Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Indianapolis Council District the Parties Forgot

Republican Councilor
Susie Day
Looking over the many chances Democrats have to pick off Republican councilors on the Indianapolis City-County Council, one district that comes to mind is the Beech Grove based District 20.  Currently the district is represented by Republican Susie Day.  In 2007, Susie Day captured 54% of the vote winning by 543 votes during a year when Republicans did phenomenally well especially in the former Democratic stronghold of Beech Grove.   Day briefly flirted with the idea of running for Beech Grove Mayor but dropped that idea to run for re-election. 

Anyone who has watched the council over the last four years wouldn't characterize Day as a dynamic, charismatic councilor.  Day is very quiet and rarely speaks.  Possibly she is different on the campaign trial, though I have doubts.

The Democrats recruited a strong candidate to run against her.  Frank Mascari is a life-time Beech Grove resident, long active in the community.  Mascari, who owns a local jewelry store, ran losing by just 165 votes.  On paper, it looks like an ideal opportunity for the Democrats to pick up a seat or at the very least force the Republicans to spend a lot to defend the seat.

Frank Mascari
The financial reports though tell a different story.  According to her report, Day has raised just over $12,000 this year, with more than half being a single contribution from the state GOP organization.  She has only two contributions from individuals, $500 from Jim Morris of the Pacers and $1,500 from Harold Day, Jr. which is either her husband or son.  The report shows no contributions from the county GOP organization, but a $4,550 expenditure to the county party for mailings and a slating fee.  Day's report reveals she has $1,500 left to spend.

While that may look like a lackluster report, it is substantially better than Mascari's.  According to Mascari's report, he has had only one contribution, a $700 donation by ... Frank Mascari.  He has spent just $662.86 on his campaign and reports having $37.14 left in the bank.

The 2010 baseline numbers showed that this district is 55-45 Republican.  It is one of the few areas in the county that is trending more Republican.  Still 55-45 is well within the range of being competitive.  Yet the candidates and their parties do not appear to be competing.

This close district with inactive, under financed candidates, perhaps reveals the nature of this campaign.  Out of 13 Republican councilors,  8 are in competitive districts.   Meanwhile the Democrats have only one Democratic incumbent, Dane Mahern, who is in a competitive district, a district which in fact leans Republican.  Dane Mahern's district is next to Day's, once again in the only part of the county (Northern Perry and Southern Center) which has become more Republican   Bottom line, the Democrats are blessed with so many Republican targets they apparently have the luxury of overlooking a competitive seat in Beech Grove.

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