by Abdul-Hakim Shabazz, Esq.
If you’re expecting any surprises in Tuesday’s elections here in Indianapolis, forget about it. No matter what happens, it will all make absolute perfect sense.
Whether Joe Hogsett or Chuck Brewer becomes Mayor or whether Democrats or Republicans keep or take control of the City-County Council, there is a perfect explanation for all of them.
Allow me to break it down…
Mayor Joe Hogsett
- Very easy explanation. Marion County leans Democratic and Joe has had a 4-to-1 advantage over Chuck in fundraising. And although Hogsett got negative press at the end, you could argue it came too late to make a difference. Throw in an 11-thousand straight-ticket vote advantage (provided they show up) and Hogsett gets sworn in on January 1.
Mayor Chuck Brewer
- Low turnout will be Chuck’s best friend. Already, voter turnout is a third lower than what it was in 2011. And if those trends continue on election day, we’re looking at a turnout of 20 percent. Also throw in the fact, that Hogsett has never really energized the black community so they may not come out they way they have in the past. And Hogsett’s non-committal answer Friday during a debate on whether he would keep the city’s Black Police Chief didn’t help. And then add in the curse of everyone thinking your election is a fait accompli, some folks may not bother showing up, but the other guy’s people do.
Who Gets the Council?
The current Council make up is 15-14, Democrat. Eliminate the four at-larges and Republicans have a 14-11 majority. However, District 1 is held by Jose Evans who flipped from D to R a couple years ago and he is not running for re-election. So in reality, that number is more 13-12, Republican. So with that backdrop, here’s how we figure out who’s in control.
A Democratic-Controlled Council
- Once again, it all comes to turnout. Since Democrats start out with 12 seats on the Council, they only need a net pickup of one. Which means they need to gain a seat that they don’t have. Their likely targets are Christine Scales (District 3) and up until last week Jeff Miller (District 16) I will explain later. They may also target Janice McHenry (District 6), Ben Hunter (District 19) and Bob Lutz (District 22). All three are in Districts that lean slightly Democratic, however all three are pretty good in the constituent service department. Any gain of one of these seats, and provided they don’t lose any (see District 2 race below), and Democrats get control.
A Republican-Controlled Council
- In a weird way, the GOP may actually have a clearer path to taking back the Council than the Democrats. Remember, they already hold 13 seats so if they can hold their ground, they can keep the Council. And once again, a low voter turnout may actually help them. I think the GOP has a very good shot at winning District 2 (Kip Tew vs. Colleen Fanning), the District leans R (54-46) and Fanning is a hard worker and is on television. The GOP also has a good shot at keeping District 3 (Christine Scales) and District 16 (Jeff Miller). Both Scales and Miller have independent streaks and their constituents love them. Particularly Miller, as illustrated when Democrats in his District came to his defense when the Marion County Democratic Party put out an attack mailer and got called on the carpet by my colleague Matt Tully. The Rs also have to hold on to McHenry, Hunter and Lutz’s seats as I have outlined above.
Like I said, any of these scenarios is likely. And while I think the political odds favor Hogsett for Mayor and the Republicans for Council, nothing will surprise me. Well, one thing might, write-in candidate Sam Carson becoming Mayor and the Libertarians get the tie-breaking vote on the Council.
Hey, anything is possible, so don’t be shocked when it happens.
Abdul is the editor and publisher of IndyPolitics.Org. You can reach him at email@example.com.