Thursday, August 2, 2012

Early Speculation on Possible 2015 Indianapolis Mayoral Candidates

Speculation has already started on who the Indianapolis mayoral candidates will be in 2015.  I thought I would throw in my two cents:

Democrat

U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett:  Hogsett would be a formidable candidate should he choose to thrown his hat into the ring.   But Hogsett is in a bit of a trick bag (a phrase Mark Small used in court yesterday).  To up his profile, he has to be willing to take on the corrupt pay-to-play political culture in Indianapolis.  That steps not only on Republican toes but Democrats as well.  I'd say he's probably not the favorite to get the Democratic nomination.
Councilor Vop Osili

Councilor Vop Osili:  Even though he's been a statewide candidate and now is a City-County Councilor, I must confess I don't know much about him.  The people who do know him speak highly of him as a person. But what policies would he push as Mayor?  Would he take on the downtown business establishment that has pretty much run Indianapolis, regardless of which party controls the Mayor's Office? My guess is those folks will work hard between now and 2015 to recruit Osili to be a Melina Kennedy-type candidate, at least in terms of policies he would push if elected.  Would Osili have the intestinal fortitude to step up to those folks and take a more populist approach?  I don't know.

Councilor Brian Mahern
Councilor Brian Mahern:  As a Republican tired of the pay-to-play, revolving door nature of Indianapolis politics, Brian Mahern is a breath of fresh air.  His knowledge of the impact TIFs have had on property taxes and skepticism of using tax dollars to subsidize private development is something we need more of on the Council and, fortunately, we are starting to see more of thanks to freshman Democratic councilors who perhaps haven't yet been indoctrinated.  The issues he would raise concerning the City's misplaced priorities and opposition to corporate welfare would make Mahern a very strong candidate in a general election.  Mahern would have strong appeal to fiscal conservatives who do not like to see tax dollars handed over to politically-connected companies.  But the Democrats demonstrated in 2011 they would rather lose an election than win it by challenging the existing power structure from which they have profited.  So Mahern's biggest problem would be getting the nomination.

Congressman Andre Carson:  I haven't heard his name mentioned, but I'll mention him here.  While I don't like Congressman Carson's views, I find him to be a very personable individual and probably a better retail campaigner than his predecessor Julia Carson and Andy Jacobs.  But to run for a new office means taking a bigger risk.  Generally incumbents are risk averse.

Republican

Ryan Vaughn
Ryan Vaughn:  Former Council President and now Chief-of-Staff to Mayor Ballard, Vaughn is most often mentioned as a possible candidate for Mayor.  While he would be well-funded, I don't buy for a second he would do it.  Vaughn is in a position to use his political contacts to put himself in a better financial position.  Running for Mayor he would be an underdog in a county that strongly leans Democrat.  That's a risk.  People who have achieved power and success generally don't want to take a risk unless they have an excellent chance of winning.  Finally, I would point out that Vaughn isn't that comfortable with retail politics, the shaking hands and kissing babies part of politics.  That's why Scott Schneider, who is good at that type of politics, is in the state senate instead of Vaughn.

Jeff Cardwell
Councilor Jeff Cardwell:  I met Jeff over a decade ago.  He was an independent-minded Republican who bucked the establishment in supporting Rex Early for Governor instead of Indianapolis Mayor Steve Goldsmith and unslated Joe McAtee for Sheriff in 2002.  Cardwell wasn't afraid of taking on the power structure.  The person you see on the Council today is not the same person he was ten years ago.  He not only won't take on the Establishment, he's a card-carrying member of it, voting consistently for every corporate welfare scheme hatched by the the Ballard administration.  Cardwell though is a very personable guy and the downtown insiders would love him to be the GOP nominee.  Personally I'm still hoping the Jeff Cardwell I used to know makes a return.

Councilor Christine Scales:  Okay, she's my dream mayor, a Republican who has the intestinal fortitude to stand up and do what is right for the people, a fiscal conservative who thinks that description includes not handing out taxpayer money to politically connected companies.  She would restore fairness, common sense and integrity to the 25th Floor.  The powers that be in the Republican Party though would rather have a Democrat elected Mayor than to elect a Republican who would challenge the notion that taxpayers should subsidize the downtown establishment.  That fact was made crystal clear in 2011 when Scales drew a Democratic opponent, heavily funded by downtown insiders, a Democrat who actually campaigned against Scales for not being sufficiently supportive of the Mayor's corporate welfare schemes.

Mayor Greg Ballard:  Might Ballard run for a third term?  I doubt it.  Ballard was extremely fortunate last time to draw as an opponent someone who was unwilling to hit Ballard on the corporate welfare-type issues on which he was extremely vulnerable :  issues such as the 50 year ACS parking meter contract,the $33.5 million taxpayer gift to the Pacers, and the Broad Ripple Parking Garage, a facility to be paid for by the taxpayers and given away to a major contributor to the Mayor.  Now Ballard faces a new Council Democratic majority that is more willing to take on those issues.  Further, Ballard continues to have a deaf ear when it comes to understanding politics.  Raising the pay of his staff while demanding cuts from public safety is obviously a bad political move.  Yet they didn't see that coming?  I doubt Ballard is going to want to tempt fate yet again by running for a third term.

5 comments:

Indy Student said...

Mahern is knowledgable when it comes to TIFs, I'll grant you that. But he has a very blunt with-us-or-against-us attitude in his rhetoric. I know the Majority Leader/Whip (I forget which he is at the moment) are more partisan positions on the council, but he at times seems to vote against something purely because it is backed by Ballard rather than because the policy itself is wrong.

I also think you've got the tags on Mahern and Osili wrong. Mahern is certainly the candidate of the establishment, though if Treacy can hold onto power for three more years is questionable.

Osili has really moderated his presentation since becoming a councilor. He's shied away from some of the behind-closed-doors fighting from D councilors still bitter that Monroe Gray was forced from the council presidency.

Honestly, Osili might benefit from a state Senate or House seat opening up. I think, at this time, he fits much better on a deliberative, legislative body than in an executive office.

But things could change.

Jon Easter said...

Everybody but Vop is saying it. If he joined the race, I'm not going to lie...I'd be right there beside him. I think he's one of the brightest, smartest people I know.

Bill said...

Jon, do you really expect Vop to announce anything until he has thoroughly vetted the situation?.Osili is the real deal.

Ben said...

Paul, Most of what you say is true.But Scales has really stepped in a pile of crap and she doesn't know t.She is a nice lady,but when she opens her mouth, you never know whats coming out of it. No one can depend on her on the CCC.Nice lady, she's just a political numbskull

Puppetmaster said...

Paul, Christine Scales is exactly what the city needs and that is what scares the Republicans more than anything. Mayor Ballard continues to serve the elite Barnes and Thornburg clients and this will stop come 2015. the corrupt deals will be seen for what they are, and Christine Scales will be standing tall when the dust settles.