- City-County Councilman Robert Lutz, a Republican, said Ballard isn't "beholden to anyone or to any law firm that lined his pocket" in the campaign. "He's an independent guy," Lutz said. "I don't know what he's going to do. Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if he made some decisions that won't make the powers that be happy, on either side of the aisle."
- Marion County Republican Party Chairman Tom John, who helped Ballard win despite being outspent 30-to-1, should see his star rise. "I think Tom John's credibility and stature and political capital just rose substantially," said Republican Councilman Lance Langsford, who did not run for re-election.
- Outside City Hall, a fairly immediate effect is expected on the city's legal profession. Normally, the big firms hedge their bets by throwing money at both sides in a close race.
But because few believed Peterson would lose, Barnes & Thornburg was the only law firm whose partners held a fundraiser for Ballard. Joe Loftus, a partner at the firm and a member of Ballard's transition team, said new administrations can bring sweeping change.
"As a typical transition practice, all of the outside contracts will receive a high level of scrutiny," Loftus said. "It's reasonable to assume the new administration will re-prioritize and may decide the same amount of contracts is not necessary."
- Barnes & Thornburg's rivals, which have received bond work and lobbying contracts from the Peterson administration, were Peterson's biggest donors in this campaign. They include Ice Miller, Baker & Daniels, Bingham McHale, Krieg DeVault and Bose McKinney & Evans. Not that Ballard is shutting those firms out.
- Melissa Proffitt Reese, an Ice Miller partner in the lucrative bond business, was named to Ballard's transition team. Lacy Johnson, another partner at Ice Miller, who has strong connections to Peterson and black Democrats, did not want to speculate on what Ballard would do about the firm's contracts with the city. On the other hand, Johnson also serves as president of the Indianapolis Airport Authority, a volunteer position appointed by the mayor. On that question, Johnson was more clear. "My term ends in January 2008," he said. "I expect he would appoint someone of his own choosing."
Some people have criticized me for taking issue with some of the appointees to Ballard's transition team, particularly because it has too many lawyer/lobbyist types with a vested interest in city contracts. O'Shaughnessy focuses right in on that aspect as you can see. He notes that only Barnes & Thornburg helped raise money for Ballard's campaign. That begs the question why Ice Miller has such a prominent role on Ballard's transition team. It, along with Baker & Daniels, raised a large percentage of Peterson's campaign dollars between their attorneys and their respective firm's clients.
People have had very strong feelings about Tom John in this election. Regardless of what you think about John, he is a vast improvement over Mike Murphy. He seems to understand the party can't be pushing the agenda of the religious right and expect to win in a changing, metropolitan city like Indianapolis. That was very apparent from the obviously moderating views of some of the newer council candidates in this year's election.
John's biggest criticism this year comes from his decision to support Kent Smith as an at-large candidate to the exclusion of the other three at-large candidates. He told me on election night he believed his strategy worked because Smith led the at-large candidates, ahead of Barbara Malone and Ed Coleman, and the party won three out of the four. I'm not sure Malone, Coleman or the only losing candidate, Michael Hegg, would agree with John. I would note that Ballard received more votes than any of the at-large candidates, which answers Jim Shella's insulting question before the election as to which of the two candidates would carry the other on his coattails.
Historically, the at-large candidates have always gone to the winning mayoral candidate's party. This is the first year there was any split, although clearly most went to the winning mayoral candidate's party this year, confirming the conventional wisdom. The split may have as much to do with the fact that this is the first really close mayoral election we have had under Uni-Gov, with less than 6,000 votes separating Ballard and Peterson. I still would argue that Republicans would have won all four of these races had the party simply pushed the at-large candidates and Ballard as a team, and not just Ballard and Smith. Further, if Ballard had received more party support from the beginning, in particular the state party, Ballard could have afforded a media buy to better inform voters on who he was and what he was about prior to the election.
O'Shaughnessy notes some big appointments coming up early in the Ballard administration. These include:
- Capital Improvement Board, Fred Glass, Jan. 14.
- Indianapolis Airport Authority, Lacy Johnson, Jan. 30.
- Metropolitan Development Commission, Brian Murphy, Dec. 31.
- Board of Public Works, Kumar Menon. Term is indefinite.
I can't emphasize how important these appointees are. Under prior mayors, both Republican and Democrat, these positions have been pretty much the exclusive purview of members of a ruling elite. These boards and commissions exercise tremendous power in our city. Who Ballard chooses to sit on these boards and commissions will tell us much about whether he will become a truly independent mayor or become beholden to the establishment which has been running the city to their own benefit to the detriment of the public at large.