Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Nation Running for Mayor of Terre Haute

Longtime Democratic insider and Indianapolis Motor Speedway executive Fred Nation announced his intention to run for Mayor of Terre Haute a couple of weeks ago. He will compete for the Democratic nod to likely take on Mayor Hatch Act...er Duke Bennett, a Republican.

Prior to joining the staff at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Nation had been a longtime and well-known press secretary for Birch and Evan Bayh. That's two very powerful Indiana families to be associated with over the years. The Hulman-George family is synonymous with the event that brings in thousands of fans each year to the state, the Indianapolis 500, and few families have had the kind of impact that the Bayh family has had in this state for decades.

Should he win the nomination, Nation would likely face independent John Cunningham and Republican Duke Bennett in November. Bennett, of course, was initially found in violation of the Hatch Act because part of his salary was paid for by federal funds. His candidacy was ruled invalid by the Indiana Court of Appeals, and the Court said he should leave office. Eventually, the Supreme Court of Indiana overturned that ruling, and Bennett stayed in office. Cunningham is a previous candidate for the office as well.

This could be a very interesting showdown as the Democrats try to retake and office that the party held for nearly 40 years before Bennett won in 2007 by just 110 votes over then-incumbent Kevin Burke.

One would think that Nation brings a certain star power to the race. His political Rolodex is full of everyone who is anyone in Democratic politics, so he should be able to raise some cash. It looks like the GOP may be in trouble in Terre Haute.


varangianguard said...

Terre Haute has been Democratic for so long that normally, a stray dog could win on the ticket.

The only reason Kevin Burke lost was that he was stepping on some toes that he likely shouldn't have.

Most likely Mr. Nation's Hulman connections will go much farther than any Bayh connections. Evan is a Washingtonian, and Birch doesn't spend his time in town (hadn't since the 60's).

Anonymous said...

Fred has an impressive resume with experience in the private and public sector. His background in communications and public relations should be very useful in getting his message out, something with which Democrats struggle. Fred's right to cite Kokomo and Lafayette for their innovation to attract businesses and involve the community. He might also look at Ft. Wayne under Mayor Henry as well. With ISU in its community, Terre Haute is positioned well to attract jobs and provide a well-educated workforce. Jon, thanks for reporting and please keep us posted on this race with our neighbor to the West. This should be an interesting race to watch develop.

iPOPA said...

This is great news for Terre Haute. Fred Nation is one of those salt of the earth type folks, and he'll do an outstanding job.