Dave Bangert, writing for the Lafayette Journal & Courier has a good column on the Indiana State Teachers Association endorsement of Republican state representative Randy Truitt over former ISTA employee and current Democratic challenger Rick Cornstuble.
On paper, Bangert is correct, it looks like a no-brainer that ISTA would endorse Cornstuble; particularly given that Rep. Truitt has cast some votes in favor of some legislation that I expect made ISTA very unhappy. But, as Bangert also points out, given the dynamics involved, it makes a certain amount of sense.
I try to stay out of local politics on this blog, so I won’t get too deep into the weeds here, but being somewhat familiar with the local territory, I’m not shocked by the endorsement. First of all, Rep. Truitt is probably going to win. And I don’t think ISTA’s support would change the outcome one way or another. Second, he’s not an ideologue. Within certain broad parameters, Rep. Truitt is someone you can work with. He’s not likely to buck the party on big issues and, and I’m sure he has philosophical preferences he won’t lightly abandon. But, beyond that, I’ve had the opportunity to work with him on non-government issues, in those areas, he struck me as pragmatic and as having his hometown’s best interests at heart (even if I don’t personally think the recently passed education reform legislation did West Lafayette any favors.)
With all those factors in play, ISTA’s support makes sense. When they come knocking, he’ll at least listen and, he might be able to lend a hand when their interests are not opposed.
If it looked like control of the House hung in the balance, I expect ISTA would have backed Cornstuble. But I don’t see Rep. Bosma giving up the gavel regardless of what happens in the Truitt/Cornstuble race.