The Mayor continues to ignore the mistakes of Mayors previous to him, and that gives the opposition hope that he can be toppled.
It won’t be an easy thing to topple Greg Ballard if he runs again, but he has left himself open for attack from a variety of sides. Indy taxpayers are getting squeezed to death by increased taxes, increased utility rates, and increased city fees. This has set the pot to boil. The other thing making the water heat up is the day-to-day headlines of someone being shot across the city and the perception that Ballard is ignoring the issue by saying mostly bad guys are shooting other bad guys in these situations. IMPD's staffing issues will not be solved without asking for even more of our money.
Mayor Ballard wants to pay for road and street repairs by selling bonds that won’t be paid off until Indy has fixed the roads and streets again (and in some cases again). He also has foolishly spent money on things like a World Sports Park in hopes of drawing in new people to the city while spurning the overtures of major political party conventions. He even spent money to bid again on a Super Bowl again.
Ballard is vulnerable to attack, but he’s a bit like Ronald Reagan. He’s wrapped in a bit of Teflon. Negative things don’t stick or don’t stick too long. There’s a perception of him that is different than the reality some have seen. Only a handful of people have seen the real Greg Ballard. The Greg Ballard that appears when he’s challenged toe-to-toe. That Mayor Ballard says things that are sometimes not stated in the best manner. He’s also been known to show a vindictive side. Just ask some of the City-County Council or those that dared to challenge him.
The Mayor’s opposition can’t be content to sit quietly and idly by and lob political jabs across the fence. He or she must have a defined plan of attack. Unlike previous campaigns, this one can’t be fought entirely negative. There will probably be a need for that at some point, but this one has to be fought in a positive manner. It might be a risk, but there’s a way to jab the Mayor in his political weak points but keep the discussion at a higher level.
There are four Democrats whose names have been mentioned, and there may be more out there. I just think it will be the Democrat that is not afraid to take the fight to the Mayor and keep the discussion moving at a high level that will be victorious in May and in November.
Whether that’s Ed Delaney, Maggie Lewis, Dan Parker, or Frank Short remains to be seen. Fact is, while Mayor Ballard is popular with a lot of people on both sides of the aisle, he’s not invincible and there’s a broad coalition of folks out there that want a change on the 25th Floor. It’s making that coalition broader that will define the next year of campaigning.