Sunday, February 28, 2010

Lettie Oliver Update

Terry Burns from the Indianapolis Times is now saying that the news of Lettie Oliver's passing may not be true. Until confirmation, I have pulled my previous post. I hope Terry is correct, and I regret the error.

Multiple sources are now saying that Lettie is still hanging in there and fighting strong. That's great news.

Obama Knows How to Make McCain STILL Look Awkward

Obama v. McCain...again.

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Political HumorVancouverage 2010

Friday, February 26, 2010

AFL-CIO CLC President Hospitalized

Very disturbing news from Facebook. Lettie Oliver, President of the Central Labor Council, apparently has been hospitalized. I wish Ms. Oliver the fastest of fast recoveries. There are few people that stand up for the rights of workers as much as Lettie Oliver does. Get well soon Lettie!

Greg Ballard: Slick Video Production At Work

It's amazing what a savvy video production crew can do to even the most bland politician.

What a great campaign pie...BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAAH...snort...BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA (laughs for another five minutes and 22 seconds).

Sorry for laughing...but did she actually say that he's helping us keep more money? Did she tout Wishard Hospital as an accomplishment...didn't WE vote that in? Visionary leadership? Huh? Do these people think we are stupid? Biggest political upset in Indiana history? REALLY? How about Obama over McCain? Quayle over Birch Bayh?

I must say that the production quality is way way up over the ads from the previous campaigns though.

Hat tip to Terry Burns for posting this first on his blog.

IPOPA on Target

Chris Worden over at iPOPA has done a tremendous analysis of the Brian Williams campaign's attempt to stuff the slating ballot box with votes. iPOPA does political analysis so well, I can't even improve on it. To read the post, click here.

Kennedy Claims Yet Another Endorsement

Melina Kennedy picks up another endorsement in the Mayoral Marathon.

International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 103
Today, the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 103 endorsed former Indianapolis Deputy Mayor Melina Kennedy's candidacy for mayor of Indianapolis. IUOE Local 103 President and Business Manager Bruce Tarvin described Kennedy as “an expert job-creator.”

The endorsement comes on the heals of previous labor endorsements for Kennedy, including: Laborers Local 120, AFSCME Local 1887, Insulators & Asbestos Workers Local 18 and Ironworkers Local 22.

"Melina knows how to grow our local economy and create new jobs. Her vision of a local economy centered on innovation and connectivity is the kind of leadership we believe in,” Tarvin said.

Kennedy thanked IUOE Local 103. "I am honored to have this endorsement and want to thank the members of Local 103 for their commitment to our city," said Kennedy.

New Candidate in Republican Sheriff's Race

Seeing an opportunity, Looney Tunes character Yosemite Sam slipped in under the radar and under the deadline to register as a candidate for Marion County Sheriff as a Republican. I don't know how the other blogs missed this one.

Sam, a political moderate, said that he saw an opportunity to run given the candidates on the Republican side, Dennis Fishburn and Bart McAtee. Sam said in an exclusive interview with Indy Democrat, "Ooooo! oooo! those guys make me soooo maaaad!" He then shot the phone 17 times.

Sam's longtime friend and campaign manager, Foghorn Leghorn was more diplomatic, "I say I say...son...these candidates on the Republican side are nice guys, but I say Sam is the best candidate." Sam had initially considered running as a Democrat after being contacted by the Brian Williams campaign to run for PC, but he decided not to do so. Apparently, Sam purchased a small animated home near Garfield Park.

The popular character drew criticism from the Republican camp as Chairman Tom John immediately condemned Sam's run against the slate. "Sam's choice to run is an abomination. People want a real person for their sheriff, and they don't just want some celebrity character who played an overbearing cowboy on some stupid tv cartoon."

Marion County Democratic Party Chairman Ed Treacy tried to comment, but we couldn't understand what he was saying over the laughter on the phone.

Before shooting the phone, Sam said he wanted to clean up the streets and put people in jail. "Those thievin' varmits deserve to be in my jail," said Sam. When informed that the Marion County Sheriff no longer has any patrolling duties, he said, "Why I oughta!!!"

Republican candidates Dennis Fishburn and Bart McAtee could not be reached for comment.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Something You Need To Be Aware Of When Ballard Touts Lower Crime Rate as Accomplishment

He mentioned it in his State of the City Address, and you all ready know that Mayor Greg Ballard is going to make the falling crime rate a big part of his re-election campaign (assuming he's running...he hasn't OFFICIALLY announced).

Yes, the crime rate is down in Indianapolis. Mayor Ballard and the folks at IMPD should be credited for this drop. However, Time Magazine published an article in its February 22 edition that kind of takes the luster off this from a campaign issue perspective.

In the article "What's Behind America's Falling Crime Rate," Time writer David Von Drehle says the causes of the precipitous drop that began in the early 1990's are hard to find. He writes,

"Health care, climate change, terrorism — is it even possible to solve big problems? The mood in Washington is not very hopeful these days. But take a look at what has happened to one of the biggest, toughest problems facing the country 20 years ago: violent crime. For years, Americans ranked crime at or near the top of their list of urgent issues. Every politician, from alderman to President, was expected to have a crime-fighting agenda, yet many experts despaired of solutions. By 1991, the murder rate in the U.S. reached a near record 9.8 per 100,000 people. Meanwhile, criminologists began to theorize that a looming generation of so-called superpredators would soon make things even worse.

Then, a breakthrough. Crime rates started falling. Apart from a few bumps and plateaus, they continued to drop through boom times and recessions, through peace and war, under Democrats and Republicans. Last year's murder rate may be the lowest since the mid-1960s, according to preliminary statistics released by the Department of Justice. The human dimension of this turnaround is extraordinary: had the rate remained unchanged, an additional 170,000 Americans would have been murdered in the years since 1992. That's more U.S. lives than were lost in combat in World War I, Korea, Vietnam and Iraq — combined. In a single year, 2008, lower crime rates meant 40,000 fewer rapes, 380,000 fewer robberies, half a million fewer aggravated assaults and 1.6 million fewer burglaries than we would have seen if rates had remained at peak levels.

There's a catch, though. No one can convincingly explain exactly how the crime problem was solved. Police chiefs around the country credit improved police work. Demographers cite changing demographics of an aging population. Some theorists point to the evolution of the drug trade at both the wholesale and retail levels, while for veterans of the Clinton Administration, the preferred explanation is their initiative to hire more cops. Renegade economist Steven Levitt has speculated that legalized abortion caused the drop in crime. (Fewer unwanted babies in the 1970s and '80s grew up to be thugs in the 1990s and beyond.)

The truth probably lies in a mix of these factors, plus one more: the steep rise in the number of Americans in prison. As local, state and federal governments face an era of diminished resources, they will need a better understanding of how and why crime rates tumbled. A sour economy need not mean a return to lawless streets, but continued success in fighting crime will require more brains, especially in those neighborhoods where violence is still rampant and public safety is a tattered dream."

The article goes on to dive into several possible reasons crime is down.

So with crime rates falling in Indianapolis (though nearly nightly we are reminded that they aren't falling enough), can Ballard take credit for a phenomenon that looks to be something happening nationwide? Sure he can! However, it's up to you, the smart politico, to call him out and remind him that crime is down across the country. It doesn't seem to matter who's in power.

Make no mistake, crime is a problem in this city like any major city in the U.S. It's sprawled out on the front page of the Indianapolis Star most days and on the TV news at night. While the rate may be down here and nationwide, it still doesn't stop the criminals from being criminals. In essence, if bad people want do bad things to good people, it's going to happen. As Southwest District Resource Officer Sgt. Lori Demaree says whenever she speaks to a community group, "Turn on your porch lights and lock your doors; we don't live in Mayberry anymore."

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

In My Inbox and Mail Call: Williams Move, Letter Baffles Good Dems

A longtime friend and veteran of many campaigns e-mailed me after I published the numbers from Brian Williams' 174 last-minute CAN-37 form submissions to the Marion County Clerk's Office.

She told me that she believes the Brian Williams campaign filed TWO people to run against her for Precinct Committeeperson (PC) in her precinct. What was more shocking is what this prominent Democrat said next. She said that Williams had never once asked to sit down and talk with her regarding her vote for Mayor at slating in 2011. This despite a long reputation within the party and also the fact that they attend THE SAME CHURCH and that WILLIAMS KNOWS HER HUSBAND. She even says that her husband talked to Williams MORE THAN ONCE while she stood next to them both, but he didn't even give her a hello. She said, "I don't think he knew who I was, not that I am anything important, but if you don't even know who the PCs and WCs (Ward Chairs) are when they are married to people you know, then I am not sure you should be running for anything important."

And the hits just keep on coming.

Yesterday, I also received a letter from Williams touting his campaign's accomplishments thus far. The letter apparently went to those on the PC list because my friend (who was filed against by Williams loyalists) also got the letter.

Williams writes in the letter,
"Over the past six months, over 200 of my supporters filed to run as precinct committee persons. These supporters reflect the rich diversity of Indianapolis. They range in age for 18 to 85, represent all nine townships in Marion County, every City-County Council district, and three excluded municipalities. Each one of these men and women bring new ideas and energy to the Democratic Party both of which are needed if we are to succeed in 2010 and 2011."

So, basically, Williams is saying, "I filed someone against you because I thought your old ideas and lack of energy sucked. We can't win with you in 2010 and 2011."

After reading Williams' letter, my friend said, "Does he not realize that he sent that to someone that he is possibly putting people up against? This is not a good thing and certainly not something that I would be impressed by!"

Another longtime and hardworking Democratic PC from Washington Township who is being challenged by a Williams candidate said that he also received the letter. He said, "He must think that we're stupid."

It appears that Williams' idea of "wanting it more" (as some commenters have called it) was to just mass file a bunch of forms last minute, release a news release, and hope they go through. It seems like a scorched earth strategy rather than a more practical one of working with the current structure. In essence, Williams seems to, in many cases, want to try to re-make the party around himself rather than to win the party's nomination with hard work and shoe leather. Unfortunately for him, it appears he botched it almost to EPIC FAIL levels.

I believe Williams sloppy filing of these forms and ticking off of the very establishment he needs to win may ultimately doom his candidacy. He filed against some VERY GOOD DEMOCRATS who are independent-minded and work to make their communities better places by filling their boards and educating their neighbors on important issues. These are not the fans of "oligarchy" that he wants people to believe they are. These are GOOD DEMOCRATS! GOOD WORKERS! People that deserved a phone call and not a coup attempt.

Greg Ballard's not the sharpest pencil in the box, but he did upset a well-funded, highly-regarded and two-term incumbent. He has $2 million in the bank. Democrats need a real candidate for Mayor with not only smart and tangible solutions to our city's problems, but one that's tourney-tested. By his campaign's actions, Brian Williams, in my view, shows himself to be sorely lacking in his readiness to take on Greg Ballard. He should get his act together or get out of the way.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Melina Kennedy Collects Another Endorsement in Mayoral Race

Melina's racking them up!

Indianapolis--Today, the Ironworkers Local 22 endorsed former Indianapolis Deputy Mayor Melina Kennedy's candidacy for mayor of Indianapolis. Ironworkers Local 22 Business Manager Jeff Stinson discussed Kennedy's "fantastic record of creating new jobs."

The endorsement comes on the heals of previous labor endorsements for Kennedy, including: Laborers Local 120, AFSCME Local 1887, and Insulators & Asbestos Workers Local 18.

"When it comes to creating new jobs and growing the Indianapolis economy, Melina is the clear choice. With our families and their future in the balance, we trust in her vision and believe in her leadership,” Stinson said.

Kennedy thanked Stinson and the rest of Ironworkers Local 22. "I am so proud to have the Ironworkers support and I want to thank them for their dedication to Indianapolis and its future," said Kennedy.

Evan Bayh drops by the View

Is it just me or does Elizabeth Hasselbeck seem to not know who Evan Bayh is or what he stands for...

Monday, February 22, 2010

Serious Problems with Williams PC Filings

Of the 174 filings submitted to the Marion County Clerk's Office on Friday by the Brian Williams campaign...

4 candidates are filed for Democratic PC, but they actually cast a Republican vote in the last primary election in which they voted.
25 candidates filed in an incorrect precinct
15 candidates are not registered to vote.
16 precincts will have two Brian Williams candidates.

Sources tell me that nine filings in the stack were for state delegate. 73/174 forms filed by the Williams camp apparently had some sort of error on them. I'm told that Loren Heger of the Williams campaign filed these 174 documents.

Who is Brian Williams?

The Marion County Democratic Party dander was raised a bit on Friday by candidate for Mayor of Indianapolis, Brian S. Williams, who filed nearly 200 of his own supporters to run for Precinct Committeeperson in the May primary.

As I have repeatedly said on other blogs, it was a BRILLIANT political move even if I believe it was short sighted and potentially damaging to local party development. I know that many people, including Williams himself, have disagreed with me and have called people that disagree with them everything from elitists to oligarchs.

Well, I'm not an elitist or an oligarch (according to Wikipedia, a small, powerful group of elites "distinguished by royalty, wealth, family ties, military might, or religious hegemony.") I'm just a local, working Ward Chair that has done his best to deliver Democratic results in an area that is not traditionally a Democratic stronghold. We have had our successes and failures here in Decatur Township. In 2006, we nearly sat a Democrat as Decatur Township Small Claims Court Judge. In 2007, we got our heads kicked in by Ballard-mania. In 2008, we actually had multiple precincts go for President Obama. Who knows what will happen from here?

My argument isn't so much about WHAT Williams has done as much as it is about HOW Williams has done it. There are multiple areas of this county that need precinct development. I'm not sure how many precincts of the 590 countywide lack precinct committeepersons on the Democratic side. I know that both Perry Township and Franklin Township have multiple areas that need PCs. Instead of concentrating on those areas, Williams filed people to run in areas that have current, hardworking PCs that I KNOW would have been at least open to listening to a bright guy like Williams.

I have read up on Brian Williams, and I find him to be a well-off, bright, energetic, snappy dresser with a great tie collection and a wealth of good ideas. I just can't agree that this idea of filing against good PCs was the right one. Sure it was legal, but he is bringing people into the process that many have never heard of. Some would call that party building, but we have seen what has happened when people jazzed up about a candidate join a local party organization. Many of us are seeing that now as we struggle to get the Obama people involved. While many of them have stayed involved, some showed up and voted for Obama but have little use for party politics.

This is also about FRONTstuffing and not stuffing precincts. For us, here in Decatur Township, we have been resistant to the "stuffing" phenomenon where a county chair or party appoints PCs from outside that area for the specific purpose of voting for the county party's choice of candidates. The MCDP denies the practice happens on a large scale, but I think it's safe to say that it does happen on some level. Decatur Township Democrats for the last few years have filled all precincts, ward slots, and other areas to resist being "stuffed" with outsiders that know nothing about the area. By filing candidates to run against longtime Decatur PCs, I think Williams is FRONTstuffing. As I said earlier, he should be, in my view, looking for areas that need PCs and signing them up there.

Anyway, I'm probably rambling here. I just don't know if most of us know Brian Williams all that well. I don't run in his circles, and I don't think most of the rank-and-file Democrats do. Most of the people that he filed against here in Decatur have only met him through local club functions. If you don't read the Indianapolis Business Journal or have Internet access, then I don't know if you know much about his ideas. The rank-and-files don't know him that well. If you go to his website, he doesn't have much to say about himself, either.

"A lifelong resident of Indianapolis, Brian has been an active business and community leader for the past fifteen-plus years. Building on his experience in the office of then-Governor Evan Bayh, Brian has been active in a wide variety of professional and civic interests.

Brian has supported many of our community’s cultural, civic and charitable organizations through his personal involvement and financial support. He’s helped create new jobs by attracting funding for new businesses and serving in an executive capacity at fledgling companies. His entrepreneurial leanings have helped him become a respected leader in business and civic ventures alike.

Brian has a wife and three children but no pets – yet."

So, for many of these rank-and-file D's that Williams has filed supporters against, this may be their first experience with Brian Williams.

I think Williams could have done a great service in building the party if he would have worked and have made the effort to find areas where no PCs were and filed folks in those areas to run. He may have tried to do it and only had supporters where they filed. Still, many high profile Dems have challengers from the Williams camp. Is Williams party building or trying a coup?

I don't know. I just wish he had gone about the process differently. I admire Williams for doing something different; I just don't know if he went about it the right way or not. There are all sorts of rumors out there about the validity of some of the candidates filed by the Williams camp. They are just rumors, and I won't bother to report them. Things will shake out. Time will tell and the best candidates will certainly win.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

LGBT Community Concerned About Ellsworth Candidacy

Let the race begin!

Congressman Brad Ellsworth announced Friday that he is seeking the United States Senate seat soon to be vacated by Evan Bayh. Bayh, who is not running for re-election, is not making many friends as he goes out the door (although he now says he’s open to reconciliation on the health care bill). That’s another blog topic for another day.

The Indianapolis Star reported yesterday that Ellsworth cannot be named the Democratic Party candidate until after the May primary under state law. That means that the Indiana Democratic Central Committee, the entity that will determine who the Democratic candidate for Senate will be, cannot vote to place Ellsworth or anyone else on the ballot until then. That timetable gives a lot of time for politicking, and that seems to be beginning in earnest.

State Senator Vi Simpson pulled her name from the running on Friday. Second District Rep. Joe Donnelly had previously pulled his name out. Others out there may soon be pulling out because it is well-known by his comments that Dan Parker, Indiana Democratic Party Chair, wishes for this voting to go smoothly and unanimously in favor of the nominee. After talking with Indiana Stonewall Democrats President Douglas Meagher, I think you can count out the Stonewalls voting for Ellsworth as a candidate for Senate unless he changes his views on LGBT issues.

While CLEARLY NOT issuing an ultimatum, Meagher said that he needs some assurance that Congressman Ellsworth is at least willing to work on his anti-LGBT views before Meagher can, in good conscience, vote for him to be the Senatorial candidate. Meagher is one of the 32 individuals that will vote to put a name on the ballot sometime after the May Primary.

Meagher said he understands that Ellsworth may not be the best friend the LGBT community will ever have, but he has to at some basic level show movement towards support of of issues the Stonewalls care about.

According to Meagher, the Indiana Stonewall Democrats are working the phones to set up a meeting with Ellsworth, so there's lots of time before the primary to see what happens on this story. Stay tuned.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Ellsworth's Conservative Views May Be Problematic for Progressive Base

Last night, the Marion County Democratic Party held a Ward Chair/Vice Ward Chair meeting at its brand new 148 E. Market Street headquarters.

MCDP Chair Ed Treacy ran the meeting turning the floor over to sitting officeholders and candidates only briefly. Amongst a variety of other items, part of the agenda was to gather information for Mary Jane Mahern, one of the 32 people who will vote on what Democrat will be on the ballot come November for the U.S. Senate seat soon to be formerly occupied by Evan Bayh. Once the floor was opened, it became clear that, at least in Marion County, the rank-and-file Democrats are not really behind the idea of a conservative Democrat like Rep. Brad Ellsworth back in the seat.

We may know sometime today whether Ellsworth decides to pursue the office or not.

Democrat after Democrat, including a couple of current countywide officeholders, rose to share their opinion. As one officeholder put it, "There's a lot of talk about a candidate that will just 'fit in' into that Senate seat. We need a candidate that will stand out."

While Brad Ellsworth's name was only mentioned once (by yours truly), it became clear that the anti-choice and pro-gun views of the Blue Dog Democrat do not jive with the views of many of the Ward Chairs and Vice Ward Chairs in Marion County. Couple that with the comments on my Ellsworth post from earlier this week, and I think it's fair to say there are some real questions about his views and how he might vote on important social issues and legislation in Congress.

If the Indiana Democratic Party thinks it's going to be easy to nominate a conservative Democrat just because Bayh was conservative, its leadership may be mistaken. The national Stonewall Democrats entered the fray yesterday, and they sent out an e-mail to members and supporters stating its official stance on the seat. Incidentally, the Indiana Stonewall Democrats have a vote on the Central Committee. Here is the e-mail from the National Stonewalls representing LGBT Democrats across the nation:

Jon --

In the coming days, the central committee of the Indiana Democratic Party is going to select a candidate to replace Evan Bayh as the party's nominee for Senator. Act now to make sure they select a pro-equality nominee.

Some of the most prominent candidates have a bad track record on LGBT issues -- voting against hate crimes legislation, and voting to kill the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in past Congresses. The party could select an anti-equality candidate to be the next Senator from Indiana.

We can't let that happen. The Indiana Democratic Party has the power to select a pro-equality nominee. And you have the power to convince them to do the right thing. Please sign the Stonewall Democrats petition to the central committee.

We must act now, and demand that the IDP central committee select a nominee who will fight for all Hoosiers in Congress -- including the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender ones. Party Chair Dan Parker said in an interview in the Indianapolis Star yesterday that "whoever this nominee is, they need to have the entire party behind them."

No anti-equality candidate will have the entire party behind him or her.

Sign the Stonewall Democrats petition to insist that Dan Parker and the Indiana Democratic Party select a pro-equality candidate to be their nominee for Senate.

Michael Mitchell
National Stonewall Democrats

Doesn't look like all will sing "Kumbaya" if Ellsworth is the nominee. It's my position and belief that a strong progressive voice should sit in the seat of the junior Senator from Indiana. That's not Brad Ellsworth.

Look Who Showed Up Outside Wellpoint!

Kudos to Wilson Allen for taking the video and posting it on YouTube.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

New Blog in Town

Indy's Political Stock Exchange looks extremely interesting in its take on politics. Visit this nearly two month old blog at Thanks to Pat Andrews at Had Enough Indy? for the tip.

"Joe The Plumber" Bites Back at McCain

Samuel Wurzelbacher...if you just saw that name amongst the jumble of names you see in a lifetime, you might or might not think there was anything special about it. However, if you add in his nickname "Joe the Plumber" then politicos think immediately back to 2008 and the campaign for President of the United States.

No sense in going back over the play-by-play, but Wurzelbacher became somewhat famous during the race between Obama and McCain because of the latter's insistence on invoking his nickname time and time again on the campaign trail. This came after Wurzelbacher grilled Barack Obama on his idea to tax the richest Americans while cutting taxes for the middle class. He elicited the famous, "spread the wealth" quote from Obama.

It took all of 15 minutes to unravel Joe's claims to Obama that he was going to buy the plumbing company that employed him. Turns out, he might or might not have even been a plumber. Regardless, Wurzelbacher was honestly and perhaps unwillingly caught up in a maelstrom that the McCain camp exploited to score points on Obama. It didn't catch hold on the campaign. That didn't stop Wurzelbacher from continually trying to reset the clock on his 15 minutes of fame. Since his rise to prominence, Wurzelbacher signed a publicity contract. He was rumored to have a record deal. He has written a book. Wurzelbacher has even kicked around a run for Congress. These are just a few of the things he's been involved in since.

In short, you'd figure that old Joe owes John McCain for amplifying this "plumber" (who turned out not to even be licensed in Ohio, where he accosted Obama). Wurzelbacher begs to differ.

As Talking Points Memo reports, Wurzelbacher told a Pennsylvania public radio reporter that he didn't owe John McCain...well...we're all adults here, "sh*t."

But the fun keeps coming, the artist formerly known as Joe the Plumber said, "He really screwed my life up, is how I look at it."

No, Joe...McCain helped you. You have done a pretty good job destroying things on your own. I can't tell you how I would have dealt with the fame that was suddenly thrust upon you, and your life was certainly thrown open whether you wanted to do it or not. Unlike others in the same situation, you chose to try to PROFIT off this fame. Instead of slinking back into Ohio obscurity, it was you, Joe, that signed that contract. John McCain didn't force it.

McCain doesn't even get Wurzelbacher's support now. Joe "the Hot Air Blower" told Sean Hannity on Feb. 16 that he doesn't support his maker's Senate campaign. He has also said that he doesn't even former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Wurzelbacher, according to TPM, charges a FEE FOR ENDORSING A CAMPAIGN!!

Joe, or Sam, here's to your 15 minutes of fame. It's been more like an hour and 15 minutes, but I really feel like it's just about over.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ellsworth Not Progressive But Formidable in Senate Race

Maybe there was a method to the madness. When Evan Bayh stepped away from his run for re-election to the Senate yesterday, my friends and I were up in arms about the way that he did it. On the face, it seemed like a dirty move to walk away without any time for the Democrats to field a candidate.

Now, with Tammy D'Ippolito woefully short of the signatures needed to make the ballot (she only was able to muster TWO CERTIFIED SIGNATURES from the heavily Democratic 7th Congressional District), Bayh's move looks incredibly smart and helpful to the Indiana Democratic Party as the party can hand select a candidate that will have a clear and open field through the primary and on to the General Election.

The Republicans figure to have a nasty, drawn out, and bitter fight. Former Senator Dan Coats is the biggest name, but Democrats have exposed a soft underbelly that his opponents can attack. John Hostettler has big negatives. That's why I believe that Marlin Stutzman, who has quietly been gaining the support of Indiana Republicans, is such a solid candidate. Don Bates, Jr. and Richard Behney claimed yesterday that they also have signatures to be candidates on the Republican ballot. All of them garnished enough signatures in at least the 7th District to qualify for ballot access in May.

So, while the Republicans scratch and claw it out, the Democrats can calmly pick a candidate to go toe-to-toe with the Republican that survives. What Democrat will that be? There are many possibilities. Amongst the names bandied about have been former Secretary of State Joe Hogsett, Indiana Democratic Party Chairman Dan Parker, former State Health Commissioner Woody Myers, former Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson, former Indiana Speaker of the House John Gregg, 9th District Congressman Baron Hill, and many others.

The smart money speculation is seemingly centering around the bluest of Indiana Blue Dogs, Congressman Brad Ellsworth. It's hard to believe, but the wildly popular Ellsworth has been in Congress for four years now building an honestly conservative and principled record in Congress. He is the perfect Democrat for the 8th Congressional District, but he makes Evan Bayh look like FDR, politically. He is extremely conservative and progressives may find themselves choking if he is chosen to represent the Democratic fortunes.

I share those concerns, but I will say this about Ellsworth. Having spent some time with him in French Lick this past August, I was impressed with him. There is something refreshingly not political about him. Unlike Bayh, who seems like a programmed political robot at times, Ellsworth comes across like a REAL GUY. I don't like his views, but I do like him.

At French Lick, I had the chance to be around the Congressman and his staff, and I found the relationship between them to be refreshing. His staff was fiercely loyal. They all referred to the Congressman as "Brad" and not anything else.

As I sat across from the Congressman on the roof of the French Lick Hotel, his staff huddled under blankets under the stars. Ellsworth sipped on a bottle of water, and we talked calmly about anything but our political differences. It was an unbelievable moment. I started to see why he cleaned John Hostettler's clock. He's an excellent politician by NOT being a politician. If it's an act, he's really good, and Republicans definitely will have their hands full with him. He will connect with voters...maybe not progressives, but Republicans and independents. Progressives will have to work with him, but I think he will listen. While he never may be as progressive as we want him to be, I just get the feeling that our differences will be more honest and less political than they were with Bayh.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Maddow Shocks Schock on MTP

MSNBC's Rachel Maddow has been on the story for weeks as Republicans claim credit for Stimulus Bill projects. Given the opportunity, she pounced on Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) and left him scrambling for a response.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Monday, February 15, 2010

Bayh's Legacy Will Be Mixed

This morning, word came that Evan Bayh was leaving the political stage for now. At this time, we don't know what his future plans will be or even if he has any at this point. I am assuming that this is likely not the last time we will see the 54-year-old Indiana Democratic Grand Poobah. Let's face it, what Bayh says goes still here in Indiana. If he chooses to stay involved, I don't think that will change anytime soon.

By now, you know his story. The son of Birch Bayh, a former U.S. Senator who remains extraordinarily popular, Bayh was seemingly groomed for a life in public. He was elected Secretary of State in 1986 and then served as Governor for two terms from 1989-1997. In 1998, he was elected to the U.S. Senate. That's where things get murky.

By now, many would have thought that Bayh would have made a serious run at the White House, and he flirted with the idea. He pulled out well before things got interesting in 2008. Sure, he nearly became the Vice President as the choice came down to him and Senator Joe Biden in 2008 for President Obama, but he got the job basically by staying out of everybody's way and not rocking the boat in the Senate. As a Senator, Bayh eschewed the liberal wing of the Democratic Party and instead went right to the the middle. Sometimes, he even leaned a little to the right of the Republican Senior Senator from Indiana, Richard Lugar.

Even after 12 years, Bayh cannot point to too much in the way of accomplishments as a Senator. He became a member of the leadership on the Democratic side quickly, but he found himself more recently as the target of progressive anger when it was revealed that he voted against the Obama Administration more than any other Democrat. As a Senator, Bayh was flat out wrong on many of his positions, in my view. He left his base and tried to forge new turf in the middle knowing that his personal popularity would carry him. Bayh, like Lugar for Democrats, was always the Democratic politician from the opposite party that Republicans could feel good about voting for.

What people forget is that Evan Bayh was an extremely effective Governor and executive. Sure, he didn't do everything right, but his fiscal conservatism fit well with Hoosier values. He didn't raise taxes as Governor and passed the largest tax cut in state history while maintaining surpluses and increasing school funding. He moved welfare recipients off the rolls and put them to work and championed the 21st Century Scholars program that has sent thousands of Hoosiers to college. When he handed the keys of the Governor's Office to his Lieutenant Governor, Frank O'Bannon, who won election with Bayh's help in 1996, the state was in tremendous shape.

Bayh was unstoppable at that time scaring away Dan Coats, the sitting Senator, and walking to a win by record margins over popular Fort Wayne Mayor Paul Helmke. The Republicans only could muster perennial candidate Marvin Scott to run against Bayh in 2004. None of this year's candidates really strike fear in the heart of Democrats, but now, expect it to get bloody on the Republican side. The rubber meets the road tomorrow at noon when signatures are due. Who will get the requisite 500 signatures from the nine Indiana Congressional Districts remains to be seen.

Now, Bayh walks away. He closes the chapter on his Senate career and looks to what's next. Maybe nothing is next for him. Then again, maybe there is another run in his future. Nothing would surprise me. The pool for Governor in 2012 is getting crowded. Bayh taking a dip there would clear things out a bit. Maybe Bayh's thinking about another run at President. Who knows? One thing's for sure, Evan Bayh never does anything that isn't politically calculated. His leaving the race just before the filing deadline allows the Indiana Democratic Party to appoint his successor. If you don't think that Dan Parker's phone will be on and waiting for Bayh's phone call on the issue, then I have some nice ocean front property for you near French Lick.

The decision seems strange now, but we will perhaps see things more clearly soon. Like many Democrats, I had my doubts about Senator Bayh. He frustrated me with his conservative, blue dog views. They weren't necessarily in line with mine all the time. Still, I congratulate him on his service, and take my hat off to him. Indiana politics will be a little strange without Evan Bayh in the middle of it all. Then again, I don't think it will be long until he's back.

In My Inbox: Bayh's Statement

Read between the lines in paragraph 15 and 16, and you may see that his future plans are coded in there somewhere.

Dear Jon,

Below is a message from Senator Evan Bayh, as delivered in Indianapolis this afternoon.

Thank you all for coming today. I know how busy you are, and I appreciate you taking the time to be with us.

I would like to begin by acknowledging some people to whom I owe a great debt of gratitude.

First, my wife, Susan who for 25 years has stood by my side and without whose love and support so much I have been privileged to do would never have been possible. As my father once told me, I definitely "married up."

Second, my wonderful children, Beau and Nick, who I love so much and of whom I am so proud. Being their father is the most important job I will ever have.

Third, my staff members - past and present - who have worked so hard and sacrificed so much for the people of our state. There is not one that couldn't have made more money and worked fewer hours doing something else, and they have always managed to make me look much better than I deserve.

Most important, the people of Indiana who for almost a quarter century have placed their trust and welfare in my hands. No one can ask for a better boss or a greater honor.

I was raised in a family that believes public service is the highest calling in the church, that what matters is not what you take from life but what you give back. I believe that still. For almost all of my adult life I have been privileged to serve the people of Indiana in elective office.

As Secretary of State I worked to reform our election laws to insure that every vote counts. I cast the deciding vote in the closest Congressional race in the nation for a member of the other political party because I believed he had legitimately won the election.

As Governor, I worked with an outstanding team to balance the budget, cut taxes, leave the largest surplus in state history, create the most new jobs in any eight year period, increase funding for schools every year, make college more affordable, reform welfare to emphasize work, raised water quality standards, created more new state parks than any time since the nineteen thirties, and raised the penalties for violent crime.

In the Senate, I have continued to fight for the best interests of our state. I have worked with Hoosier workers and businesses, large and small, in the defense sector, the life sciences, medical device industry, autos, steel, recreational vehicle manufacturing, and many many more, to save and create jobs.

Since 9/11 I have fought to make our nation safe with a national security approach that is both tough and smart. I have championed the cause of our soldiers to make sure they have the equipment they need in battle and the healthcare they deserve when they get home.

I have often been a lonely voice for balancing the budget and restraining spending, and I work with Democrats, Republicans, Independent's alike to do the nation's business in a way that is civil and constructive.

I am fortunate to have good friends on both sides of the aisle, something that is much too rare in Washington today.

After all these years, my passion for service to my fellow citizens is undiminished, but my desire to do so by serving in Congress has waned. To put it in words most Hoosiers can understand: I love working for the people of Indiana, I love helping our citizens make the most of their lives, but I do not love Congress. I will not, therefore, be a candidate for election to the Senate this November.

My decision should not be interpreted for more than it is, a very difficult, deeply personal one. I am an Executive at heart. I value my independence. I am not motivated by strident partisanship or ideology. These traits may be useful in many walks of life, but they are not highly valued in Congress.

My decision should not reflect adversely upon my colleagues who continue to serve in the Senate. The public would be surprised and pleased to know that those who serve them in the Senate despite their policy and political differences are unfailingly hard working and devoted to the public good as they see it. I will miss them. I particularly value my relationship with Senator Dick Lugar and have often felt that if all Senators could have the cooperative relationship we enjoy the institution would be a better place.

My decision should not reflect adversely upon the President. I look forward to working with him during the next eleven months to get our deficit under control, get the economy moving again, regulate Wall Street to avoid future financial crises and reform education so that all children can fulfill their god given potential. This is the right agenda for America.

My decision was not motivated by political concern. Even in the current challenging environment, I am confident in my prospects for re-election. I have been honored by the people of Indiana to serve in elective office five times during the last twenty four years. It is simply time to contribute to society in another way: creating jobs by helping grow a business, helping guide an institution of higher learning, or helping run a worthy charitable endeavor.

In closing, let me say this: Words cannot convey nor can I adequately express my gratitude to the great people of Indiana. I will never forget those I have been privileged to serve and those who have so kindly supported me. I have always tried to remember that my job is to work for Hoosiers, not the other way around, and I am constantly reminded that if Washington, D.C. could be more like Indiana, Washington would be a better place.

Lastly, let me reiterate my deep and abiding love for our Nation and my optimism for our future. These are difficult times for America. But we have seen difficult days before, and we will see better days again. With all our faults we are an exceptional people.

I look forward to continuing to do my part to meet the challenges we face as a private citizen, patriotic American, and devoted son of Indiana to work for solutions not slogans, progress not politics so that our generation can do what Americans have always done: convey to our children, and our children's children, an America that is stronger, more prosperous, more decent and more just.

Thank you again. May God bless you all.


Evan Bayh

Evan Bayh to Retire!! (Multiple Updates)

According to Chris Cillizza, Evan Bayh will not seek reelection.

Here is the column:

Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh will not seek re-election this year, a decision that hands Republicans a prime pickup opportunity in the middle of the country.

"After all these years, my passion for service to my fellow citizens is undiminished, but my desire to do so by serving in Congress has waned," Bayh will say.

Bayh will announce the decision at a press conference later today. He was first elected to the Senate in 1998 and was re-elected easily in 2004. National Republicans had recruited former Sen. Dan Coats to challenge Bayh in 2010 although polling suggested Bayh began the race with a 20-point edge. He also had $13 million in the bank at the end of the year.

Prior to being in the Senate, Bayh served two terms as governor of the Hoosier State. He also served briefly as Secretary of State.

This will definitely hurt Democrats and help the Republicans pick up this seat.

More information to come soon.
Update 1: Thoughts on who will run. I think Indiana Democrats best bet would be Congressman Brad Ellsworth. The Conservative Democrat from the 'bloody eighth district,' and is the former Vanderburgh County Sheriff. He would be the most electable in the state with his blue dog credentials. I have met him quite a few times and he is a great guy, even if I don't always agree with his stances on the issues.

Another great candidate would be Congressman Andre Carson. With him on the ballot, Progressives would be fired up to hit the polls helping the Party in other tough Election races. It would open up a can of worms in the 7th District for a potential successor.

Via Facebook, Jon is tossing out the idea of Joe Hogsett for Senate. Others are also mentioning Baron Hill, who was tossing around the idea of running for governor in 2012.
Update 2: Also, don't forget the filing deadline is this FRIDAY! That's alot of signatures to gather in a very short amount of time!

And a source of mine thinks that there is more to this than what we are being let onto. Without naming my source(s), there could be a potential 'statement' from the White House following Bayh's press conference.
Update 3: A statement via Daily Kos from Senator Bayh:

"Two weeks ago, the Senate voted down a bipartisan commission to deal with one of the greatest threats facing our nation: our exploding deficits and debt. The measure would have passed, but seven members who had endorsed the idea instead voted ‘no’ for short-term political reasons," he said. "Just last week, a major piece of legislation to create jobs — the public’s top priority — fell apart amid complaints from both the left and right. All of this and much more has led me to believe that there are better ways to serve my fellow citizens, my beloved state and our nation than continued service in Congress."
Update 4: I lied, the filing deadline for the Indiana Primary for Senator is tomorrow, February 16. See it for yourself here.

Also, how did we not see this coming. Bayh never filed for access to the Primary Ballot according to the IN SOS website. See the list of filed candidates here.
Update 5: Here's what is going to happen, in my opinion. The INDEM Central Committee has until June 30th to fill the primary vacancy for US Senator. The INDEM State Convention is June 26th. I think that the best thing to do would be for the state party to allow a floor vote on the candidates for US Senate. Then in the subsequent days, the Central Committee could ratify the result of those votes, therefore allowing the Party Activists to have a vote on the matter and still following the rules.

Spotted: Ballard Campaign Bumper Sticker?

On Saturday afternoon, I was at the bottom of the exit ramp from I-465 South to Kentucky Avenue. I was getting ready to turn south to head home, and I noticed this large, new, gleaming SUV sporting a FOP sticker in its back window. As I looked down towards the license plate, I noticed a big as day bumper sticker that said in big letters, "Mayor Greg Ballard (and below in smaller letters) Leadership At Work."

Three Democrats have now announced they are running for Mayor and are actively campaigning, but Mayor Greg Ballard has yet to announce. I would assume that bumper sticker may be an early indicator that, yes, Ballard is running for re-election and that the sticker was picked up at GOP slating.

"Leadership At Work" may be an early slogan, but it would be more true if you substituted "NO" in front of the slogan.

Ballard, on issue after issue, has shown virtually no leadership...or the wrong kind of leadership. He has stood by without comment as jobs leave the city, and he failed to respond quickly to the biggest issue to face him so far, the CIB mess. Rather than lead from the front, he attempted to go through the back door to kill the smoking ban only to be ratted out. He has seen a majority on the City-County Council be nearly squandered by defection and in-fighting. Ballard has been caught playing "country club" politics by allowing working police cars to be used as security measures at the businesses of campaign contributors. Most recently, he has grounded IMPD's crime fighting helicopters in the name of budget cuts. All this while raising taxes and fees and failing to live up to his original campaign promises.

If all this is Ballard's "Leadership At Work," I think he'll see the voters will grasp to his first campaign slogan, "Had Enough" and boot him out.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

In My Inbox: Chairman Parker Calls Out Young and Zoeller on "Robo-Calls"

On Friday, Indiana Democratic Party Chair Dan Parker sent out this e-mail from headquarters. Apparently, even after agreeing not to do it, Todd Young's campaign for Indiana's 9th District Congressional seat is utilizing the robo-calls to try to drum up support. This is against an agreement between the parties as Parker explains here:

Dear Jon,

Just one month ago, I sat down with Attorney General Greg Zoeller and Indiana Republican Party Chair Murray Clark to sign an unprecedented bipartisan treaty that pledged this year would be robo-call free for Hoosiers across this state.

Unfortunately, there is already evidence that this agreement has been broken and a formal complaint has been filed with the Attorney General's office.

Online reports in recent days allege that Ninth District GOP Congressional candidate Todd Young has been using robo-calls in Southern Indiana, touting his campaign and asking Hoosiers to contact him.

(A recording of the phone call in question can be found here.)

If these allegations are true, Mr. Young is not just breaking an agreement between the major political parties of this state -- he's possibly breaking the law.

Robo-calls are illegal in Indiana, and enforcement of that law is the responsibility of Attorney General Greg Zoeller. Zoeller, a Republican who is serving his first term, endorsed Young's candidacy last year, and has since hosted fundraisers for Young.

As of today, both Zoeller and Young have been completely silent on the issue.

Given Attorney General Zoeller's personal involvement in the primary campaign of Todd Young, he owes Hoosiers an answer on why he has not investigated or made a statement on the alleged use of a robo-call.

Earlier today, I placed a call to the Attorney General to request that he fully investigate this matter. I am calling on both Todd Young and Greg Zoeller to clear this matter up for Hoosiers and ensure the law of the land was followed.

These are serious allegations, and they deserve an equally serious response.

As always, I would like to reaffirm the Indiana Democratic Party's opposition to the use of robo-calls in this state. Such tactics have no place in the Hoosier political process.

Democratically Yours,

Daniel J. Parker
State Chair

Here's the Todd Young call that Parker referred to in the e-mail.

Of course, Baron Hill, the incumbent Democrat, is running for re-election, and Mike Sodrel's old bones are back for another shot at Hill if he can fight off Young in the Republican primary.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

We Are The World 25 For Haiti

It's truly beautiful and inspiring to see all of these artists from all different genres come together for Haiti. The need goes on there, by the way. Don't forget.

Saturday Humor: T-Pain Meets Obama

I'll let the video do the talking here.

Friday, February 12, 2010


After announcing his candidacy for Prosecutor, sending out a four-page letter to party loyalists saying he was running for Prosecutor and not going to participate in slating, and appearing at countless functions saying he was running for Prosecutor over the last year, Abdul Hakim-Shabazz writes this morning that Greg Bowes is going to "formally" announce he's running for Prosecutor today. This comes as the Democrats are set to meet to slate Terry Curry as the party's choice on Saturday.

Greg is a friend of mine, and I can't for the life of me understand all of this. So, it's time for a little more tough love.

Greg, we get it by now. We know you're running. You have been outworked and outpaced by a candidate with more experience in the type of work for the office you both seek and a candidate who is better organized and already "tourney-tested." Terry Curry has clawed his way past strong candidates like Butch Shroyer and David Orentlicher...and get where he is today. Why is it that almost everyone gets this but seemingly you? You have a bright future in politics. As a friend, I urge you to drop out now. Politically, if you keep digging buddy; you'll reach China.

Terry Curry has not only begun to garnish big time endorsements (IBEW Local 481 today); he is beginning to collect the cash needed to defeat Mitch Daniels/Mark Massa in the fall. Greg, you have done little or nothing other than fight this losing battle to change slating. The argument can be made that slating sucks, but it's the party's rules now. You can effect more change from the inside than the outside, and you've used slating before as a City-County Council candidate and a candidate for Assessor. You have been on the inside with a voice.

Still, you push this now. You won't win. I don't care what people leaving comments say here. You will not beat Terry Curry in the spring. If you do, I will be the first to eat crow...feathers and all. I will congratulate you on your stunning upset. But, with a campaign crippled by all of this acrimony, how are you going to beat Mark Massa and the Mitch Daniels machine? We've seen first hand that voters in Marion County have kept the Prosecutor's Office in Republican hands. Massa is Daniels' selection, but he is a formidable candidate that only Terry Curry can beat.

Most Democrats seem to realize that Curry is the best shot to beat the Republicans. He may be the favorite with the way the county has tracked in voter registration. Still, Mitch Daniels' machine will back Massa with everything it can. The last thing the Governor wants is a tough, immensely qualified Democrat like Terry Curry sitting in the Prosecutor's Office in Marion County. Raising a little over 7K like you did last year won't work when the Daniels crew has millions.

Greg, you can announce it as many times as you want, but it's a foolish and politically self-destructive path you are on here. Loyal Democrats will not forgive you for this. Drop out now and save what you can...that's my advice. Take it or leave it.

And, thanks again for the Christmas card.

Coats Might Not Be Warming Republican Chances of Toppling Bayh

Former Senator and registered lobbyist Dan Coats confirmed that he is indeed running against Senator Evan Bayh, but the big name may not be (at least in one case) bringing big polling numbers.

Research 2000 conducted a poll for the Daily Kos that showed Bayh comfortably in front of Coats 55 percent to 35 percent. Among the critical independent vote, 64 percent said that they would vote for Bayh over Coats, and even 28 percent of Republicans would choose the incumbent over the challenger. Amazingly, the same poll also showed that John Hostettler might be the better candidate run as Bayh led him 53 percent to 37 percent. Bayh leads Hostettler among independents 61 to 27.

It appears that the early hard hitting ads by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee may be eroding the public's favorable opinions of Coats. On 38 percent of the 600 likely voters surveyed said they had a favorable opinion of Coats. 34 percent had an unfavorable opinion. That compares to Bayh's 61/33 favorable/unfavorable rating amongst the same voters.

Polling numbers this early in the race mean little, but it does indicate that Bayh is more popular in this poll than Republicans may have thought. With a substantial war chest of campaign funds and anything but a liberal voting record, Bayh still seems to play well amongst least in this poll.

Incidentally, the poll also rated the favorability of other Indiana political figures and President Obama.


Get Well Soon President Clinton

President Bill Clinton apparently had a routine procedure to open up blockages in his heart yesterday. Clinton famously had open heart surgery in 2004 right in the middle of the George W. Bush vs. John Kerry Presidential Election. Recently, Clinton has been traveling to and from Haiti helping in the relief effort and trying to help raise money with Bush via the Clinton Bush Fund to help the devastated country.

I wish President Clinton the best as he recovers from this procedure. Experts say that he can resume his normal activity very soon, and it looks like he made the right decision to get things checked out.

Too often, we men do not respond to what our bodies are telling us. I can attest to this. A few years back, I had a cyst in a rather sensitive area of my body that I let go and grow and get bigger. Eventually, I found myself in the OR after the thing ruptured. Needless to say, if I had gotten things taken care of early on, I might have avoided surgery.

This isn't about me, though. This is about the 42nd President. Again, I wish President Clinton well, and I send my best wishes for a speedy recovery to him. Heart trouble is nothing to take lightly. It's the only engine we have, and, unless you end up getting a new ticker, it's the only one you will get.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Union Endorsements Flying Curry's Way

Democratic candidate for Marion County Prosecutor, Terry Curry, is beginning to receive some major union endorsements (and...presumably...some big campaign dollars) which should provide a shot in the arm for the former Deputy Prosecutor.

The United Steelworkers Local 1999 endorsed Curry earlier this week. Here is the news release:

INDIANAPOLIS - United Steelworkers of America Local 1999 today endorsed Democratic candidate Terry Curry in his campaign to be the next Marion County prosecutor.

"We've thrown our support behind Terry Curry to be the next Marion County prosecutor because we're convinced that he will return integrity and professionalism to the office," said Chuck Jones, president of USW Local 1999.

"Terry will be a full-time prosecutor who will focus on what's really important -- making our neighborhoods and our city safer. As a former prosecutor, Terry understands what's at stake, and he knows how get the job done," Jones said.

Curry said he was honored to receive the endorsement of the United Steelworkers. "This endorsement from the men and women of United Steelworkers Local 1999 means a lot to me personally, and it is a great boost to my campaign," Curry said. "The support I have received from across Marion County in these last few months shows that citizens are ready to elect a prosecutor who will bring integrity and a new direction, new perspective, and new leadership to the prosecutor's office."

Yesterday, the Laborers' International Local 120 became the latest union to endorse Curry. Again, from the Curry camp, here's the announcement:

INDIANAPOLIS - Laborers' International Union Local 120 today endorsed Democratic candidate Terry Curry for Marion County Prosecutor.

"We're supporting Terry Curry to be our next Marion County prosecutor because he will bring tough and proven leadership to the job, and will restore integrity to the office," said Ward Daniels, business manager of Laborers' Local 120.

"Terry also will be a full-time prosecutor who will spend all of his time focused on what's really important to everyone - working with law enforcement agencies across Marion County to make our neighborhoods safer," Daniels said.

Curry said the endorsement of Laborers' Local 120 "adds even more momentum for our campaign. It is my pledge to everyone in Marion County that as your prosecutor I will bring a new direction, new perspective, and new leadership to the prosecutor's office, and work every day to make Marion County an even safer place to live, work and raise a family."

If there was any doubt in Greg Bowes' or anyone else's mind that Terry Curry would be the Democratic nominee for Marion County Prosecutor, this should end that. Bowes' effort should be compared to a small community college taking on Duke in college basketball. Sure, you get upsets, but it's just not likely.

Anyway, this signals the ramping up of Curry's campaign. While he's been out getting support from the Democratic establishment and raising money, the Republicans have muddled through and settled on their candidate for Prosecutor, Mark "I was really chosen by Mitch Daniels to run" Massa. Labor's deep pockets will help Curry in his efforts to defeat Daniels' proxy.

Curry hinted on Monday at the Decatur Township Democratic Club meeting that more endorsements are forthcoming this week including the announcement of a union that endorsed Carl Brizzi in the past. I will wait for the news release before even speculating on that. It will be big news.

Like Curry, Daniels' dude Massa served as a Deputy Prosecutor. He has links to the Republican administrations of Steve Goldsmith and Scott Newman. Newman was the figurehead of the emergency committee to scour the county to find the Governor's General Counsel to run for the office of one of the only elected officials that can investigate state government.

It's good to see that Curry is beginning to get labor's support now that he has received the endorsement of former candidates Shroyer and Orentlicher. It also shows that the unions have decided this blogger has been saying for weeks...that Bowes' campaign is a long shot one at best. Terry Curry's campaign is on a roll right now.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Mayoral Marathon: From the Head Scratching Dept...

WISH-TV's Jim Shella is reporting that former City-County Councillor Ron Gibson is running for Mayor of Indianapolis. I hate to beat up on a fellow Democrat, but...HUH?!!!????!??!?!??

I haven't seen the former Councillor consistently since he lost his re-election bid in 2007. He's been laying low. His profile is certainly not anywhere near the higher profile that candidates Melina Kennedy and Brian Williams have been keeping. Even Jose Evans, who is likely to also run, has been issuing news releases while making the rounds sporadically.

Many expected Gibson to file for At-Large City-County Council like his former Council-mate King Ro Conley has announced he will do. Instead, Gibson seems to want to take a long shot at becoming the Democratic nominee for Mayor.

Unfortunately, while Gibson is a nice guy, he has more baggage than the baggage claim at the Col. Weir Cook Terminal on the day before Thanksgiving. Gibson helped pass the tax increases that are blamed for Mayor Bart Peterson's ouster in 2007. He also was involved in some sort of a disagreement with a police officer outside a downtown bar when he was a sitting councillor. The 2006 incident resulted in the indictment of Gibson on three misdemeanor charges. Eventually, the charges were dropped. Still, it's likely that the hangover from that incident and the anti-tax angst of the voters helped send Gibson's re-election bid into the loss column. Gibson also controversially (in Democratic circles) voted against his own caucus and against the Human Rights Ordinance in 2005. He eventually changed his vote on the ordinance's second try through the Council and was key in the passage of the landmark anti-discrimination ordinance.

Both declared candidates for the Indy Mayor's Office on the Democratic side have worked hard to raise cash. Gibson finds himself hundreds of thousands behind Melina Kennedy and Brian Williams. He also finds himself way behind in recruiting supporters who have gotten used to seeing Williams and Kennedy at club meetings and events.

If Gibson is going to make a serious run, he will have to overcome much. As I said, I personally like Gibson, but I question what he thinks he can accomplish by running. Candidates such as Joe Hogsett and Kathy Davis looked at the race and decided they could likely not or did not want to compete with Kennedy or Williams for the office.

Interesting times for the Mayoral Marathon.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Mitch for Prosecutor!

Make no mistake about it. Mitch Daniels is now in the race for Marion County Prosecutor. It has nothing to do with Republican “candidate.”

The man that already controls almost every aspect of state government not related to the Indiana House of Representatives and that has serious roots into Republican leadership at the Indianapolis city and Marion County levels wants another office. He’s personally selected Mark Massa, his former General Counsel, to run for what some people call the second most powerful office in the State of Indiana.

Why is the Marion County Prosecutor so powerful? Because the seat of Indiana government is in Marion County, any criminal case that’s filed against the state is tried here by the Marion County Prosecutor. This individual can investigate state government and decide whether or not to pursue cases against the state. Hmm…why would Mitch want to control the Marion County Prosecutor again? Certainly the guy would have nothing to hide right?

The entering of Massa…er…Daniels into the race also opens the door for some of that tainted Daniels campaign money that might or might not have been provided by disgraced financier Tim Durham to re-circulate through Republican coffers. Daniels claims the Durham-tainted money has been spent, but, curiously, he still has money in his campaign account…who’s to say what dollars went where?

Make no bones about it. It’s Mitch Daniels that wants the job of the Marion County Prosecutor. It’s his power grab. Mark Massa is just the latest marionette joining Tony Bennett, Richard Mourdock, Greg Zoeller, most of the Indiana General Assembly Republican Caucus, and many others. At its most basic level, it’s Democrat Terry Curry vs. Mitch Daniels. Independence vs. Control. At stake is the citizen’s voice in the Prosecutor’s Office.

Rokita Redistricting Argument Flies in Face of 4th District Make Up

Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita has spent a heap of taxpayer dollars getting his own name associated with the advocacy of "fair" redistricting process across the State of Indiana. The Secretary of State has nothing to do with drawing legislative districts for Congress, the Indiana House, or the Indiana Senate.

Rokita has preached the perceived need to take politics out of redistricting and to change the way the legislative district lines are drawn. Rokita's plan...again that has no teeth to it since the Secretary of State is out of his jurisdiction...would make it a felony to take political information into account in drawing districts.

He advocates following natural boundaries like township or county lines to form districts at the local and federal level thus, he argues, reducing confusion of who represents a particular constituent. Such a plan could violate the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Indianapolis Recorder columnist Amos Brown III wrote a great piece in September about this aspect of the story.

Whether Rokita finds any traction in the legislature or not (not likely), he won't be able to see things through to fruition. He's term limited and about to be replaced by a new Secretary of State next year.

Rokita isn't anxious to step away from the stage so quickly. He's running for Congress in Indiana's 4th Congressional District. With apologies to Stephen Colbert, let's play "Better Know a District" with Indiana's "Fightin' Fourth" and learn the lay of the land.

What is now known as Indiana's Fourth District was cobbled together from what used to be Indiana's 5th and Indiana's 7th District after the 2000 census. A bitter 2002 midterm election that saw two sitting Congressmen, then-7th District Congressman Brian Kerns and then-Fifth District Congressman Steve Buyer, battle royale in the primary for the responsibility of representing the new 4th. Buyer, who had been in Congress since 1992, won.

675,617 people resided in the 4th in 2000. 94.8 percent of the folks there were white in 2000. 2.6 percent were Hispanic and 1.5 percent were Asian. African-Americans accounted for just 1.3 percent of the population in 2000. The median income was a respectable $45,000.

Those raw numbers add up to a Cook Partisan Voting Index of Republican +14. To put it in perspective, the most Republican district in the country, Alabama's 6th, has a Cook PVI of +29. The most Republican district in Indiana is Dan Burton's 5th District with a Cook PVI of +17. While the Cook PVI shows that it's not the most-Republican District in the state, it is fair to say that few Republicans were left behind when creating the 4th.

Rokita had no input into putting together the 4th District after the 2000 census, but you do have to wonder why he would choose to run in a district that is so heavily Republican. Could it be...that he likes the political landscape? Kind of shoots his whole argument all to heck on redistricting. Maybe if elected, he plans to champion the cause for fair redistricting in Congress.

It's hard for me to not find this whole situation ironic that the man that wants to end gerrymandering has chosen one of the most gerrymandered districts in the state to make his first federal run for office.

Monday, February 8, 2010

For Indy...this stinks; For New Orleans...this is HUGE!

The Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints just battled it out in Super Bowl XLIV last night, and it has been a tough night for those of us that favored the blue team. Still, it's hard to feel totally bad for the Saints, class acts like Drew Brees and Coach Sean Payton, and the great city of New Orleans.

I know it's perhaps been overwritten in the two weeks leading up to the big game, but it certainly bears note that the City of New Orleans needed this more than Indianapolis did. Indianapolis is a great city with its own problems, but New Orleans was nearly obliterated from the map in 2005 by Hurricane Katrina. I don't feel that we, as a city, have ever faced such a challenge. With respect to what the Crescent City has been through, I hope we never have to face that sort of challenge in Indy.

Today, the team from New Orleans stands atop the mountain of America's favorite spectator sport. For Tom Benson, the owner of the Saints, this is his payoff for not taking his team away. The Saints leaving, from what I hear, would have ripped a major part of the heart out of New Orleans. Few teams have a connection with their city like the Saints do.

While there's much work still to be done in the Big Easy, it's this Colts fan's hope that my team's loss can help to bring joy to the citizens of New Orleans who have been so challenged over the last four plus years. Tonight, it was "Who Dat" indeed. Watch out...because the Colts will be gunning for you later this year.

I still believe in blue, but, tonight, I feel all right even though my team lost because New Orleans finally won.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Super Bowl XLIV Prediction...Colts 24, Saints 21


But, just in case you watch the Super Bowl for the ads, here is a look back at the favorite ad, according to USA Today, of last year's Super Bowl. This was, of course, made by two Batesville, IN natives.

And, my all time favorite Super Bowl ad.

Friday, February 5, 2010

DSCC Releases Moths on Coats

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has released an ad targeting former Senator Dan Coats, who is gathering signatures for a run against Indiana Senator Evan Bayh. Here is the ad:

Fairly powerful stuff here. Coats likely didn't plan on instant backlash when he joined in the fight. This sounds like a former Senator that likely never thought he'd run for office again. Either he saw the recent polls that Bayh was vulnerable and saw opportunity or someone was a little concerned that the current field needed to be warmed they went for Senator Coats. Then again, I could be wrong. The Dems are clearly targeting Coats though...even if he still isn't in the race.