Wednesday, July 8, 2009
When Barack Obama announced he was running for President, it was February of 2007. Many moons later, and after a few jokes from the candidate that some children that were born early in the Presidential race were walking, talking, and on solid foods, Obama's marathon ended with him crossing the finish line first after a brutal primary season and a nasty general election campaign. The race to become the next Indianapolis Mayor is beginning to resemble the long slog that took place in '08. It's heating up...ON BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE.
In the Democratic corner, officially unannounced but serious candidates Melina Kennedy and Joe Hogsett are making the rounds. Hogsett and Kennedy are very cordial towards one another and are definitely the most visible candidates dancing around to various Democratic club functions and activities all across the city. Others seem to be targeting more regionally. Those less visible folks include former State Party Chair Kip Tew, former Congressional candidate Woody Myers, City County Councillor Jose Evans, and a few others I'm sure I'm missing.
Of the group, Hogsett and Kennedy have made the best early effort. They have been seen at the Gaslight Inn Democratic luncheons on Mondays at noon. They've also been spotted on Indy's Southside where the other candidates have been much less visible. The other candidates may have some moolah, but Hogsett and Kennedy seem to know that boot leather helps win campaigns among Southside Dems. They are a rather independent bunch that has felt underappreciated and forgotten at times. Don't be surprised if this early work doesn't pay off in the end.
On the Republican side, Greg Ballard sits in the chair on the 25th floor of the City-County Building, but bloggers and party wonks alike...even on the Republican side...are wondering how long the man can take the rigors of the job. Ballard does not have seemingly any political gifts. While that may have charmed folks in 2007, it seems like that it won't work again in 2011. Thus, many have concluded, including fellow blogger Terry Burns over at the Indianapolis Times that Ballard may be hankering to pull a "Palin" and turn the city over to a true leader. I honestly don't see the man as a quitter. I don't think he will run again. He didn't seem to like to campaign in 2007 and dumb-lucked his way into a, for the Democrats, shark-infested political climate. He was wearing the shark repellent. Now, it appears there dissention in his own ranks.
Republican Mark Miles, as the Indianapolis Times pointed out, seems to be making a move up the pile, and who knows what part-time Prosecutor, part-time radio host, Carl Brizzi is doing amassing a new campaign war chest. Brizzi has to be doing the numbers to see if a win in 2010 is possible as Prosecutor or if he might want to step out and spend time shoring up support for a Mayoral run. If he does step out, does that serve as a way for a Scott Newman to re-enter the fray as Prosecutor? The Republican Party's house is not nearly in order either, and the situation is entirely different than the Democratic side.
Whatever happens it makes for great political theatre. Watching the Democrats maneuver for an office that, by registration numbers, should be a Democratic office and watching the Republicans tiptoe around the big elephant in the room called Greg Ballard (who has much more campaign money already amassed than he dreamed about during his 2007 run) and his lumbering and languishing tenure as Mayor. Who knows what third party shenanigans might come out of the woodwork? Ed Coleman, we're talking to you. It makes for great newspaper copy, and it makes the bloggers happy, too...AND WE'RE JUST GETTING STARTED!
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