Monday, July 11, 2011

Why Is Dan Burton Running Again?

Everyone was sure U.S. Rep. Dan Burton would not seek re-election next year after the Republican-controlled legislature reconfigured his district to remove the rural counties in the 5th District, leaving him with a district centered in Hamilton County and the northern one-third of Marion County, areas where he has shown considerable weakness in the last two primary elections. The district also includes, Madison, Blackford and Grant Counties and the eastern portions of Boone and Howard Counties.

In crowded 2010 primary that featured 7 candidates, for example, Burton finished second behind Luke Messer in Hamilton County, garnering only 25% of the vote. In Marion County, he did even worse. He finished third behind John McGoff, who grabbed more than 31% of the vote, and Messer, who collected more than 23% of the vote in the crowded field. Burton received just 22% of the vote in Marion County.

Burton didn't fare well in the newly-configured 5th District in a contested 2008 primary when he went head-to-head with John McGoff. McGoff outdistanced him in Marion County by more than 3,000 votes. McGoff carried Hamilton County in 2008 with more than 53% of the vote, nearly 10 percentage points higher than Burton's total.

McGoff was the first to jump into the 2012 primary race. He enjoys residual name recognition from his previous runs and is well-liked, but he has struggled in both of his prior races to raise enough money to be truly competitive. He is now being joined by former U.S. Rep. David McIntosh, who represented the neighboring 6th District for several terms before giving up his seat to run for governor in 2000 against Frank O'Bannon. Some party activists are less than excited about McIntosh entering the race after his disappointing loss in the 2000 gubernatorial race against O'Bannon, a race many thought was poorly executed by McIntosh. He has lived and worked in D.C. since losing that race. Susan Brooks, a former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana and general counsel to Ivy Tech, is planning to join the race as well.

According to Politico, McIntosh will have the backing of two former state party chairmen, Al Hubbard and Jim Kittle, as well as businessman Fred Klipsch, which should mean he will have no trouble raising big bucks for his campaign. Howard Co. GOP Chairman Craig Dunn, who has backed Burton in each of the past two primary races he has faced, tells Politico he does not plan to endorse any candidate in next year's primary. Burton will have no support from party leadership in either Hamilton or Marion Counties, where the bulk of the primary votes will be cast. Brooks, a former Ice Miller attorney, should be able to raise big money through her network of big firm lawyers she has cultivated over the years by doing the bidding work of Indianapolis' elite whether working for Steve Goldsmith or blocking prosecution of public corruption cases brought to her attention while serving as U.S. Attorney. She may also have an advantage as the only female candidate in a crowded field.

Many observers had expected Burton to step aside and endorse Sen. Mike Delph, a former congressional staffer in his district office. Delph has developed a big following among conservative activists within and outside his Senate district during his tenure in the state senate. His supporters fear he will lose out on an opportunity to capture Burton's congressional seat as a result of Burton's stubborn insistence on seeking re-election in a race most political observers believe he is destined to lose. Burton has represented the district since 1983.


SW Lane said...

Why is he running again?
It's obvious.
He, like most every other politician, believes that he is entitled to the position, that he himself is bigger than the title, and where else can he make quite as much money and all the perks/corruption to feather his own nest.

The idea of service to community via holding elected office is a dichotomy: On one hand experience is necessary to function effectively, although I'd also argue that the functioning of government is hardly effective or functional. That being said, I really dislike those who 'want' to be in those positions. It's possible that those who seek to run do so (initially) for altruistic reasons, but eventually the reasons and the person gets corrupted.

Term limits are a good idea. The idea of the voter limiting the term is quaint-incumbents have all the advantages as far as name recognition, campaigning, Money, and backing of the lobbyists aka nest feather-ers.

Just a few guesses as to why he is running again. Burton isn't my rep..but I wish the candidates running against him in the primary would agree that whoever enjoys the most support as of Jan 31st would be the sole challenger..but that goes against the idea of self before position..everyone wants to be king...which allows Burton to squeak by, due to fragmented voting.

Cato said...

Term limits are a good idea, just like employment limits are a good idea for every other government job. Government jobs were not created with the expectation that the public would have to support a government employee with lifetime cash payments and lifetime health care and other insurance benefits.

Every true conservative will agree that a person should work for federal, state or local governments for no more than seven years, combined, then move along to the private sector.

LASunsett said...

Term limits would not be needed if people would stop voting for the clown. It would also help if Burton didn't secretly encourage the massive number of GOP candidates to split the anti-Burton vote.

Maybe it's time to change state law and require runoffs, when no one gets a majority.

Paul said...


1. 7 years? Can we at least make it two 4-yr terms, and make it 8 years, or should they quit 3/4 of the way through their 2nd term?

2. Do you include part-time positions such as County Commissioner and County Council in your suggestion?

3. Most importantly, what jobs is someone qualified to perform in the "private sector" after serving a term or two as county clerk or recorder?

IMHO, the idea of term limits at the local and state level is stupid. I'd like to have a state auditor that has served a term or two as county auditor. I would like the same for my treasurer. If we want to ipose term limits at the bloated federal level, that is an entirely different matter.

Cato said...

While we're changing the law, let's vote for party, instead of person. If 10% of all voters vote for Libertarians, then the L's get 10% of the seats, and so forth.