Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Coleman May Find Re-Election Difficult

Ed Coleman has been one of the biggest stories on the City-County Council the last four years.

Elected as a Republican At-Large Councillor, Coleman found himself disillusioned with the party and decided to switch parties and become a Libertarian. While he typically remains a reliable vote for the Republicans in many cases, Coleman has shown himself to be independent at other times. He remains a wild card on the Council.

Apparently, he’s thinking about his future on the Council. Reports, like this one from the Indy Star, have said that Coleman plans to switch from his At-Large position to a district position on the Council. That would mean that he would likely be running as a Libertarian in a conservative area against likely a fairly new Republican to the Council, Jack Sandlin, in District 24. Sandlin is the former Perry Township Trustee, and he faces a primary opponent of his own.

The Libertarian Party of Marion County has made spectacular inroads here in the most populated county in Indiana. They’ve gone from “that other party” to a force to be reckoned with. We saw that when the Libertarian Party helped to defeat the comprehensive smoking ban here in Marion County helping the “Save Indianapolis Bars” campaign.

Is the Libertarian Party ready to take on the GOP in a GOP-heavy area with a strong candidate? Maybe, but I don’t think so.

The Marion County Republican Party is strongest on the Southside of Indianapolis. Franklin, Perry, and Decatur Townships remain very difficult places for Democrats because the Republicans are well-organized for the most part and hold many offices. Perhaps the movement of the 7th Congressional District to the south will help “Democratize” the areas, but it’s going to take a while.

That means that Coleman is likely done on the Council one way or another. I don’t think he can beat Jack Sandlin in a one-on-one race. The actual good news for the Democrats is that if they can somehow find the right candidate in that area that the vote split between Coleman and Sandlin might make taking this Council District somewhat possible, but, frankly, I doubt it.

Libertarians put a lot of effort into the run of Greg Dixon in Council District 22 in 2003, but Dixon mustered almost 14 percent of the vote. That’s great for a Libertarian, but it wasn’t enough to supplant Bob Cockrum as District 22’s Councillor even though he raised and spent less cash. Danny White, the Democrat in that race, ran a distant second.

That’s likely what’s going to happen to a good man like Coleman. Who knows, though? Coleman is a good candidate for the Libertarians, and he might be a viable third-party candidate. It’s another test case for a Libertarian Party that will field a full At-Large slate and Mayoral candidate. Will it be enough? We’ll see in November.

1 comment:

Paul K. Ogden said...

Coleman has a much better shot against Sandlin that he would have running at-large. Let's not forget that Perry Twp threw Sandlin out of office just a few years ago. There are some factions down there who don't like Sandlin.