Hoosier Daddy?


The Republican takeover of Indianapolis—America's 13th largest city, right between Jacksonville and San Francisco—has gotten next to no national attention. That's probably because Republicans have always been unusually strong here. Like Oklahoma City and San Diego it lacks a truly massive urban black population and it's zoned to include some conservative suburbs. It elects Republican mayors from time to time, like the legendary Steve Goldsmith. But everyone bet on Democrat Bart Peterson surviving into a third term, and he out-fundraised first-time candidate Greg Ballard by $3 million to $300,000. That makes the Indianapolis Star optimistic:

Greg Ballard will owe few political debts when he assumes office as mayor. Political powerbrokers didn't line up behind him during the campaign. Donations were scarce. Republican insiders for the most part stayed away… Ballard should search carefully through the ranks of Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians and independents in filling posts within his administration.

That'd be nice. Click through the Star's pages and you'll see that the Republicans won on property tax anger and fear about crime while Virginia Republicans were running on immigration and losing. Columnist Matthew Tully got a revealing interview with local GOP chairman Tom John.

The Republicans haven't had the best relationship with the local business community of late. After Tuesday's results came in, John turned to a chamber lobbyist at an event and shared a message: "You've got a lot of making up to do."

I don't want lobbyists to have doors slammed in their faces, but there's something too… Willie Stark about rushing to bring them back to the team so fast. Still, you've got to like Ballard for this:

If I feel that I'm not fulfilling my goals for the city, then I will not run for re-election. Specifically, I have committed to not running for re-election if I can't cut the non-public safety budget by 10%; and I mean it. There are other measures that I will be addressing as Mayor (crime, accountability, etc.) where, if I feel that I'm not holding to my own standards, I will pass on a re-election bid.

Let's see if he sticks to that.