Monday, October 5, 2015

The Disastrous Chuck Brewer for Indy Mayor Campaign

With the calendar reading October 5th, the Indianapolis mayoral election is less than a month away.  Republican Chuck Brewer is taking on Democrat Joe Hogsett.  The former U.S. Attorney has not even broken a sweat thus far, running a series of positive commercials, along with a few which touch on no brainer issues such as the need to address the abandoned housing problem in the city.

Meanwhile, Brewer has taken the nonsensical approach of running for the Ballard third term, offering
Chuck Brewer
not but enthusiastic approval for every corporate welfare and tax/fee increase Ballard has ever pushed, policies that have alienated so many Indy conservatives.  But it wasn't enough for Ballard to regularly alienate fiscal conservatives, this year he also alienated social conservatives as well by publicly attacking Governor Pence for his efforts to protect religious freedom.  Ballard even went so far as to appear as Grand Marshall of the Indy Pride parade.  Yet Brewer could do nothing more than gush approval at Ballard's shot at social conservatives in his own party.

Campaign Politics 101 says you solidify your (conservative) Republican base and then reach out for Independents and soft Democrats.  Brewer has done none of that.  Although Ballard barely won re-election in 2011 against a lackluster Democratic candidate, Brewer thought he could simply promise a Ballard third term and get the same result.  In the face of continuing demographic changes in the county, which benefit the Democrats, and in light of Ballard continuing the reckless corporate welfare spending and (higher) taxes policies during his second term, that 50% plus majority Brewer is seeking will never happen.

Brewer is a political neophyte who undoubtedly believes GOP party leaders actually support his election.  Before tossing his hat into the ring, Brewer should have talked to other Republican countywide counties who have been used in recent years to assure the establishment wing of the local Republican Party controls the nomination process, even if that means abandoning the candidate shortly after the primary.

Brewer should have been able to count on his campaign manager to put together a strategy that could win the Election. However, instead of picking someone with political skills that was open to a strategy not tied to Ballard, Brewer selected Ballard adviser Jen Hallowell to manage his campaign. 

Hallowell consulted Ballard during his tenure, usually receiving a $10,000 monthly payment even during years when Ballard was not on the ballot.   Hallowell, who regularly appears on WRTV's Indianapolis This Week and is the wife of Republican Marion County Chairman Kyle Walker, does not appear to have a keen grasp of political strategy, to say the least.

If Brewer's failures were isolated, that would be one thing.  But mayoral candidates, not council candidates, drive turnout.  Republican turnout is critical to the success of scores of GOP council candidates who are in marginal districts. 

When the council map was drawn, Republican operative David Brooks was operating under the assumption he needed a 15-10 GOP advantage due to the four at-large councilors who would undoubtedly be Democrats.  While the at-large positions were eliminated by the legislature, the 15 Republican majority council districts that remain were drawn with incredibly close baselines.  After the 2014 election (an election similar to a municipal in terms of turnout), only 13 of those original districts remain with Republican majority baselines.  Seven more Republican districts have majority baselines of 55% or less, while the Democrats only have one competitive district to defend.  If Republicans fail to come to the polls on November 3rd, the Democrats could easily end up with a majority on the council of 16-9 or 17-8.

That Chuck Brewer is going to be soundly defeated is not the disaster. The disaster is that he could take down many Republican council candidates with him in the process.  His foolish Ballard third term strategy is going to have severe consequences for the Marion County Republican Party.


Anonymous said...

These "races" are thrown, from one law firm to another. Corruption might be real.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully after this election Kyle Walker is forced out. Maybe it will take a huge loss to finally get the state GOP to step in.
Thoughts paul?

Anonymous said...

To remark that “the wife of Republican Marion County Chairman Kyle Walker [Jen Hallowell Walker] does not appear to have a keen grasp of political strategy” is an immensely gross misstatement of fact. What Mrs. Kyle Walker does seem to have a firm grasp on is the ability to extract monthly ten stacks from an organization shuttered by group think and political delusion. Exactly where are these hundreds of thousands of dollars given to Kyle’s wife coming from and exactly where do these bundles of bucks go once in Kyle’s and Jen’s hands?

The final paragraph of this article is a neat summation of the long-in-action fall of The Marion County GOP- a plummet occurring since the days of what may finally be realized as the disaster of David Brooks. Smug incumbent Marion County GOP’ers who thought they were politically wise to follow Mr. Brooks’ in goose step fashion may soon rue the day they supported the corruption now endemic and systemic to their Party.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Anon 1:56, I think it's a good guess that Kyle Walker is gone regardless after the muni elections. Certainly if not, the state GOP needs to step in. Walker and his predecessor Tom John have concentrated powers in the leaderships hands and destroyed the grass roots of the once vaunted Marion County GOP organization. Something needs to be done or the black hole in Marion County will start sinking every Republican statewide candidate.

Chas. M. Navarra said...

Paul, I completely concur with you (3:28). In my humble opinion, as both a persona non grata Party participant a few years back and as a vigilant observer, the Marion County GOP is damaged in ways that my be irreparable. We "grass roots" all know the games, we all know the names, we know the initials, we know the corrupt attorneys keeping the political shell games going. And the corruption is endemic to local and state organizations.

I saw it up close and personal and I extricated myself. Quite frankly, one will not advance if one is not willing to be bought and paid for. It's just that simple. That is one reason I chose to exit... one who stays and plays in the dirt will eventually have mud on him/herself.

Sadly, the Democrat Party is quite similar in these regards.

LamLawIndy said...

Question: Organizationally, what can the State Party do the local organization?

Anonymous said...

I am Anon 8:02 AM... I intended to post: "To remark that “the wife of Republican Marion County Chairman Kyle Walker [Jen Hallowell Walker] does not appear to have a keen grasp of political strategy” is an immensely gross understatement of fact..."

My typo did not clearly convey my thoughts on the perfidious Mrs. Jennifer Hallowell Walker.

And I might take this opportunity to add that you are far, far too kind to define Brewer's idiotic "third Ballard term" gambit as a "nonsensical approach". That alone proved Brewer is unfit to lead this City. Not the Lying Joe Hogsett is fit... but the establishment Brewer shows he has no clue how deeply disliked and un-respected Greg Ballard is by Democrats AND Republicans!

Anonymous said...

Judging the status of Marion County GOP you would never know there is a state party with influence over anything.

Paul K. Ogden said...


I don't know that the state chairman can actually remove a county chairman. I've read the rules and I didn't see that in there. But if a state chairman called for a county chairman's resignation, there'd be a lot of pressure brought to bear. I think the state chair could take away privileges and the rules could always be tweaked. Right now the rules make it virtually impossible for a county's GOP electorate to rid itself of a county chairman. They have it set up where the county chairman gets to pick most of the voters voting at the convention that elects the county chairman. This is especially true in bigger counties like Marion where there are plenty of vacancies due to a large number of heavily Democratic precincts.

Anonymous said...

I'm less worried about Marion sinking future GOP candidates ( though if it consistently becomes a 70% or so then Indiana becomes a purple state) I'm actually more concerned that the Hamilton GOP's insularness will turn Hamilton County from staunch GOP stronghold into a swing county, in which case Indiana becomes the same as Virginia and Colorado, where R's continually lose elections and D's continually put up more and more extreme candidates, who then get elected.
We've seen this play out, suburbs go from GOP strongholds to swing counties ( NOVA and the Collar Counties in Illinois) and the state turns deep blue.
NOVA in particular is the reason Virginia has a fairly dishonest corporate hack by the name of Terry McAuliffe ( who Bill Clinton once declared he "wouldn't buy a used car from")
The NOVA situation in particular happened in part due to the County GOP selling themselves to the developers. You've seen the same thing happen in Marion and potentially the Donut counties.