I am hoping the race for Indiana’s 5th District Congressional will turn into the greatest political show on earth and not just become another Congressional race.
Think about it. A long-time incumbent who just barely won re-election the last go around by the skin of his false teeth decided to exercise the better part of political valor and exit (stage right, of course). The challengers began to line up, heavyweights and featherweights, old faces and new faces. We had new district boundaries. Everything is set for a spectacular show, but so far this is turning into just another congressional race.
I have now had the privilege of moderating two forums for the 5th District candidates. One in Fishers and one in Kokomo. And after listening to the candidates, it is a more than fair assumption that they are all pretty much on the same page. Granted, each one brings something different to the table. Susan Brooks brings her experience as a Deputy mayor, former U.S. Attorney and time at Ivy Tech. John McGoff brings his medical and military experience. Wayne Seybold has executive branch management from being Mayor of Marion and David McIntosh knows how Washington works, or doesn’t work these days, as a former Congressman. Even the lightweights bring something to the table. Matt Mount is a law enforcement officer. Jack Lugar is an attorney and owns a real estate business. And Bill Salin, well, he’s got one heck of an interesting personality. I haven’t met Jack Anderson. Overall, most of these guys and gal would make a decent Congressman or Congresswoman.
On the issues, they are all pretty much operating in the same universe. They all believe in repealing the President’s health care plan. They all are pro-life and support the second amendment. There are some nuances, for example on earmarks, Seybold says they are not inherently bad and pointed to one Thursday which helped save jobs in his area, however he says with the nation’s current financial situation, there’s an issue of affordability. And both McGoff and Brooks said while they oppose bailouts in general, they could see the rational behind the Chrsyler bailout which helped saved hundreds of jobs in the Kokomo area.
So with not much difference between the candidates, at the end of the day this race will come down just like every other race. How organized are the candidates? Who has the money to compete? Who can brand themselves in such a way that they are just the most likeable person. And you could argue, who can reach those Boone County voters.
Yes, if you compare maps between the old and new 5th Districts, you can see that Zionsville is in and Huntington is out. And assuming Seybold is strong in the north, Brooks, McGoff, and McIntosh split up the Indianapolis area (Marion and Hamilton counties). Although McIntosh is from the Anderson area so he can lay claim to some of that. Lugar, Anderson, Mount and Salin split about 10% of the vote, that leaves Boone County and what I call “the Volvo driving soccer moms” and the good folks along 421 who have the potential to make or break this race.
And how does it get done, unfortunately, the old-fashioned way. Targeted television ads on cable, mailers, phone banks, knocking on doors. Advertising on political web blogs (hint! hint!) But who knows, the fun part about politics is always the unexpected stuff. And it’s the unexpected stuff that creates the leader of the pack. So we’ll see, hopefully something unexpected will happen and this will turn into the greatest show on earth and not just another campaign.
The Indiana primary is May 8.