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.


Ogden Knows Best: Bike Lanes

If you are a cyclist or you keep up with the news, you may have heard that Mayor Ballard announced the City plans to double the number of bike lanes by the end of the year. Indianapolis has already added 30 miles of bike lanes since 2008 and the long-term plan calls for a total of 200 miles within the next 15 years.

As usual, Paul Ogden found a reason to complain

First, Ogden says that the $10 million being used on bike lanes could have been used for other things and the City has misplaced priorities.  Apparently, Paul was too busy looking for something to criticize to READ the article.  The bike lanes are funded by a grant from the Department of Energy.  It is a part of the SustainIndy program and that is why the City received the funding.  The money could not have been spent on the library or the parking meters that Ogden mentions.

Second, Paul complains about the bike lane safety and wrote in his comment section on what an avid cyclist he is compared to the Mayor and “many of the people who go ga-ga over the bike lanes.”  We especially enjoyed the part of the rant where Paul talked about how fast he can ride his bike.   Apparently, Ogden would throw INDYCOG in the group of folks who don’t know what they are talking about as well.   

According to the IndyStar,

Cyclist Kevin Whited attended the announcement to show his support as a member of the non-profit group Indy Cog, which promotes cycling and bike safety.

He said Indianapolis can look to other cities like Minneapolis and Portland, where when bike lanes were added, bike ridership picked up.

“To me it’s very exciting as a bicyclist. Having infrastructure, having bike lanes just makes it easier to get around the city. I mean it’s a really exciting thing and it’s very cost effective,” said Whited, who bikes to work every day.

Note that Whited bikes to work every day.  But hey, we’re sure Ogden knows best.

Ballard vs. Kennedy: Finance Reports and YouTube Fun

Jon Murray has the overview of the finance reports that were filed today.  Mayor Ballard raised $715,236 which brought his cash on hand to $2,039,201.  Kennedy raised $510,216 which brought her cash on hand to $1,272,335.  This leaves Ballard with a significant financial advantage of over $760,000. 

Much to Paul Ogden’s dismay, Kennedy outspent Ballard this time around and he won’t get to write a post on the burn rates of the Ballard campaign.  Kennedy spent nearly $180,000 to Ballard’s $150,000.  We’ve heard Team Ballard has a new fundraiser that is spending less and raising more which this report would seem to support.  

We’ve maintained that Kennedy is going to have to spend some money on this Democrat primary to make sure she gets to the General Election. The fact that she has two African-American males running against her shows some unrest in a key constituency.  Add in the fact that both of them are ahead of her on the ballot and one of them is a Carson, she really cannot afford to take the Primary race for granted.  How much she spends is a big question.  We’ve taken a quick look at her report and it appears she has waited to do any media purchases until after the reporting deadline which is what we would expect. 

In other mayor’s race fun, the Marion County Republican Party sent out a YouTube video hitting back at Kennedy’s attempts to discredit Mayor Ballard’s job commitment numbers.  You may remember we noted earlier this week that Kennedy was forced to pull her web ad down after breaking federal copyright law.  The GOP response is below.   Happy Friday!

We knew this would happen, but we didn’t know it would happen this early. 

Democrat Candidate for Mayor, Melina Kennedy, started running false, negative, misleading attack ads against Mayor Ballard…on April 2nd!  Kennedy has demonstrated that she’ll do anything to win and that’s why it is so important that we show our support for Mayor Ballard by telling the FACTS.

Click here to see a video that shares the facts about Mayor Ballard’s impressive record of creating jobs.  Please forward this email to your friends, and post this video on your Facebook page.  With your help, we can make sure that we keep moving Indianapolis forward with Mayor Ballard!

WSP Re-Districting Analysis: Congressional Districts

We’ve been meaning to get this post up for the last few days but, sadly, we do actually have real jobs.  We’re working on doing a full analysis on the implications of re-districting and will start with the Congressional Districts.  

The 1st Congressional District remains a safe Democrat seat for Pete Visclosky to sit in until he dies if he so chooses.  He is unlikely to have any serious opposition in either the Primary or General Elections.  In fact, its biggest impact is on the 2nd Congressional District.

The 2nd Congressional District was molded as a district for Jackie Walorksi.  The district has taken out the highly Democratic Michigan City and given it to the 1st District while Howard County and the Democrat area of Kokomo were drawn out completely. They also added some nice Republican spots in Elkhart and Kosciusko counties and all of Miami County. 

Will Jackie have a primary?  We’re hearing yes but we highly doubt anyone is going to beat her.  She is known as a tough campaigner and is putting together a campaign team that is already working with the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee.  We strongly believe Congressman Donnelly was already focused on running for U.S. Senate in 2012 and this district makes that more likely.  We’re not sure who the Democrats have warming up on the bench. 

The 3rd Congressional District, much like the 1st, has a bigger impact on the 2nd than on itself.  Several key Republican areas were sliced out of the 3rd and given to the 2nd.  Regardless, it looks to be a fairly safe Republican district provided Congressman Stutzman does not make any major mistakes.

In the 4th Congressional District, we have a very nice Republican map.  Unfortunately for Congressman Todd Rokita, it does not include his home. This is not an issue as we have heard for some time that Rokita planned to move to Hendricks County.  It is a good thing since Rokita has about as many friends in the Legislature as we have in the Kennedy for Mayor HQ.  The Congressman made a lot of enemies by putting out his own re-districting plan last year when he was Secretary of State.  No better way to piss off the legislature than messing with the maps.  Ironic that they used re-districting as a way to get back at him, huh?

The 5th District is interesting but, as usual, it is due to Primary implications rather than General election races.  Congressman Dan Burton has a good district for the General but not so much for the Primary.  The northern portion of the old 5th is where Burton got his votes and it was put in the 3rd District.  If you think his dustup with Messer was close in 2010, check out the numbers if this had been the district.  The race would have come down to a few hundred votes rather than a few thousand.  Burton was able to use his friends in the legislature to push Shelby County, Messer’s home county, out of the 5th.  David McIntosh, however, is based in Madison County and that is in the 5th District.  Will McIntosh take Burton out?  God, we hope so because someone should. 

The 6th district looks to be fairly Republican but not so Republican that a poorly run race would be guaranteed victory.  Congressman Mike Pence is all but declared to run for Governor.  We expect he will announce sometime after the legislative session ends so he can start fundraising.  Luke Messer is said to be taking a close look at the district and we expect he will run.  McIntosh is said to be interested as well.  While McIntosh is registered in Madison County, the new 6th has several of the counties he used to represent. We’re not all that enthused about a McIntosh return to Indiana…unless it is to finally rid our delegation of Dan Burton.  There are a few other names being tossed around but none that should cause too much of an issue if Messer goes all in.

The new 7th District is a bit of a mystery.  Democrats say it is solidly Democrat while the Republicans seem to be split.  We’ve heard some say it is a lock for the Democrats and some who are hopeful that the addition of the Republican Southside will make the district competitive.  Either way, we think you’ll see a much more energized race there in 2012 than usual.  Congressman Carson will crush any opponent in the Primary and the General could be interesting if the Republicans can get a legitimate candidate.  Marvin Scott, this is not a request for you to throw your hat in.  The likelihood of getting a strong Republican candidate could be impacted by the 2011 Mayor’s race.

The 8th District lost some key Republican areas to the 4th and 9th Congressional districts and may well become the Bloody Eighth of  the past. Congressman Bucshon should be safe in the Primary election.  The General will really depend on who the Democrats can get to run.  Democrats appear to be courting Brad Ellsworth for a curtain call but we don’t see it happening.  He just got a great gig  and he lost his home congressional district to Coats in his U.S. Senate bid.  If John Gregg is the Democrat Governor candidate, it could make things interesting in the 8th  (and 9th as well) but we still don’t think the Democrats have a candidate to beat Congressman Bucshon.

Finally, the 9th District looks a bit better than it use to for Congressman Todd Young.  Since this district has been tossed back and forth between the two parties like a hot potato, it is not surprising that Republicans decided to clean it up some.  The district is more Republican than in the past and it looks much more favorable for Young to fend of Primary challengers.  Many of the counties drawn out were won by his 2010 Primary opponents. The district does still include Jackson County where former Congressman Baron Hill resides.  We would think Hill has had enough of fighting for this district for a decade but you never know.  We would say the 9th is more Republican than before but by no means a lock.

Local Campaign Finance Reports: Ballard vs. Kennedy

Campaign finance reports for local races are due this Friday and we, along with a few other bloggers, are waiting with bated breath.

We are expecting a big report from Melina Kennedy this quarter.  After all, she raised nearly $900,000 last year when she was working at Baker & Daniels.  Since she is campaigning full-time now, we would guess she will raise a substantial amount of money and should pull even with Mayor Ballard’s fundraising this quarter. 

Since Kennedy has a primary where she will need to spend some money, she needs a big quarter to not end the primary with a substantial cash deficit.  We’ve also heard she has been aggressively pursuing Ballard donors from last year.

For Mayor Ballard, we aren’t so sure what amount he will post.  He already has a cash advantage and will maintain that even with a strong quarter from Kennedy.  There also seems to be some debate over how much Ballard raised at a large event held at the J.W. Marriott.

Indianapolis Times has posted in the past that they don’t believe Mayor Greg Ballard’s campaign brought in $500,000 at the event.  In fact, Terry said they raised “less than half  of the money that was anticipated.”   We’re going to guess they don’t have a great source since Ballard supporters are not exactly clamoring to talk to Terry Burns or any of the other bloggers (Sorry Paul and Gary!) who claim to have insight into the Ballard Re-Elect Team.

Then yesterday, Burns posted that the Mayor raised $500,000 at the J.W. event and, in order to have a successful fundraising quarter, he needs to have raised another $500,000 for a total of $1 million.  Which one is it, Terry?  Did he raise the $500,000 or not? We don’t claim to know but we try to not give completely conflicting “facts”.

We also aren’t sure why Terry thinks the Mayor will raise $1 million this quarter.  That is more than Ballard raised all last year.  It is crazy to think he will raise that much in one quarter so far off from the election. 

Another thing to file away in your “Things that Make You Go Hmmm” folder is the strange highlight in Burns’ post.  Looks to us like maybe someone (READ:  the Kennedy Campaign Staff) was making some edits to the post. 

Between those two things, we’re guessing the Kennedy Campaign is trying to play the expectations game.  We’ll find out tomorrow if they have a reason to be.

Amateur Hour: Kennedy Campaign Violates Federal Copyright Law, Forced to Pull Negative Web Ad

You may or may not have noticed last week that the Kennedy campaign launched an attack ad on the interwebs on Mayor Greg Ballard. 

The ad was regarding job commitment numbers released by the Ballard administration and used portions of the RTV6 “news” report from Kara Kenney.  The campaign publicized the web ad by advertising on several news websites including the IndyStar, Indianapolis Business Journal and Jim Shella’s political blog.

Not surprisingly, RTV6 told the Kennedy campaign to pull the web ad.  This is Campaign 101 so we are really suprised the campaign made the mistake.  Even worse, their candidate is a LAWYER.  Now we know it was made blatantly obvious in the 2006 Prosecutors race that Melina Kennedy has absolutely no courtroom experience but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have a clue about the law.  This incident, on the other hand, seems to indicate that she doesn’t.

Add this to the fact that the Kennedy campaign has now officially gone negative in April, more than seven months before the election, and we’re declaring it amateur hour over at Kennedy campaign headquarters.

Kennedy Attacks Ballard on Job Commitments; MCRCC Hits Back

Yesterday, Melina Kennedy decided it was a good idea to go after Mayor Greg Ballard on his job commitment numbers in an email and a press release.  We cannot say we are surprised. 

While we agree with Gary Welsh at Advance Indiana that Kennedy has completely struck out on her first two attacks on Mayor Ballard, we think she simply has got to find a way to discredit his jobs numbers. 

Think about it.  You are Melina Kennedy.  You were Deputy Mayor in charge of economic development and you tout it as a major part of why you are best equipped to be Mayor.  But, you have a problem with some numbers.  Ballard created more jobs in 2010 than you were able to in 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005 COMBINED. You’ve got to make those numbers irrelevant or at least muddy the waters. 

Unfortunately for Kennedy, it doesn’t look like the Ballard crew plans on letting that happen anytime soon. 

Marion County Republican Chairman Kyle Walker hit back in the below email and, we have to say, it made us wonder if the Kennedy campaign needs someone to donate a subscription to the Indianapolis Business Journal.


Melina Kennedy’s campaign just sunk to a new low. Kennedy sent an email today that included lies about Mayor Ballard’s record on job creation. Additionally, Kennedy’s email demonstrates that she is either misrepresenting the Ballard administration’s record or Kennedy doesn’t understand the city’s economic development work (which she touts she did for several years).

We all know why Melina Kennedy is launching false attacks…because Mayor Ballard’s administration has produced a record number of job commitments for the city. In 2010, Indianapolis received commitments for 8,702 new jobs and $934 million in capital investment – both are record highs. And it is more job commitments than Melina Kennedy’s economic development efforts yielded in 2003, 2004 and 2005 combined!

As the Indianapolis Business Journal noted, “The city’s current procedures for reporting job commitments and tracking them are essentially the same as they were during Democratic Mayor Bart Peterson’s administration, according to two Peterson-era economic development officials.”

Melina Kennedy has previously promoted her “record” of economic development, compiled the same way by both administrations, but now she doesn’t want to compare numbers.

Melina Kennedy’s email claims “only about 20 percent of Ballard’s “new jobs” are solid commitments.” That is simply not true!  According to the Indianapolis Business Journal, “City records of tax-abated jobs show, in 2009, about 82 percent of the job commitments expected in that year came to fruition. That figure was 84 percent in 2008, and 64 percent in 2007.  The state’s numbers show an average of 87 percent of jobs came to fruition from 2005 to 2009.”

Melina Kennedy also tries to claim that the Ballard administration isn’t making information public. As the Indianapolis Business Journal article indicates,

“Companies that get local tax abatements-temporary relief from the taxes paid on new development-must file annual paperwork with the city to report their progress in bringing promised jobs or risk losing their city money. Those receiving other public incentives also are tracked by the city to ensure compliance. Those reports are public.”

Here are some more facts reported by the Indianapolis Business Journal:

“Of the 8,702 jobs committed, 4,403 were associated with companies receiving local public incentives, such as tax abatements or infrastructure upgrades. Other companies are offered local incentives but accept only state tax credits; they account for 2,600 of the jobs.

Still others get no public dollars but accept Develop Indy’s help in recruiting employees or selecting a site. Those companies committed to 764 jobs on the city’s list.

A handful of other companies on the list-representing 935 of the job commitments-remain confidential because they have not yet publicly disclosed their move or expansion plans.”

Since competing apples to apples with Mayor Ballard’s job creation record doesn’t bode well for Melina Kennedy, she’s trying to change the rules of the game. Don’t let her! Arm your friends with the facts by forwarding this email today.


Kyle Walker
Marion County Republican Party