Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Ballard Holds Cards for 2015 Race

Mayor Greg Ballard
Will he or won’t he? That’s been the subject of political speculation at this point in Indianapolis politics over the last few months.  

The momentum picked up last Friday as the news media caught up with what those of us in the blogosphere have been discussing.  Now, the political world is waiting on Mayor Greg Ballard to make a decision about a run for a third term. It’s a complicated decision that is much more layered than anyone may think, and it’s completely within the Mayor’s rights to make it carefully.

Professionally, the Mayor has a record to run on, but he also has an ever-growing list of negatives. Personally, Ballard has always been someone that seems to genuinely love his family. When you run for office, your family runs with you. I imagine it’s very difficult for them to go through the political process with Ballard. Bloggers like me certainly don’t make it easy when we’re out here criticizing the person they call husband or father. 

Then there’s the question of a possible opponent. Whether it’s Joe Hogsett or Ed Delaney on the Democratic side, it’s going to be an ever-more-difficult proposition for a Republican to win reelection in Indianapolis. Besides the fact that Joe and Ed will work their tails off, Ballard’s seeing the city grow more and more blue. You can tell that he sees it by the political decisions he’s making. That pulls him further from his base of support and leaves him vulnerable to political attack from the left and right. Ballard is going to have to work harder than ever just to win again.

Giving more fuel to the speculation is what the Mayor is saying. In the interviews I’ve heard with local media, Ballard sounds more than a little bit weary of running again. To me, if you have to ask yourself the question at this point, it probably means that it’s time to step aside. It also appears that Ballard will have other opportunities after he leaves office. 

A few months ago, I didn’t think there was any way that the Republican Party would allow Ballard to just drop the mic and walk away. Then again, Ballard doesn’t owe the local GOP anything, really. They didn’t help him much to win the office. I remember the first time I met Ballard. He was being escorted around the Ben Davis Lions Club Pancake and Sausage Breakfast by then-Rep. Phil Hinkle. I thought he was a nice guy, but he lacked the polish I thought necessary to beat a mayor like Bart Peterson.
Boy, was I wrong.

In the end, the ultimate decision lies with one man and one man only. Greg Ballard will decide how this race plays out. Whether he tries to stay on or rides his horse into the sunset is anyone’s guess.


Eric said...

Ballard did not win the first election because he was a great candidate. Instead, the Indianapolis Star put him in office. The Star took an obscure, unknown figure and presented him in such a way to make him look like a major player for the mayor's office. This was after eight years of saying nothing kind about Peterson, rather blaming him for the property tax increases (with which he had nothing to do), running him into the ground over the miniscule income tax increase (.065%) to fund police and fire pensions (which Goldsmith had swept under the rug), while exaggerating the crime problem and laying that in Peterson's lap. By the same token, the Star has said nothing bad about Ballard during his six years in office, which is why he was re-elected after four years. If you read the Star, you'd think he was the perfect mayor deserving of another term. If Indy had a decent, objective newspaper, Ballard would not be mayor today.

johnnystir said...

Peterson lost the 2007 race on his own. I like Bart, but he never got his message out there effectively. Some of that was the Star, but most of that was on him.

William said...

I agree not only did Peterson not get his message out clearly and forcefully there was a true underestimation of their challenger in Ballard.

The property tax issue, was as the old adage goes might have been the straw that broke the camels back.

Bart is a great guy and would have done wonders had he continued as mayor but 2007 was a year we need to move on from but not forget the mistakes that were made.