Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Scales, Evans Beat Recommended Candidates in Council Primary; Robinson Holds On

Both parties experienced setbacks yesterday with recommended candidates in Marion County, and a third setback was narrowly averted.

On the Republican side, voters elected incumbent Christine Scales as their nominee in District 3 by a 53-46 margin over slated candidate Tim Craft.  This had been a very interesting race to watch.

Over the past few years, Scales rubbed her own caucus on the Council wrong by refusing to be blindly partisan in her voting habits.  She also took on Mayor Greg Ballard a few times mostly over financial priorities and government transparency.

The Republicans got so annoyed with her that they banished her from their caucus and attempted to "primary" her with Craft.

Craft turned out to have his own issues.  While it didn’t play out much in the mainstream media, Craft was nailed by Advance Indiana’s Gary Welsh for real estate licensing problems he eventually rectified or corrected, depending on the story you believe.

Campaign tactics also may have taken out Craft. In the final days of the campaign, the Marion County GOP put out an extremely nasty mailer to voters of District 3. Councillor Mike McQuillen, the minority leader of the Republican caucus, also sent out what some considered a nasty letter against Scales.

Clearly, the tactics galvanized support around Scales much in the way Republicans used to backhandedly galvanize support for the late Congresswoman Julia Carson. Scales will not get any rest. She will take on one of the best-financed fellow incumbents, Pam Hickman, in November. Hickman’s At-Large seat was dissolved during the 2013 session of the General Assembly by SEA621 (more on that later).  Hickman vs. Scales will be a HUGE race to watch.

On the Democratic side, things were not nearly as nasty between Stephanie Vibbert and Jared Evans in District 22. In fact, the recommended candidate, Vibbert, did almost nothing to campaign despite the benefit of the Marion County Democratic Party behind her.  It's hard to blame the party for a candidate that does nothing for themselves especially against Evans, a well-known candidate in his own right who ran a great campaign.  Make no mistake...Evans won this race because he ran like he was behind the whole way.

Evans, who ran for the Council in 2011, dusted Vibbert, 65 to 35 percent. Evans will face incumbent Republican Bob Lutz in November for a seat that is more than winnable for the Democrats under the right conditions.  If Evans runs with the same effort he did against Vibbert, Lutz will have to work harder than he ever has to keep his seat.

There's a better chance for Evans to reconcile with the party than there is for Scales.  Every seat will be critical to get the necessary 13 seats to control the Council.

Democrats averted another loss by a recommended candidate by just 26 votes as At-Large Councillor Leroy Robinson built up a big lead and then held on to defeat District 2 Councillor Angela Mansfield in newly-drawn District 1's Democratic Primary.  The current holder of the District 1 seat, Republican Jose Evans, decided to move on and is not seeking reelection.  Republicans have yet to field a candidate for the fall.  With an opponent, Robinson is the heavy favorite to win the seat.

The Council cannot replace Angela Mansfield.  She's been a great Councillor with a tremendous focus on her constituents and making Indianapolis a better place.  Mansfield was heavily outraised in the Primary fight and was without the benefit of the backing of the party but made more than a respectable run to stay on the Council.

Blame Senator Mike Young, Mayor Greg Ballard, and Senate Enrolled Act 621 (2013) for much of this mess.  The piece of garbage General Assembly legislation that no one asked for eliminated the At-Large seats on the City-County Council which ended up pitting Mansfield and Robinson against each other.

1 comment:

Paul K. Ogden said...

The GOP baseline for District 22 is as follows:

2010 55.69
2012 44.75
2014 54.78

That's a huge swing in partisanship. The district is more Republican during lower turnout elections which is what municipal elections are. Still the numbers show if the Democrats turn out in District 22, that district is well within their reach.