Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Republicans Think They Can Pick Up Seats on the Council? Indy Democrat Asks, "How?"

Kyle Walker, Marion County GOP Chair, toed the party line and told the Indianapolis Star on Monday that he believes he can pick up seats on the City-County Council. My question is, what’s he smoking, and can I get some?

Currently, it's Republicans 15, Democrats 13, Libertarians 1 on the Council. Democrats hold District 1 with Jose Evans, District 2 with Angela Mansfield, District 7 with Maggie Lewis, District 8 with Monroe Gray, District 9 with Jackie Nytes, District 10 with Bill Oliver, District 11 with Paul Bateman, District 15 with Doris Minton-McNeill, District 16 with Brian Mahern, District 17 with Mary Moriarty Adams, District 18 with Vernon Brown, and District 19 with Dane Mahern. The Democrats also hold one of the four At-Large seats on the Council with Joanne Sanders.

Of those Democrats, Nytes, Minton-McNeill, and Bateman are not seeking re-election, but are sure to be replaced by a Democrat in November. District 19 is always a close one for Dane Mahern, and he walks that line well winning two close races in his Council career. He may have another tough one, but I wouldn't bet against him winning again. Moriarty Adams is one of the most conservative Democrats on the Council, and there's a reason for that. Her district trends that way, too. That said, they love her there in that area of town, and I don't think she's in any danger. Other than those two seats, none of the other currently-held Democratic seats seem to be anything but safe for the Ds. With 12 safe Democratic seats the worst that could happen would be a net gain of one for Republicans, but I don't think that will happen. For the sake of this purely speculative analysis, I'll gift the R's one seat here.

That advantage is wiped away quickly as the Dems figure to pick up the countywide At-Large seats. Republicans haven't won a countywide race since...well...Mayor Ballard defeated Bart Peterson in 2007 and they claimed three out of four At-Large seats on the Council. With Libertarian Ed Coleman likely headed to a District race, both Barbara Malone and Angel Rivera will be fighting to keep hold of their seats on the Council. They will be fighting uphill, and, frankly Malone doesn't seem that interested in keeping her job. Incredibly, she reported not raising one dollar in the first quarter of an election year. NOT ONE DOLLAR. That's just shocking. These seats all should lean D, a net +3 on the pickup scale for Democrats for the At-Larges.

If you're playing along at home, the Indy Democrat analysis makes this, so far, a net gain of two seats for the Democrats, but the At-Large seats are not the only pickups you can possibly consider for the Democrats. Some of the current Republican seats are anything but safe.

Kostas Poulakidas is running a masterful campaign and is running fundraising circles around Christine Scales, the Republican incumbent in District 4. Poulakidas has raised a WHOPPING $40,834.71. He has over $36K on hand. Scales has just $6,830 on hand. Money doesn't always make the campaign in a council race, but, in a district like this, Poulakidas' cash will make a difference.

In District 6, Democrat Brett Voorhies is taking on incumbent Janice McHenry. This is another race to watch as we get closer to November as McHenry is a weak incumbent in a shifting district Voorhies will have a strong labor push and good name recognition in the fall. It's a possible pickup for the Democrats.

Other districts to watch include District 3 (where likely Len Farber takes on Council President Ryan Vaughn), District 12 (where Democrat Regina Marsh battles Republican Majority Leader Mike McQuillen), and District 24, where Coleman and (if he beats Kent John) Republican Jack Sandlin could split the vote of conservatives opening up the door for a Democrat.

The Democrats certainly could pick up at least two and maybe more of the current Republican district seats on the Council. That would leave the R's with 11 District seats. With the gifted pickup of one Democratic seat, that would give them just 12. Dems would have a net gain of four seats giving them a 17-12 majority on the Council. Likely, the Democratic majority will look more like 18-11 or even worse for Republicans.

So, in conclusion, I don't see any way that any reasonable person can say that Republicans can pick up seats or even hold the current structure of the Council. I understand that, as GOP Chair, Walker certainly can't say that, though.


Indy Student said...

The Dems have someone running in Sadlin's district?

Paul K. Ogden said...

IS, they have a period of time to appoint one after the primary. I disagree though. A Democratic candidate could actually help Sandlin...take away some of the anti-Sandlin vote that would go to Coleman.

Anonymous said...

I understand but Walker can't just say that the GOP is going to implode in November. The truth is that they will. It could be 19-10.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Anon, while that's true, there's a lot of middle ground between bragging about gaining seats aand warning of imminent implosion. There is also a way of tempering your comments based on what you "hope" will happen. Building up expectations is never good in politics.

Anonymous said...

I've heard that in 21 there will be a D candidate after June.

Anonymous said...

The new make up will be:

16-13 R