|Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard|
Comparing the townships, I was able to determine how much each township switched from Democrat to Republican from 2003 to 2007 in the Mayor's race. Below is a listing of the net Republican gain as well as the individual breakdown.
Center: 5,024 (-2,983 D votes, picked up 2,041 R votes)
Decatur: 1,408 (-223 D votes, picked up 1,185 R votes)
Franklin: 3,521 (-186 D votes, picked up 3,335 R votes)
Lawrence: 6,096 (-1,777 D votes, picked up 4,319 R votes)
Perry: 5,130 (-470 D votes, picked up 4,660 R votes)
Pike: 2,858 (-1,086 D votes, picked up 1,772 R votes)
Warren: 1,663 (-1,663 D votes, picked up 3,180 R votes)
Washington: 7,034 (-2,715 D votes, picked up 4,399 R votes)
Wayne: 5,505 (-2,502 D votes, picked up 3,003 R votes)
Note: The gain in Franklin, the second smallest township population wise, is significant. I double checked the numbers and they are correct.
It appears from reviewing this data, the 2007 Indianapolis municipal election featured the perfect storm of three factors:
- Democrats staying home
- Democrats crossing over to vote Republican
- Republicans turning out in higher numbers to vote
|Democratic Mayoral Candidate|
But could it be the 2007 election wasn't an aberration, but rather a long-term trend of the county becoming more Republican? I looked at the township results for the 2010 Election. 2010 was an excellent year for Republicans nationwide and in Indiana. Contrary to popular belief, it was also a good year for Republicans in Marion County. In 2008, the baseline spread between the county wide candidates was about 60-40, 20 points. In 2010, that gap narrowed to about 55-45, 10 points. Republicans in 2010 won races in Lawrence and Wayne Township, two townships that were thought to have trended permanently Democratic. Republicans also knocked off an incumbent state legislator, John Barnes, on the east side of the City.
But even though the nationwide Republican tide lifted the Marion County GOP's boat in 2010, the numbers compared to 2007 show a startling problem for Republicans. The 2010 Democratic baseline numbers were better than the 2007 election results in 8 of 9 townships. Only Franklin bucked the trend:
2010 D-R vote % compared to 2007
Center: D gain 7.17%
Decatur: D gain 3.3%
Franklin: R gain 2.35%
Lawrence: D gain 2.02%
Perry: D gain .78%
Pike: D gain 5.28%
Warren: D gain 14.6%
Washington: D gain 5.1%
Wayne: D gain 8.12%
Marion County Republican leadership should have treated the 2007 election more as Peterson losing than Ballard winning. That honest approach would have allowed Ballard's election to be treated as an opportunity to recast the Marion County GOP into a party that that reaches out to working class men and woman, a populist party that is capable of winning races in a county that has become one of the most Democratic in the state.
Instead of taking that approach, Ballard and the county GOP leadership treated the 2007 election as if were a referendum on the past GOP leadership in the county. On Election Night, Goldsmith-era advisers cornered Ballard and have not let him out of their sight since. Those advisers have used Ballard's upset victory to skillfully cash in for themselves and their friends. The cost of their profiteering is Ballard's re-election and the Marion County GOP's future. It will be 20 years before Indianapolis voters trust another Republican to occupy the Mayor's Office.