Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Burning Questions for 2012

As the ink dries on the 2011 Election Season, it's never too early to look ahead to the next cycle for us politicos. There’s a lot on the docket. Here are five hot questions I think we’ll be following on this blog and elsewhere for the upcoming election season.

How strong is Richard Mourdock’s support?
We simply don’t know yet. The 2012 Primary Election will be here before we know it, and it seems hard to believe that any Republican, let alone a guy like Richard Mourdock can beat Richard Lugar. If Mourdock continues to stir the pot and whip up Tea Party support into a frenzy, then you can expect this race to get very interesting. A WISH-TV/Franklin College poll says Lugar is under 50 percent support, and that really has to make him concerned.

I think the Presidential Primary may play into this one as well. If the fight for the Republican nomination is still on, then I think you’ll see this race get even more intriguing.

What will redistricting mean?
I think we’re already seeing some of this. When John Barnes and Mary Ann Sullivan announced they were running for Indiana Senate seats and not Indiana House seats, then I think that tells you things don’t look great for Democrats in the Indiana House…or even the Indiana General Assembly. Yep. It’s not going to be pretty in this Mitch Daniels lame duck/race for the Vice Presidency session of the Indiana General Assembly. If you’re a Democrat, close your eyes tight, grit your teeth, and be glad it’s a short session.

For Congress, I think things have gotten a bit more interesting. I don’t care what the Marion County Democratic Party’s analysis of the 7th Congressional District said, losing much of the Northside and gaining all of the Southside spells a tougher race for André Carson. It makes this race much more competitive, and Carson’s controversial statements on race relations didn’t help him, either.

I’m also interested in the races in the 2nd, 5th, 6th, and 8th Congressional Districts. Should be interesting to see how these free-for-alls shake out. Who will survive the “itchy and scratchy” battle between Andrew Straw and Brendan Mullen in the 2nd? Can Burton survive in the 5th? Who will emerge to replace Mike Pence in CD6, and will the 8th return to “Bloody 8th” status again this year?

How do you handicap the Gubernatorial Grind?
The race for Governor in 2012 is already shaping up to be a very interesting battle. John Gregg almost has clear sailing to the nomination for the Democrats, but things could get very thorny on the Republican side.

Jim Wallace has money and Mike Pence has money and name recognition, but something tells me that Pence is kind of like Mitt Romney. Republicans will support him if he is their nominee, but they would rather support someone else. That man just might be Jim Wallace.

When it gets to a General Election race, can John Gregg make a dent? Yes, I think he can. Of course, then you have the bearded-one, Rupert Boneham in this thing, too. He’s a bona fide celebrity.

Can Barack Obama reclaim Indiana?

Not if the election were held today, but it is still a year away, and a lot can happen between now and then.

Obama has job approval ratings running in the 30’s here in the state, but that doesn’t mean that the economy can’t improve or that the Republicans won’t nominate someone wholly unqualified to be President.

I would say that it’s unlikely the President wins Indiana next year, but I would have told you the same thing at this point in 2007, too.

What will happen within the Marion County Democratic Party?
Ed Treacy is a strong party chairman. He’s done it in two counties. In 2008, he was brought back after the dismal 2007 elections and the death of Congresswoman Julia Carson to return the party to power.

If not for 7,000 votes in the Mayoral race, he would have been successful in completing the task. Marion County Democrats are now in every office in the City-County Building except the Mayor’s Office, and I’m sure that’s a big disappointment for Chairman Treacy.

His future will certainly be something many will continue to talk about. He’s earned the right by his past performance to determine his own fate, and I hope he will be allowed to do so. I don’t sense a coup in the works, but I still think people are trying to let what happened on Election Day sink in.

I know people either love or hate Ed Treacy, but he’s a heck of a Party Chair. The Democrats can do a lot worse.

Well, that’s enough for now. There’s plenty to think about for 2012.


Greg Purvis said...

You mentioned the Fifth District Congressional race in passing, and yes, Dan Burton has many strong challengers on the Republican side.

But it should be noted that with redistricting, the Fifth is less of a Republican stronghold than previously, and potentially within striking range of Burton for a Democrat. I recommend to your attention State Rep. Scott Reske of Pendleton, who is running for that seat,, a retired Marine Corps officer and Iraq war veteran. Scott is not the only announced Democratic candidate, but seems at least to me to be the most viable.

Jon E. Easter said...

Greg, you would know the district better than me, but I have a hard time believing the 5th is that close that a D might take it.

We won't know for sure until an election cycle though. Burton, should he survive the primary, will definitely have an excellent opponent.

Greg Purvis said...

Jon, keep in mind that the Fifth now has Madison County and the north side of Indy, and gave up Greenfield and Shelbyville. I have seen estimates that if Burton is the Republican nominee, a solid Democrat would be within 5% of him, which could be done with enough cross-overs.

Burton has enough detractors that someone like Reske, with his Marine background, would appeal to a lot of middle-of-the road voters. Assuming he can attract funding, this might be in the toss-up column.

Lori said...

I live in the 5th and am sick and tired of democrats writing us off. We deserve better.