Following the Bouncing Election Ball

Random observations and insights from Election Day thus far:

  • Seems that the Secretary of State’s election division received as many inquiries about liquor stores being open (the law was, in a common sense move, changed earlier this year to allow alcohol sales while the polls were open) than problems at the polls. Good news there.
  • A caller to The Times in Northwest Indiana bragged that he voted straight Republican today. The newspaper’s response, on its blog, was: Well, duh!
  • There were early reports (around 7 p.m.) that U.S. Senate frontrunner Dan Coats had practiced his victory speech from the podium at the Indianapolis Marriott. Guess he didn’t mind tempting fate a bit.
  • Interesting to see those U.S. Senate and other TV ads airing in the final minutes before the polls closed. Candidates seeking a last-minute push? Nah! Just the intricacies of televison scheduling.
  • Indy Star’s Matt Tully notes on Chamber webcast that all Republicans leading the congressional primaries were doing so with less than 50% of the vote (current Indiana Rep. Jackie Walorski did move up to 57% a short time later in dominating her race to challenge Joe Donnelly)

I Was Just Wondering …

  • Why does the U.S. Senate routinely have meetings scheduled at 2 p.m. to discuss what is commonly termed "morning business?"
  • Speaking of the Senate, will it actually add strong nuclear energy language to the climate legislation that is almost assuredly becoming a 2010 topic?
  • Outside of Washington, does an Alabama state senator really expect to generate support for an amendment to abolish gambling in the state? Although we’re talking charity bingo and betting at dog tracks, an apt phrase might be that "the horse is out of the barn" on that one
  • On the topic of gaming, what will be the fate of several of Indiana’s establishments? The Hoosier state is no doubt "all in" and individual riverboats, racinos and the like are faced with the continued slow economy, company bankruptcies and further competition on the way from Ohio (and maybe others)
  • Where will ethics reform go in the state General Assembly? Legislative leaders are talking about it and the state’s leading newspapers are advocating for it. My unofficial take: set the rules and we’ll play by them, just as we do now
  • No question to close; just a compliment. In the state’s largest newspaper, congrats to Matt Tully for his continuing series of columns exploring the challenges at Indianapolis Manual High School. You can agree or disagree with his opinions and insights, but the work put into the project and the writing is exemplary

Making the (Indiana) Call on Congress

Our panel of media/blogging experts previewed election topics far and wide in the current issue of BizVoice. The roundtable discussion included a Congressional look, which didn’t make the cut for the print edition.

While three seats went from Republicans to Democrats in 2006, most pundits see fewer opportunities for change this time around. A few of the insghts:

  • The fourth straight matchup between Baron Hill and Mike Sodrel in the 9th District will again be the one to watch. Matt Tully of the Indianapolis Star says the past negative races kept both sides quieter early in the process, but expect a strong final push. Joshua Gillespie of Hoosier Access adds that a wildcard is some high-ranking Democrats upset with Hill’s endorsement of Barack Obama during the primary.
  • Republican challengers will likely embrace the energy issue. WXNT Radio’s Abdul Hakim-Shabazz wouldn’t be surprised at a compromise from the Democrats to take that chip away from the GOP, with the knowledge that an agreement today won’t yield substantial impacts for a number of years.
  • In the Senate as a whole, Jeff Pruitt of Fort Wayne Politics puts the over/under at five on seats switching to the Democrat side.
  • Pruitt notes it’s a longshot bid, but he says Demcrat challenger Mike Montagano is running well early against incumbent Mark Souder, seeking his eighth term.

BizVoice has much, much more on Election ’08.

Talking Politics and Da Region

In a recent BizVoice magazine roundtable discussion on the 2008 political season (see the story here), the question was asked whether regionalism really matters in the 21st century as much as it did before.

The quick, almost in unison, answer from Matt Tully of the Indianapolis Star and Joshua Gillespie of Hoosier Access: In this state, yeah.

Tully, speaking of his former home turf of Northwest Indiana: "They feel like they’re part of Chicago." Noting Gov. Mitch Daniels’ many visits to the region in the last four years, he adds, "TV advertising is not going to do it. You’ve got to show that you go up there."

Gillespie notes: "When you actually have Lake County Republicans talking well about Gov. Daniels … there’s no way he wins it, but there’s a better chance he gets a better performance."

Catch more of the BizVoice election preview.