I should at the outset say I don't assume Treacy had control over the Melina Kennedy's mayoral strategy. But if he did, I would point out that strategy suffered from the same failure noted below.
|Marion County Democratic |
Chairman Ed Treacy
Treacy did not have to distort those Republican councilors' message. All he had to do was dump direct mail into the districts attacking their votes on those insider, corporate welfare deals, and the Republican councilors would have had no defense. Game, set and match.
Unbelievably Treacy chose to steer clear of those winning issues. He raised issues like school consolidation (which the council had no control over) and in the case of Christine Scales, her ownership of a vacation home in Florida. Treacy had plenty of ammunition to use against the Republicans but he chose not to use it. Why? Undoubtedly because both parties like the insider deals, corporate welfare and campaign contributions that come with it. At least, I have to give Treacy credit for not being a hypocrite on the subject.
Ponder this, however. The Democrats receive a lot of money from the Simons family. But is taking that money really worth it if you leave on the table the single most explosive issue that could have taken down this Mayor and several GOP councilors - the $33.5 million giveaway to the Pacers, just about the exact same time the library cut back hours and days due to a lack of funding?
The scope of the failure of Treacy's election strategy cannot be exaggerated. In addition to losing the big prize, the Mayor's office, three Republican councilors - Janice McHenry, Mike McQuillen and Scales - won re-election in Democratic-leaning districts. Also, despite the fact Republican incumbents were in competitive seats all over the county and the Democrats had only one incumbent (Dane Mahern) in a competitive district and thus could concentrate their resources on his defense, Treacy still lost that district.
It is true that the Democrats ousted Republican councilor Susie Day in Beech Grove. But according to the most recent finance report, the winner Frank Mascari only showed $700 raised in 2011, money he put into the campaign himself. A couple weeks ago, I remarked that it was strange that Treacy wasn't funding that winnable race which I speculate had to do with concerns over how "controllable" Mascari would be if elected. It is hard to give Treacy any credit for that win.
Okay, but what about the at-large wins? Frankly those are baseline races. While campaigns can affect the margins a point or two, they pretty much reflect turnout. Give the Democrats had a 10% baseline advantage in 2010, a good Republican year, it is clear that Treacy's at-large wins were not nearly as large as they should have been. The Democrats should be able to put a monkey in as county chairman, and still win low-profile, county-wide races such as the at-large council seats.
Traditionally after elections, people assign blame and heads roll. I have respect for Treacy's ability to turn out Democratic voters. But his electoral strategy which ignored Republican councilors rubberstamping Ballard's insider deals and corporate welfare, apparently because he wanted to engage in those same practices if he regained power, nearly cost the Democrats the council majority.
The Democrats can pat themselves on the back for winning that majority. In reality, the poor result on Election Night shows that they should instead be asking for Marion County Democratic Chairman Ed Treacy's resignation.