The question then is which Republican(s) will run, if not Ballard?
First, of all, forget the big names. Marion County is a Democratic County and increasingly so. With the exception of Ballard, no Marion County Republican has won running countywide since 2006. Ballard only squeaked by in 2007 and 2011 as because of the much lower turnout in municipal elections. But even lower turnout elections have turned increasingly in favor of the Democrats. Don't expect a IMS President Mark Miles, Speaker Brian Bosma, or former state senator and Lt.
Michael McQuillen - the current minority leader on the council, McQuillen briefly thought about running for State Auditor. McQuillen's strength is his close association with Marion County GOP leadership which might back his candidacy. McQullen's weakness is that he drank the Ballard Kool-Aid, fully supporting every tax, borrow and spend proposal put forth by the mayor. McQuillen undoubtedly would run as Ballard II. McQuillen's failure to distance himself would likely hurt him with many Republican voters turned off by the Ballard legacy. But even if it didn't, Republican can't win running on the GOP base in Marion County. It's unlikely that McQullen would have any appeal whatsoever to independents or Democrats.
Carlos May - a former candidate for Congressional District #7 in Indianapolis, May would be an attractive candidate. May is tireless campaigner and personable. Although May is employed with the
Ballard administration as Director of Latino Affairs, May could probably distance himself enough from the Ballard agenda to bring back to the fold many of the fiscal conservatives that have become disillusioned by the Ballard tax and spend agenda. While May would be a better candidate than McQuillen, it's unlikely he could skew the political equation enough to overcome the Democratic advantage in the county.
|Isaac "Ike" Randolph|
In summary, I think the best Republican candidate is someone who can hold the GOP base while aggressively pursuing Democrats and independents. Of the four listed, Scales and Randolph would be the best at doing that. May is also an attractive candidate. But make no mistake about it, even the best Republican running a great campaign will have trouble winning in 2015. The numbers just aren't there anymore. And that, folks, is why Ballard may well not run for a third term.