Uh, no he won't be. It is true that Ballard will be a very well-funded candidate, probably the best funded mayoral candidate in history. After all, Ballard's team has become an expert in shaking down government contractors for campaign contributions. But money in politics can be overrated. If a candidate has inflicted permanent injury on himself or has issues that can be easily exploited, no amount of money can rehabilitate that candidate. As long as the Democratic nominee has the money to remind the public about Ballard's failings, the Democrat wins. Mayor Ballard has put the ball on the tee time after time again for his political opponent, perfectly positioning himself and the Marion County GOP for a crushing defeat in the 2011 election. To me it's unfathomable that this man has received any political advice at all, much less the $10,000 per month advice he's supposedly paying for.
Tully is in love with the fact that Mayor Ballard wants to address infrastructure in this city. Unfortunately he's blinded to the problems with HOW Mayor Ballard is generating the cash to meet those infrastructure needs. Using a fake sale of the utilities from one public entity to another to generate cash will simply result in short term improvements being paid for with a 30 year loan taken out by the public utility which is owned by the public. As far as the parking lease deal, I'll wait for the column in which Tully criticizes the Mayor for entering a 50 year contract to generate upfront cash for short term infrastructure improvements. At the very least, Tully should be criticizing that ACS, which has already failed at the FSSA privatization, is a client of Barnes & Thornburg attorney Joe Loftus, who is on the city's payroll to advise the Mayor.
Nonetheless, the Tully column was about the politics of a Ballard re-election run. Mayor Ballard has time and time again supported tax and fee increases, the latest being a doubling of parking fees.. You don't think the Democrats are going to point that out in a campaign? Of course, they will. To do so is to drive a wedge between Ballard and the anti-tax conservatives who supported him when he ran in 2007.
Despite what Tully hopes, making infrastructure improvements has never been a voting issue. The failure to make infrastructure improvements can occasionally be a voting issue...but that's not what is on the table.
I'm sure the Democrats will also challenge the Mayor's highly unpopular priorities. The $33.5 million gift to the Pacers will be juxtaposed against cuts to the libraries, park and public transit. That will be a devastating campaign issue.
The only way Mayor Ballard will be a formidable candidate in the Fall of 2011 is if the Democrat has absolutely no money to be able to remind the voters of what four years of Ballard's leadership has been like - broken promises, constant support of tax/fee increases, corporate welfare to billionaire sports owners, endless junkets at taxpayer expenses, and a lack of a leadership. Mayor Ballard is so obviously vulnerable, however, that any Democrat who is nominated in May of 2011 will certainly be well funded for the General Election.
Mayor Ballard has no chance of winning re-election in 2011. The minute he's renominated, the election is over.