the candidate and they default to voting their party. Races like county surveyor, county recorder, etc.
Unfortunately, the races contested in the 2019 municipal elections in Indianapolis do not provide a good baseline. The mayoral candidates are too well known, and even local council races might feature candidates familiar to voters in their district. Plus, council candidates sometimes run unopposed, which throws off the overall D-R numbers in the county.
Below is a table showing how many precincts the Republicans won in the 2015 Mayor's race versus 2019, broken down by the old city limits (the wards which are mostly, but not completely in Center Township), and the township precincts that are not part of the city wards.
|Area||Total Pcts||2015 R Won||2019 R Won|
|City Wards & Center Outside||214||2||0|
While Sen. Merritt did run worse than most (all?) GOP council candidates in their respective districts, those Republican council candidates also did terrible, losing 20 of 25 districts. The only GOP council members will now be from the southside and even two of those districts proved competitive on election day.
These precinct numbers should be a red flashing light to the Indiana State Republican Party. Many Republican state legislative districts include a significant number of Marion County precincts if not a majority. While the last redrawing of the General Assembly maps extended those districts into the GOP heavy suburban doughnut counties, that may not be enough to save them. Hamilton County, for example, saw an acceleration in a Democratic trend, so much so that Democrats won city council seats in Fishers and Carmel.
Furthermore, the Marion County and suburban trend toward Democrats show the vulnerability of GOP statewide candidates who will be on the ballot in 2020, including Governor Eric Holcomb.
Previously, I documented how the statewide GOP candidate numbers were significantly down from 2014 to 2018. But those mid-term elections tend to be much better for Republicans and thus GOP statewide candidates can lose a significant number of votes and still comfortably win. That's not the case with presidential election years when Democrats tend to be more competitive statewide.