Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Democrats Very Close to Vanquishing Republicans in Marion County...Maybe for Good

For years, Marion County was a Republican stronghold. It was redder than red, and the Republican Party organization was admired across the United States.

That time has passed, and the transition has come within my political lifetime.

In 1999, Bart Peterson broke through and took the Mayor’s Office. In 2003, Democrats took control of the City-County Council for the first time. In 2004, John Kerry carried Marion County for the Democrats. It was the first time a Democrat running for President had won Marion County in 40 years. 

This decade, the march continued.  Between 2000 and 2006, several county offices changed parties.  In 2010, Terry Curry took the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office from Carl Brizzi by defeating now-Indiana Supreme Court Justice Mark Massa. He was reelected easily in 2014.

In 2011, the Republicans kept the Mayor’s Office, but they lost the City-County Council majority. Before leaving office, that Republican Council Majority got a redistricting plan on the Mayor’s desk that was supposed to be a political time bomb for Democrats in 2015 and lead to a Republican return to Council power. That plan, combined with government structure changes approved by the legislature in 2013, was supposed to keep Republicans at least in charge of the Council. Well, the elections happened, and two longtime Republicans lost their district seats meaning that the Democrats have a one seat majority at 13-12.

In 2014, Republicans placed all their chips on knocking off John Layton with Emmitt Carney only to lose spectacularly.

In 2015, after a reported six no’s from prominent Republicans, unknown Chuck Brewer stepped up to the plate and got less than 40 percent of the vote for Mayor of Indianapolis across Marion County.

There are other indicators beyond demographic shifts to favor Dems.

Republicans tried to pack AndrĂ© Carson’s district with Republicans on the Southside, but electorally, Carson exceeds the reported baseline vote. They can’t touch him electorally.
Democrats have lost big statewide, but that doesn’t include Marion County where two of the 10 Democratic Indiana Senators serve and two more districts are extremely competitive despite every effort to gerrymander them. On the House side, 10 of the 29 Democrats in the House represent Marion County districts.  Dems have a seat on the Perry Township Board, and I even won a precinct in Decatur Township running for City-County Council.  

The blue tide is about to wash away the red.

In short, it’s good to be a Democrat in Marion County. It’s bad to be Kyle Walker, the Marion County Republican Chair, who now presides over an organization that can’t even fill its pollworker slots. It doesn’t even attempt to do so it seems…even in Republican-controlled areas of the county such as the Southside.

As strong as the Dems are here in Marion County, we're weak elsewhere. 

You have to drive miles to find blue or even purple territory. That’s why Marion County and Lake County must lead the way and take back this state in 2016 for the Democrats beginning with John Gregg and the Governor’s mansion.

For Republicans in Marion County, it’s just about game over. It’s hats off to all those Democrats that have worked for years to get to this point.


Anonymous said...

And we have seen how well one-party control works around here. Prime example? The Indiana legislature. Heaven forbid one-party rule, no matter the party. We are too interested in getting one party elected, rather than getting the RIGHT people attracted to a candidacy and into government.

Anonymous said...

Demographics aside, it was connected, wealthy, political hatchet and operative attorney David "Mrs. Susan" Brooks who actively played a key role in destroying the Marion County GOP grassroots, emaciating the power of real {"elected") GOP PC's by replacing them with Ghost PC's Brooks completely controlled and used to his advantage, and thus forever ruined the effectiveness of the once-vaunted and then-virtually invincible Marion County GOP. Samantha DeWester trods in his shoes.

Thank You David Brooks~!

Indy Student said...

Dems also campaigned hard in areas where they kept losing in. That gave their ground game experience. Republicans barely bother to put candidates up in seats that are tough to win.

Doug Meagher said...

It will be interesting to see if a base in the State's largest city leads to more success statewide. My hope is that we'll try to grow the Party by offering a truly progressive platform rather than running as pale versions of Republicans. What could happen, we'll lose?

Some idea of Democratic party strength in the State can be determined by comparing the vote totals for Obama in 2008 (a year of great interest to Hoosier Democrats) and Gregg in 2012 (a year of less interest to Indiana Democrats). The counties carried by both candidates are Delaware, LaPorte, Lake, Madison, Marion, Monroe, Perry, Porter, Spencer, St. Joseph, Starke, Tippecanoe and Vigo. Obama carried Vanderburgh in 2008; Gregg did not in 2012. The counties that Gregg carried in 2012 that Obama did not in 2008 are Crawford, Greene, Knox, Pike, Scott and Vermillion.

The counties Obama lost by less than 500 votes in 2008 are Blackford, Brown, Crawford, Pike (521), Scott and Switzerland.

The counties in which the 2012 gubernatorial votes for Democrats and Libertarians combined total 500 votes or less than the Republican vote total are Blackford, Brown, Cass, Clay, Fayette, Fountain, Owen, Parke, Switzerland and White. The Democratic and Libertarian votes combined are greater than the Republican total in Henry and Howard counties. These numbers suggest that Hartford City and west central Indiana may be areas to build up.

These numbers and the affect of the Libertarian vote in the 2012 gubernatorial election can be analyzed in many different ways. However, in general, they show Democratic Party strength in: the Indianapolis-Anderson-Muncie area; Lafayette; possibly New Castle and Kokomo; the Terre Haute-Spencer-Bloomington-Nashville area; the Region and South Bend (with Starke County as a bit of a surprise); and the southern counties bordering the Wabash and Ohio Rivers.

Concerted efforts to turn out the Democratic votes in these areas may be the first step to building a stronger Indiana Democratic Party.