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.


The Party is Over, Charlie

We told you there would be numerous calls for Charlie White to resign his seat as Secretary of State after being indicted for voter fraud and there have been.

The Governor did and said he had spoken with the other statewide elected officials and they are in total agreement.

Indiana Republican Chairman Eric Holcomb weighed in saying White should step down at least until the legal process runs its course.

Former Secretary of State and current U.S. Congressman said he should step down.

The Evansville Courier-Press gave White a few jeers in their Cheers and Jeers column and said he should step down.

And Matt Tully of the Indy Star wrote a blistering column saying Charlie has got to go.

What does Charlie White say?  According to Abdul, Charlie text him saying he has no intention of stepping down.

The whole thing reminds us of  someone who has had too much to drink and won’t leave the bar.  The lights are on and there is no one left at the party, Charlie.  It is time to go home and try to sleep it off.

Democrat Governor 2012 Watch

With the Democrats still reeling from Sen. Evan Bayh’s decision not to seek the Governor’s office, Matt Tully penned a hilarious column outlining the various needs for a new leader of the Democrat Party and candidate for Governor.  We think the only thing he missed was being photogenic. 

Today, Mark Schoeff Jr. from the Howey Political Report wrote that Baron Hill all but said he won’t be running in 2012 for Governor.  It sounds as though Hill will be looking to take a break and focus on making a living at least in the near term.   That leaves Ellsworth, Donnelly,  and Weinzapfel.  Are we missing any one?

Tully Hits the Nail on the Head: Why Mayor Greg Ballard Will Be Re-Elected

Tully had one of his weekly columns in the Star today and he focused in on why Mayor Greg Ballard will be re-elected.  What can we say, we agree.  Don’t worry though, it probably won’t last long since Tully’s next column will be on why the Mayor won’t be re-elected.  We’re going to bet we can name the five reasons Tully will come up with but that is another post.  For now, we will focus on the fact that we agree with Tully.  Here is the full article.

Now that you’ve had a full month to recover from the 2010 election season, I have news for you: It’s time to focus on the 2011 election campaign.

I hope you enjoyed your break.

The most obvious sign that the 2011 season is heating up comes from Republican Mayor Greg Ballard, who will announce Saturday his intention to run for a second term, joining a field crowded with Democrats eager to take control of the 25th floor of the City-County Building.

Today, let’s look at the five main reasons Ballard will win his re-election bid. (Don’t worry if you’re a Ballard foe: My column Friday will look at the five main reasons Ballard won’t be re-elected.)

Nuts and bolts. From his first day in office, Ballard has focused on the little things — potholes, sidewalk repairs and code violations. His administration dramatically improved the Mayor’s Action Center hotline. That might sound like a minor point, but the hotline takes tens of thousands of calls each year and now is an example of a government office that competently and efficiently serves taxpayers.

Meanwhile, it’s hard to drive around town these days without seeing a newly paved street or rebuilt sidewalk, and such infrastructure work will pick up even more as new revenue arrives from recent deals. Actually, those deals — the parking meter lease and water company sale — were the most controversial of Ballard’s term. But they also were devised to raise money for infrastructure. Even critics of the transactions have to admit Ballard addressed basic city needs with them.

An apolitical man. Perhaps Ballard is not fully apolitical, but he’s as close to it as anyone who has held a major political office. He’s refused to get caught up in partisan debates, and he’s declined to let political considerations scare him from making the controversial decisions that a mayor has to make. Rigid partisanship at the local level is a turnoff for voters — local government is about the basics, not ideology — and Ballard has won fans by steering clear of that.

He showed up. You know the adage about success largely being a product of simply showing up? Well, Ballard proved that in 2007. And since then, he’s played the role of mayor with never-ending energy, showing up everywhere. Neighborhood festivals, community meetings, parades. You name it, and he’s likely in attendance.

Last month, Ballard and his wife went to the evening screening of a movie about World War II veterans. No more than 40 people were in the room. But Ballard stayed for two hours, shaking hands and talking with the audience. Attending such events, often away from the spotlight, builds up significant amounts of good will.

Strong team. Even the most adamant Democratic critics agree that Ballard has wisely selected, for the most part, high-level staff. That includes top aides Michael Huber, who guided the major infrastructure transactions, and Robert Vane, who deftly crafted the mayor’s message. He recently left the office but will be involved with the campaign.

Ballard, elected as the ultimate outsider, needed to prove he could effectively run the city. That means plowing the streets, setting a vision and looking for creative ways to tackle problems. It also means putting the right people in the right places.

Underestimated. It boggles my mind to hear some Democrats continuing to underestimate Ballard. He’s improved as a communicator and a fundraiser while holding on to his average-guy image. He has a record to sell and accomplishments to tout. All of that will make him hard to beat.