Today is Primary Election day, and the party faithful (and very few others) will select candidates for the November municipal elections. The outcomes of the mayoral races are predetermined: Greg Ballard (aka the “accidental mayor”) will be the Republican nominee, and Melina Kennedy (no relation) will represent the Democrats.
Anyone who was sentient four years ago understands how Greg Ballard got elected. (Well, with the possible exception of Ballard himself; I understand from those who know him that he really believes he defeated Bart Peterson, i.e., that people knowingly voted FOR him, as opposed to venting their spleen on the incumbent.) As our daughter said the day after the election, twenty-five percent of eligible voters went to the polls. Twelve percent voted for Peterson, thirteen percent voted against Peterson, and we got whatsisname.
From all accounts, Greg Ballard is a nice man who has been hopelessly over his head. His unfamiliarity with both the actual city of Indianapolis (he was a Marine who served elsewhere for most of his adult life) and the idea of a city–how it works, what elements/policies make a city successful, how it is financed, how it relates to state government, etc.–explains the last three and a half years, during which “advisors” have run the show (and done rather well for themselves in the process).
The Indianapolis electorate tends to support incumbents when they do a reasonable job. In a city that even then had majority Democratic registrations, Bill Hudnut won re-election four times, usually with well over 60% of the vote (and if memory serves, with 80% at least once). On the other hand, they react negatively to arrogance. Goldsmith saw the writing on the wall–and Sue Ann Gilroy, who ran a campaign promising to be “another Steve” lost badly.
What we don’t yet know is how Indianapolis voters react to well-meaning incompetence. But we’re about to find out.