KOKOMO – The big question being asked in both Republican and Democratic party headquarters around Indiana is what will be the down-ballot impact of Donald Trump. I’m sure that when John Gregg’s not dreaming about government provided healthcare and when Evan Bayh isn’t having nightmares about paying property taxes on all of his out-of-state homes, they lie awake at night and ponder whether Donald J. Trump will be a help or a hindrance to their race.
In my capacity as both a district and county Republican chairman, I admit that I have spent quite a bit of time studying and researching the impact of The Donald on not only the elections for governor and U. S. senator, but also on races for commissioners, councilmen, judges, treasurers and auditors.
Looking back on the May Indiana Primary, you had to have been impressed with the scale of Trump’s victory over Ted Cruz. Trump thumped Cruz about as uniformly and as completely as you can do it. He scored the touchdown, kicked the extra point, spiked the ball and then led the band in the fight song. Pretty good showing for a candidate who many in our party, including myself, had serious doubts about.  
Elections are mostly about emotions and enthusiasm and those were in abundance during the Indiana primary and ever since. It is almost impossible for a party organization to create emotions and enthusiasm. We can only focus on the emotions and enthusiasm of our voters and try to take advantage of them, tap into them and hope they spill out into all of the right directions.
As I have talked with my political peers around the state, here is what I have learned. The Republican Party in Indiana is unified behind the Trump campaign and is enthusiastically supporting him. Many local chairpersons have found unique and creative ways to harness the power of the Trump enthusiasm and help it pay dividends for other local races. In return, I’ve seen a softening of the inherent suspicion of the Republican Party on behalf of the strongly partisan Trump faithful. It now appears that both the Trump forces and the party organization people understand the old Ben Franklin line that, “We either hang together or hang separately.”
I have every faith that Donald Trump is going to win Indiana by around 12-14%. A combination of polling results, anecdotal evidence, absentee ballot requests and early voting results gives me that confidence. Let’s face it, the latest Hillary legal quagmire is not going to boost her chances of making it any closer in Indiana.
Therefore, the salient question to be answered is what will the first-time voter or infrequent voter who has turned out to vote for Donald Trump do after marking their ballot in the presidential contest? Will they just vote for Trump and then leave the voting booth? Will they vote to throw incumbents out of office? Will they keep voting Republican on down the ballot? Will they selectively split their ticket? Big questions that lead certain Republican chairmen to produce Cortisol like a west Texas oil rig!
Here is what I think will happen in our down-ballot races in Indiana, barring any catastrophic salacious revelations about Donald Trump that might come out in the next week.  
I believe that the overwhelming majority of Trump voters will cast their ballot for Donald Trump and then continue voting Republican down the ballot. This may be less true in heavy manufacturing areas where a sympathetic union man may vote for Trump and then return to traditional voting patterns. You would need to suspend belief to think that the Trump voter who has been sickened by the general malaise of our country caused by eight years of President Barack Obama would cast their vote for Trump and then say, “Hey, I think I’ll vote for a Democrat now.” It just doesn’t make sense.
When they think of John Gregg they think of Democrats in a hot tub in Illinois, avoiding their jobs. That may have been Pat Bauer’s doings, but voters tend to tar and feather everyone with the same brush. I don’t see the average Trump voter to be the least bit motivated to punish anyone over RFRA. That issue is just about dead in the minds of all but a small minority of voters. If John Gregg wins it will be because of name recognition and a significant head start on Holcomb in launching his campaign. Gregg’s inability to reach critical mass by this time leaves him vulnerable to a big Trump vote.
It also would make no sense to see voters supporting Trump by a big margin and then voting to send Evan Bayh back home to Washington. You can’t hate gridlock and then vote to continue it. Revolutions must have victims and Bayh seems to me to be the most likely sacrifice. After all, at the same time voters are getting the bad news about skyrocketing healthcare costs, they are being reminded that Evan Bayh cast the deciding vote to inflict Obamacare on us all. Even if he can confuse folks on his non-residency and on his votes-for-hire scheme, he still has to face the music on his career-long love affair with the Clintons.  Hoosier voters, particularly Trump voters, aren’t going to forgive that.
There was a time when I did not believe that Donald Trump would have any coattails to ride, either in Indiana or anywhere else for that matter. Only the incredible enthusiasm of the Trump faithful and a wayward Hillary Clinton’s ethical fragility could have reversed the situation over the past 30 days.

When all of the books and stories are written on this most unusual of political years in Indiana, I believe the most illogical outcome will be the tremendous positive impact of Donald Trump on the down-ballot elections. Somewhere in Indiana there will be a coroner who will owe his election to the Trump wave.  
Go figure!

Dunn is chairman of Howard County Republicans.