With 40 days left to go in the 2012 Election cycle, I figured that would be as good time as any to offer a few assessments and even worse – predictions – regarding the races here in Indiana.
As always, a day is like a lifetime in politics and anything can, and usually does, change. So keep that in mind as you read this.
- Big shocker, Mitt Romney easily carries Indiana. Even if incumbent President Barack Obama wasn’t unpopular here, the Obama for America team is practically nowhere to be found.
The good news for the Obama folks, though, is that right now they have the national momentum and will likely walk away with a second term.
- This is going to be the nail-biter and down to the wire. Every external and internal poll I have been privy to shows Richard Mourdock and Joe Donnelly neck and neck. And as I have said before, it’s the Lugar Republicans who are still on the fence and making this race so close. And Sen. Richard Lugar’s decision not to campaign for Mourdock probably doesn’t help.
- Now with that said, I think Mourdock will likely squeak out a win because of a couple of factors. First, this is still a Republican state and Donnelly has fewer options to get to 51 percent. However, Mourdock is really going to have to reach out to the Lugar Republicans and tell some of the tea-party elements that are taking credit for his victory to go chill out for a while.
- I am just about ready to stick a fork in this race because it is done. It’s not so much because, once again, the polling I am privy to is showing Republican Mike Pence with a 15-20 point lead over John Gregg. It’s more that while Pence has run an extremely disciplined campaign, I can’t quite figure out what Gregg is doing. His latest rainy day ad, while cute in a Hee Haw sort of way, is factually wrong – as pointed out by WISH-TV’s Jim Shella and yours truly. Gregg has not been able to get traction this entire campaign. He may have gotten a little bit of traction calling on DCS Chief Judge James Payne to resign, but if Pence’s lead in the polls remains in the double-digits, I don’t expect too much to change. Gregg has also promised that he would not go negative, so his last hope is the debates, if anyone apart from the political class actually watches.
Indiana Attorney General
- I know Greg Zoeller, but who is Kay Fleming?
Superintendent of Public Instruction
- In the last few days, Republican Tony Bennett has raised at least $150,000. This summer, he raised more than $250,000 in large donations. Glenda Ritz brought in $70,000, but that check was from the teachers unions. Ritz has also had trouble getting media attention, and if more than one reporter shows up to her press availabilities, she is lucky. The only way she got media attention this week was the fact that Bennett gave his State of Education address and she was there to respond. With that said – and all the other dynamics – I don’t see how Bennett loses this one.
Indiana House and Senate
- There’s no reason to think the GOP won’t keep its strong majorities in both chambers. The big question is how much of a gain will they make in the House and whether they can hold onto Scott Schneider’s seat in the Senate.
Indiana Congressional Seats
- I think the GOP wins seven of nine Congressional seats, but I think the 8th between Larry Buschon and David Crooks will be the closest.
These are my thoughts based on today. Talk to me tomorrow and you might get a different answer.