|Republican Councilor Angel |
Rivera is seeking re-election as
an at-large member of the council
First, the at-large races were expected designed to be Republican seats when Unigov was crafted in the early 1970s. Marion County was heavily Republican then. Even if the Democrats were able to elect a mayor (they did win a few county races back then, albeit rarely), that wouldn't have changed the fact that the at-large seats would have certainly been Republican. Here's why.
The Mayor's race is a high profile affair. When people go to vote for Mayor they know the candidates. When people vote for at-large representative on the council, few voters know the candidates, and instead default to what party they typically favor. That's exactly why when you measure a party's baseline numbers, you look at low profile elections.
Marion County has become Democratic by a fairly substantial. margin While Republicans can still win a high profile race like Mayor, for Republicans to win the baseline at-large races in a typical election year would be next to impossible. It happened for 3 of the 4 seats in 2007 because it was an extremely odd election where Democrats stayed home and Republicans showed up. As a result the Marion County baseline shifted in favor of Republicans for one election...I'm pretty sure the last election for a long time. Even in 2010, a glorious year for Republicans, the Democratic baseline in Marion County was far ahead of the Republican baseline.
Even if Ballard were to by some miracle win the election, the at-large seats will almost certainly go Democratic in 2011. Ballard won in 2007 running slightly ahead of the Republican majority baseline. In 2011, he'd have to win running well ahead of the Democratic baseline. While a Republican mayoral candidate can pull that off, it's extremely unlikely someone in an at-large seat could jump over the strong Democratic county baseliine to win.