Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Will Brizzi's Stink Taint Marchal's Campaign?
Helen Marchal appears to have a very good resume to run for Marion County Prosecutor, but will that resume matter if she is closely tied to Carl Brizzi?
The connections are already coming. Chris Worden waxes on the topic on his iPOPA blog here. Terry Burns over at the Indianapolis Times Blog has penned two posts (here and here) directed at Marchal's 12-year career in the Marion County Prosecutor's Office under Carl Brizzi and predecessor Scott Newman. It appears that it's Brizzi's slop that could cause trouble for Marchal.
It's also interesting to ponder how the Democrats will attack her candidacy. Carl Brizzi would have been an enormous seal with a wounded flipper in shark-infested waters. He made the right decision to move on, and the Democrats running for the office have already been taking bites at him. The tactics must now change. Instead of attacking Brizzi, there is a small window of time here to define Marchal. One must be careful in doing so however because there is a possibility of a face plant if it's not done correctly. IF Marchal is politically savvy, she needs to hit the ground running and make sure that she is the one to define herself. I'm not giving her any advice here, but it only makes sense that she needs to find a way to communicate that her eight years as a top-level Brizzi aid only extends to any accomplishments of the office and not to anything old Carl did outside of it.
Thanks to Brizzi's late decision not to run, Marchal is getting a late start as well spotting the Democrats months of fundraising and campaign time. Also, there's still over a month until the primary filing deadline. If another Republican with fundraising ability jumps into the fray, it may not make a difference about what Marchal does as the handpicked successor to Brizzi. It would seem to behoove Republicans to divulge themselves of anything "Carl" at this point in order to put an air freshener on Brizzi's stink.
I'm not an elephant party expert, but I know that Helen Marchal starts her run as a fairly unknown commodity. I only knew her as the occasional co-host of Crime Beat with Carl Brizzi on WIBC and the wife of my friend and Democratic Marion County Superior Court Commissioner Jeff Marchal.
I'm sure this puts Jeff in an interesting position as someone who probably aspires to perhaps one day be on the bench as a Democratic Marion Superior Court Judge (since he ran before) but also was someone who was rumored to possibly be in the running for a U.S. Attorney job in the Obama Administration's Justice Department. I do feel for Jeff as this is certainly making him choose between his friends and his wife. I don't think anyone will knock him for choosing the love of his life and the mother of his beautiful children over Democratic loyalty in this case. I won't play that game here, and I hope others don't, either.
It's still a good question to ask about Brizzi's influence, and I'm sure it's one that will continue to be determined as the Prosecutorial Pile-up continues to unpile in 2010. I think there is tremendous opportunity for some Republicans not tied to Brizzi to file and create a primary battle, and Democrats now must change tactics and carefully connect Marchal to Carl Brizzi or run against her straight up philosophy and facts. I suppose we'll see as we politicos get a front row seat to this race.