Thursday, June 30, 2011

Today's Deadline for Filling Municiplal Candidate Vacancies; The Spin About Kennedy's Difficulties Recruiting Volunteers

Today is the deadline to fill vacancies on the ballot for Indianapolis City-County council, or more precisely those races that didn't have a candidate in the primary.  Yesterday, Marion County Democratic Chairman Ed Treacy made his last vacancy appointment, an experienced attorney and former deputy prosecutor, Jackie Butler.  She is the daughter of well-known Indianapolis defense attorney Duge Butler, who is now retired. 

Butler's opponent in District 5, which is located in the far northeast part of Marion County, will be Republican Councilor Ginny Cain.  Cain has the only northside seat with more than a 60% Republican baseline, and thus should be safe Republican territory.  I think it's significant though that Treacy was able to recruit someone of Butler's background to run in that seat.

As previously recounted in this blog, Treacy has recruited some top notch candidates for the council district vacancies, competitive seats which were surprisingly unfilled at the primary.  Of the council district seats, Democrats have filled 24 of the 25, leaving only District 24 in Perry Township without a Democratic opponent. Libertarian Councilor Ed Coleman has decided to go from serving at-large to running against Republican Councilor Jack Sandlin in that district.  That will not be an easy race for Sandlin who was ousted by Perry Township Republican voters from his trustee position just a few years ago.  With a one-on-one challenge from Coleman, the Republican Party will have to spend to try to retain Sandlin's otherwise safe Republican seat, while at the same time fighting battles to save incumbents all over the county.

In the 2007 general elect, Democrats left three districts uncontested (5, 24 and 25) and the Republicans offered no candidate in three (9, 10 and 15).   As things stand now, I believe the Republicans have vacancies in Districts 7, 9, 10, 11, 16 and 18.   Marion County GOP Chairman Kyle Walker announced earlier that he was appointing A.J. Feeney-Ruiz to fill the Republican candidate vacancy in District 15, one of the most Democratic seats on the council.   Walker still has until today to announce more appointments to fill candidate vacancies.

Another blogger, more known for being a radio host, is reporting that Democratic mayoral candidate Melina Kennedy has been emailing Hamilton County Democrats who worked on Obama's campaign to come to Marion County to work on her campaign.  The party-line spin, all too willingly put forward by that radio host/blogger, is that the Kennedy outreach effort signals weakness within the Democratic base in Marion County.

I have yet to meet a campaign that had so many volunteers the campaign was turning them away.  A good campaign manager always try to get all the volunteers he or she can.    The Kennedy camp probably realized that this being a municipal election year, the Democrats in heavily-Republican Hamilton County basically won't have anything to do and reached out for them to come down to Marion County and participate in this election. While I don't know how successful that effort will be, to spin it as some sort of weakness of Kennedy camp in recruiting volunteers is, to say the least, far-fetched.

Let's not forget that Marion County was a solidly Democratic county in the midst of a state Republican landslide in 2010.  There is nothing to even suggest there is some lack of Democratic enthusiasm for its chances in Marion County in 2011.  Given the current baseline and the races in play, I think there is about a 85% chance Democrats win the council back and about a 75% chance they win the Mayor's office.

I'm not against good political spin.  Walker and Treacy, however, too often issue press releases with absurd political attacks against the other party, often spinning some issue in a ridiculous direction.  That undermines their credibility with the media when they have legitimate political issues to raise.  They might be better advised to keep that powder dry at times, and every once in awhile complimenting the other side, or at least publicly recognizing the strengths of an opponent.  That would do wonders for giving them more credibility with the media.

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