|Jose Evans (|
Evans' northwest side district in Pike Township, once held by Republican Isaac Randolph, is no longer competitive and would not be competitive under any of the new maps. He could not win the district running as a Republican. Right now the new map drawn by Republicans in 2011 has Evans and Democratic Councilor Angela Mansfield in the same district. Obviously running for re-election is not Evans' goal for switching parties.
Given that the administration of Republican Mayor Greg Ballard has always been able to convince a handful of Democrats to cross over on votes, Evans' defection does not seem to be that big of a deal. But there are party line votes on organizational type matters that could be affected.
Let's play the "what if" game. Let's say another Democratic Councilor, Steve Tally, who has also been somewhat at odds with council leadership decides to also switch parties giving Republicans a 15-14 majority on the Council. Or what if Tally remains a Democrat but simply agrees to vote with the Republicans on organizational issues? He's done it in the past when Republicans were in a majority and the GOP joined with him to elect him President.
A new Republican majority council, buoyed by defections, could stop the redistricting litigation filed by the Democratic leadership of the Council. They could then pass through another council map to cure defects.
But let's look at another issue. What if Evans vacates the office before the end of his term? Does a Democratic caucus of precinct committeemen fill the position or would it be a Republican?
The answer is probably a Democratic caucus, especially since in Indiana people do not register by party registration. Therefore, Evans did not switch his registration. He simply made a public declaration of switching parties.
But the law on the subject is poorly written:
Calling of caucus; withdrawal of resignation; when caucus to be held
Sec. 3. (a) Except as provided in subsections (b) and (e) and section 3.5 of this chapter, not later than ten (10) days after a vacancy occurs in an office subject to this chapter, the county chairman:
(1) of the county in which the greatest percentage of the population of the election district of the office is located; and
(2) of the same political party that elected or selected the official who vacated the office; shall give notice of a caucus to all eligible precinct committeemen.
Here is the problem with the language used by the legislature. Parties do not "elect" people. They "nominate" candidates. It is the general election electorate, containing both Republicans and Democrats and Independents that "elect" them. It would be much better if the statute read "nominated or selected." Undoubtedly "selected" refers to the situation where a caucus has already "selected a replacement to fill a vacancy and there has been a second vacancy.