Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My Brizzi Speculation

Over at Indianapolis Times, blogger Terry Burns engages in speculation about the future of two term Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi. In the comment section, blogger Chris Worden of IPOPA express the opinion that there is a 90% chance Brizzi is in the hunt of re-election.

It is a close call, but I think it is less than 50-50 that Carl Brizzi will run for a third term. I don't buy the suggestion made by Terry Burns - the Carl Brizzi is having trouble finding a job in the private sector. I have no doubt that, given Brizzi's contacts, he could land a well-paying job in the private sector, either at a law firm or in the business world.

The reason why I that Carl Brizzi won't seek a third term is that elected officials are by nature risk-adverse. Someone in office generally doesn't taken on challenges that are an up-hill battle. They wait for an opening and then go through that opening.

In 2002, when Brizzi first won, the Republicans still had a slight majority in the county and won the countywide offices.. By 2006, the county's electorate had changed enough where the Democrats had a significant majority county-wide. Brizzi was the only Republican county-wide candidate able to scale the hill and get elected.

By 2008, there was a 20% split in the base vote, with Democrats winning county offices by a whopping 60-40 margin. While those numbers were pumped up a bit by Obama's presence on the ticket, I think it's fair to say the partisan divide in the county will be no better than 55-45 in 2010, maybe closer to 56-44.

In 2006, Brizzi took advantage had an unqualified candidate opposing him and still barely won. Democrats are not going to make the same mistake in 2010 and nominate someone without a significant criminal law background.

Again, elected officials are risk adverse. Brizzi has already shown he can scale the hill once. Why not go out a winner and bide some time looking for other opportunities? That to me makes a lot more sense than trying to run the county-wide gauntlet again.

If Brizzi does decide against running, then the question has to be asked why he waited so long to declare. If there is a slating battle early next year, a candidate is not going to have much time to get known. That leaves any candidate he and/or the county chairman should choose to support at a decided advantage over any competitor. Therein might lie the real reason for the delay in the Brizzi announcement. Then again, I could be wrong.


Downtown Indy said...

I would think he waited until his two very high profile cases wrapped up, to see if he won them.

Of course he still has at least one more murder case to prosecute involving Brian Reese.

Paul K. Ogden said...


I don't buy that he is basing his re-election decision on those cases. Rather they raise his profile which would be useful in other arenas, and for other offices.

The fact is he has very little to gain by scaling the hill to get re-election in Marion County and he has a lot to lose if he fails. If Marion County were a majority Republican county I might agree it would be smart to run for re-election.