In 2009, Ed Coleman created a strange dynamic on the City-County Council. Frustrated with the party that got him elected to an At-Large seat, Coleman bolted from the Republican Party and joined the Libertarian Party. Today, he is, as the Libertarian Party website proclaims, "arguably the highest ranking Libertarian official in the country." His likelihood of staying in that position is, frankly, really not very good, but he could definitely play a big role in what happens with the City-County Council majority in November of 2011.
You have to give credit where credit is due, and the Marion County Libertarian Party has done a great job building itself into a solid organization. You can bet that the Libertarians will have a robust ticket of candidates in 2011. The Libs provide a sensible alternative to Republicans for conservative voters tired of Mayor Ballard and the current Council GOP leadership. Coleman seems to get that. Here is his kickoff announcement. Note who is in his crosshairs:
Published: December 31, 2010
Dear Friends and Supporters,
In this coming year, I will face a serious challenge: Maintaining my seat as a City-Councilor in Indianapolis. I currently have served as an at-large city-county councilor since 2007, and it has been a privilege to serve over a million citizens. In 2009, I made the decision to leave the Republican Party for the Libertarian Party.
The Marion County Republican party has spent the last four years giving welfare to major corporations, denying the second amendment rights all Indianapolis citizens are due, and punishing those within their party that dare to speak up for principle.It was easier to fight for libertarian principles as single voice on the council than it was to continually be silenced for the principles on which I stand.
I’ve been a consistent voice against the Republican majority’s policies of bailouts for the CIB, a $30 million dollar bailout for the Pacers, the creation of new government controlled monopolies benefiting special interests, and keeping taxes low.
I need your help to get this message out.
1. Please talk to your friends and neighbors about what’s taking place in Indianapolis. Nothing highlights the falsehood of the Republican Party’s message like this current administration.
2. Please join my campaign’s facebook page for updates: http://www.facebook.com/councilorcoleman. Please share it with your facebook friends to spread the word.
3. I need your financial support.
We can make significant gains with a good ground game. We need yard signs, stickers, printed literature, and other items to arm our volunteers that step up to canvass neighborhoods in the coming months. I humbly ask for your support.
Please consider a contribution of $100, $50, $25 or more today. A donation of $50 will buy over 45 yard signs! If 5 people donate $100, we can finish the work on our brand new website.
You can donate at my website: www.edcoleman.org. Now is our time to advance to the next level as a political movement. Let’s take advantage of this moment, and return our government to common sense.
Have a Happy New Year,
Note that Coleman attacked only the GOP in that release. He did not attack Democrats at all, and, if Coleman (and presumably three other strong Libertarians) can peel off enough Republican votes from the four Republican At-Large candidates while appealing to conservatives, it could aid the Democrats even more in re-taking the majority of the Council.
Numbers don't lie. The Libertarians ran a full ticket of At-Large candidates in 2007. Webster J. Smith pulled in 8,260 votes. Kevin Fleming had 9,349 votes. Timothy Maguire had 12,275 votes, and Allison Maguire had 12,735 votes. Those numbers weren't nearly enough to elect any of the Libertarians. However, look at these numbers...
Coleman, Barbara Malone, and Kent Smith (who resigned from the Council and was replaced by Angel Rivera) were elected. Joanne Sanders was the lone Democratic incumbent At-Large Councillor to survive the onslaught of the GOP. Sanders beat Coleman and the fourth GOP candidate, Michael Hegg. The difference between Sanders' total and Hegg's total number of votes was 1,398 votes. Conclusion: the Libertarians arguably made a difference between a GOP sweep of the four At-Large slots and Sanders holding on to her seat. Thank goodness Sanders has been there these last three years!
I still see Coleman as having little chance of winning. When I asked a Libertarian Party insider how the numbers looked for Coleman, he dodged the question. Coleman, in all likelihood will be a one termer, but his candidacy coupled with the contempt for the current Council leadership by many GOP supporters from 2007 could mean that Democrats will easily have enough votes this time to take back the four at-large seats and the majority on the City-County Council. Now, the Democrats just have to decide on four strong candidates to run hard and win things back. Let's see how it develops from here.