Monday, November 2, 2009
Joe Hogsett Crisscrossing State for Some Reason
My friend Joe Hogsett, who celebrates a birthday today, has raised a few Democratic eyebrows here and there with his recent schedule. Hogsett, who dropped out of the race for Indianapolis Mayor in late September, seems to still be running for something, but what that is isn't entirely clear yet.
Hogsett has kept the schedule of more than just, what a good friend of mine, called a "good party soldier." He's been hitting Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinners and the speakers circuit all across the state. Hogsett still regularly shows up around Marion County, too, at functions such as township club meetings, party functions, and fundraisers.
At the Decatur Township Democratic Club meeting in October, Hogsett seemed to hint that there is more to come from him. That busy schedule he's keeping would bear that out. What is he thinking though? I e-mailed him on Friday to see if I might get a hint. While he sent me a response, he dodged the question and said he hoped I was doing well despite the rainy weather.
What's coming up that he might be interested in?
I think you can mark off any of the Marion County or Indianapolis offices. This is all speculation, honestly, but I think Joe may be looking at perhaps a run at an open Richard Lugar United States Senate seat. Lugar hasn't said what he plans to do yet in 2012 although he has a campaign website. If he doesn't run, expect a very expensive race between the prospective candidates. There are many Democrats AND Republicans waiting in the wings for a shot at that seat that will have been largely off limits for the past 35 years by 2012. Lugar will be 80 by the time elections roll around in 2012. There's no reason to believe he will necessarily retire. He seems healthy and energetic and is still able to make a headline with an eyebrow raising vote.
Then, of course, the other major statewide office opening in 2012 is the Governor's Office. Right now, there are several rumored Democratic candidates among them are, in no order, Evansville Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel, Congressman Baron Hill, Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott, Lake County Sheriff Roy Dominguez, and Indianapolis architect Jim Schellinger. Hogsett and the other rumored candidates might battle royale in what could be an expensive and tough Democratic primary race-to-remember for the state's highest executive office.
Hogsett's would be the most experienced statewide hat in that ring. He's won elections statewide, and he's an amazing campaigner. Joe knows how to work a room, stun it to dead silence, and leave people wanting more. He would be a formidable opponent for Todd Rokita, Becky Skillman or any number of Republicans interested in running.
So, what's Joe running for? Maybe he's running for nothing and is just out having some fun traveling around the state and finds this mystery around him interesting. It just doesn't seem like he'd be putting that many miles up on the board and eating that many chicken dinners for nothing.