Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Democrats Think Republicans Left Senate More Vulnerable


The Indiana House Republicans did a good job drawing maps that made it very possible to protect their 60-seat majority in the Indiana House. That's bad news for Democrats, but there may be a silver lining.

After running the numbers, Democrats feel that even some of the least competitive Senate districts may now be more reasonable for Dems and that the right candidates may get the D's out of the superminority.

Dems haven't controlled the Indiana Senate since the 1970's. It's been a very long time. Many of the Senators currently in the chamber have never served in a Senate that hasn't been controlled by the GOP.

Unlike the Indiana House, inside sources say the Senate map cartographers decided to try to protect each individual GOP Senator. That leaves things just a bit sloppy. There's simply no way to protect all 37 Republican Senators.

For the first time, Dems seem to be looking at districts like Mike Young's as ones that may be up for a backed challenger. Insiders tell me that Young's new district is one where Barack Obama received 48 percent support in 2008. That means that with a radical like Young it may not take much to draw some independents away with the right Democratic candidate. This is happening in other districts as well.

Picking up on that riff, Senator Vi Simpson spoke at the Decatur Township Democratic Club meeting on Monday night. She said that this past General Assembly session was bad for the middle class, for students, for teachers, for organized labor, for women, for seniors, and for really anyone with any connection to those groups. She said that the angst this General Assembly session generated needs to be remembered and that people need to turn out in droves in 2012 to change what happened in 2010.

Now, I don't think anyone is thinking that 2013 will dawn with a Democratic majority in the Indiana Senate or the Indiana House, but baby steps can be taken to chip away at the Republican majorities at the Statehouse. We could also go a long way to putting a monkey wrench in the wheels by electing a Democrat for Governor.

Simpson was once a potential candidate for that office, and she preached a call for unity to bring all of the constituency groups of the Democratic Party together and into one strong coalition against the R's.

It's not going to be easy work at the state level, but it certainly can slowly get done.

1 comment:

Paul K. Ogden said...

I always think it's a bad idea to look at presidential election results in a district to gauge partisanship. A vote for President isn't a party vote like a race is that is farther down the ballot where the voters don't really know the canidate. I know though why the Prez race is what a lot of people look at though...the data is easier to obtain.

Having said that, Jon, when I saw your article, my immediate reaction is DUH!!! The Repbulican majority in the Senate couldn't get any bigger. There's no way you can spread out the R vote any more and pack the remaining D vote in such a manner as to get more seats without cutting those margins so thin you have a lot of vulnerable Republican Senators.

I think that's true in the House as well. You can only protect so many incumbents of your own party without starting to cut the margins too closely.