|Mayor Greg Ballard|
Since Bill Hudnut was elected to a third term in 1987, that has been something no Indianapolis Mayor has been able to accomplish. Steve Goldsmith's run at a third term derailed when Frank O'Bannon won Marion County over Goldsmith in the 1996 race for Governor. Three years later, Goldsmith decided not to seek that third term opening the door for then-Secretary of State Sue Anne Gilroy. Gilroy, however, was upset by Bart Peterson. Peterson served two largely successful terms but was taken down running for a third term by Ballard and an anti-tax sentiment.
With his ability to raise money and his likability, Ballard will be an extremely tough opponent to tackle in 2015. Democrats have largely spent the last six years underestimating the man who is Mayor of Indianapolis. Dems can't do it again in 2015. The fight will have to be taken directly to Ballard, and his record does have its vulnerabilities.
The Mayor Greg Ballard that was elected in 2007 and reelected in 2011 bears little resemblance to the anti-tax and outside-the-machine Greg Ballard that ran for Mayor in 2007. The time to remind people of that would have been 2011. Now, the argument against a third term for Ballard will have to be made on his record. Ballard continues to grow into the job he may or may not have wanted when he ran in 2007. He does have accomplishments he can continue to point to, but there are liabilities that the right candidate needs to point out.
There are, of course, Democrats that will be able to do that considering a run. Brian Mahern is already positioning himself for a run by opposing much of Ballard's agenda. Joe Hogsett is somewhat of a blank slate since he's been U.S. Attorney for what is going on three years. Hogsett ran for Mayor in 2010 prior to him being named U.S. Attorney, but he barely got that campaign off the ground when the President came calling.
For other candidates, the road will be tougher to find daylight between themselves and Ballard. Vop Osili found himself on the same side as the Mayor on the Massachusetts Avenue TIF. Maggie Lewis found herself on the same side as the Mayor on the Capital Improvement Board and the extra money for the Indiana Pacers. Both Osili and Lewis also recently supported the Ballard-pushed compromise which restored money in the budget Ballard had cut and, in return, raised the car rental tax and increasing the ticket tax.
If Ballard runs, the right candidate could exploit those things along with his liberal use of the veto pen. Even so, Ballard will be tough in 2015 and represents the Republican Party's best chance of keeping the office.