Friday, June 24, 2011

Marion County Democratic Chairman Treacy Recruits Tough Challengers to Republican Council Incumbents

A couple days ago, I criticized Marion County Democratic Ed Treacy for unilaterally picking Pam Hickman to fill the at-large vacancy when Council Joanne Sanders departed from the ticket.  The law allowed to call a caucus of the precinct committeepersons.  The criticism is valid.  Giving power and authority to rank-and-file party workers is important to the success of the party. That is one area where Treacy is a weak leader.  His autocratic tendencies sometimes get in the way of what's best for the Democratic team.

Marion County Democratic Party
Chairman Ed Treacy
Treacy though has a lot of strengths though as a chairman.  One of those is he is a strong campaign strategist.  Another one is candidate recruitment.  The Hickman selection was pretty irrelevant since the at-large races are base-line race.  Virtually any Democratic candidate who gets plugged in to the slot is going to win.  But the district races where Democrats have legitimate shots at Republicans incumbents needed strong candidates.   Treacy ended up the primary with a surprising four vacancies in districts in which Democrats had a 40% plus base vote, numbers close enough that a strong Democrat in the right year could win.  At the very least Treacy had to find candidates to force the Republicans to expend resources.

Councilor Bob Lutz
Treacy did better than that.  He appears to have fielded strong candidates in the four districts where the Democrats have a shot at ousting incumbent council Republicans.  GOP Councilor Bob Lutz will square off against Jared Evans in District 13.  The neighboring Wayne Township district, District 14, will feature council Vice-President Republican Marilyn Pfisterer against former Wayne Township small claims court judge Maxine King.  In Beech Grove, Republican Councilor Susie Day will square off against long-time Beech Grove businessman Frank Mascari who narrowly lost an election for Beech Grove mayor.  In the Irvington area, Republican Councilor Ben Hunter will face attorney Todd Woodmansee who has served as a deputy attorney general and deputy prosecutor.

Councilor Ed Coleman
The last two races with pending vacancies are District 5 (incumbent Republican Ginny Cain) and District 24 (incumbent Republican Jack Sandlin).  District 5 is the only solid Republican district on the northside.  District 24 is normally solidly Republican, but given Sandlin's rocky history with Perry Township voters who ousted him as township trustee just a few years ago, Libertarian incumbent at-large councilor Ed Coleman has a shot at upsetting Sandlin in the Perry Township district.  While there is some thinking that Coleman will break off enough Republican vote to give a Democrat a shot at the seat, I think the more likely effect is that a Democrat would split the anti-Sandlin vote letting the incumbent win.  Treacy would be smart to stay out.  I'm not sure though if his ego will let him pass up a race.

The map spells huge problems for Republicans.  They have very few shots at incumbent Democratic seats, Dane Mahern and Mary Moriarity-Adams appearing to be the only two.  Meanwhile there are scores of Republican incumbents who are facing tough challenges.

The three most vulnerable Republican councilors I believe are Christine Scales (Dist. 4), Janice McHenry (Dist. 6), and Mike McQuillen (Dist. 12). 

Councilor Janice McHenry
Of those three I would give Scales the best chance of holding on. Unlike the other councilors, Scales has shown some independence which might help her survive some of the inevitable negative attacks against her that are coming, attacks that try to link her to unpopular policies.  Although Scales has drawn an extremely well-funded candidate, voters can unfortunately be very cruel when it comes to candidates with unusual names.  Kostas Poulakidas might suffer the same fate as Vop Osili, strong candidates that probabl are not helped by their unusual names.

McHenry's district, which is probably the most Democratic district held by a Republican, is probably over 50% Democrat now, a substantial difference from 2007.  McHenry is an extremely energetic door-to-door campaigner but she's up against a strong candidate in Brett Voorhies, who has the benefit of being part of a well-known political family and having ballot exposure in his 2010 hard fought, albeit unsuccessful race against Representative Phil Hinkle.  McHenry is probably the most vulnerable with Councilor Mike McQuillen a close second.  I expect McQuillen, who has suported every Mayor Ballard proposal to take money from taxpayers to give to private companies as well as all 100 of Mayor Ballard's tax and fee increases, to get unmercifully carved up in a negative campaign.

But the list of vulnerable Republicans doesn't stop there.  Day is arguably as vulnerable as Scales, McHenry and McQuilen, especially with the tough opponent Day now has.  Then you add in shots the Democrats have at Lutz, Pfisterer, Hunter and Council President Ryan Vaughn, that means there are 8 Republicans representing districts who at the very least will have to defend their districts.  With the three at-large seats, that is 11 seats won by Republicans in 2011 which are are in play.  There are only five absolutely safe Republican seats in the county, District 5 on the northside and Districts 22, 23, 24, and 25 on the southside.  As noted, even the 24th has been made competitive by the presence of Libertarian Coleman.

While people think my 19-10 prediction would be a disaster for Republicans, the fact is it may be even worse.


american patriot said...
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american patriot said...

It would be a shame to have someone as prejudice as Maxine King serve the public. Having appeared before her in my capacity as a white male landlord evicting a minority female I can say the bias towards tenants was very apparent. Other landlords have said the same.

I have a problem with an educated black person using the word "axe" for ask.

While she was judge she tried to get raises for 2 of her staff, neither of whom had any significant amount of time on the job, while the Wayne board had decided not to give out raises to any of the staff due to the budget cuts.

Paul K. Ogden said...
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Paul K. Ogden said...


I think she's a bit of a long shot to beat Lutz. Having been previously elected will help.

Maybe she's trying to even the most small claims courts, the bias appears to run toward the plaintiffs, especially on debtor-creditor matters where you can pick your court.

I'd like to see small claims court judges dispense judges without regarding to prejudice and whether the court might lose profitable creditor clients who might pick another court if they start losing.