Several good Democratic candidates are lining up to challenge Mayor Greg Ballard for his seat in 2011, and these are people with beaucoup connections, lots of fundraising ability, or a fat wallet.
As I proceed around Democratic functions, I see more than a few of these candidates that are not yet candidates. Many other blogs are right on target with some of these folks. Tonight, for example, at the Decatur Township Democratic Club meeting, Joe Hogsett, Melina Kennedy, and Dr. Woodrow Myers were all in attendance. In my opinion, these candidates that are not yet candidates are doing it right. They are attending club meetings, talking to club members, and participating in club functions. I haven't yet seen some of the other candidates on the southwest side of town anyway. You can count that there will be others out there, but these early candidates are taking their cases to the folks that will vote at the slating convention in early 2011, and I truly appreciate it.
Of course, the 1,000,000 pound gorilla in the room still is hanging out there. No one knows the plans of former Mayor Bart Peterson. He has been damaged a bit by the CIB crisis. His silence on the issue means that he is thinking about something, and I don't pretend to know what it is. Perhaps he has his eye on the 2012 gubernatorial race or perhaps it's the 2014 Senate race. Still, it's hard for me to believe that Mayor Peterson is going to sit on the sidelines that long.
Another big hat that's still out of the ring could be Sheriff Frank Anderson. Despite some problems, Anderson has done what he said he would do and has cleaned up the Marion County Jail. He crossed the aisle and dealt with Mayor Ballard on the IMPD issue and ceded control to the Mayor.
Any way you slice it, Mayor Ballard is going to need a tremendous two years in office to save his current job. I just don't think the guy has the vision or is getting the right advice to get it done right now. He came in on a populist message of "Had Enough." He could be going out on the same slogan.
2011 is still two years away, and it's impossible to see what's going to happen yet. The Mayor and the Council should swing back Democratic this time, but Chairman Ed Treacy is going to have to be party boss and diplomat. Democrats are known for turning the firing squad inward. Certainly, as my friend, Chris Worden, says on his blog www.ipopa.blogspot.com, Congressman Carson has a big say in what happens here in Democratic politics. He quickly has become the most powerful officeholder in the city and a big fish in donkey politics.
Still, past history has shown that old wounds heal fast in politics and that contested primaries, while not preferred, make the survivors stronger. The potentially divisive 2008 election year ended with a 107,000 vote win for Barack Obama in Marion County and a huge November win by André Carson. This even after a tough March special election that divided the party and a brutal May primary that pitted seven spectacular Congressional candidates (and a couple of others) against each other and also featured two passionately-supported, history-making candidates candidates. In the end, everyone came together and united to turn Indiana blue for the first time since 1964. Congressman Carson's original challenger decided he'd try to get his Indiana House seat back but lost to Mary Ann Sullivan. Stateside, the D's picked up seats in the Indiana House (specifically big gains in Marion County). Maybe that primary fight was a good thing? It was an amazing feat to come together for a Democratic Party that has various and wide-ranging interests within it.
Just a few words about the Minnesota U.S. Senate race. I will address this straight to Norm Coleman. YOU LOST. GIVE IT UP. IT'S OVER. YOU WILL NOT WIN. YOU ARE SCREWING YOUR FORMER CONSTITUENTS.
The time has come for Norm Coleman to step aside, pull an Al Gore and be a statesman. Then again, Norm Coleman doesn't have it within him to do so. All this time, Minnesota and, by extension, America, is being denied a Senator. Al Franken won, Norm. It's time to admit it and move on with your life.
Monday, April 13, 2009
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