BREAKING NEWS—County Treasurer Rick Davis to Run for Mayor


In a week when Evansville’s thoughts turn to brain sandwiches, pulled pork, carnival rides, and sampling a multitude of delicacies dreamed up just for the Westside Nut Club’s annual event, it is not expected that political maneuvering can upstage a good corn dog. This year it has as an informal announcement to seek the office of the Mayor of Evansville by Vanderburgh County Treasurer Rick Davis to Democratic Party Chairman Mark Owens resulted in a technicality that caused the Democratic Party’s booth at the Fall Festival to be cancelled at the last minute.

Confidential sources within the Westside Nut Club have confirmed that it was Party Chairman Mark Owens who pulled the plug on the booth leaving the Democratic candidates for office with no booth to work from in the 2010 campaigns. It will be the first time in decades that a booth has gone empty at Fall Festival where some non-profits and churches raise as much as $40,000 during the weeklong street festival that routinely attracts over 50,000 attendees. Chairman Owens’ actions not only denied the current crop of Democratic candidates access to those 50,000 hands to shake and backs to slap, it denied a charity the opportunity to raise significant funds at the Fall Festival.

In an interview with Mr. Davis, The City County Observer learned that last Thursday as a courtesy he informed Chairman Owens of his intention to seek the Democratic nomination for Mayor of Evansville and to make his formal announcement after this year’s election so as to concentrate on the campaigns of his fellow Democrats. Chairman Owens, according to Davis demanded assurances that no money that was to be raised for the Democratic Party at the Fall Festival booth would be used against current Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel in the 2011 Democratic primary for Mayor. Davis’s response was that he was only one member of the Kennedy Club and was not able to offer such assurances. Friday, Mr. Davis met with Mayor Weinzapfel and informed him of his plans to run.

Saturday, the doo-doo hit the fan. The Kennedy Club, a Democratic organization for young people had subleased the booth space from the Democratic Central Committee who has held the lease on the Fall Festival booth for years. The conditions of the Westside Nut Club include a provision that says subleases are not allowed, and thus the Kennedy Club was disqualified from the Fall Festival. The Democratic Central Committee forfeited it’s booth that has been used as a campaign spot, a fundraiser for the party, and even a source of funds that the party has donated to local charities for decades. The purpose and intent for no subleasing is to keep for-profit entities from sneaking in through the back door and to allow the Westside Nut Club to control the content of the booths. The purpose was never to keep the preacher from inviting the choir. One would assume that the Democratic Central Committee and the Kennedy Club would be seen as equal entities. The real question of Saturday was “who filed the complaint”?

Once again the hardworking and honest people of the Westside Nut Club live in a transparent way. It was disclosed that none other than Chairman Mark Owen of the Democratic Party not only found the “no sublease” provision, he filed the complaint, and supplied the supporting documents to get the Kennedy Club, a group of dedicated and hard working Democrats banished from the Fall Festival. He not only got the Kennedy Club banished, he made certain that the booth itself was hauled away in the night after representatives of the Nut Club had agreed to let the empty booth with it campaign regalia stay in place for the week.

Treasurer and soon to be candidate Davis used the word disgraceful to describe Chairman Owens’ behavior toward the Kennedy Club. The job of the Chairman of any party is to serve the candidates of the party that they lead, not to simply do the bidding of one potential candidate. Many Democratic candidates including Bob Mangold, Mary Hart, Sheriff Eric Williams, Mike Goebel and others had signed up to work the booth. Some of these candidates are in tough races and are not well funded. Being denied access to the 50,000 people per day that visit West Franklin Street for the Fall Festival definitely blunts their chances of winning their respective elections. It is not just the Democratic candidates that lose though. The Kennedy Club anticipated that they would net between $10,000 and $15,000 from the Fall Festival booth. Their intention was to divide that equally with the Democratic Central Committee, the very group that Chairman Owen leads. The Kennedy Club then had every intention to donate a portion of their take to local charities like the Evansville Rescue Mission.

Very few decisions really make one head shake in disbelief. This is one that does. Chairman Owens actions served to damage the Kennedy Club, the current Democratic candidates, and even the Democratic Central Committee. The Democratic Party will not be in the Fall Festival for many years now. They will have to take their place at the back of the line of what is a multi-year waiting list to get a booth at this heavily attended event. All is not lost the Kennedy Club donated the 15 gallons of soup they were planning to sell to the Salvation Army. There are also a group of Republican candidates in their campaign booth just up the street who are smiling like Cheshire cats at the monopoly on campaigning from a booth at the Evansville Fall Festival that Democratic Party Chairman Mark Owens has given them.

FOOTNOTE: Democratic Party Chairman Mark Owens was contacted by the City County Observer and informed that this article will be published today. He was offered an opportunity to write an unedited response to this article and shall be allowed equal exposure. We emailed him this article and assume that he will respond on Tuesday since we could not reach him at press time.


  1. Your wrong on the Democratic Party not having a booth at the festival. For many years now the Democratic Party has had TWO booths at the festival. One is still open and operating

  2. Uh… Reality check.

    Why mess with a little popcorn stand at a fall festival – they are Democrats – aren’t they building their own little ice hockey rink with a 3-4 star hotel attached!!!

    Plus a baseball diamond…

    After just building multiple pools…

  3. Every kid in Evansville going to the pool wants to be like “Red” Mosby, now…

  4. Seems the “Darkside Democrats” are afraid of the Kennedy Club, and that is a “Good” sign for the city’s democrats.
    Many,Many votes will be cast against the tyrant King Weinzapfel.

  5. “‘We’ll make a decision some time after the election,’ Weinzapfel said. ‘All good Democrats ought to be focused on the election in 30 days instead of one next year.'” (

    [The Court Jester, Courier and Press, reading a statement from the Mayor] Here ye, here ye, “good democrats”, attention please “good democrats”…
    Thou shall be only concerned with the election 30 days out, for now. You’ll be hearing more from Mr. Davis in due time, when said king deems it appropriate. The King also wants to tell you that Mr. Davis will be taking a long trip to a far corner of the King’s estate. Not to worry, he will return safely in due time for his proper campaign.

    [Reality] What a laugh – we are a throwback city to the dark ages.

  6. “Jack McNeely, president of both union organizations, said Tuesday that Davis’ actions are ‘detrimental to the Democratic party’ especially since Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel has not announced if he will run for re-election in 2011.” (

    [The Court Jester, Courier and Press, reading a statement from the Mayor] Excuse me, “good democrats”, please “good democrats”… lend me your ear one last time.

    That conversation we had about Mr. Davis… Um, well, er… It seems the guards that “escorted” Mr. Davis on his trip – ugh – lost him, after a stop near the woodshed!

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