Indianapolis, IN – What to say? This past Tuesday was the local election for Marion County and surrounding areas including the Mayoral and City Council elections in Indianapolis. The Democrats gained 6 additional seats to the council leaving only 5 Republican council members. The incumbent mayor Joe Hogsett won his election by a outstanding 71% of the vote with Republican challenger Jim Merritt only getting 26% of the vote. Can you say CRUSHED! Why did this happen?
Here’s a quick background on both candidates. Republican candidate Jim Merritt, who holds a seat in the State Senate. During the Republican primary, there were numerous individuals who ran against Senator Merritt in an attempt to knock him out of the race. Mayor Joe Hogsett has been the Mayor of Indy for past 3 1/2 years.
During both campaigns, Mayor Hoggset raised $5.5 million dollars for his campaign compared to Senator Merritt’s $750,000 dollars. The campaigns between the parties was boring, dull with no energy and both candidates acted like they did not want the job. Senator Merritt didn’t really put up much of a fight with only one TV commercial and one radio commercial. Where as Joe nailed it out of the park with really good campaign commercials on TV and radio.
During the debates, which there was little to none viewership, along with no enthusiasm shown by Mayor Hogsett or Senator Merritt. The only other candidate who was up against them was that of Libertarian candidate, Doug McNaughton, (see interview). He only got 2% of the vote with no party support. Sad.
This reporter was told that Senator Merritt had lost several people from his campaign and could not raise the funds. Nobody really wanted to back him or even wanted him to run. He was the only one that went to the slating process. The slating process is a barbaric process, where an individual goes before the party, a individual pleads their case and hopes the Republican party votes to nominate you. Since no one else was running thats how Senator Merritt won. A source close to the Republican party told me he had the nomination anyways, so why bother?
On Election day, many Republican voters stayed home, some did vote for their own party and some flipped and voted Democrat. A total number of about 160,000 voted out of 600,000 registered voters. With a sad and low turnout, you can see what happened and why.
I don’t know about you, but Senator Merritt was never a strong candidate. The Republican party made a big mistake by having him run. Now everything that happens in the next 4 years solely rests on the Democrats shoulders with having the Office of the Mayor and majority in the City County Council. Nice thing is though that will open the door for the Republican party in the next election.
Myself along with others are working to get people together and run for PC chairs and Ward chairs next Spring to help the party get stronger as well as having a balance in power. GOP chair leader Cindy Kirchhofer is joining to help make sure of this process.