Wednesday, June 16, 2010

GOP Writes Off GLBT Vote In Marion County

Marion County Republicans have apparently made a strategic decision to write off the GLBT vote entirely in Marion County. Close to 50,000 people gathered downtown for this past weekend's Pride parade and festival. A record number of Democratic candidates and officeholders participated in the event, including U.S. Rep. Andre Carson, State Rep. Mary Ann Sullivan, Marion Co. Clerk Beth White, Marion Co. Auditor Billie Breaux, mayoral candidate Melina Kennedy, prosecutor candidate Terry Curry, sheriff candidate John Layton, mayoral candidate Ron Gibson and several city-county councilors. In addition, the Stonewall Democrats had a booth at the event to promote their candidates.

On the Republican side, not a single officeholder or candidate attended. Mayor Greg Ballard was out of town on another junket as usual. The Log Cabin Republicans folded and had no booth at the event as it has had in recent years. Even the Libertarian candidates had a few candidates and a booth at the event. While that news may be music to the ears of people like Micah Clark, Eric Miller and Curt Smith, it does not bode well for the Marion Co. GOP. Democrats have a lock on the black vote, which represents about 30% of the vote in Marion County, and the small  but increasing Hispanic vote tends to favor Democrats over Republicans by a significant margin. That means Republicans have to perform unusually well among white voters, who are shrinking as a percentage of the vote, to have a fighting chance to win elections in Marion Co. I got a good laugh this morning reading Marion Co. Republican Chairman Tom John's token black friend's comments on his blog about how there was a rift between the Democratic Party and Stonewall Democrats because party leadership had supposedly steered its candidates away from last weekend's event. Really, Abdul, is that the best you can do to earn your keep?

Some observers believe State Sen. James Merritt will lose a seat long held by Republicans to Sheriff Frank Anderson this fall, continuing the shrinking size of the Republican delegation in the legislature. Candidate Ballard won the 2007 mayoral election because he beat Peterson by a significant margin among white voters and won support among GLBT voters, including the endorsement of The Word, Indy's gay newspaper. With Mayor Ballard's decision to alienate the grassroots voters and disaffected GLBT voters who put him in office by breaking most of his campaign promises, Democrats will win back some of those white voters and GLBT voters and likely regain control of the mayor's office and the city council next year. It's difficult to estimate what the GLBT vote represents as a percentage of voters in the county, but it's safe to assume the number is somewhere between 5% and 10%.

9 comments:

Concerned Taxpayer said...

It's long been my understanding that Republicans are not ALLOWED to be in the parade by the organizers.

Advance Indiana said...

That is untrue. Scott Keller used to be in the parade every year when he was a Republican on the council. The organization is nonprofit and cannot favor one party over the other.

indyernie said...

When was Scott Keller a Republican?
He always leaned left.

dcrutch said...

I think policy speaks more than parade attendance, including to the intelligence of my few gay acquaintances. However it would be an easy PR moment to show-up and smile. These days, demographically, I'd guess it would at least be a break-even prospect with an eye toward the future.

A candidate doesn't have to get into whatever motif of whatever gathering and again promise benefits for everything and everybody. I think poll after poll indicates all Americans are looking to hear reality, including fiscal reality.

Marycatherine Barton said...

The Mayor's Office was not at all represented at the Gay Pride festival? Whatever will the Word print about that; how will the editor respond?

Tam said...

Giving the cold shoulder at Pride cost Ballard GLBT support.

Between his hiring of Frank Straub and the continuing CCW ban on the Monon, he's lost gun nut support.

Just whose support is he hoping to keep?

Paul K. Ogden said...

Tam,

The Mayor is after the country club vote. He apparently thinks a lot of people are in country clubs.

Robert said...

Kurt Webber, the moderate Republican Candidate running for the House Seat in the 86th District, did attend Pride. He introduced himself around and stopped to visit at the Indiana Equality Booth, Lambda Legal, and he met with a member of Rainbow Coalition. He left some of his literature where he could, and more importantly, he had a good time meeting and speaking to people.

Ben said...

Thsi is very interesting considering the preferences of the Marion County Rebublican leadership.