Holiday Weekend Catch Up

Welcome back from the long weekend everyone.  We hope you took the time to enjoy the great weather, a great Indy 500 and the Memorial Day holiday. 

After going over the blogs this morning, we have a few things we thought we’d address.

First, Jon Easter says we are “shameful” because we noted that he even admitted some areas of the city really need construction work.  It is clear from the comments on the post that Jon is taking some flack from Democrat insiders.  Sorry, Jon, we weren’t trying to stir the pot and get you in trouble.  We’re willing to bet his post was written after a Kennedy campaign flack got frustrated.

Speaking of campaign flacks, Indianapolis Times blogger Terry Burns posted he is hearing there may be a shake-up in the Ballard campaign.  We’re going to guess that Terry Burns has as much insider information on the Ballard campaign as Gary Welsh and Paul Ogden do.  It seems to us that, again, the Kennedy campaign is getting a little sensitive to the Ballard campaign responses. 

Lastly, Jon Easter posted on the latest version of Mitch Watch 2012 and the potential that Governor Daniels could be the Vice Presidential pick for the Republicans.  Jon seems to think that ruling out the Presidential run for family reasons should also rule out a Vice Presidential potential.  While Jon does admit there is a difference between the two roles, he comments that “they both come with a great deal of scrutiny, closet skeleton searching, and an in-depth look at someone’s record.”  He goes further saying that was clearly a concern to the Governor.

While we think the Daniels’ were probably less than thrilled with the stories regarding their divorce, we really think the idea of a long campaign starting this May and potentially last through November of 2012 if Governor Daniels won the nomination was the biggest problem.  Additionally, it is a lifestyle change for the rest of your life if you are elected President.  Those seem to be the larger considerations that they mentioned.

A Vice-Presidential spot on the ticket is essentially a five month campaign, far less scrutiny and a place in the spotlight without the life altering drawbacks.  While we’d prefer Daniels at the top of the ticket, beggars can’t be choosers and we’ll take what we can get.

When Democrats Attack Progress: Kennedy and Democrats Attacking Road Work, Questioning Mayor’s Integrity

We saw this story while we were on hiatus but were inclined to let it slide until our friends at IndyDemocrat posted a story on it this week.

Last week, the Indy Star had an article on the newly released $55 million RebuildIndy funds being used to repair bridges, streets and sidewalks all over the county. This is a part of the total $170 million RebuildIndy has invested since last September.

A business owner was quoted praising the work saying, “I just appreciate, as a business owner in the community, just to see the work that has progressed today.”

Obviously all this good press and progress isn’t good for Melina Kennedy’s campaign and she did what we’ve seen her do time and time again–attack.  After commenting on the massive amount of construction occurring, Kennedy said, “I just want assurances that he’s not rushing these projects for election purposes.”

Seriously?  It is one thing to dislike something that is happening or disagree with Mayor Ballard but it is quite another to attack his integrity.  Even Mayor Ballard’s harshest critics believe he is an upstanding guy who does what he thinks is best for Indianapolis.  They may not agree with his decisions but they do believe he is an honest person. 

Why is the construction work happening quickly?  Even Jon Easter admits that there are reasons outside of politics though he is still using some of Kennedy’s talking points.  Easter says, “The Super Bowl could be one reason, and the fact that some of these areas of the city really needed the work.”

That’s right, even Democrat bloggers know the state of disrepair this city was left in by the past administration and that the infrastructure desperately needs to be repaired.  And can you believe that the City of Indianapolis would want to make a good impression and be in the best shape possible before the Super Bowl comes to town?  Man, those guys are crazy to want to get the work done before such a small event.  

Yes, road construction is an inconvenience.  Do we care enough to not fix the roads and bridges?  Of course not–at least most of us who are adults do not.  Is the work shoddy?  No. This spring’s weather has been strange to say the least and that has an impact on things.

It seems to us like silly season has started a bit early this year. If Melina Kennedy wants to be taken seriously, she’s going to have to raise the bar a bit.

And We’re Back. Here is Our Take on Gov. Daniels’ Decision

We decided to take a little time off from our blogging duties. The weather got nice, the politics got stagnant and we decided to check out for a while.

Alas, the dust has settled from the roller coaster ride that was Mitch Daniels considering running for President.  We were sick of hearing about it months ago and are thankful it is finally over.  Obviously, you all already know he opted against a run.

We’re not going to lie. We were surprised he decided against it. That said, we understand the decision to some extent. The Real Clear Politics story shows there was going to be a lot of talk about the Daniels’ divorce and Cheri’s comings and goings. It is understandable that no one would want to relive that time in their lives.

Getting out of the race might take some attention away from the stories, but it won’t stop them. Anybody ever seen Primary Colors? (If you haven’t, go watch it. Right now. We aren’t kidding.) They might not hit it quite as hard but they’ll cover it if it will sell one newspaper. Might as well run for President if they are going to cover it anyway.

We think it is admirable that the Governor cared so much about his family’s feelings on a campaign for President.  We also think he probably shouldn’t have made it quite so clear that the ladies in the family vetoed a run and there wasn’t much he could do about it.  That isn’t exactly our idea of protecting your family–and it was totally unnecessary.

Regardless, the decision has been made and Mitch Watch 2011 is over.  We’re disappointed and looking to see who will step up from the Republican Party.  We’re looking at the field and we do not see a winner right now.  Feel free to tell us if you think we are wrong and push us toward your favorite candidate.

What Does It All Mean: Marion County Primary Election Results

While some over at Indianapolis Times spent their Friday night writing a blog post on the Marion County Primary Election Results and criticizing us for not blogging on them yet, we took our time writing this post.

After a few days of reflection, here is what we are taking away from the Primary Election:  Melina Kennedy is the Democrat nominee and will face Greg Ballard in the fall.  The Marion County slates won.

Simple?  Yes.  The only actual facts you get from a primary election?  Yes again.

Did the Democrats have more votes?  Sure.  They had a contested race at the top of the ticket. They also had a 20,000 straight ticket vote advantage in the last General Election.  From that perspective, they may have had more votes but their turnout was lower than it seems.

Did Melina Kennedy get the majority of the votes in her 3-way race?  Yes.  But 23% of her party voted for someone else.   Are they going to end up voting for her in the fall?  Probably.  Will they definitely go vote?  Will they be motivated to work for her?  Who knows.

A lot of people will try to draw conclusions on how the Primary results will impact the General Elections or what clues it gives us as to what will happen in the fall.  There are a hundred different ways to run numbers and spin these results.  Our guess is that people will continue to do it. But the fact is that we won’t know what clues these numbers gave to the outcome in the General Election until we know the outcome of the General Election.

The only thing we really know is this will be a hotly contested race and there is a lot to shake out over the next 6 months.  On to the main event!

Donnelly Announces for U.S. Senate by Video

Video announcements seem to be all the cool thing to do this year.  First, we had Congressman Mike Pence announce for Governor via video and now we have Congressman Joe Donnelly announcing he’ll run for U.S. Senate.

You can watch the video at the campaign’s new website, www.joeforindiana.com. The video is essentially a bio ad with a lot of talk about hard work and moving America forward but not much about how.  That said, Donnelly needs to introduce himself to the rest of the state outside the 2nd District and this video isn’t a bad start.

Gary Welsh, over at Advance Indiana, maintains that Joe Donnelly is really hoping to match up against  Senator Richard Lugar and not Richard Mourdock.  And people accuse us of a political spin!  There is no way Donnelly wants to match up with Senator Lugar.  Lugar has broad appeal especially in the General Election and the residency issue is more an issue of perception than a legal concern. 

The bottom line is there is no way Joe Donnelly would be running for U.S. Senate if there was not a Republican Primary.  The primary race will eventually get very ugly on both sides and Lugar will spend his $3 million cash on hand down to nothing if that is what it takes to win.  The eventual Republican nominee will be beat up and have spent a great deal of their money when they come out of the 2012 May Primary while Joe Donnelly will be spending his time raising money and gearing up for battle. 

Indiana is a Republican leaning state but this could interesting.

AP Says Congressman Joe Donnelly Will Run For U.S. Senate

We’ve been telling you this since mid-February but the AP reported on Sunday morning that U.S. Congressman Joe Donnelly will run for U.S. Senate. 

The announcement is said to be happening sometime today. 

Developing…

Congressional Races Heating Up

Now that we have that little announcement about the Governor’s race out of the way, the Congressional races decided they wanted in on the fun.

Jim Shella and Matt Tully have both reported that Luke Messer issued a statement following Mike Pence’s announcement for Governor. Shella indicates Messer will hold a formal announcement in the next few weeks. Messer is from Shelby County and was drawn into the 6th.   We have heard of a few other people being interested, including Wayne County Sheriff Matt Strittmatter.  That said, we would expect to see some pretty big hitters come out behind Messer after an impressive effort in the 5th Congressional District against Dan Burton.

Another interesting development  just reported by Hoosier Access is that Congressman Marlin Stutzman may be behind the push for a primary challenger to Jackie Walorski in the 2nd District.  State Senator Carlin Yoder is speculated to be weighing a challenge to Walorski but our friends at Hoosier Access hear that rumor is being pushed by Stutzman and his staff and is not based on actual actions by Yoder.  We’re unsure why Stutzman would want to wade into this since so much effort was put into drawing a Republican district and Walorski is rumored to already be working with the NRCC on her race. 

We’re not sure if there is some kind of a feud we do not know about playing here.  We do know that Stutzman wanted to keep some of Elkhart County and it was given to Walorski.  Still, that seems like a small reason to jump into a race that should be an a quick and easy primary with a focus on the general election.

For the Democrats, all seems to be quiet at this point outside of the 8th District where Bucshon has two Democrats fighting it out in a primary for a chance to go against him in the fall.

Mike Pence is Running for Governor

Today, Mike Pence has officially announced to supporters that he will be running for Governor. Pence held a conference call, sent out an email and released a video at a newly designed www.mikepence.com.   A formal announcement will be held June 11th in Columbus.

Speculation that Congressman Pence would run for Governor has been going on for nearly a year since Pence decided not to run for U.S. Senate against Evan Bayh. This was before now Sen. Coats got in the race and then Sen. Bayh got out of the race.  The Congressman spent last fall out on the stump, helping all the close Congressional races and building his team.

The announcement was supposed to be on Monday but was postponed due to the death of Osama bin Laden.  And, of course, there was the issue of premature announcement  yesterday when a pre-timed email was sent out by the campaign saying “Mike for Indiana” with blank text.  We are sure someone got into some big trouble for that one.

So where does this leave the race for Governor? 

First, it leaves us waiting for an opponent.  We do not believe there will be a viable primary challenger to Mike Pence.  On the Democrat side, it seems to be looking like John Gregg for Governor with Joe Donnelly opting for the U.S. Senate race.

Second, it leaves the race as a bit of a toss-up/leans Pence. Indiana is a Republican state but John Gregg is a conservative Democrat from the South and could potentially pose a threat.  The real question for us is if Mike Pence can find a message that works for the General Election.  While his strong, conservative stances on social issues have played well in conservative crowds nationally and here in Indiana, they may not be winning issues in a general election.  President Obama will be on the ticket so that could be a challenge– unless Mitch Daniels is the Republican nominee and that would greatly benefit Indiana Republicans. 

Let the games begin!

The Primary Race and the Expectations Game

We believe it is safe to say that this has been the most boring Primary Election Day in the last several years. 

As a result, we’ve been reading the blogs more than usual and noticed that Paul Ogden wrote a post on the Primary Election and the expectations game he feels we are playing on our blog. 

On the Primary Election, Ogden said the Kennedy and Ballard campaigns have not followed textbook campaign strategy and are not using the window of opportunity before the primary election to build up positives on their candidates.  First, we’d like to see Ogden’s Textbook of Political Strategy published.  Second, we have a split opinion. 

We have written that we are surprised the Kennedy campaign was not more aggressive.  We thought they should make sure they won the primary with a overwhelming margin.  They really did not have much of a grassroots effort–their yard signs didn’t even arrive until last week.  They did not do a large amount of mailers though we won’t say they didn’t do ANY since we would not be on their list anyway.  They did not put out a television ad.  This is particularly interesting since a candidate running At-Large against the Democrat slate was able to do a cable ad while Kennedy sat silent.  Really, the only thing the Kennedy campaign has done is send emails, conduct a city tour and put up a radio ad with Andre Carson.  We don’t think they really took this primary campaign seriously.

As for the Ballard campaign, we aren’t really sure why they would do a great deal for the primary.  Kennedy is facing two opponents while Ballard is unopposed.  Ballard won the primary when the filing closed.  It makes sense that the Ballard campaign would do far less than the Kennedy campaign and save their resources.

As for the expectations games, we’d say Ogden is the pot calling the kettle black.  Paul is trying to help out the Kennedy campaign by lowering expectations.  The fact is that if Melina Kennedy gets 60% of the vote as Paul predicts, 40% of the voters in the Democratic Primary voted against her.  Like it or not, that is not a strong showing in a Primary where your opponents have no money and no real campaign effort.   The fact that they couldn’t clear the field for a candidate that raised nearly $1 million last year shows there is a problem. And the fact that both of these candidates are African-Americans indicates there could be a divide in the Democratic Party in a very key constituency.

The bottom line: A 60-40 win is not a mandate in a primary election.

Finally, we want to remind everyone of Ogden’s political genius.  In his post just before the New Year, Paul wrote on the Republican Primary saying,

The Star will label it an overwhelming victory for the Mayor that propels him toward the fall general election as the Mayor trounces an unknown opponent 71% to 29%. Political professionals though will know that an unknown getting nearly 30% of the primary vote against a sitting mayor represents a deterioration of his political base.

As you all know, there was no primary opponent for Mayor Greg Ballard.  And, now it is apparently okay to have more than 40% of the primary vote against the slated candidate who is the clear nominee and has run for countywide office in the past.  Like we said, we’re really looking forward to Ogden’s book on political strategy.

Primary Day Predictions: Kennedy and the Marion County Republican Slate

With all the commotion of the events in the last 24 hours, it is easy to forget tomorrow is Primary Election Day here in Marion County.    So, for the moment, we’ll turn our attention to local politics.

We are interested in two races.  First, we are obviously interested in seeing the outcome of the Democratic Primary for Mayor.  Kennedy did do some radio ads but has been otherwise fairly quiet and did not even have yard signs until a few days ago.  In short, her campaign has not exactly put forth an impressive effort in a primary we believe they should have taken more seriously. 

First, she is running against the last name Carson and that should never be taken lightly.  Second, simply winning the primary may not be enough.  Many in the Indianapolis political circles believe that Kennedy needs to get more than 85% of the vote to really show she has the support of the Democratic Party faithful particularly with the reported rifts within the Marion County Democrats.  We don’t think she’ll get it.

The second race we are interested in is the At Large Council race on the Republican side.   For those who may not know, the Republicans have slated four candidates and a fifth is running against the slate.  Jocelyn Adande Tandy, a former Democrat, is running and actually changed her name so she could get better ballot placement by switching it to Jocelyn Tandy Adande.  She also is a former Democrat who has run for Mayor and several other offices as a Democrat. 

The Marion County Republicans sent a mailer out highlighting her Democrat history.  At this stage, it seems everyone in both Parties think she is a joke.  We believe she will be defeated.  If she doesn’t, it is going to be a long year for Marion County Republicans.

We’ve told you our predictions but we want to know what you think.  Vote to let us know if you think Melina Kennedy will get the big win she needs on Primary Day and if Marion County Republicans can push their slate through despite ballot placement complications.

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