|Mayor Greg Ballard|
Tomorrow the election will just be five weeks away. Although some people have complained about the "negative" tone of one or both of the candidates, the fact is neither side has been very aggressive in attacking the other candidate. By this time, I would have expected harsh attack ads, especially against the incumbent, Greg Ballard. After all, a challenger almost always has to make the case as to why the incumbent should not be re-elected.
Why hasn't Kennedy been more aggressive in attacking Ballard? As I've pointed out in this blog, there is an endless list of issues that could be used against the Mayor. The reason might be due to limited financial resources of Kennedy or that the polling numbers have already turned in her favor without those sharp attacks. The downside of attacking the incumbent is that the label "negative campaigner" attaches to the challenger. If you can avoid it you can, but generally the challenger can't.
Then you have the at-large council seats which more closely approximate the baseline than the Mayor's race. Republicans won three of the four in 2007, an unusual turnout year. If the turnout is like it was in 2010, a great Republican year, Republicans still lose all four of those at-large seats to the Democrats. It is not clear what impact, Bill Levin, a highly popular Libertarian candidate, might have the field or whether he could edge someone out for the an at-large spot.
Back to the Mayor's race, I said previously this is a most unusual campaign because you have both the incumbent and challenger making as a centerpiece of their campaigns many of the same issues, each believing those issues will break their way. Usually the incumbent and challenger pick different issues and hope the voters make those issues a priority in their votes. In this election, the Ballard campaign has made front and center three issues - taxes, crimes and jobs - that I think clearly will not break in the Mayor's favor if his message is opposed. Kennedy though came out of the gate though talking about education, an area I would have not guessed was a Ballard vulnerability though polls may have showed otherwise.
Just four weeks out, you can bet that the attacks from both candidates will increase. I expect too, the county chairmen to be more involved in the negative attacks than they have been thus far. I still am predicint a Kennedy win and the Democrats to win 19 of the 29 council seats.