It’s 516 days until the 2015 Indianapolis mayoral election. Indy’s pundits have had a field day with who may or may not be the Democratic candidate to face Mayor Greg Ballard’s expected bid for a third term.
With 18 months before the election, here’s how I see the potential candidates at this point. They are listed in alphabetical order.
Sam Carson – Of the three African-Americans who’ve considered a run for mayor, Carson is the only one that’s filed paperwork (May 15). Carson, the son of Julia and uncle of André ran second in the 2011 Democratic primary.
His paperwork says he’s running “independent.” But will he have the organization and discipline to run a countywide campaign?
Ed DeLaney – The three-term state representative has blasted Ballard on some issues, but has not been as visible as you’d expect a serious mayor candidate to be; especially at key Black events recently. DeLaney’s anathama to many Black elected officials because of his efforts to scuttle township government. His relationship with Black media is distant, not a good sign after Ballard’s Black media freeze out.
Joe Hogsett – The U.S. Attorney and veteran politico was seen as the frontrunner for 2015. All he had to do was say the word.
In January he said no and the scramble was on.
Now, there’s buzz Hogsett is reconsidering. Columnist Brian Howey wrote on the pressure for Hogsett to reconsider and enter the race. If Hogsett did, he’d again become an instant favorite.
Hogsett can bring the battle to Ballard and has the potential theme of two Indianapolises. Similar to Bill de Blasio’s successful theme in New York City.
Maggie Lewis – In a perfect world, City-County Council President Maggie Lewis would be an attractive mayoral candidate. She’s bright, articulate and personable. But while those qualities are important, so is the ability to take the fight to Ballard. And there are concerns if Maggie can do that.
I supported Melina Kennedy last time, so I’m not anti-woman.
There’s also friction between Lewis and some of her Democratic council colleagues about tactics and methods, which could inhibit a Lewis campaign.
Brian Mahern – The renegade Democratic councilman could be a force. A Mahern populist campaign against the power brokers of both parties, blasting Indy’s downtown-centric focus while shortchanging neighborhoods, could be effective in a primary and could be a winner in November 2015.
The question is whether Mahern has the gumption, desire and organization to pull off a grassroots movement.
Vop Osili – Osili, the one term councilman and 2010 secretary of state candidate is the third African-American in my mayoral candidate survey.
While many African-Americans and plenty of whites would support a Black mayoral candidate, others wouldn’t. If an African-American became the Democratic mayoral candidate, Republicans would unleash a fierce, negative, racially charged campaign.
Remember what Republicans did against Frank Anderson? The scurrilous direct mail attack ads? The nasty underground anti-Black scare campaigning? That’ll be child’s play compared to what they’d do against a Black mayoral Democratic nominee.
Mayor Ballard’s campaign guru Jennifer Hallowell has condoned Ballard’s political strategy of marginalizing (and in some cases demonizing) African-Americans.
(Oh, Jennifer, if I’m wrong on that last part, then call the Recorder’s President/GM and schedule the Mayor’s interview with Recorder journalists).
Dan Parker – The former Indiana Democratic Party Chair, Parker is an odd mayoral candidate. He’s been a party operative for years. Though living in Indianapolis, he’s never commented on local issues.
Parker is seen as a candidate of the Evan Bayh/Bart Peterson factions of the Democratic Party.
Parker said earlier this year he’d decide by Easter whether he’s running. We’re past that date and no word from him.
Frank Short – The former three-term councilman from 1992-2003 has been Washington Township trustee for three terms. Short filed paperwork Feb. 11 and is the only candidate with a website and exploratory committee. He’s actively raising money and talking to potential donors. Short is feisty and competitive. He’ll take the fight to Ballard. Yet, some key Democratic leaders and power brokers don’t like Short. Which is why they’re pressuring Hogsett to get in the race.
What I’m hearing in the streets
Some Indianapolis Black history was lost last week with the passing of Artricia Noel Chandler Brown.
In 1971, Chandler was elected to the City-County Council’s 10th District. She served one term and was the first African-American Democratic woman to serve in that elected body.
After leaving the council, she served on the city’s Human Rights Commission (which sadly doesn’t exist today).
Artricia was also a key mainstay of Indiana Black Expo, as a board member and vice president of the Central region.
My deepest sympathy to her family. May God bless and keep her soul.
See ‘ya next week.
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