Wednesday, September 22, 2010
While Mayor Greg Ballard has been requesting funds for his re-election campaign and will likely run for re-election, he has been mum on the subject and has announced nothing. That has fueled speculation among the bloggers out here in speculation land that perhaps the Mayor isn't necessarily jazzed up about running in 2011 for re-election. If that happens, that puts the GOP in a tough spot.
The bench is thin right now for the GOP on the local level. There are very few names out there that really strike fear in the hearts and minds of Democrats. The Marion County GOP has found its way to luck into wins at the ballot box and has, more recently, been unable to push through its own slate of candidates. With Ed Treacy at the helm, the Marion County Democratic Party has shown a greater ability to organize and push its candidates through the primary. Registration-wise, there is no debate anymore. Marion County leans blue.
Thus, for the GOP, the only show in town is Ballard. If I were Tom John or the GOP brass, I think I would have to concede that my future in keeping the Mayor's Office is tied to Mayor Ballard and his millions. Even then, Ballard has been exposed as damaged goods recently. Scandals in public safety and unpopular initiatives such as the water utility transfer deal and the current parking proposal have provided opportunities for political opponents to attack, and they have.
The attacks haven't been all from Democrats, either. Local bloggers on the right have been quick to criticize Mayor Ballard's diversion from the campaign promises he ran on in 2007. They thought they were getting a small government conservative leader that would make public safety first. Instead, they have gotten someone totally different. As Ballard continues to make missteps, the frustration has grown.
Back to the headline question, what if Mayor Ballard decides not to run for re-election? It's good for Democrats. Melina Kennedy is poised and established to carry forth a good message into the 2011 election season. Whether or not Ballard runs, Kennedy will make an excellent and appealing candidate. Most observers, including the Star's Matt Tully, believe that Kennedy will outlast Jose Evans and Ron Gibson in slating and in the primary.
A no decision for Ballard could set off another primary tilt. With the craziness that is currently prevalent on the Republican side of things, who knows what that means? You could end up with some interesting candidates coming out of the woodwork with a faction of the party voters determining who might run.
However you slice it, Republicans should want their Mayor to run. Though weakened, he gives them the best chance to win the office. Democrats find themselves in good position either way to put Kennedy in the office.