« Reporting In: Voter ID Laws Cause Problems In Georgia, Michigan? | Main | On The Internets: IBJ Adds "NewsTalk" Blog To Its Online Palette »

Four Years To Come: The Good, The Bad And The Mayoral Majority

Magnify Though it's a bit delayed, here's a rundown of numbers -- with a bit of commentary -- from yesterday's mayoral races across Indiana.

As far as raw data, Democrats experienced a net gain of three seats statewide, bringing their mayoral total to 69. Republicans now hold 48 offices, and there were two victorious independents. (Two cities -- Austin and Westfield -- elected mayors for the first time, bringing the grand total from 117 to 119.)

In South Bend, incumbent Mayor Steve Luecke trounced Republican challenger Juan Manigault, and Fort Wayne Democrat Tom Henry prevailed over indicted Republican Matt Kelty. Anderson Republican Kevin Smith succumbed to a challenge from Democrat Kris Ockomon in a hard-fought race. Other key Democratic victories took place in Kokomo, Madison, Muncie (by a pending nine-vote margin), Vincennes, Washington Crown Point and LaPorte.

On the Republican side of things, obviously the big news came out of Indianapolis, where little-known Republican Greg Ballard upset two-term incumbent Bart Peterson. Voter discontent in Marion County further translated into Republican control of the City-County Council and a mayoral victory for Paul Ricketts out in Larryville. The GOP also will take over in Terre Haute, New Castle and West Lafayette, to name some of the bigger ones.

Now, on to the fun part:

Biggest Winner In A Race That Started Out Hotly Contested Before All The Indictments, Yanked Endorsements And Birthday Cake Tomfoolery: Fort Wayne Democrat Tom Henry

Biggest Winner In Terms Of Absolutely Clobbering The Opponent: Evansville Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel

Biggest Upset/Lowest Bar Set For An Incoming Mayor Because No One Has Any Idea What He Stands For: Indianapolis Republican Greg Ballard

Biggest Loser: Every would-be Republican mayoral candidate who considered running in Indianapolis

Best Campaign Expenditure: Tom Henry's "Family" spot

Worst Campaign Expenditure (tie): Matt Kelty/American Family Association's radio WedgeWhack! or Juan Manigault/Indiana Republican Party's direct mail proclamation that South Bend is dead

Cockiest Quote From An Incumbent: "'Stomp them in the ground and keep stomping them, and never let up." (Shelbyville Mayor Scott Ferguson)

Most Likely To Be Back On The Public Payroll Within A Week Of The Swearing-In: Anyone related to Paul Ricketts

Elected Official Who Ought To Be Most Afraid Of Voter Anger After This Cycle: Mitch Daniels

You can see how it's done. Go nuts.


There was an upset of an incumbent Democrat (1 term) mayor, formerly a 12 year State Rep, up in Plymouth. Republican Mark Senter beat Democrat Gary Cook in a well funded and well run campaign. It helped Senter that the D's had much division within the party.It also helped that Cook assumed that his name recognition of his deceased father, Ed Cook (a former State Rep) would see him through another term. State politics are a different animal than local as he has now found out. I wonder if Cook will make another run at State Rep (Dist. 17) to keep his career politician status???

Either way, It has been an interesting election year in Indiana. Next year is gonna be downright crazy! See ya at the polls.

in full agreement on the bigger loser. in marion county, you could make the case that both parties lost. the individual first time republican candidates that won were hardy party mover and shakers. while marion county dems have a lot of work to do (getting rid of gray and his cronies would be a nice start (brown and sanders -- she went to his fund raiser after the ethics brouhaha -- come to mine)), the republicans for all intents and purposes have to rebuild too.

I know there were a lot of reasons people disliked Bart Peterson -- as I drove into Indianapolis Saturday, I heard caller after caller on WTLC (presumably people from Peterson's base) dog him, and I thought, "That can't be good." Indiana, more than a Republican state, has been an ornery, throw-the-bums-out state, and it did plenty of that yesterday.

Still, I can't help thinking that the Ballard election is going to turn out like that time Springfield tossed out its detested city garbage collector and installed the unknown and inexperienced Homer Simpson in the job.

Daniels doesn't have anything to worry about. He's actually providing solutions, unlike a lot of incumbents who were voted out.

Worst Campaign Expenditure - All of the TV Ad's Bart Peterson put out.


Greatest Reasons for Happy Dance: Bu-bye to Aaron Haith, Ron Gibson, King Ro and Mrs. King Ro-turned-"zoning hearing officer" (what a joke), Belle Choate at the liquor board, I could go on, but it's too tiring.

Oh yeah, also gone: the most arrogant (for no reason) political operatives either party has ever seen: Mike O'Connor, John Dillon and Terry Burns.

When you guys have worked in the trenches as long as some of us have, then you can tell us how "it all works." OK? Next election, guys, be sure to tell your candidate to remain mum about a city council leadership that's completely off the tracks in every way. Oh yeah, better yet, tell your candidate to put his arm around the council president and declare him "my good friend and partner in government," instead of the scoundrel he is.
And have all the council Dems rally around him for a photo op, or two or five. And call a press conference to denounce racism at King Park a week before the election, and stand behind a council member who's slapped a police officer and been indicted twice by special prosecutors. And stand firmly (and afraid) behind the central portion of the city, whose Democratic leadership has failed for 35 years to GOTV in any meaningful way (to their potential)...get the picture?

How's that all workin for ya right about now?

Countdown to February slating: 95 days. If we don't get our act together, we'll have a hard time next year, too.

Worst campaign expenditure?? TDW you must have fallen asleep during the anti - Ballard (but let's keep mentioning his name) commercials that the Ds ran. Sounds like a commercial suggested by Bart's aide de camp, "Mr. O". Good luck to the that rookie exec.

Jen, get off the Paul Ricketts garbage. The voters of Lawrence have spoken. The only relative in his last office was his daughter who happened to have a masters degree. My opinion is he was lucky she'd work for so little money!

Uh, Firebug....FYI:

She wasn't the only relative during his tenure to work in the assessor's office. I dealt with her more than once. And if she has a master's degree, the issuing institution should recall it.

And he defended the antiquated, outdated, overburdened township government syustem ad naseum.

Plus, pound for pound (and that's a lotta LBS.), he may be the most hateful and mean man in politics.

Truth is, Lawrence always was and is a Republican city. Cantwell won last time because voters there, did what Indy voters did this year: revolt. There's a lesson there, if folks pay attention:

Revolts are hard to sustain. Governing well is not easy.

Ricketts won't govern well if history is a guide. He's been sucking at the public trough for decades. But, it is a Republican city.

And speaking of that, why do we have so many freaking cities within Indianapolis? Duplicitous. Expensive.

And stupid.


Election victories are one thing, and you certainly have to hand it to Ballard and his crew. A real populist win. Admirable, really.

And I know Monroe Gray wasn't the best council president ever...actually, probably the worst.

But I just saw in the paper that the Republican Council members-elect are thinking about Lincoln Plowman for president.

I could keep quiet and watch the council implode, but I, too, want good government, even though I prefer Democratic leaders (yeah, we screwed it up).

Lincoln Plowman in any kind of leadership role is the surefire ticket to nonsense.

For two reasons: he's another public safety employee, and we really need to get away from that. I respect the hell out of them, but they really don't belong on the council. We've done that, and it doesn't work. Most states forbid it.

And two, look at Ch. 16 tapes where he speaks. Yowzir. He actually accomplishes the near-impossible: makes Monroe look smart.

petty cash...your 6:20 post is right on. As a faithful livelong Democratic party member and activist I have experienced this arrogant attitude from O'Conner and Burns. O'Conner, as a campaign chairman, is a real loser. But Burns, as a lap dog, does his job well. Adding to the Countdown to the slating should be the countdown to the chairman caucus where we prescient people can make a change. Why would O'Conner want to stay on? And Ricketts....voter in Lawrence are in for a very bad nightmare.

The main reason Peterson lost is he pushed the income tax hike through this summer. Why those in public safety hate him so much is screwy, since he did so much for funding public safety. They should repeal it and let the Republicans figure out what to do to save the police pensions and fight crime.

I can't agree, 9:15 AM. I believe that the Mayor took the "hit" on the COIT increase in the belief that the approval loss would not be enough to make a difference in the election.

What "cost" him the election was his continued inability to "hear" anybody other that his coterie of bartophiles, who really showed their "competency" for all to see in the weeks preceding the election. Foolishness.

TDW: I am an old Dem and let's face it, we lost this round. Given enough time, Mayor Ballard will of course either be successful, fail, or be someplace in the middle. The middle is what I am guessing (it is the safest). It is time for Dems to take about a one week political break and decide who is going to run the Marion Co. Dem party. That person must be inclusive of race, gender, AND age. I don't think we've quite reached all of those goals. So, don't cry for me Argentina. People who worked for Bart should have known that it is about service and not a career. Let's find the next group of people willing to serve and start over again. Give the Rs some credit apart from situational politics. They were dumb like a fox.

Thanks Laddad, your point are well conceived

Thanks Laddad, your points are well conceived

The voters did the Dems a favor by cleaning out alot of the sleaze in the council. Gibson, King Ro and even rambling Rozelle Boyd. too bad that Monroe Gray survived but I hope the GOP does us the favor of getting him behind bars where he belongs..Now we, as Dems....must get party leadership that listens to party workers and voters....out with arrogance in the county headquarters. it is time to start selecting a strong ticket for next year and that may mean not supporting some incumbents if they choose to run.

TDW, you should start a thread on who the voice of the loyal opposition will be. Who do Democrats look to to question Ballard & the Republican council? I have no idea. I don't really see it being Joanne Sanders.

Thank god that O'Conner got fired. Bart and his croonie are gone. Welcome back ED. Long time no see.

Elected Official Who Ought To Be Most Afraid Of Voter Anger After This Cycle: Every Statehouse Legislator

Ed Treacy--are you STONED?

The same county chair who saw nothing wrong with serving on the Metropolitan Development Commission whilst soliciting developers, and getting a coveted judgeship for his wife?

I'm tired of the old nonsense. We need a fresh chair, who knows the precincts.

And yeah, Joanne Sanders is just the kind of person we need to run the caucus.

It's one person bigger today, thanks to the Angela Mansfield turn-around.

Embarrassing council members are now mostly gone. Thank Heaven.

There's about five martinis waiting on you at the Cosmo Club, King Ro. Be sure to bring Judy. She'll have lots of extra time now.

Post a comment

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In

Find Stuff


Buy Stuff