|Democratic Mayoral Candidate|
But in fact that same FOP endorsed 19 Republicans out of 26 council candidates. That same FOP had a history of endorsing Republican candidates for mayor, including Greg Ballard in 2007. Police officers tend to stick together and are very politically active. When you count in their families and friends who are influenced by those police officers, they make up a significant voting group.
Make no mistake, Ballard's loss of the FOP's endorsement is significant, a message that those police officers do not have confidence in his leadership and especially not that of his despised public safety director Frank Straub. In about 48 hours, the Kennedy camp had turned the FOP endorsement into a nice commercial discussing public safety.
Over the weekend, Mayor Ballard was able to bask in the attention afforded 9/11 celebrations. But by Monday, the Mayor and his Republican allies were back inflicting wounds on themselves. This time the issue was popular early voting, in particular establishing satellite locations on the north and south sides of the city.
The Mayor had reversed positions, now opposing early voting at satellite locations. But Ballard was content on letting County GOP Chairman Kyle Walker and GOP appointee to the Election Board, Patrick Dietrick take the heat for the unpopular position. But Democratic Clerk Beth White was having none of that. She made it clear that it was the Mayor's choice, and the Mayor took the bait on the issue, announcing publicly his opposition to early voting.
|Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard|
Speaking of TV commercials, thus far the Ballard commercials appear unfocsed. They contain a dizzying array of images, occupying the screen for an average of less than one second. During the commercials, Ballard, in his own voice, throws out sound bites on a wide assortment of issues. The spots aren't horrible, but they are not very good either. The lack of a coherent campaign strategy is evident in the commercials.
Kennedy's commercials are much more polished and visually appealing. They employ a professional voice over artist as well as contain far few video cuts than the Ballard commercials. Usually just one issue is addressed. On the Kennedy's commercials a strategy is emerging: spend about five seconds taking a shot at Ballard on some issue and spend the rest of the time talking about how she would handle the issue differently.
Although Republicans suggest the five second bites criticizing the Mayor constitute "negative" campaigning that is out of line, the fact is the election will be almost completely a referendum on the incumbent. As a challenger, Kennedy has to tell voters why they shouldn't re-elect Ballard. The fact that the Kennedy hasn't even scratched the surface on the negative stuff available to go after Ballard on suggests to me the Kennedy camp is fully confident of where they are in the polls.
What political junkies should look for is not when Kennedy goes "negative" (again she has to tell voters why they shouldn't re-elect the Mayor), but when Ballard starts attacking Kennedy. That is a sign the Ballard campaign is concerned its lead is slipping away.