Tuesday, December 28, 2010

2011 Indianapolis Political Predictions

Having dusted off my crystal ball for the last time in 2010, I now can see the future of Indianapolis, well at least for 2011.

Ballard Campaign Report: Released in the middle of January 2011, the report will show Ballard as having raised well over a million dollars in 2010, almost all of the money coming from city contractors or those hoping to do business with the City. The Star will suggest the money makes the Mayor difficult to beat and Star Columnist Matthew Tully will say it is a sign of Ballard's popularity. No major media outlet will question the propriety of a sitting mayor shaking down government contractors for campaign contributions.

The List: Democrats will get a hold of a list of city contractors used by the Ballard campaign for fundraising. The list will have been prepared by the Ballard administration using government workers and government resources. Council Democrats and Marion County Democratic Chairman Ed Treacy will seek to make an issue out of it but the local media will ignore them.

Primary (Democratic): The Democrats have a spirited and hard-fought three-way primary. Local Republicans will gleefully note the fact the division within the Democratic Party and that eventual winner Melina Kennedy burned through much of her money at the primary stage. The Democratic primary will prove to have given Republicans false hope.

Primary (Republican): 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.

Spring and Summer of Indictments: Expect big name indictments to be handed down in 2011, including of my law school classmate Timothy Durham. But the indictments won't stop there - I see a strong possibility that Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi and others associated with him get ensnared in the FBI probe and end up indicted. The indictments will shock the local Republican political scene, causing the Indianapolis Star to (finally) look into local political corruption.

Summer of Scandal: Expect the Ballard administration to be rocked by a "pay to play" scandal in 2011. Here's the way I see it going down. A Ballard administration official agrees to steer a contract to a company in exchange for something in return, quite possible a job after the 2011 election. The scandal gets exposed. Ballard's defense is that he didn't know what was going on in his administration. The good news for Ballard is that he will be telling the truth. The bad news for Ballard is that he will be telling the truth.

Summer of Straub: The situation between IMPD and Directer, er I mean "Doctor," Straub continues to deteriorate during 2011. Finally, in the summer of 2011, it dawns on the Ballard campaign team that ticking off a bunch of usually Republican-leaning police officers before a municipal election isn't good for a sitting Republican mayor. The firing of Straub will come too late to fix the damage he has done to IMPD morale and Ballard's re-election chances.

No Mayoral Debates (Until the End): Mayor Ballard will spend the summer ducking debates with Democratic nominee, Melina Kennedy. The Ballard campaign team will say the Mayor is too busy working on economic development issues to debate. In reality the reason will be two part: 1) an early post-primary poll which shows the Mayor with a commanding 20 point lead over Melina Kennedy; and 2) the fear that the Mayor would look intellectually inferior to the more polished Kennedy in the debate.

The Mayor's campaign team will learn a thing or two about "soft" polling numbers as Ballard's 20 point lead quickly melts in light of the summer scandals and attacks by Democrats on the Mayor's record. Ballard a few weeks out will finally agree to debate Kennedy. Expectations are so low for Ballard by that point he is judged as holding his own against Kennedy.

Democratic Attack Strategy on Mayor Ballard: Expect most of the negative to come out of Democratic headquarters. Ballard will be hammered for insider deals, the $33.5 million gift to the Pacers, selling off city assets, the parking meter deal. Marion County Democratic Chairman Ed Treacy will hit the Mayor on tax/fee increases and broken promises to cut government - issues that work to split fiscally conservative Republicans off from supporting the Mayor. For good measure the Democrats will pound the Mayor on scandals in his administration, including the problems with IMPD.

Council Races: The Democrats will blast sitting Republican Councilors with attack pieces discussing the Pacers $33.5 million gift, the utility sell-off and the 50 year parking deal. Other pieces designed at splitting the GOP base, will hit Republican Councilors, for tax/fee increases and reckless spending. The GOP councilors' response pieces will be a sloganesque - that they have to keep the City "moving forward" and "can't go back" to the Peterson days. The slogans, as a political defense to their actions in supporting Ballard's unpopular proposals, will fail miserably.

General Election (Council): On Election Day, the Democrats sweep all four at-large seats and pick up 2 districts. Republicans will not win a single seat currently held by Democrats. As a result, beginning 2012, the Council will be controlled by Democrats 18-11.

General Election (Mayor): In November 2011, Melina Kennedy will win the Mayor's Office by 55% to 42% over Mayor Ballard. The Libertarian will score the remaining 3% of the vote.


varangianguard said...

Not holding my breath waiting for "scandals" to erupt. It's a long line of "traditional business of politics" that goes way back past my institutional memory, and no one will see it for what it is.

There's a reason why state universities don't require students to take Ethics classes prior to graduation.

dcrutch said...

Therefore, the revolt against the status quo country club politics of the Marion county GOP must await the emphatic local "shellacking" of the 2011 races(?) While that sounds right as far as gathering enough momentum through outrage (similar to Ballard's election), it depends on enough working voters left in Marion county to care.

National and global events may help, but that's looking to be a tall order. I'd like to believe enough in Marion county to stop shopping for a deal on a house in Carmel. But, when library hours are reduced while a new Pacer scoreboard is on order, how am I to believe in this city's priorities? I'm to believe the law firm the new mayor will come from will be less self-serving than the firm behind the present administration?

I think we've ascertained that man is always looking for an easier way out and that greed is an eternal temptation. When do then act on this to collectively arise to protect the bit of limited government we do all believe in, external of party? "Never", is not the answer I'm looking for.

Paul K. Ogden said...

dcrutch, what will ultimately kills status quo Republican politics in Indianapolis is that the old guard, establishment Republicans can't win elections because they have no populist appeal. The establishment Republicans haven't won a mayoral election since 1995. Ballard did not win in 2007 as a Republican of the old school, like Goldsmith. He ran as a new kind of Republican. He hasn't governed that way though and that will be his downfall.

guy77money said...

The "end of country club politics" quote from his election night speech would be the perfect (among many) sound bite for any commercial or flyers the Democrats send out. Followed by the number of free country club memberships Ballard accepted. The Democrats will not even have to try hard to hit Ballard where it will hurt.