Monday, January 18, 2010

David O Suprises with Money Raised...Will It Matter Though?

David Orentlicher sent Democrats atwitter by releasing his campaign finance sheet that showed he had raised over $180,000 in his run for Marion County Prosecutor. Greg Bowes' balance sheet said he had just mere pennies in comparison, and Terry Curry has yet to release the information. It makes one wonder as to what effect this will have on the race.

Party insiders point to how Orentlicher raised the cash. They say that the numbers aren't real because the money comes not from the everyday donor but the rich donor with deep pockets. That's all well and good, but it does make you wonder how David O. got them to open up the checkbook and write him a check if his chances were so slim. Maybe we all underestimated the doctor/lawyer's abilities.

It also makes you wonder just what his intentions might be. Orentlicher certainly has the name recognition to win at slating, but he really has not been fighting that hard so far. At club meetings, he is often absent. At Democrat events, he may come by and work the room for a while, but he leaves early before speaking. Sometimes, he'll arrive as an event is wrapping up making it awkward for the event organizers. It's been an odd run for someone that wishes to do well at slating. Did he plan to win at slating at all?

Greg Bowes, who will most certainly not be going through slating, and Terry Curry, the pre-slating favorite, have been working the crowds hard.

Due to his four-page rambling letter on the slating process, Bowes has run into some resistance lately. Besides the staunch party loyalists who are now finding themselves at odds with Bowes' slating opposition, a handful of club leaders that are not allowing him to speak due to his vocal castigation of the party process that has been good enough for him in the past. My sources tell me that he encountered resistance to speaking about his campaign at both the Wayne and Warren Township Democratic Club meetings this past week. Needless to say, Bowes already slim chances have gotten even slimmer without a welcoming forum to speak in or cash to get his word out.

Like Bowes, Curry's been working hard. While he may not have as much cash in the bank as Orentlicher, Curry has, in my opinion, done the most leg work and has made the most headway with grassroots party loyalists. I just, for example, received a phone call from him today. Curry also said last Monday at the Decatur Township Democratic Club Meeting that he's hit his fundraising goals which the Indianapolis Star reported to be around 100K.

So, exactly what is Orentlicher going to do with that bankroll if he doesn't win at slating? David O. personally called me after I pointed out that he had been somewhat unclear in the early days of the race about his plans for slating and said that he did in fact plan to go through slating and that he would abide by the slating agreement. He has repeated that pledge several times over the past few months in his appearances with other candidates or on his own. If he decides to buck the slate again, it could be a tough road to go for him in the future if he ever wishes to get party backing.

It should also be noted that the most loyal of loyal Democrats have long memories when it comes to bucking the slate. Even after being elected to serve on the bench, many D's privately gripe every time a Marion Superior Court Judge that was not slated before being elected talks or appears at events. Even a winning candidate may not be slated under the new slating agreement for six years if they fail to abide by the terms of slating. That means that if you don't win at slating and you continue your run, you are persona non grata for a while. By terms of the agreement, that extends to sitting elected officials.

Another issue is the specter of experience. Both Curry and Bowes have experience as a Deputy Prosecutor. Orentlicher does not. While he has extensive experience as a law professor, legislator, and doctor, he does not stack up too well when it comes to that prosecutorial experience part of his resume. That could be a problem since the likely Republican to be slated is former Carl Brizzi Chief of Staff Helen Marchal.

So, I don't know what Orentlicher is intending to do. If he is unsuccessful at slating, he will have a difficult decision to make if he is not successful. I guess we shall see where the Prosecutorial Pile-up turns from here.

See the campaign finance reports here.

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