Monday, November 1, 2010

Election Day Surprises & Miscellaneous Thoughts

Having lived through the 1980 and 1994 Republican sweeps, I realize that if the GOP does as well as expected, there could be some shocking results in Wednesday morning's newspaper.

One thing to look for is to see if the Republican national tidal wave extends to Marion County enough to lift Republicans in the baseline county races (such as County Auditor and County Clerk) to victory. If Democrats locally don't turn out while Republicans do, it is a possibility. Although I doubt this will happen, if it did it would allow Marion County Republican Chairman to claim that his work was behind the GOP rebound, instead of the honest fact: it's an election aberration.

I think Mark Massa, candidate for Marion County Prosecutor, is going to run ahead of the GOP base races, but still lose. But he could narrowly win. If he does, then there will be questions about whether Democratic Terry Curry aggressively enough linked Massa to outgoing Republican prosecutor Carl Brizzi. Of course, if Curry wins he will be seen as a genius for his strategy. Such is politics.

Locally there are a number of legislative seats to watch. I remember the 1994 shocker when Democratic incumbent John Day lost even though the Republicans had not even targeted his house seat. It will be interesting to see how well the Republican candidates do against House Democratic incumbents John Barnes, Mary Ann Sullivan and Ed Delaney. I think Barnes is probably the most vulnerable of the three, but if the nationwide Republican tide extends to Indiana, it's possible the Democrats win all three. I can't see Republicans Rep. Phil Hinkle and Sen. Jim Merritt losing this year. While they both flagged strong Democratic opponents, this was just not the year to take on a Republican incumbent.

Also, watch the township races. The only townships left that are still solidly Republican are the three in the south, Decatur, Perry and Franklin. It's quite possible that turnout will allow Republicans to win township races in Lawrence, and possibly also Wayne and Warrne. Again, this would just be an aberration from the long-term trend of those areas being more Democratic.

One thing that would not be a surprise is if the Libertarians set new high water marks in the Secretary of State and Senate races. While my Libertarian friends will point to the races as proof that Libertarians are making gains, the fact is many Republicans vote Libertarian when they don't like the candidate of their party. A lot of Republicans do not like lobbyist and carpetbagger Dan Coats and scandal-plagued Charlie White. Expect in those races for the Libertarians to be up around 7% or 8%, while in most other races the Libertarians will garner about 3% to 4% of the vote.

More election thoughts later.


Indy Student said...

I haven't exactly kept track of the polls, but I do know Kurt Webber (running against Ed DeLaney) would be an excellent representative. He truly believes in a citizen's legislature and told me he has no political ambitions besides serving a few terms and then stepping aside. In regards to social issues such as same sex marriage, he might be actually more liberal than his Democratic opponent!

A GOP worker who I kept in touch with since the Senate primary canvassed with Webber a while back and said that Kurt knows that politics is all about addition. If there were more men like Kurt in the Republican party, I'd even consider self-identifying as one!

Paul K. Ogden said...


The trouble is those social issues that Webber disdains are critical part of the GOP coalition. I agree with his position on same sex marriage - I'm not sure why conservatives care about that. But the big issue of abortion will hurt Webber if he is pro-choice.

To win, in general, Republicans have to assemble a coalition of fiscal conservatives and social conservatives.

Indy Student said...

I don't know if Webber has talked about abortion specifically. And considering how short of a time he plans on serving, I think it's unlikely any abortion related bills will come across the House floor. Haven't the most recent laws concerning abortions all been federal?

And I agree on that Paul on the coalition. But Webber, as he told me, is running in a district where the past several GOP nominees were far-right social conservatives and all lost. We see the same thing happen here in the 7th CD. These people just aren't electable. You can run someone that agrees with the party platform 100% of the time and never wins, or you can run someone who agrees with the party platform 70-90% of the time and has a shot at winning.

What are your thoughts on the property tax cap referendum? I think it's quite an odd vote. I'm not a fan of putting this into the Constitution. Amendments should only be done to correct a fundamental flaw in the original document, or to recognize rights that have traditionally been deprived. I know there's both people who like property taxes, and people who want them eliminated, and a Constitutional amendment would basically kill their political hopes.


I voted NO on referendum. Poll workers asked me how I was voting and why. So I explained that the caps don't protect us from astronomical assessments (like I got), nor is it fair and uniform and does a disservice to landlords, business owners, and farmers.

Voted for Kurt Webber.
Voted for Terry Curry!
Voted for Beth White!
Voted for Becky Williams (assessor)
Voted for the Libertarians!

I believe I cast a truly independent and educated ballot.

Paul K. Ogden said...


State constitutions, like Indiana's constitution, deal with a ton of issues in detail. They aren't like the federal constitution, which addresses things in a more general matter.

There are already numerous provisions in the constitution dealing with taxation, including taxatiion of property. I frankly don't think the statutory caps are constitution and thus a constitutional amendment is needed if you go that route. But, yes, I'm definitely in favor of the caps. They are not perfect, but they are better than nothing. Local government spending, especially by school districts, needs to be reigned in.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Oh, and HFFT brings up a legitimate concern about assessments. However, you can challenge assessments if it exceeds fair market value. You can't, however, challenge the tax rate though without any cap.

Again, it's not perfect. But it's better than no cap.

Indy Student said...

I understand the difference, Paul. But I'm also not a big fan of representative democracy because the average citizen isn't likely to be informed enough to make an educated decision. We can see situations in California where everything is put up for a referendum, presumably because no elected representative in California actually wants to make a decision.

Ironically, the property tax movement consists of some people who would like to see the end of property taxes, and this amendment basically makes their goal a pipe dream.

The other bunk argument I've heard in favor of this amendment is the fear of judges overturning the legislative work. But we don't really have a history of activist judges in Indiana. Our state courts have upheld the state version of DOMA and Indiana's voter I'd law.

Maybe you're right in that there are matters for state constitutions to delve into that a federal amendment wouldn't. But I don't see this proposal as one of them.

On another note, good luck on Fox 59 tonight. Please post links to the video if/when it gets put online.

dcrutch said...

Roger on voting for a whole lotta Libertarians. I took my chances on Sink-Burris. If Ellsworth wins, please shoot me.