Saturday, November 12, 2011

Indy Star Decides Rupert is not a Candidate Worth Mentioning

Rupert Boneham
(image credit:

The Indy Star's Mary Beth Schneider had an article in today's paper about a candidate for Indiana Governor.  It started of with a lengthy discussion about how this candidate refused to shave his trademark facial hair despite pressure to do so.

There was even a quote from the gubernatorial candidate defending his position, as Schneider puts it, as not just a personal, but a political statement.

"If I shave this off," (he) said, "people would say, 'What else is he going to change to be governor?' I'm not changing anything to be governor. I am what I am."

If I didn't know better, I'd swear this article was about Rupert Boneham.  It's not, though.  The article is about Democratic candidate John Gregg, who has decided to embrace his mustache as a trademark of his campaign, even including it in his new campaign logo.

In fact, the article conspicuously fails to mention that Rupert Boneham is even a candidate in the Indiana Governor's race.

Gregg's Campaign Logo
(image credit:
Mike Pence?  Check.  Jim Wallace? Check.  John Gregg?  Obviously, check.  Schenider even mentions Gregg's primary "competition," J. Robert Casko, who, according to the article, has only raised $206.

But Schneider fails to include Rupert's name in any way as a candidate for 2012 Governor.  Boneham's absence from the article is especially notable since Schneider spends a significant portion of her article discussing Gregg's unwillingness to get rid of his facial hair.  Boneham - whose candidacy has brought national and international news stories - also has trademark facial hair that he has stated he will not get rid of.
Both candidates have obviously received pressure to do so.

In most races, I don't get to wrapped up in the fact that Libertarian candidates get ignored in media articles.  Often, the Libertarian candidates are poorly funded and do little campaigning. When a Libertarian candidate steps outside of that typical circle, though, they are just as worthy of coverage as any other candidate.

This is especially the case with Rupert Boneham.  He is on the path to running a well-funded, high-profile campaign.  For the Star to already begin heading down the path of failing to mention him goes beyond normal oversight of a Libertarian.  It is simply poor and sloppy journalism.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Yes, I stole this pic from the Indy Democrat blog.
Today is Election Day.  I hope you will take advantage of your right.

Of course, I'd like you to vote for the same people I do.  Mostly, though, I'd just like you to vote.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Ed Coleman Again Attacked with Lies by Sandlin Campaign.

Councillor Ed Coleman
(one of his infamous new suits?)
 Jack Sandlin's at it again.  I wrote on Thursday about Jack's neagative mailers; one attacking Ed Coleman with lies about an "attack piece" that didn't exist, and another with Jack taking credit for 4 years worth of Council votes while having only been on the Council for 11 months.

(To be fair, the Marion County Libertarian Party did send a less-than-positive piece on Sandlin.  It was sent, however, after Sandlin claimed to be attacked.  The only pieces that I am aware of having been sent before Sandlin's claim are the incredibly positive pieces I showed in the blog.)

Now, there's another mailer floating around on Sandlin's behalf attacking Ed Coleman.  This one, paid for by the MCRCC, makes claims that Coleman illegally used campaign funds to buy fancy clothes, and fly to Vegas for a night at a casino.

(On a personal note, I don't know what Sandlin considers to be a "Wild" night in vegas.  Frankly, I don't think that a $108 hotel room bill qualifies.)

New ad attacking Coleman
The fact is that Coleman made a trip to Vegas to go to Freedom Fest, one of the largest Libertarian festivals in the country, to seek fundraising.  Considering that his networking there may have been a significant step towards his campaign receiving a $50,000 donation seems to make the trip very worth while.  And the $108 casino expense that Sandlin implies was gambling?  That was Coleman's hotel room.

Fellow blogger Paul Ogden covered this earlier today.  It appears he has been in touch with Coleman's campaign. Coleman's response, via Ogden's blog:

"Freedom Fest is a large gathering of enthusiastic libertarian individuals every year in Nevada. The campaign invested a small amount for Ed to make the trip, because we saw an opportunity to fundraiser and receive attention on a national level.

The investment paid off and eventually helped Ed raise over $60,000 for his campaign, allowing us to spread Ed’s message of Lower Taxes, Balanced Budgets, and Public Safety."

Coleman's response goes on to say that Ed has focused on his health this year, a focus that has lead to his losing almost fifty pounds.  That weight loss lead to Coleman's need for new suits, a need which campaign contributors recognized and specifically donated for.
So, for the second time in days I have to wonder why Jack Sandlin has to resort to lies in his attempts to defeat Ed Coleman.  As I said in my previous blog, Sandlin is obviously scared.
I guess I should just be clear.  An $1,100 trip for the purpose of raising more than $60,000 for your campaign is not the misuse of campaign funds, even if that trip happens to land you in Vegas.  Another $880 on suits after losing 50 pounds is not a misuse of campaign funds, especially when money was specifically donated to your campaign for that cause.  There was no "Wild night in Vegas." There was a fundraising trip just like candidates everywhere take part in.
Jack Sandlin and the Republicans are turning to lies in their negative mailers simply because there just isn't anything true to be said about Councillor Coleman that would piss anyone off.
And Jack Sandlin and the Republicans are turning to lies in their own Vote for Jack mailers simply because there isn't anything true to be said about Sandlin that would entice anyone to elect him.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Sandlin Acting Scared on the South Side

If you haven't yet noticed, I hope you take a minute to turn your attention to a very interesting Council race that has been developing on the South Side.  Marion County's 24th district, located at the due-south side of town, along US 31 from I-465 to County Line, is shaping up as one of the more interesting races in this year's election.

Ed Coleman
The "battle of the mustaches" is between Libertarian Ed Coleman, currently an at-large councillor representing all of Marion County, and Republican Jack Sandlin, the current District 24 representative, appointed to fill the position last December after Mike Speedy left for his State House seat.  There is no Democrat running in the race. The word is, though, that Marion County Democrats are apparently making it clear through their inner circles that any Democrat who does not vote for Coleman is, in their view, essentially voting for Republican Sandlin.

Both have been out spreading the word about their campaigns and have sent several pieces through the mail.  Coleman has sent two or three mailers out so far and has thus far remained positive.  Sandlin has sent several mailers (mostly sent on his behalf from the Republican Party) which have been misleading at best.

This issue was tackled on Monday by fellow blogger Paul Ogden.  In his article "Mailing Brags About Councilor Jack Sandlin's Support of Mayor Ballard's Agenda BEFORE Sandlin Took a Seat On the Council" Ogden talks about how Sandlin, a councillor for a mere 11 months, takes credit for years worth of votes on the Council.

One of Sandlin's first misleading ads

I assume Sandlin is trying to play into the fact that most voters do not even know who their councillor is.  By making claims that are not even possible, Sandlin hopes to capitalize on the votes of voters who simply do not know better.

From Ogden:

"The only problem is, Sandlin did not take a seat on the Indianapolis City-County Council until late 2010. Bragging about Sandlin's support of the Ballard agenda when he wasn't even on the council seems to be at worst dishonest and at best sloppiness by party officials.

It is also a stretch to say he was "elected" and now should be "re-elected." Sandlin received his position when he won an unopposed precinct committeeman caucus vote to fill a vacancy when Councilor Michael Speedy was elected to the legislature."
Ogden is right on both points.  Sandlin's mailer starts by asking for you to "re-elect" him.  Simply, you cannot re-elect someone that was never elected in the first place.
Second, Sandlin takes credit for passing honestly balanced budgets each of the last three years.    Simply, again, you can't pass budgets that you were not part of the Council to even vote on. (I won't even get in to the "honestly balanced" statement, except to say Indianapolis does not have an honestly balanced budget.) His mailer, as you can see, is full of similar points that are simply impossible for an 11-month councillor to have achieved.
Sandlin's newest mailer, the first one I've seen actually paid for by his campaign, directly attacks Coleman for having "attacked" him unfairly.

Sandlin's recent "I was attacked" mailer

The first line of the mailer indicates that Coleman is trying to deceive the 24th District voters.  An interesting statement from someone claiming credit for 4 years of votes during 11 months on the Council.
The mailer also refers to Coleman's mailers as an "attack" on Sandlin.  If you look at the samples of Coleman's mailers that I have included, I am sure you you find that they are free of attacks on Sandlin. In fact, Coleman's campaign ads have been very good about staying centered on Coleman's achievements.

Back of one Coleman mailer
Front of both of Coleman's mailers
Back of the other Coleman mailer
I'm not going to get up on a pedestal and say that Ed Coleman is without flaws.  One thing that he is, though, is honest.  On more than one occasion I've heard members of other parties, even when disagreeing with him, refer to Coleman as one of the most consistent and principled members on the Council.  To suggest that Coleman is lying or being deceptive in his campaign materials is, as I show above, simply not true.
In fact, if there's a deceptive candidate this year in District 24, it's Jack Sandlin.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

WISH TV Poll Shows Ballard with 11-Point Lead

WISH-TV just released a poll showing Mayor Ballard with a 44%-33% lead over challenger Melina Kennedy.  Libertarian Chris Bowen comes in with 2%, and the undecided vote comes in very high at 21%.  The poll had a 4.9% margin of error.

This poll very closely resembles the poll that Fox 59 received from the Ballard campaign.  I covered that poll and other aspects of the race in my Tuesday story "Kennedy Will, wait...No, Ballard Will, hold on..."

While this poll is not too far outside of the margin of error, especially when you add in the undecided votes, this is obviously horrible news for the Kennedy campaign.  Such an enormous apparent margin this many days before the election has the ability to possibly cause some Kennedy supporters to give up and not bother coming to the polls on Tuesday.

While I disagree with his position on this, that very possibility was something that Paul Ogden blogged on earlier Wednesday.

It will be very interesting to see how both campaigns react to this poll in the final days of what, before tonight, appeared to be a very close campaign.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Problems with Early Voting at the Clerk's Office Today?

I voted today. I went downtown to the Marion County Clerk's office to do so. There were a lot of people down there to vote, probably because of the GOP early voting rally taking place across the street in the City Market property.

I would like to say that my experience was without any problem or confusion, but that was not the case.  Unfortunately, the problems were not mine alone. Several people voting while I was there seemed to have at least one, if not several problems.

Before I begin to delve into exactly what all went wrong, I'll explain the steps that were involved in the early voting process.

First, by entering the building through the Delaware Street entrance, you are able to proceed directly into the Clerk's office and bypass the line for security. Actually, you bypass security altogether which I find somewhat amusing.  But, the Clerk's office is right inside that entrance, and a path is set up so you can only go to and from that office if that is your need.

Once inside, you go to a front desk with several of the early/absentee voting envelopes set up. At this point you fill out the highlighted sections of the envelope, and then are instructed to take the envelope into the next room and have your ID ready.

When you enter the next room, your first step is a person that identifies your proper voting precinct and labels your envelope as such. You present her your ID, she looks you up in her computer, and she prints off a little label with your name and precinct on it and sticks it to your envelope.

Next, you take a couple steps down to another person that looks at your newly acquired sticker and prints out a proper ballot for you.

You then take a couple steps more down to a couple of ladies who now check your ID, your ballot, and your envelope to make sure that all three properly match each of the others. Then, they both initial off on your ballot, tell you to complete your ballot in one of the many voting stalls crammed into the room, fold your ballot in half, and take it to the ladies at the other side of the room.

When you get there, the ladies again confirm that you do indeed exist and are, in fact, in front of them. They turn the open end of the envelope to you, ask you to insert your folded ballot, and then seal the envelope yourself. Then, you sign the envelope stating that you have been checked, rechecked, and checked yet again, and place your sealed envelope into the ballot box.

Now that you know what the process is like, let me explain the two areas where there is problems and/or confusion.

The first problems lie at your first stop, the entry desk where you complete the information on your envelope.  See, the areas of essential information you need to fill out have been highlighted for you. The problem is, many (if not all) of the envelopes in use are left over from the primary. The problem with that is that the section asking for you to declare a party for your ballot are highlighted.

I'm knowledgeable enough about politics that I am aware that declaration does not occur in a general election, only in a primary. I asked why it was highlighted, the gentleman said it was a leftover from primary and to ignore it. Then the gentleman to my right asked why he had to declare and was told the same thing. The person to my left did not ask, and checked the box for a political party.

It makes me wonder his many people didn't bother or know to ask, and just checked a party. If there, God forbid, was a nefarious election worker, they would then have clear indication of what ballots to "misplace" on election day.

The next problem came in the 4-step voting room, although the problem may have been included on the left-over-from-the-primary envelopes, I did not confirm which.

You see, on the back of the envelope where you sign after sealing, there's a little mini-affidavit that says you are who you say you are, and that you live where you say you live, and that you believe you are properly allowed to vote in the election you are voting in. The envelope has boxes to check whether it was a primary or a general election, and a blank line for the date to be inserted. For convenience, they placed a sticker over the section that was pre-printed with which election and date the envelope was for.

The problem here is that many, if not all, of the stickers were also leftovers and read, "Primary Election, May 2011."

I wasn't sure what was happening at first. When I first entered the room there was a voter that was very upset because of the sticker on her envelope. The election workers assured her it was OK, that the sticker would be ignored. Correctly,  the lady stood up and said it wasn't OK with her. She wanted to be sure that there were absolutely no irregularities with her ballot so that it definitely got counted. She was offered the chance to start from scratch. While that annoyed her, it appeared that is the path she took.

As I said, though, as that was going on I was unsure of the issue. When I got to the first set of ladies that signed off on my ballot is when I first started to put it together. The first lady looked at my envelope, smirked, and showed it to her counterpart, saying, "see, they're all for the primary."

I asked if there was a problem, and was simply told that the other ladies at the other side of the room probably had stickers to replace it with.

Remember, at this point I'm only aware that there is some problem, but not aware what it specifically is. This response did not help me understand the issue, and when I asked I simply got handed my ballot and envelope, along with a "thanks for voting."

So, I voted. Then I took my ballot and envelope to the other ladies at the other side of the room. By this time I had examined my envelope and found its primary 2011 designation. The ladies at that end of the room ignored my sticker until I pointed it out and asked about it. The lady on the left indicated that the lady on the right had the proper stickers. The lady on the right interjected, "well I only have two more. What am I supposed to do then?" The first lady just told her to not worry about it if they weren't brought more stickers.

My old sticker was then peeled off, leaving a huge tear on the surface of the envelope's paper, and the new sticker was affixed. I was told to place my envelope in the ballot box, and go about my way.

These problems all appear associated with the reuse of envelopes set up for the 2011 primary. That reuse is, albeit small, a taxpayer savings and I support it. For next time, though, I wholeheartedly suggest the following:

A) if you're going to reuse ballot envelopes from a primary that are highlighted asking for party declaration, reuse them in the next primary election. Do not use them in a general election where party declaration does not and should not, even accidentally, occur.

B) If you're going to affix stickers to a ballot envelope to easily identify what election that envelope belongs with, then for heaven's sake change the damned sticker if the envelope gets used in a different election.

C) if A and B are too difficult to achieve, then all prepared ballot envelopes need destroyed after the election they were originally intended for.

Easy enough?

Kennedy Will, wait...No, Ballard Will, hold on...

I was fully prepared to post my 2011 Indianapolis Mayoral prediction today.  My initial post was to declare my belief the Melina Kennedy would win the Mayor's race with 49% of the vote, Ballard coming in at 47%, and the remaining 4% going to Libertarian Chris Bowen.

With the lack of publicly available polls, I had to base my prediction on other things. First, the tone of the campaigns.  The Kennedy campaign seems to have gotten progressively nicer, while the Ballard camp seems to have gotten angrier lately.  Second, the lack of polls being released by the campaigns seemed to be an indicator of a tight race that neither side was willing to give up too much info on.

Third, there's a bunch of Republicans pissed off at Greg Ballard for things like the water company, the parking meters, the back-scratching of political buddies, etc.  While Bowen has ran a relatively quiet campaign and was excluded from most debates, I fully expected to see many Republicans either vote for him or take a pass on Mayoral voting altogether, rather than vote for Ballard or Kennedy. This, of course, would push Bowen's percentage up a bit.

There's been a sequence of news in the last day or so that has made me reconsider my position.  Twice.

First, word spread Monday of a couple of internal polls that Fox 59 had gotten a hold of.  One poll, from the Ballard campaign, was said to have been taken within the last week and indicated that he had a double-digit lead, 51%-39%, with Bowen coming in at 2%.  A second poll, from the Kennedy campaign, indicated that she had a 2-point lead that was within the margin of error.  Kennedy's poll was said to have been taken about two weeks ago.

Of course, both campaigns are likely to release polling information that shows them in the best light.  The fact that Kennedy's best shot at this was a two-week old poll that has her in a statistical dead heat with Ballard can't mean good news for the Kennedy campaign.  Abdul-Hakim Shabazz was quick to point out on his Indiana Barrister blog that those numbers are the exact same numbers released by Marion County Democratic Chairman Ed Treacy on September 23rd.  That coincidence is strong enough to make one doubt the validity of the Kennedy campaign statement that the poll given to Fox 59 is only two weeks old.

So, I began to rethink my initial prediction.  In light of this new information, I was willing to now say that Ballard was going to win re-election.  My new guess, based on that polling, was 52%-47%-3%. Ballard with a strong but not enormous win over Kennedy, and Bowen's numbers a little lower because of it.

OK, so I'm ready to run with this story now.  Right?

But wait...

This morning, Gary Welsh over at Advance Indiana wrote that early voting numbers are through the roof this year. According to his story, early turnout numbers are almost twice what they were at this time in 2007, and almost as high as last year's Congressional election year.

Traditional thinking would tend to indicate that is an incredibly strong sign for Kennedy.  Early voting is, as a rule, a Democratic stronghold.  While Republicans are now, at the last minute, trying to push their people for early voting, the Marion County GOP has been opposed to any expansion of the process this year.  It's all about votes when it comes to decision making for parties, so that opposition would lead you to believe Republicans are sure Kennedy and/or other Democrats favor strongly from early voting.

So let's sum this up.  Lack of polling results being released seems to be a slight favor to Kennedy.  But then some polling results are released but they are questionable but they seem to indicate a strong favor for Ballard.  But early voting results are through the roof which seems to be a good thing for Kennedy. (You get that?)

I guess I'll just split the difference and predict the race as 48%-48%-4%.  I wouldn't be at all surprised if we see a recount necessary on this one.

Mayoral Candidate Bowen in Serious Accident

Chris Bowen
 Indianapolis Mayoral Candidate Chris Bowen (L) was in a serious car accident overnight, and considers himself lucky to be alive.  From a Facebook post from him this morning:

"Someone cut me off on the exit from the freeway. I rolled my car twice and totaled it. I am lucky to be alive. Spent the night in the E.R. Not looking forward to the coming pain, but hey, I am alive."

I consider Bowen a friend and am relieved he is already out of hospital care.  I wish him a speedy recovery from whatever injuries he may have sustained.

Ron Paul and Republicans: It's Decision Time

Dr. Ron Paul
(image credit:
There's been a lot of chatter in the blogosphere and the news lately about whether Ron Paul may abandon the Republican Party and choose to run for President on a third party ticket.  It's not exactly a surprise to be hearing these rumblings.  However, as the first presidential primaries draw closer, it is time for both Ron Paul and the Republican Elite to make a decision on how they want to proceed.
The first decision needs to be made by the Republicans.  It's time to answer a question: Is it more important for a Republican to win the presidency, or is it more important for Barack Obama not to?  That's the decision the GOP may be making when they decide to support or not support Ron Paul.
Let's break that down.  First, don't give me that "third party candidates steal votes" crap.  It isn't true.  Our votes do not belong to candidates, they belong to us.  If I vote for a third party candidate it's because they earned it.  If a major party candidate loses by a margin smaller than the amount of third party votes, then that candidate did not earn a win.  The winner wins because they earned the most votes.  The loser(s) lose because they were not successful at earning the number of votes they need.  That is fact.  You would be unable to convince me otherwise.
Next, Ron Paul is doing pretty well.  He is raising a ton of cash.  He is obliterating the competition in straw polls.  In head-to-head comparisons, he fares extremely well versus Obama.  The only people that don't seem to like him are the Republican Elite and the media.  Hell, even the media is slowly starting to come around.
But, as noted, the Republican brass don't seem to care for Paul much.  No matter how well he does, they just can't come to embrace his libertarian ideals.  More, I believe that they dislike him because he does what he believes is best rather than simply falling into line.
Now, though, the Republicans are going to be faced with a major problem.  There is growing belief that Ron Paul will be unable to earn the Republican nomination for President.  Because of that, the calls for Paul to run on a third party ticket get louder and louder.  On Saturday, ABC news reported that the director of the Manhattan Libertarian Party had specifically called for Paul to run for the LP. (Because of his libertarian ideals, and his 1988 run for president on the Libertarian ticket, the LP seems to be the most likely spot for Ron Paul to land if he ran as something other than Republican.)
The problem for Republicans has to do with Ron Paul's enormous popularity with those outside the Republican Establishment.  If Paul ran on a third party ticket, he would most certainly earn a huge number of votes, including a part of the Electoral College. If the votes are split three ways, there is little chance that a Republican candidate will earn enough votes to win the Presidency.  In fact, because of Paul's attraction to people on both sides of the aisle, a Third Party Ron Paul could quite possibly earn more votes than the Republican counterpart.

(image credit:

So, the Republican Elite have themselves in a pickle.  Their choices are: A) Suck it up and throw their support behind Ron Paul, a candidate they don't seem to care for but that has a real shot head-to-head versus Obama, or; B) Risk Ron Paul running on a third party ticket, in which case the GOP has no chance of 2012 victory.
That being said, I doubt that the Republican Elite have the intestinal fortitude to give enough support to Ron Paul to give him a shot at the nomination.  That would require conceding.  Conceding anything is not something the two major parties are known to do.
This brings us to the decision that needs to be made by Ron Paul.  He could wait for the Republican Elite to make a decision, but that decision is predictably a negative one for Paul. The problem is, if he waits for the Republicans to decide then they could stall.  My understanding of sore loser laws is that if Paul loses a GOP primary, then most states will not allow him to run for the same office on a different ticket in the subsequent general election.
That means Paul must decide about a third party run before the primaries, which gives him precious little time to do so.  Thus far his answers to questions on this issue have been relatively vague, but seem to lean heavily towards not doing so.  Of course, he's still running for the Republican nomination, so acting like he's considering defecting would be a sure-fire way to end any shot he has at an R nod. So, for now, it makes complete sense that Paul denies any third party rumors that are out there.
If, though, Ron Paul is serious about his intentions to be President, and all indications are that he is, he and his campaign team have to be seriously looking at the Third Party possibility.  Within a month, unless polls show him much stronger among likely Republican voters, Paul will need to decide whether to hang up his hat or to run for another party.
Paul's decision about a third party, though, will mean he will need to consider many of the same things that the Republican Elite will need to consider while thinking about him. If he runs as a third party candidate, there is little chance that the Republican candidate will earn enough votes to win the Presidency.  Paul, on a third party ticket, may earn more votes than the Republican, but will have a difficult time earning more votes than both the Republican and the Democrat.  In that case, it would appear that the Presidency remains under the grasp of Barack Obama. So, is it more important for Ron Paul to win, or for Obama to lose?
The Republican Elite and Ron Paul are both nearing the zero hour for a decision to be made.  I'm sure there are Republicans everywhere begging Ron Paul to not run third party.  I'm sure, also, that Ron Paul is using that to apply some leverage to his fellow Republicans.  "If you don't want me to go, you'd better get out there and start supporting me." The GOP probably won't offer that support, thinking they are calling Ron Paul's bluff.
Historically, though, Ron Paul is not known for bluffing.  I wouldn't be at all surprised if Paul announces a third party run within the next month.  If so, it's just one other story that's going to make 2012 one hell of a ride.