Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Democrats Still Focused on Building Momentum in Senate

Asst. Indiana Senate Minority Leader
Tim Lanane (D-Anderson)
The Democratic Caucus in the Indiana Senate is just 13 Senators right now, but, as we've discussed on this blog before, Marion County will play a big role in seeing if that number grows or not.

In Marion County, the following Senate seats will be up for grabs in the fall: District 28, District 30, District 32, District 33, District 34, District 35, and District 36.

You can take Districts 33 and 34 off the board.  Both Senator Greg Taylor and Jean Breaux are unopposed and will return to the Senate in January.  The other districts feature some interesting races.

District 28 legs into Marion County, but it contains all of Hancock and most of Northern Shelby Counties.  Michael Adkins, the Democrat, will take on Republican Chris Lytle and Libertarian Jim Rainwater.  This became an open seat when Republican Beverly Gard decided to not pursue another term in the Senate.  Adkins is running a good campaign, but there's no doubt he's playing uphill.

District 30 contains a portion of Southern Hamilton County and parts of Washington Township and Lawrence Township in Marion County.  Incumbent Schneider faces Democrat Tim Delaney and Libertarian Fred Peterson.  Delaney is the son of Ed and Ann Delaney, so there's a lot of political smarts in that family!  Peterson ran for Mayor of Indianapolis in 2007.  The areas of Marion County are likely Democratic, but once you cross into Hamilton County things change.  It's an interesting district, though.

District 32 is totally within Marion County.  Republican lightning rod Pat Miller holds the seat currently.  The district contains the Southeastern part of Center Township including Beech Grove, Eastern Perry Township, all of Franklin Township and Southern Warren Township.  Miller is facing her toughest opponent in a long time.  It's former State Representative John Barnes.  Barnes served a part of this district in the past when he was in the House.

District 35 is currently Republican Mike Young's seat.  The district includes all of Speedway, Southern Wayne Township, and Decatur Township in Marion County.  It then goes west into Hendricks County where it picks up Guilford and Liberty Townships.  Democratic candidate Mark Waterfill is out walking the district, and he thinks he has a good shot.  I looked at the district as well and considered running for this seat.  My determination was that it is winnable with the right Democrat, but it's going to take a lot of work.  It was more work than I thought I could devote to it.  Waterfill, however, is off to a great start against Young.

District 36 is a battleground.  Other than a small part of White River Township, the rest of the district lies completely within Marion County.  Most of Perry and Southwest Center Township are in the district.  Brent Waltz, the Republican incumbent, is up against State Representative Mary Ann Sullivan.  Most people are aware that Sullivan will walk this district and will not be outworked.  Libertarian Tomerial Brooks is also in the race.  Sullivan, I think, represents an excellent chance for a pickup.

I'm not ready to make any kinds of calls here with these races.  I just know that the Democrats have put up some extremely high quality candidates to battle the incumbents.  Dems need to double their caucus to take control of the Senate.  That's not possible in 2012, but progress will make possible future Senate Democratic Leader Tim Lanane happy.

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