Monday, January 07, 2008

All Eight Democratic Candidates On One Panel


Tonight's candidate forum for the 7th District Democratic candidates was an excellent opportunity to meet and learn more about a field of eight candidates seeking to replace the late Rep. Julia Carson. In alphabetical order, City-County Councilor Andre Carson, State Rep. Carolene Mays, former state health commissioner Dr. Woody Myers, State Rep. David Orentlicher, attorney Randle Pollard, State Rep. Greg Porter, Marion Co. Treasurer Mike Rodman and City-County Councilor Joanne Sanders all appeared at the forum organized by members of the Democratic GLBT community. It's a very strong group of candidates, and some of the folks I talked to afterwards were just as undecided as they were before the start of the night, although attendees seemed very comfortable with the candidates from whom they will be able to choose.

A question posed to each of the candidates by City-County Councilor Bill Oliver suggests there is a strong likelihood of a contested May primary regardless of who wins this Saturday's slating to become the Democratic candidate in the March 11 special election. Oliver, who describes himself as a "Conrad Democrat" in reference to the late Democratic power broker Larry Conrad, asked the candidates to pledge to support the winner of this Saturday's caucus and not run in the May primary if they lost in caucus voting. On the first run through of the candidates, only Porter and Rodman indicated they would accept the outcome of Saturday's caucus, but after Porter heard Carson say he would not commit to supporting the caucus winner, he said he wanted to change his vote, which drew much laughter from the crowd. Pollard emphasized the importance of the democratic process and suggested Oliver's question was a bit insulting. He said he made the decision to run with great risk to his own professional career, which I took to mean he didn't have the backing of fellow law partner Lacy Johnson, one of the late congresswoman's closest political advisers.

Rep. Mays faced the toughest questions tonight. That was largely due to her vote in support of SJR-7, the constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages and civil unions. Mays acknowledged she had little chance of winning the support of those present at tonight's forum because of her vote in support of SJR-7. Mays says she tried to get Republicans to consider an amendment to remove the second part of the amendment which goes beyond the marriage issue but failed in her attempts. Because she believes strongly that marriage should be limited to one man and one woman, she felt she had to support the amendment, albeit flawed. Surprisingly, Marion County Auditor Billie Breaux grilled Mays for having the most conservative record on the panel according to VoteSmart. Mays felt that her record has been mischaracterized under the VoteSmart analysis, emphasizing her pro choice and pro equality stand on other issues.

For the record, every candidate supports civil union legislation for same-sex couples, including Mays, they all support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act ("ENDA"), which ends discrimination on the basis of a person's sexual orientation, all favored the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, and all support hate crimes legislation. Pollard, Porter and Myers noted they all had been employed by businesses and organizations which treated all employees equally, including with respect to health care benefits. Porter noted he has re-introduced his hate crimes legislation, HB 1076, which he promised to fight to the end to get passed this year. Each of the candidates also expressed their support for maintaining the separation of church and state doctrine and indicated they would not seek to impose their personal religious views on others through the legislative process. Carson said he detests the practice of some politicians to "pimp" members of the GLBT community every election cycle for political gain.

Not surprisingly, the Iraq War is not popular with this group of candidates. Myers feels that Congress has been too passive in challenging the Bush administration on the Iraq War among other issues. Sanders called it a War for Oil and supports bringing our troop home as soon as possible. Carson's views mirror those of his grandmother, who opposed the congressional resolution authorizing military action in Iraq.

Candidates who would have to give up their office were asked about possible replacements. Orentlicher made a bit of news when he mentioned that Ed DeLaney and Kelly Flynn are two persons to whom he had personally spoken who would be interested in taking his place in the House should he be elected to Congress. Both Porter and Mays said they had persons in mind, although neither named who those potential replacements would be. Rodman suggested his chief deputy, Tom Creesor (sp?) or Stan Bibbs as potential candidates to replace him. Note that Sanders and Carson arrived late from tonight's CCC meeting and were not asked the question.

All of the candidates tonight presented themselves well. It's hard to pick a winner. Carson is definitely a very good public speaker as is Rodman. Myers has a very impressive resume, but other than Mays, he probably connected least with the audience. This was the first time most people had heard Pollard speak, and I think he impressed folks. Sanders, Orentlicher and Porter were sentimental favorites among many in the audience because of their past association with GLBT causes. Perhaps the least believable statement made by any of the candidates tonight was Mays' claim that she had originally had no intention of seeking the 7th District seat until she was approached by many people asking her to run for the seat, including complete strangers in the parking lot at the grocery store.

Three of the Maherns were in the audience tonight. I tried to get Dane Mahern to give up who the family bloc would be supporting at the caucus, but I couldn't get him to give it up. I think it is safe to say this race is very fluid. Many committeepersons appear to be undecided. The candidates are going to have to earn some real face time with the committeepersons before this Saturday to sell them on their candidacies. Turnout may be the key. It is quite possible that no more than 400 eligible committeepersons will show up to vote on Saturday.
Indiana Equality announced tonight that it would be sponsoring a candidate forum for the candidates chosen to run in the March 11 special election on February 20 at the JMCC church. I will provide more information on that event as it becomes available.

50 comments:

Anonymous said...

I would vote for Sanders. At least she can communicate. And can someone tell me, does David O own a jacket?

Anonymous said...

Good recap. But I think you missed some important distinctions. For example, Sanders and David O were both firmly for civil unions and anti-discrimination. Most of the others merely recited they were not against civil unions.

Anonymous said...

I hope glib comments by Pollard do not convince people that he is anything but a pawn for Ice Miller.

Wilson46201 said...

I am still puzzled by the odd silence from the Republicans. Their own caucus/convention is this coming Sunday but Jon Elrod is seemingly the only candidate mailing to the voting precinct committeepeople saying he's running. Won't others even try for the GOP nomination? It's eerily quiet over there. Very, very peculiar!

Advance Indiana said...

Tom Rose told Howey he is definitely running.

DARK HORSE said...

Sir Andre' Sir Andre' must learn a very hard lesson that I've learn many years ago. It goes as follows:"Though you think you are number one, and the best choice to hold this office. Remember this,there is someone better than you are, organize better than you are, more persuasive than you are and more importantly greater than you are. You must humble yourself, if you are not selected then you must ask yourself what do I have to do to be number one?
Accept defeat and move on, and practice on your weakness and develop your strengths. If you loose in the primary would you accept it and move on? When it is all said and done, during the primary it will be a different outcome. Our chops are getting wet, for all of these great individuals. To all of the candidates reading this post ask yourself:"Is it worth it?



Sincerely


DARK HORSE

Anonymous said...

Were only D invited tho this debate?

Anonymous said...

Mays has been running ads on the indy movie channel for a couple of years targeting elderly people who seek federal programs, social security. It thought is was odd since she worked for the state not federal. Someone told me she wanted Julia's seat and she hated Julia and Julia hated her.

The dems were instructed by Julia to not let carolyn have her seat.

Anonymous said...

I trust you were well-treated, Gary. See, we can be civil to the loyal opposition. Those responsible for this hastily-planned event should be congratulated.

11:24, only Ds were invited because this was Democratic committeepersons. It was not a debate, but a forum.

Does David O. own a jacket? Are you freaking serious?

I don't care if they show up in jeans--if their record or views are properly aired, why should it make any difference how they dressed? All showed proper respect for their audience, with the possible exception of Rep. Mays. She's a complete joke. Auditor Breaux correctly pointed out Rep, Mays's voting record, on abortion and other civil rights issues, about which, if you paid close attention, Rep. Mays was not truthful. And Rep. Mays had to "leave early" to tend to a daughter's schedule. She'll leave the caucus early, too...with maybe a dozen votes. If that.

But for the record, she dressed very well.

Geeeeeesh.

Anonymous said...

It was a forum for Dems to see their candidates before the slating. I assume Republicans don't care enough to reveal their people to public scrutiny. The Dems also have a plethora of Candidates to vette.

Is there an advantage to losing this Special Election and going straight at the primary voter? Maybe Elrod plans to do that and the Dems should be wary of his energy and drive.

Advance Indiana said...

Everyone was very polite to me. I've always been treated well at the Democratic events I've covered. Democrats, in fact, have been more hospitable to me than Republicans, even though I've been a life long Republican, contributed money to the GOP and supported their candidates. Go figure. I had a very pleasant conversation with Andre Carson. He was quite the gentleman.

Anonymous said...

looking for coverage of this in the star. hmm. not there. odd since this is the only place i have seen a complete listing of the candidates -- all in person, no less. where is the msm on this? shouldn't the public know what the candidates who may be representing them in dc are saying?

Anonymous said...

Andre is a fine gentleman.

He's just out-qualified for this job by almost every other candidate.

It is a fine problem for we Dems to have.

Advance Indiana said...

The local news media really let the public down by not covering this event. It was, after all, the only joint appearance of all the candidates before the caucus on Saturday. The Star placed a higher priority on covering the council meeting. It was all scripted in advance. A good reporter could have written the story in advance and sent a stringer just to make sure everything went as planned. Instead, they sent a stringer to cover the forum--a very nice guy but new to the game. Jim Shella wasn't there. Not working past 6:00these days, Jim? Absolutely shameful. Not a one of the local TV stations covered it.

Anonymous said...

After Andre gets slated on the first ballot Saturday how pleasant will your next conversation be with Andre be.
To the Democratic hopefuls in the
7th this really a one step process instead of two.
The Democratic candidate slated for the Special Election will be the same one slated at convention before the primary. There is absolutely no rational argument why it will be otherwise.
Sure, any or all of the Dem hopefuls can run against the second slate in the primary but at the end of the day the party's slated candidate will win the primary.
A low turnout of precinct commiteepersons on Saturday will work in the favor of Andre.

Interesting that David O threw a bone to Ed Delaney to try and sway a few votes for Saturday.

Anonymous said...

I believe that the lack of media coverage of this forum was as a result of the fact it was essentially perceived as one diminsional event put on by the GLBT community to discuss GLBT issues. Emphasis on "perceived".
This of course, is somewhat true but on the other hand,it was the only chance to hear fron the candidates before Saturday.

tjefferson said...

Wilson, like the rest of us, I'm sure the Republicans couldn't give a rat's rear end about what puzzles you.

Anonymous said...

8:13 is wrong for two reasons:

1. If the D that emerges from the caucus and the slating loses the special, that person will lose the primary.

2. The Democratic constituents voting in the primary may feel very differently than the precinct committee people voting at slating. That's why it does make sense for many to skip the caucus and slating and head right for the primary

Anonymous said...

8:13--that was no bone thrown to Ed. David doesn't play those kind of games.

I thought ya knew...

Anonymous said...

OK. The winner in the caucus is also slated for the primary. He/she loses the special election. Do you, as a Party, run the loser in November? Huh?

Anonymous said...

Judging the long list of incumbent democrat officeholders, Has anyone of the these legislators resolved one problem for this state or city/county?

Looks like there will be new faces on the ballot in May for Porter's, Mays', Orenlicher's, Carson's, Sanders' and Rodman's elected offices. They can only file for one office.

Wilson46201 said...

Councilors Carson and Sanders were just re-elected last year. They weren't going to be running this year to retain their offices.

Orentlicher, Mays, Porter and Rodman are the only ones giving up safe seats in favor of a very chancy run for Congress ... they have until February 22nd to make that risky decision.

Anonymous said...

10:00am:
Not correct as to Rodman, Sanders and Carson. They were elected in '06 and '07 and will retain their seats unless they are elected to congress. Only the state house reps are affected.

Anonymous said...

10:00, one of life's biggest ironies is that your vote counts the same as mine. And you're just not paying attention, so...

Ms. Sanders is on the City Council. She was re-elected two months ago, and will serve until 1-1-12.

It is possible for all otohers to participate in the caucus Sat., and, for the losers, still file for their respective current offices.

Actually, it's possible to go to Democratic slating, lose, and still file for the respective current offices.

Thanks for the informative post, Gary. At least someone is paying attention. But I continue to wonder why Republicans worry so much about Voter ID, when it's voter intellegence we ought to be worried about.

Wilson46201 said...

Michael Rodman was first elected in 2004 - he has to decide whether to file for re-election in 2008 as County Treasurer or to go for the chancy Congressional seat...

(I always wonder about folk who blather about voter intelligence while spelling it incorrectly)

Anonymous said...

Another consideration: The caucus voting on Sat will not be the same as the caucus voting for slating. Fed law governs who votes for a special election. Only elected and appointed PC person will vote on Sat. The slating caucus will be bigger including ward chairs and vice-chairs.

Anonymous said...

8:57, If the selected Democratic Party candidate for the special election wins the special election then it would be complete stupidity for the Democratic Party to slate a different candidate for the primary.
If there is any semblence of organization left in the Marion County Democratic Party then you won't see unslated candidates trying to pigeon hole the slate in the primary.

If the losers indeed chose to run against the slate then the door is wide open for a Republican victory in the fall, assuming they can find a credible candidate.
No, Elrod is not credible, he's a goof.

If Andre wins the special he's a lock in the primary. It would take a real nasty GOP candidate with the credentials to knock him out in the fall.

Anonymous said...

David O and Mays should be working on a solution to the property tax debacle before getting ahead of themselves. Session ends before the primary. I hope they know that.

Anonymous said...

Although I support Greg Porter `[and I have a caucus vote], all but Pollard and Mays are well qualified...............`Pollard is bought and paid for by Ice Miller and Mays is a hater.......

Blacksheep Mahern said...

The reason you could not get an answer from Dane Mahern as to who the Mahern "bloc" was supporting is because there is no such thing as a Mahern "Bloc".

black sheep Mahern said...

There is no "Mahern bloc".

Wilson46201 said...

For the Nominating Caucus, only Democratic precinct committeepeople (whether elected or appointed) can vote - and only if they reside within the 7th District. Some appointees do live outside the District but within the county.

For the Slating Convention February 16th, the vice-committeepersons also can vote. Ward chairs or vices are usually committeepeople too but ward chairs or vicechairs as such have no vote. It is almost inconceivable that the Caucus Nominee will not also be the Slated Candidate.

The GOP has condensed this process into one grand combined Caucus/Convention on Sunday, January 13th to select both the Special Election Nominee and then the Slated Candidate.

Anonymous said...

11:41 you're as wrong as you were earlier.

Nobody's a lock for the primary, whether or not they win the special. The 7th CD could play out very differently from the precinct committee people.

Andre might win the caucus and slating. Might not. But if he does, and either loses the special, or wins the special by less than a convincing margin to a weak R candidate, he could easily lose the primary.

MCDP Ward Chair said...

Wilson-
Please stop speaking for the Democratic Party. I did not vote for you as the spokesperson of our party and I hope that MCDP doesn't pay you to act as such.
For your information, Ward Chairs DO get a vote in slating as do VPC. Read your letter from the Chairman better before you spout off.

dark horse said...

JUST IN: Sorces are telling me they are about to make an anouncement regarding the republican they have chosen. Insiders, are telling me it is Ronald McDonald. Hey! Ronald, can you supersize my frys and coke?



Sincerely



DARK HORSE

Anonymous said...

I think Wilson has it almost correct--although, some candidates may determine to go straight to the May voters if not chosen by this Saturday's caucus process.

Our county party, which managed to steal defeat from the jaws of victory two months ago, has multiple lists of qualified Saturday voters floating around. It is a mess. And this committeeman, among many others, does not feel bound at all by the Saturday vote. It's too quick, the rules are odd and the process is goofy. I've forgotten more than Terry Burns and Mike O'Connor will ever know about street-level political fights. A May battle will not weaken the party--it might energize it. Take it from me--committeepersons county-wide are sick to death of being dictated to by the county party office.

The handout Andre and others gave us last night was helpful. Andre's letter which arrived last week, along with a cute pic, was a joke.

As for spelling...whether with an "e" or an "i," I'd be careful about throwing around the "blather" comment Wilson. There are many who think that's all you do. And, fat thumbs with tiny Blackberry keyboards don't always make for good spelling. Read it and weep. Stay away form the grammar lessons, OK?

Anonymous said...

1:38, You STILL don't get it! The winner of the special election WILL BE THE SLATED CANDIDATE IN TH PRIMARY!

Anyone and everyones that pigeon holes the OFFICIAL COUNTY DEMOCRATIC SLATE CAN KISS THEIR POLITCAL CAREERS GOOD BY and I don't care what the GOP does because the special election numbers mean zero.

Anonymous said...

I haven't got a nickle on this dime but Andre will win on the first ballot.
Party unity's at stake and Andre is the unifier!

Wilson46201 said...

Ward chairs as such having a vote in a slating convention? That's new -- I've been involved in very many successful slating contests and it's never happened before...

I know half the ward chairs and vices are also precinct committeepeople and/or vices.

By the way, I've been resisting being appointed ward chair for at least fifteen years now.

Anonymous said...

5:32:

How do you know the winner of the special will be the slated candidate? In fact, one candidate in the special election will lose, and still be slated for the primary by his or her party.

Almost every candidate there last night said they would still consider entering the primary if they lost the caucus. They'll probably bypass the slating. And each should. That's what primaries are for: so the Democratic citizens of the 7th can pick the best candidate, and not merely rely on a special election, by party leaders, on a rushed schedule.

As much as you don't like it, it's going to happen. And careers will continue, not end. After the primary, the D's and the R's can unite, and fight it out in the general.

Anonymous said...

I hope Sanders get the nomination. She'll get my vote!
André has ZERO expeience in dealing with people. He calls every male he meets brother
I am not his brother.

Wilson46201 said...

Some people believe in the brotherhood of all humanity - I guess others don't.

Anonymous said...

Duke Oliver, I knew Larry Conrad. I worked with him on many projects and campaigns. He spoke passionately about the Democratic Party and its principles when it was far from popular.

And you're no Larry Conrad. In fact, stop throwing his name around. Your conduct insults Larry's good name.

Wilson46201 said...

Duke Oliver is one of those rank-and-file UAW political activists that Larry Conrad relied on for his political base. I also recall UAW leaders lamenting how so many of Larry Conrad's aides went on to become corporate lobbyists. It's the Democrats like Duke Oliver and so many others at the grassroots that keep the true spirit of the Democratic Party going through thick and thin.

Anonymous said...

7:12, You don't understand very much about about about part organization politics do you?
Running against the slate in the primary is political suicide. Been there done that.

Anonymous said...

8:02: I know more than you. Each D candidate kept their options open, and the constituents demand a real primary.

The audience at the forum clearly reacted to Oliver's question with derision, and everyone was on the side of the candidates who demurred.

Especially in this cycle, running against the slate will not be suicide. Sorry if you're a committeeperson, and you don't want to hear this: you've got an important role to play, but you have neither the most important nor the last voice on the 7th's D candidate.

Anonymous said...

8:02 said:

Running against the slate in the primary is political suicide.

Have you forgotten that running against the slate is how Julia Carson became trustee over the slated and incumbent Trustee Bill Smith?

Or how Billie Breaux ran against the slated candidate to win Julia's old Senate seaat in the legislature? Or how Glenn Howard ran against the slated candidate to win his current senate seat in the legislature?

Yeah, bucking the slate in the primary is definitely political suicide.

Wilson46201 said...

The last time anybody successfully "bucked the slate" was Senator Billie Breaux in 1992 with the strenuous and skillful assistance of Julia Carson. It was a hellacious battle and Billie just barely squeaked by. To the best of my recollection, all other slate challengers since have gone down in flames and ignominy...

Wilson46201 said...

12:45 exposed its ignorance once again. In 1990 Julia Carson was the slated candidate for Trustee. The incumbent Bill Smith was such a screwup the Democrats dumped him at Slating. He still ran in the Primary and lost bigtime.

In 1992 Glenn Howard also beat the Slate with the strenuous and skillful assistance of Bill Crawford.

1992 was the last year the Slate was beaten -- 16 years ago!

Angry Republican said...

Wilson said:
"Some people believe in the brotherhood of all humanity - I guess others don't."

Speaking of Louis Farrakhan...

AR