Friday, June 19, 2009

Defection Scenarios Involving Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard

Over at the Indianapolis Times, editor of that blog Terry Burns has filed several posts suggesting that Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard is job hunting and intends to forgo re-election to take a management position somewhere, possibly with a non-profit. Here is one of them. The theory is that Indianapolis Republican power brokers are forcing the Mayor out of running for re-election so that a "big name" like Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi can run for Mayor in 2011.

The first part of the scenario sounds very possible. The second part makes absolutely no political sense.

First, the notion that Mayor Ballard would forego re-election at this point seems very possible. His post-election popularity has been flushed down the toilet by numerous missteps, including the never-ending CIB fiasco. If he runs in 2011, it will be virtually impossible to overcome those negatives. Instead he could choose to walk out a winner, having defeated a formerly popular mayor. Ballard could slip easily into the management of one of Indianapolis' non-profits wish pay extremely well and provide lavish benefits.

However, for a "big name" Republican to step up in 2011 to run, after Ballard has so tarnished the Republican brand in Marion County, makes no political sense. Carol Brizzi has successfully navigated the increasingly Democratic landscape that is Marion County. Why would he risk a third time running the gauntlet, this time weighed down by Ballard's baggage?

Let me pose, however, another scenario. Let's assume that Ballard is job hunting. Instead of waiting for the end of his term to take that job, he instead decides to leave early, let's say in early 2010.

Should Ballard leave early, the Mayor's replacement by law is filled by a caucus of all the precinct committeemen in Marion County. In reality, the process is easily open to manipulation by party leaders who fill vacancies with "mummy-dummies" whose appointment is solely for the purpose of voting for the candidate the party leaders want. In this scenario it will be people like Marion County GOP Chairman Tom John and Hamilton County resident and Center Area chairman controlling who the next Mayor of Indianapolis is.

What is the difference between the replacement scenario I outline and new candidate scenario Burns suggests? The Ballard replacement scenario provides for an opportunity for a rehabilitation, a period during which a new Republican can swoop into office and dramatically turn things around on the 25th Floor. Given the low bar Ballard has set, there would be a terrific opportunity for a replacement Mayor to come off looking like a strong, effective leader. The period could be used effectively for the new Republican mayor to springboard toward re-election. A bigger name Republican might be interested in this scenario, while the big names are going to shy away from the scenario Burns suggests where they simply run for an office tarnished by Ballard's legacy of ineptitude.

Is the replacement scenario likely to happen? No. But from a political standpoint it does make a certain amount of sense.


Downtown Indy said...

I would think an early departure is as likely as anything. Why poison the well for another 2 years when it's as toxic as it already is?

I would at least regain some respect for the man if he was to admit 'I'm not the right guy for this job' and bailed out.

But then we have yet another elected official picking up a 'lucrative' job in a not-for-profit. Sheesh! A little vinegar in that spoonful of cod liver oil we are having to swallow.

Jon said...

The upside if the mayor opts out of the mayorial postion for a non profit is the non profit can fire him. Since Indiana doesn't have the ability to recall elected officials that is the only way he will be fired.

I know said...

The Carl Brizzi run for Mayor just got tanked today. Read the Indy Star and the Lauth boys and their wives being sued for 57M dollars by Wells Fargo Bank for fraud, breach of contract and others.

Lauth and their friends in the French Lick Casino mess have done the same thing in fraud with their State Contract application that has had the Gaming Commission and Brizzi in full knowledge of all the illegal activity the contractors have done to get to the point that today the bonds are no good, the original bond was not placed within the Gaming Commission by the deadline and Lauth lied about it.

Lauth Group needs to keep their family out of the mess and sooner or later will sell the whole illegal mess of a self written 40 year contract and the crooked activity that went with down the river to save their skins.

57M dollars is a lot of money in Indiana. $370M dollars spent for a 40 year contract and bonds never met on time and now in distressed exchange ought to wake some folks up.

Brizzi needs to prosecute some folks if he wants to stay out of the mess. He has volumes and volumes of evidence and one convicted felon he put in prison that has sung like a canary and told on everyone in the state capital that has been involved.

The mayors race will be the farthest thing from anyones mind in Indianapolis very soon.

M Theory said...

Isn't it just as easy to make your money honestly?

I know said...

The federal suit against the Lauth Group is a C felony suit with the Wells Fargo folks asking for recovery under the Indiana Victims Compensation Act in Judge David Hamilton's Court.

I guess the thing might be a little serious. maybe some of the other things going on in Indianapolis might begin to surface.