Monday, August 06, 2007

Star: Ballard Has A Shot At Beating Peterson

There are three months remaining before voters in Indianapolis go to the polls to elect a new mayor for the next 4 years and Mayor Peterson no longer has the race locked up as he and his supporters once thought just weeks ago. The Star's Mary Beth Schneider takes a look at the much-changed race today. She writes:

Only a few weeks ago, Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson seemed destined to win his third term with ease.

But then came the political firestorm produced by new, much higher property tax bills and an income tax increase of 65 percent. Yard signs soon popped up around town, declaring such things as "Bart Lies."

And now, as Peterson prepares to unveil his annual city budget today, even his staunchest supporters concede the road to re-election is likely to be a little bumpier than expected. How much bumpier? That depends on whether his Republican opponent, Greg Ballard, a political neophyte with little money and even less name recognition, can mount a credible campaign.

"Clearly, (Ballard) has been given a window of opportunity," said Bill Blomquist, a political scientist at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. "What's not clear is (whether Republicans) have got the resources in money, organization and candidate to use this opening to upset the mayor" . . . .

State Rep. John Day, a longtime Democratic lawmaker from Indianapolis who has been involved in elections here since 1974, said he's never seen this kind of anger.

"The mayor's election, once thought a foregone conclusion, is not now," Day said.

Even Peterson's campaign manager has noted the change. "Does this make it more difficult for him?" said Mike O'Connor, the former deputy mayor who is also chairman of the Marion County Democratic Party. "Absolutely."

As Schneider points out, some big-name Republicans are starting to throw money Greg Ballard's way to help him overcome Peterson's huge financial advantage with over $3 million in the bank. Schneider writes:

But Ballard's resources may improve, said Brose McVey, a Republican political insider and former congressional candidate.

"He is definitely getting a second look from folks who might have written this race off," he said. Rex Early, a former Indiana GOP chairman and longtime activist, is among them. He said he hadn't given money to Ballard but will now. He's sending a $1,000 check.

"I'm going to get a little more involved," he said. "And I've heard other people say they're going to get more involved in this thing."

The state Republican Party is giving organizational support to all its mayoral candidates, said State GOP Chairman Murray Clark. He said the party never decides until closer to any election how much money to devote to individual races.

But, he said of Ballard's chances: "In this environment, no incumbent is safe."

Early's decision to contribute to Ballard is important. He is one of those establishment Republicans who helped do in Sue Anne Gilroy when she took on Peterson 8 years ago. Many establishment Republicans like Early then-preferred the Republican-like pro-business Peterson over the moderate Gilroy, who would have become the city's first female mayor. That, of course, was before Peterson turned into a traditional tax and spend liberal Democrat.


Anonymous said...

It just ain't true.

Peterson has too many structural advantages.

Ballard has too many personal deficiencies (he's not the sharpest tool in the box).

Peterson wins easily (not '03 easily, but with 55).

Wish Murray Clark had gotten in the race.

Anonymous said...

I gotta agree with 7:54.

I wish Ballard was a decent candidate or had shown me on the several times I've met him that he'd be a good mayor, but I don't know what I'm going to do.

In some ways, it feels like a devil-you-know situation.

Anonymous said...

7:54, do you work for Bart? "Personal deficiencies" ? This underhanded inuendo attack style is what I've come to epect from Democrat party operatives/apologists since this whole poperty tax fiasco began.

However, this sort of creepiness has inspired me.

Before I get taxed out of my home, I for one will put up a fight. I am sending $1,000 to Greg Ballard's campaign today, and will try to scrape together some dollars for Kurt Webber, who is Monroe Gray's challenger.

Tim Maguire will probably also get my vote for councilor at large

Anonymous said...

The biggest problem I see is that the Republican old money has been in Bart's camp since he first ran and it hasn't changed much since.

Ballard's not ignorant but he is afterall, a last minute stand in candidate. Token cannon fodder if you will.

He can win, stranger things have happened. But I seriously doubt that voter anger will continue from now until the election. With the property tax issue protests off the front page it's a mute issue as taxpayers were given a bone by the Governor.

Voters forget real fast once an issue as been neutralized or at best put on hold. I will not vote for Peterson but Ballard will need to give me more good reasons to vote for him. Otherwise, I'll just move to the rest of the ballot.

Anonymous said...

It should be real easy to figure out who 8:17 is--there won't be that many $1,000 contributions to Ballard.

Not that it matters.

Don't shoot the messenger, pal. Murray Clark probably didn't want the mayor's job; he shifted law firms, and his real estate and development work is bringing in huge bucks. Why take the pay cut? He quit the Senate to devote more time to making money.

Bart wins with at least 57...council goes to at least 17, if not 18-19 Dems.

Strange as it seems, that may make things better. The 25th floor isn't pleased with the one-vote margin they've got on the council. They can't buck the Center Township crowd when they want to. Which is often.

Anonymous said...

"Tim Maguire will probably also get my vote for councilor at large"

Who the hay is Tim Maguire???

Anonymous said...

"I will not vote for Peterson but Ballard will need to give me more good reasons to vote for him. Otherwise, I'll just move to the rest of the ballot."

That is then, in effect, a vote for Peterson.

Anonymous said...

agree that bart most likely wins against the unknown, underfunded challenger. it is really too bad, ballard has some good ideas and does seem to be a very bright guy.

the CCC could be another story. isn't it starting to seem feasible that the republicans could pick up 3 while losing 1 (keller). gibson is clearly vulnerable (what is his day job anyway). oddly enough, sanders may be the next most vulnerable at-large.

can anyone see a realistic scenario where webber defeats gray? it's hard to put the pieces together for that one.

Anonymous said...

Ballard's not particularly bright. He's not a dummy, but while I disagree with the Mayor, Ballard doesn't have an intellectual leg to stand on between the two of them.

Anonymous said...

"gibson is clearly vulnerable"

Especially with a felony conviction on his rap sheet *tee-hee*

"republicans could pick up 3 while losing 1 (keller)"

Keller is a RINO anyway. District 16 is Democrat vs Democrat in the general election.

"oddly enough, sanders may be the next most vulnerable at-large."

Disagree. I think Sanders is safe. Rozelle for his councilor pay raise proposal and King Ro because of his overbearing mouth and bringing the ghetto mentality to the council are more vulnerable. Stick a fork in Gibson he's done.

Anonymous said...

Endless Bart & Gray looming forever?

Indianapolis morphing into a South Detroit?

Too depressing to contemplate.

I guess we can all look forward to more and more empty rentals in our hoods as people try unsuccessfully to get rid of their Marion county properties.

Anonymous said...

It's hard to pick off the at-larges one at a time without an effort targeted for one or against one.

Typically they run as the D's at-large or the R's at-large.

Although King Ro Connelly has run behind the rest for ever.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Anyone who suggests Ballard is lacking the intelligence to be mayor has obviously never sat down and talked to him. The mayor's people are spinning away out of concern money is going to start flooding into Ballard's campaign, which I understand it already has been over the past several weeks. As for Murray Clark, his law firm has a vested interest in the re-election of Peterson. The state party under his leadership cannot be trusted to help Ballard. Tom John will have to go it alone.

Wilson46201 said...

Only $1000 from multimillionaire Rex Early is a nice but meaningless gesture, sort of like pedestrians dropping spare change into the rattling paper cup of a downtown panhandler...

Gary R. Welsh said...

Traditionally speaking, as the mayor's race goes, so goes the 4 at-large council races.

Anonymous said...

To get your own BART LIES! Tee shirt look for the BART LIES guys, or go to click the donation tab and follow the directions. We can deliver or make arrangements for pickup.
Tee shirt and bumper sticker donations will be use to defeat Peterson in November. Get yours now.
BART LIES! yard signs available too.

Anonymous said...


You are right. Our measly little donations can't stack up against the big-bucks for Bart from the big-boys for services rendered.

Yet, sometimes small donations from many do add up.

By the way, there was a time when the Democratic party didn't sneer at the little guy's contributions.... or was there?

Wilson46201 said...

Rex Early is hardly "a little guy" - he's a multi-millionaire and former GOP state chair...

Anonymous said...

I think you're absolutely right, the local GOP is on their own to go it alone in Marion County. A client remarked to me that the State GOP is well........focused on the State and conceded Marion County to the Dems when Goldsmith went packing.
Of course the GOP money never disappeared in Marion County politics, it just changed hats and parked itself in the Mayor's office.

Wilson46201 said...

Doesn't rising GOP superstar Carl Brizzi have a giant financial warchest just recently boosted by a fundraiser?
Will he throw some bucks at his fellow Indianapolis Republicans?

Anonymous said...

Ives seen the term "RINO" several times, but have no idea what it means! Can someone enlighten me?

Small amonuts add up quickly!
Ballard will have an uphill struggle in the finance department, but as far as the honesty goes, Ballard has Bart beaten.
Paeople are tired of high taxes, high crime and high (alleged) corruption!
Time for a change. If it doesn't get better, change it back!

More and more police officers are getting "BART LIES" items. Signs, shirts, and bumper stickers!
You toio can have one, Wilson. I'm sure that garyj or erine will give you one if you wear it!

garyj said...

334.. don't get too generous with our shirts. Wilson can have one, but he has to wear it to the CCC meeting anolng with Monroe Gray

garyj said...

and you type worse than I do!

indyernie said...

Wilson can have a BART LIES shirt and a BART LIES Yard sign too. But I want a photo of him wearing the shirt standing next to the Yard sign in his (Wilson's) front yard.

Anonymous said...

RINO= Republican In Name Only
DINO= Democrat in Name Only

Anonymous said...

Ives seen the term "RINO" several times, but have no idea what it means! Can someone enlighten me?

Republican In Name Only

Wilson46201 said...

I thank you all for your kind offers of a BART LIES t-shirt but I found my old "Bart Peterson for Mayor" t-shirt from 4 years ago -- I was planning to wear it tonight for the Council meeting but it was just too darn hot to sweat going downtown...