I am truly shocked by the outcome of last night’s election. Despite my many urgings for people to vote Bart Peterson and the incumbent Democrats out of office, I didn’t actually expect it to happen. Thusly, you can imagine my surprise when I turned on the news last night and they were talking to Mayor-Elect Greg Ballard.
So what happened? Some people are calling this the “biggest political upset” in Indiana history, and it certainly is for Indianapolis. Just look at the odds Ballard had stacked against him:
- Bart Peterson had more than triple Ballard’s funding
- Ballard did not have the outspoken support of the business community or the local Republican party
- In the past 40 years, no incumbent mayor of Indianapolis had lost a bid for re-election.
The simple fact of the matter is that Marion County residents were tired of the status quo. The blame for rising crime and skyrocketing property taxes was placed directly at the feet of the incumbents – combine that with the fact that Ballard and the Republicans ran an excellent grassroots campaign equals a big win.
It’s worthwhile to note that the Marion City/County Council had a complete power shift as well; Republicans now control both the Council and the Mayor’s office.
Two final things that I want to point out from this election:
- Money can’t buy elections. Like I said, Peterson outspent Ballard by a ridiculous amount, but he still lost the election.
- Grassroots can win elections. Greg Ballard got out to the actual voting people of Indianapolis, and he did it without a lot of support. He motivated his conservative base, and was able to get enough of the swing vote based on the property tax and crime issues.
I am hoping that the new administration will actually take steps to continue to improve Indianapolis, and live up to the promises of change.
One final note, I would like to say that Bart Peterson’s concession speech was dignified and professional, with none of the usual whining that we’ve seen so often. He went out with class, and should be held up as an example of such.