News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Breaking News

Indiana Legislature

November 13, 2011

MAUREEN HAYDEN: Be wary of reading too much into election results

INDIANAPOLIS — Last week’s mayoral elections prompted some victory crowing from Indiana Republicans and rightly so.

As noted in a morning-after email sent to Statehouse reporters by GOP party spokesman Pete Seat, Republicans now hold a majority of mayoral offices in Indiana.

The scorecard — subject to some revision since two races have been contested — is now 61 Republican mayors versus 54 Democrats and 2 Independents.

That marks a big shift from the past. After the 2007 general election, Democrats claimed 68 of the top spots in city and town halls across Indiana; 48 mayoral races went to Republicans and three went to Independents.

Those 2007 results were considered a harbinger of things to come. A “throw the bums out” mentality among voters resulted in 44 incumbents losing their seats in the 2007 primary and general elections.

So you’d think an election that tipped the balance of mayoral power to Republicans this time around would be filled with tea leaves that could be read to divine the future.

But one of the best observers of Indiana politics cautions against reading too much into last Tuesday’s elections.

Ed Feigenbaum, the well-seasoned publisher of Indiana Legislative Insight, says the mayoral power flip may have less to do with partisanship and more to do with personalities, local-issue platforms, and a populace that wants more public servants and less aspirational politicians.

“They weren’t looking for people with vision,” Feigenbaum said of the voters who cast their ballots last Tuesday. “They were looking for people who could keep the streets paved, plowed, and cleaned.”

Feigenbaum, a lawyer by training, offers ample evidence to make his case in the latest issue (dated Nov. 14) of his weekly political newsletter. He credits Republicans for some big pick-up wins, including those in Anderson, Jeffersonville, Logansport, Rushville and Washington.

But he also notes that the GOP victories in three big cities with a lot of Democrat voters — Evansville, Fort Wayne and Indianapolis — were claimed by candidates “more concerned about managing government than advancing any new visions.”

And he argues that Democrat incumbents that were ousted in such hotly contested races as those that took place in Anderson, Jeffersonville and Logansport, were done in by their own management and style issues.

He also cites Goshen Mayor Allan Kauffman, a Democrat who won an unprecedented fourth term, and Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett, a Republican who won a second term in a city that hasn’t re-elected a mayor since 1991, as guys who bridged the partisan divide by neutralizing party labels.

Feigenbaum — whose keen recall and acerbic humor act as their own neutralizing agents on political bluster — says the lesson to be learned from Tuesday’s election may be a little too humbling for some aspirants in next year’s county and state elections to grasp.

That lesson, Feigenbaum argues, “might be that voters are more interested in governments being run for their benefit than by politicians running for other offices.”

Maureen Hayden is Statehouse bureau chief for CNHI Indiana newspapers. She can be reached at maureen.hayden@indianamediagroup.com.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Indiana Legislature
Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record Mint Gives JFK Coin a Face-lift Raw: Families Travel to Taiwan Plane Crash Site Arizona Execution Takes Almost Two Hours Ariz. Inmate Dies 2 Hours After Execution Began Raw: Gunmen Attack Iraqi Prison Convoy Gen. Odierno Discusses Ukraine, NATO at Forum Gaza Fighting Rages Amid Cease-Fire Efforts Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' Plane Leaves Ukraine With More Crash Victims Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers Raw: Funeral for Man Who Died in NYPD Custody Raw: Deadly Storm Hits Virginia Campground Migrants Back in Honduras After US Deports Raw: UN School Used As Shelter Hit by Tank Shell Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors
NDN Video
Bill Murray Continues To Be Just Bill Murray By Eating Some Free Bill Murray Ice Cream Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect Hillary Clinton Blamed Bill's Affair With Monica Lewinsky On Abuse He Suffered As A Child 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity