in a general election?
No vote was taken at the caucus—the occasion was intended only for discussion. A consensus emerged that the party should make clear to the public who its nominee is: Ron Smith.