Sunday, October 07, 2007

Retirements Could End Democratic Control of Indiana House

A rash of retirements this year in the Indiana House of Representatives could spell the end of Speaker Pat Bauer's tenuous 51-49 edge in controlling the legislative body. According to the Louisville Courier-Journal's Lesley Stedman Weidenbener, Republicans are eyeing five Democratic seats where members have already retired or announced plans to retire, including Dave Crooks (D-Washington) in District 63, Joe Micon (D-West Lafayette) in District 26, Jerry Denbo (D-French Lick) in District 62, Bob Kuzman (D-Crown Point) in District 19 and Duane Cheney (D-Portage) in District 10. And there are more retirements to come Weidenbener quotes House GOP Leader Brian Bosma as predicting.

What Weidenbener's story is missing is the impetus behind so many retirements this year. As you may recall, the House and Senate ended their controversial life-time health insurance perk for members and their spouses after a public debate ended in the defeat of the Senate's longest-ever serving President Pro Tempore, Robert Garton (R-Columbus). In the House, the perk supposedly ended at the end of July; however, Advance Indiana has heard from a number of sources that members could still take advantage of the perk, even if they didn't quit the House by the July 31 deadline. Some are suggesting members merely had to give notice by that deadline to the Speaker. Speculation of other member retirements have included my own legislator, Rep. John Day (D-Indianapolis).

Bauer tells Weidenbener Democrats are hopeful they can win back the seat Rep. Jon Elrod (R-Indianapolis) took from Rep. Ed Mahern (D) in an upset win last year. There has been some speculation Elrod may opt to run for the seat of U.S. Rep. Julia Carson (D), who is under intense pressure to retire because of her persistent health problems. Bauer claims he sees Democrats' prospect next year to be good in at least 5 districts. "I think we've got at least five good possibilities" for gains, House Speaker Pat Bauer, D-South Bend, said last week. "And we've solidified the difference between the two parties much better than ever before so we are more comfortable we'll be getting solid replacements" for Democrats who have retired. He still has the burden of trying to hold on to the seats of those retiring members, however, whose districts lean Republican.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

One can only hope the reign of terror over Indiana will end

Anonymous said...

As much as Pat Bauer aggravates the hell out of us and despite his cheap looking toupee, he has his pulse on the political landscape. I would tend to believe him. It wont be easy but I am certain the Dem caucus has not been idle. As for Elrod, he might just as well run for president as his political career is going to be short lived.

Anonymous said...

Elrod has done a magnificent job of constituent service and has been visible throughout his district. In short, he's done a better job than his predecessor. Because you see, accepting all those perks from lobbyists, like Manrh did, isn't good enough for a district's constituents.

If Elrod wants to run for Congress, I'd want to hear his views on some federal issues, but...this Dem would seriously consider supporting him.

Yeah, Bauer aggravates the hell out of many of us. The plain fact is, he's surrounded by a lot of folks--think Reps.Cochran, Dobis, Bischoff, Robertson--who've overstayed their welcome. Do has Tou-pee One.

New blood is required in the House. Hopefully, it comes from the Dems, who can keep control of the House, and thus protect us from nonsense like SJR7. But if they wait to long, voters may take over, and the above reps, and others, may go the way of Garton and Borst.

Quiz: can anyone think of a single good thing the above reps have done in the last, oh, 15 years? They consistently underestimate the intellegence of their voters.

Lifetime pension/health care benefits may be just the nudge these dinosaurs need to leave. My fingers are crossed.

Anonymous said...

Life time health care for these folks, none for us. Is anyone with a brain still paying their "fair share?"

Anonymous said...

and which party instituted the life time health insurance?????? I agree we need new blood on both sides of the aisle...I am tired of Crawford, Summers, Day etc....as well as Buell, Kenley etc.

Anonymous said...

If repubs get the house, the gay marriage amendment is a done deal....

Anonymous said...

if the Dems can kill it this time.. the thing has to start all over.. and we get to reset the clock..

Observer said...

And having restarted the clock the Republicans would have to maintain control of both houses in the 2010 elections because the measure would have to pass twice. Meanwhile, perhaps, a new generation tired of the whole thing and of theocratic control of their party will give the whole marriage thing a hefty yawn.

Anonymous said...

Observer 7:28, I hope you are accurate....with all of the problems we have, it is amazing how much time has been spent on this......

Sir Hailstone said...

What people still forget is it still must go BEFORE THE PEOPLE in an election (SJR-7)

So is this really all about keeping the voices of the people silent? If its so bad people will vote it down and that'll make the issue go away once and for all.

Reference to Rep. Elrod - frankly I don't care if he gives it a run or if Eric Dickerson gives it another shot. I'm not certain if a white Republican can win in the 7th, even as moderate as Jon is on social issues. But he would be a good one to go to Washington for us.

Anonymous said...

"So is this really all about keeping the voices of the people silent? If its so bad people will vote it down and that'll make the issue go away once and for all."

Do you actually believe this? This has occurred in only ONE state that I know of, Arizona. So I suppose this means it must be a "good thing".

Anonymous said...

Of course Sir Hailstone thinks this is a good thing. And frankly, most of our citizens will only read the first line, not knowing that the second line could potentially harm their own unmarried (coupled) children, friends, parents and co-workers as much as the gays and lesbians they really wanna hurt.

They won't be able to hear that message with the theocrats and Republicans beating their chests about protecting marriage (don't mention abuse or divorce rates) and the family (the two opposite sex parent family being the only normal one allowed by their God).