Monday, April 24, 2006

WTHR Puts Spotlight On Garton's Senate Race

WTHR's Kevin Rader puts the spotlight on the Senate District 41 primary race between the 36-year veteran Senate President Pro Tem Bob Garton and accountant Greg Walker. Walker's performance in Rader's report was a political consultant's dream.

It begins with Walker explaining why he's driving around the district in a red 1970 plymouth--that's the year Garton was first elected to the Senate. As Walker walks from door-to-door in a neighborhood, he tells Rader that like any worn out vehicle, it's time to trade it in for a new one. Walker then zings Garton for creating a health insurance for life legislative perk and a generous retirement plan which requires taxpayers to pony up $4 for every $1 legislators like Garton kick in without bothering to find a fix for the hundreds of thousands of Hoosiers who have no health insurance. A retired, elderly man confirms Walker's sentiments to Rader.

In contrast, Garton is shown filing his papers for re-election with most of his GOP Senate colleagues gathered to show their support for the incumbent. Next, Rader shows Lt. Governor Becky Skillman standing on the county courthouse steps in front of a small gathering of people explaining why she and Gov. Daniels believe Garton is a critical partner in the administration's efforts to turn Indiana around. One of the few standing in the audience is a former Shelbyville legislator, Jeff Linder, who left the House to become a well-paid lobbyist for Ball State University.

Added to Walker's populist message is the support he enjoys from conservative groups like the Indiana Right to Life Committee and the American Family Association, which can provide much-needed grassroots support to offset the huge financial advantage Garton has over him. If voters are as discontent as AI suspects they are, Garton just might be in for a big upset this year, if not in the primary, then in the general election where the Republican nominee will face off against a serious Democratic candidate, Columbus attorney Terry Coriden.

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