Thursday, November 13, 2014

Republicans Have Big 2015 Questions

It's going to be hard to top the start the Joe Hogsett campaign officially got off to on Wednesday night in the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Park, but the Republican Party will no doubt try once they figure out who might be a good candidate for Mayor.

The climb may be steeply uphill.

Hogsett has never played the role of a frontrunner in his electoral life, and he's not going to play the role of frontrunner now.  He's going to run this race like he's 10 points behind because that's what it's going to take to be successful.  It's going to be hard for any Republican to match his energy and enthusiasm in campaigning for the job.

Another issue is going to be fundraising.  I saw a few key Republicans at Hogsett's campaign launch.  These aren't your typical rank-and-file Republicans, either.  One R that I saw ran for office in a major race in 2012.  If Hogsett is going to pick off support from Republicans, that's going to make the climb even harder for a GOP candidate.

You see, the GOP candidate, whoever it will be, is going to have to keep everyone on board.  That's difficult.  If you're Murray Clark or Jim Merritt, for example, how are you going to answer the bell to the far right while trying to play more toward the middle where Mayor Greg Ballard drew lots of support.  If you're Rick Hite or Troy Riggs, how are you going to expand your horizons beyond public safety and show you're a credible candidate standing next to Hogsett?  For the City-County Councillors thinking about a run from the GOP side, it's all about name recognition and how to raise it.  Hard one to fight from the beginning.

In a way, Ballard's decision to walk away and not seek a third term opens up the Ballard moderates for...ready for this...Joe Hogsett.  Because he was a member of the Bayh Administration, Hogsett can show exactly how he was frugal with money when he was in office.  He also has the proof that he cut his budget every year when he was U.S. Attorney.  That plays well to the moderate crowd.

It's going to be tough to find a strategy for the Republicans that can work.  After all, we've already seen Hogsett praise Mayor Ballard publicly.  Certainly, he's going to find places that he disagrees, but he can also look at the Ballard record for aspects of agreement.

If a Republican is going to beat Joe Hogsett, it's going to have to be one that is well-financed and is politically savvy.  Maybe the GOP can cobble together the funds to give it a go, but it's going to take a surgical, disciplined, and likely very negative campaign to wound Hogsett's chances of becoming the next Mayor.

The GOP can't concede the Mayor's race, either.  They need their voters to come out and help their candidates for City-County Council.

Right now, the 2015 election in Marion County seems to be setting up for the Democrats like the 2014 election set up for Republicans nationally and statewide.

And, to be fair, I'm not discounting Ed DeLaney.  I know he's still in the race and is pursuing the nomination for Mayor of Indianapolis.  I think Ed as the nominee still spells a win for Democrats.  I, again, just think Ed is needed in the General Assembly, and I hope his path leads him to that same decision.

No comments: