Monday, May 17, 2010

Gubernatorial Grind: All Suddenly Quiet

You remember a few months ago. Republicans and Democrats were clamoring to run for the state's highest executive office and sit in Mitch Daniels' current chair. Isn't the former clamor suddenly quiet?

This time last year, Lake County Sheriff Roy Dominguez, Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott, Evansville Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel, Congressman Baron Hill, former Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson, and others were mentioned by many Democrats as possible candidates. On the GOP side, speculation centered around Secretary of State Todd Rokita, Lieutenant Governor Becky Skillman, Congressman Mike Pence, and a handful of state legislators.

Suddenly, all has gone silent. The reason? I think it's Evan Bayh.

Bayh's sudden and unexpected decision to retire from legislative government and his "I am an executive at heart" admission in his news conference announcement sent the speculation suddenly in his direction.

A Bayh candidacy would clear the Democratic field and would likely cause Mike Pence to stay in Congress or pursue even higher office in 2012. That would leave Bayh up against a possible Congressman like Rokita or Lieutenant Governor Skillman...who is widely to run.

Rokita actually could be ready for Congressional retirement in 2012, believe it or not, should he win in 2010. Jim Shella from Channel 8 speculated on the night of the Primary that Republicans, who control Congressional redistricting, would likely eliminate the 4th Congressional District should Indiana lose a seat through the census. This would be in retaliation for Rokita's unprompted backing of a so-called non-political redistricting plan. That would put Rokita up against one of his Republican brethren like Dan Burton or perhaps even against Congressman Carson in some version of the largely Democratic 7th District.

Who knows what the Marlin Stutzmans, the Mike Murphys, or the Brandt Hershmans may try? Richard Lugar may also create a huge opening for his Senate seat if he decides to retire in 2012, as some have speculated. I would expect some of the five Republicans that ran in the primary for Bayh's seat would run for that as well.

Lots of political dominoes are in play here, and it all is still two years away. It's just that for that much possible political intrigue that things have gotten as silent as a church mouse. Maybe it's just the calm before the storm.

1 comment:

Indy Student said...

I think, at this point, Rokita being drawn out is a bit too coinspiracy-theory, even for my taste.

The governor's race is ,as you put it, just in a lull right now. Look at POTUS too. We used to hear about Bobby Jindal a lot, and now the spotlight is almost exclusively Sarah Palin. I think the serious contenders, in BOTH races, know that right now, it's time to stay quiet and quietly build a base, rather than make their case to the voting public.