Former Indiana Democratic Party Chair Dan Parker says he's interested in running for the office, and he's going to make a decision by Easter on his future.
First of all, I salute Parker for stepping up and thinking about running. I think that with his connections and the names in his Rolodex that he should be able to raise enough money to give a credible challenge to Greg Ballard.
With that said, can he win?
Behind the scenes, some political insiders have been citing an independent poll that was done in the last month. The poll allegedly shows Ballard with a high approval rating. If you believe the numbers, any Democrat would have an uphill climb in 2015.
To me, it shouldn't daunt anyone that wishes to run. Remember 2007? At this point in 2006, everyone thought Mayor Bart Peterson was a shoo-in to get reelected. Greg Ballard had not even been heard about. Lots changed in 2007 that put Peterson's political future on the chopping block and that ultimately gave us Mayor Greg Ballard. Many of those same tea leaves are in place heading into 2015.
Dan Parker's problem is different. He's a former party boss, and he, himself, one time told me that being a party chair disqualifies one from running for office. Being in that boat as a former party boss will make his job more difficult. He has to mend some bridges and smooth over some wrinkles. That starts with some in the Marion County Democratic Party structure itself.
On the positive side, Parker knows how to run campaigns and, as I said earlier, can raise lots of cash. Looking at the last two races for Mayor, they were actually very close. Ballard received just over 50 percent of the vote in 2007 and slightly over 51 percent in 2011. If enough doubt can sway a few thousand votes, Democrats could retake the 25th floor. Is it really that hard to imagine in a blue county? No.
If you ask me, Parker has a shot at becoming Mayor, but he has to take the first step. He has to run.