Indiana Pundit


Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Thomas Hayhurst SWOT Analysis

  • Hayhurst is an experienced campaigner as a multi-termer on the FW city council.
  • As a doctor his fundraising potential is strong. Peer groups in professions such as doctors and lawyers often give extensive financial support to candidates from their ranks.
  • Tom is a nice guy. His personality and demeanor will make it easier to convert the undecided voters he meets.
  • His base of support is Allen county, which represents the largest chunk of the district.

  • He is a Democratic challenger in one of the most Republican Congressional districts in the country.
  • Dr. Hayhurst isn't viewed as a dynamic leader on the FW city council.

  • The GOP is vulnerable to the growing discontent of independents and its base.
  • Souder has campaigned on his relationship to President Bush in the past as seen at his website. Do I need to go any further with this point?

  • Dr. Hayhurst's only chance is to come off as a moderate. Should the DNC become a visible force in his campaign that perception disappears.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Fort Wayne Reader Article

Fort Wayne Reader has a story on the local blogosphere. IP was mentioned in the story along with other major players in the local blogosphere.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Lost Yard Signs

Its been long enough since the primary and there are still yard signs out there. If you have seen any not yet pulled report them here.

Just give the candidates name and location of the sign in the comments section.

License Branch Relocation

We've all heard Tom Wyss and Graham Richard voice their displeasure with Joel Silverman over his decision to move the BMV branch from Southgate Plaza to Waynedale. They would have rather seen it move to the revitalized Southtown Center.

It appears as if that their argument was nothing more than a subtle campaigning move to be viewed as fighting for the residents of the southeast side of Fort Wayne. Their argument was that moving the BMV branch to Southtown would help in its revitalization.

My first thought on this was if Silverman wasn't going to listen to the throngs of people who came out against the closures of their BMV branches then he isn't going to listen to those two.
My second thought was that his decision to relocate to Waynedale was the right one.
Richard and Wyss want the branch moved to Southtown Center. That wasn't a feasible option for Silverman because of a few reasons.

A new facility would have to be built in order to meet the needs of the BMV. The bureaucratic red tape involved in a new building would take a too long. The lease at Southgate is up in shortly. A new building would also have a high potential for a PR nightmare for the Daniels administration considering all the hostility towards the closings of other branches.

The Southgate and New Haven branches are too close together. This is causing Southgate to have heavier traffic and longer waits and New Haven to be lighter in traffic. A move to the Waynedale location creates more of a fix than does Southtown.

A move westward in the county gives better access to the growing southwest side. Once the Ardmore extension and widening projects are completed it will also make it easy access to residents as far north as West State Street. This would alleviate some of the congestion issues at Pine Valley.

In the end it all comes down to service. Silverman isn't known as a customer-friendly type of guy but in this case this is what is happening. The Waynedale location meets the present and future needs of the BMV better than either Southgate or Southtown.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

All Campaigns are Local

This comment was posted under the Just An Observation post. I felt that the issue is important enough that it needed addressed in more than a comment.

Anonymous said...
IP - this is quite insightful (as many of your posts are). As upsetting as it may be, Fort Wayne campaigns that are in tight races may be better off seeking political advertising/direct mail firms in Indy or beyond. While it's great to keep the money local, given the inordinate amount of campaign dollars local candidates spend here, I don't think it's necessarily wise.

One of the golden rules to political campaigns is all campaigns are local. Political environments vary from region to region. Each has its own quirks that can only be recognized by someone local. Campaigns that trust outsiders to run aspects of their campaign will miss those fine points.

A fine example of how not to do things was the Buskirk for Mayor campaign in 2003. They paid loads of money to bring in political consultants from Washington DC. Those consultants were responsible for the TV advertising and mailers that struck ill chords with voters.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Wizards and Dragons

News 15 ran a story on how a new baseball park in Dayton helped that town. The comparisons they tried to make between Dayton had and Fort Wayne were full holes.

The issue of building a new stadium is based on economics. With that in mind the two cities are on two different planes of existence.

The metro area of Fort Wayne is approximately 620,000 people. The Dayton metro area has around 950,000. The disparity in populations creates completely different economic dynamics.

Dayton is also sandwiched between two major cities along the axis of major interstates. They are located about 50 miles north of Cinncinatti and 70 miles from Columbus. The close proximity to both of these cities creates a lot of cross traffic and the potential of day-trips by their residents. Fort Wayne's closest neighbor is Indianapolis at 130 miles.

Dayton's team also gets more traffic from Cincinnati to games because the Dragons are an affiliate of the Reds. I don't think Fort Wayne gets a lot of people coming from San Diego to see the Wizards.

There is also the aspect that Dayton brought a new team to town and didn't have a facility that would work. It would be fiscally irresponsible for the city to build a new stadium when it has one in fine condition. If the team was consistently filling the seats to capacity then things might be different. Taxpayers shouldn't have to shell out more money due to a lack of foresight, planning, and organization.

In the end I think that News 15 tried too hard to make comparisons between the situation in Fort Wayne and the one once held by Dayton. The only thing they have in common is that their teams belong in the same league.

Thoughts on Rights

Evan Bayh introduced a Bill that would ban protests within 300 feet of a veteran's funeral. Senate Bill 2452. Congress has its own bill addressing the issue H.R. 5037. These bills are aimed at preventing debacles such as those produced by the Westboro Baptist Church.

Sylvia Smith stated in her column yesterday that these bills damage the Bill of Rights for those who wish to protest. She does say that the Church's protests are loathsome, ugly, and small-spirited but is their right under the freedom of speech. She goes on to say that these bills are nothing more than "election-year theatrics."

As usual I can only agree with her in her description of the Westboro protests. Her claims that this is a violation of the First Amendment is arguable. It is a weak argument as no bill prevents protesting. It is also not a campaign politics issue as she contends. This is obvious as bills were brought up in both Congress and Senate. Its pretty cynical to think that every bill introduced was done so with the purpose of campaign positioning.

The reason I wrote this post is not to throw darts at Sylvia (Thats as easy as pinning the tail on the donkey without a blindfold). This post is meant to address the issue not reported by her or most journalists. Freedom of speech is a right under our constitution. We have responsibilities that go along with thos rights.

Just because you have the right to do something doesn't mean it is right to do it.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Just an Observation

Recently FWOB posted on how the Asher Agency went 0-2 this past primary (current tally is actually 0-3). IP also eluded to it in the Pundies. A lot of campaigns from around here use Asher and win. But only if they aren't a tightly contested race. I think there is a reason behind this.
Its not a problem with just Asher. The problem is with the traditional advertising agency and how they do business in a campaign.
Their approach to the "voter" market is often similar to their approach to the consumer market. This is the most common flaw by ad agencies. Voters have nuances in their voting habits ( as a population) that they don't have in the way they purchase everyday items. Ad agencies miss those nuances with their approach. That makes them less effective. They don't generally have the expertise with the "voting" market.
The other issue in using an ad agency is priority. Their priority is profit the campaign's is winning. Those often times clash. Small agencies have this problem less than larger ones.
In the end it all comes down to control. Ad agencies often have more control over a campaign's message then the campaign realizes.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Campaign Timelines

For those of you who are only bystanders in campaigns for the general election herre is what is going on (vaguely) between now and November.

Campaigns that have a full slate of candidates are doing SWAT analysis against each other to determine their strategies. IP will do some SWAT analysis on these campaigns as well.

Knuth and Shine have until the end of June to fill vacancies for positions in which their party is not yet fielding candidates.

Other than using the good weather to go door to door all campaigns will be out of sight and out of mind until the beginning of August. The exception for this is fundraisers. But those aren't things noticed as much by the general public.

First-time challengers going against incumbents will start becoming visible at the beginning of August. All Other candidates will remain invisible until after Labor Day.

Expect mailers around Labor Day because most schools are in session.

September is considered the back stretch of a political race as campaigns ramp up activity. Expect forums and debates aplenty near the end of the month.There will also be the occasional radio ad.

If September is the back stretch then October is the home stretch. Campaigns will give everything they got at this point. There will be more forums and debates. Fundraising will taper off.

Yard Signs will start appearing October 1st though it is recommended to start them closer to midway through the month.

In the final two weeks of October there will be a constent barrage of mailers, radio and tv ads.

The weekend before the election most campaigns will have meetings to determine how they will handle the GOTV efforts.

I'll cover election day when we get there.

Note: there are a lot of other things that happen during this time. I acknowledge that. I'm just choosing not to name them all. I refuse to get carpal tunnel because of a single post.

Friday, May 05, 2006

2006 Spring Pundie Awards

The Spring Pundie Awards are a light hearted way of recapping the last five months. I hope everyone enjoys.

Best of Show for 2007 - Graham Richard
Best Republican not to win - Roy Buskirk
Best Democrat not to win - Geoff Paddock
Best Tan - Steve Shine
Worst Republican Campaign - Linda Bloom
Worst Democratic Campaign - Mike Joyner
Class Clown - David Roach
Best GOP Yard Signs - Ken Fries
Worst GOP Yard Signs - Tammi McKee (before the redesign)
Best DEM Yard Signs - Tina Taviano
Worst DEM Yard Signs - Tina Taviano
Best Endorsement by the opponent's family - John McGauley
Best GOP Website - Marla Irving
Worst GOP Website - Mark Souder
Best DEM Website - Barry Walsh
Worst DEM Website - Kevin Boyd
Most References to the Indiana Pundit - Fort Wayne Observed
Least Likely to Praise Indiana Pundit - Bill Brown
Most Likely to file a complaint with the Election Board for this Post - Kevin Knuth
Best impersonation of Andy Griffith - Guy Griffith
Best use of a caterpiller - Ken Fries
Best Postcard - Bill Brown
Worst Postcard - Fred Warner
Most Yard Sign Variations GOP - Marla Irving
Most Yard Sign Variations DEM - Tina Taviano
Best impersonation of a political analyst on TV - Brian Stier
Least usage of the upper lip while talking - Paul Helmke
Best Use of a Mac - Fred Warner
Worst Use of a Mac - Fred Warner
Business Most Helpful to campaigns - Acme Printing
Business that could have done better - Asher Agency
Most Conceited - Cal Miller
Most interesting GOP Race - Irving and Brown
Most interesting DEM Race - GiaQuinta and Paddock
Best Impersonation of John Crawford's Yard Signs - Ken Fries
Best Use of Hand-me-downs - Phil GiaQuinta
Most Happy Matt Kelty is Running for Mayor - Win Moses
Most Happy Paul Helmke is the new head for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence- Matt Kelty
Worst Speller - Mike Kessler
Most Likely to try again in 2008 - Bill Larsen
Best Campaign Colors - Ken Fries
Worst Campaign Colors - Bill Brown (trust me. they will be this fall)
Best use of a Union Logo on a Mailer - Marla Irving
Best of Show for a 3rd Party Candidate - Mike Sylvester
Best of Show for Democrats - Tina Taviano
Best of Show for Republicans - Ken Fries

Thursday, May 04, 2006

General Election Predictions

I know its a long way out to November. But there are currently 5 contested races. Here is my predictions for those (I'll add more as they come out).

3rd Congressional District
Souder vs Hayhurst
Souder isn't the strongest incumbent in the county but then again he doesn't need to be. Hayhurst has been a popular city councilman. In the end Hayhurst can't prove there is an overwhelming character-flaw in Souder that should require his removal from the position.

Souder wins 61% - 39%.

Indiana House of Representatives District 80
Howell vs GiaQuinta
This will be Howell's 3rd attempt at the office. He's a nice guy but isn't aggressive enough to win voters over to him.

GiaQuinta wins 62% - 38%.

Allen County Recorder
McGauley vs Summers
Summers faces problems in this one as even his own family are backing his challenger.

McGauley wins 66% - 34%.

Allen County Sheriff
Fries vs Taviano
The last time there was a contested race it was close. It will be tighter than the rest of the races I am predicting in this post but not as tight as Herman vs Zamora. Fries doesn't have the negatives that Herman did. I don't care what Brian Stier said about this race.

Fries wins 59% - 41%.

Allen County Assessor
Lopshire vs Love
Many Democrats will argue that Love isn't as weak as I will presently state. But the truth is she didn't win the election in 2002. Mike Ternet lost the race. There is a difference. Add that to the tax reassessments, whether her fault or not she is associated with property tax increases as the incumbent. She is also vulnverable on the assessor certification test issue.

Lopshire wins with 65% - 35%.

Note: All percentages are for Allen County totals only and have a +/- of 3%

Kelty Front-Runner to be FW Mayoral Candidate

FWOB was the first to report that Paul Helmke will be leaving Fort Wayne to head the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. By doing so it made the primary for next year's Mayoral nomination a lot more clear for Republicans.

By filing his exploratory committee papers, Matt Kelty made the first claim for the nomination. This is the approach Ken Fries took for getting the sheriff's nomination. Look how the rest of the candidates had trouble gaining a foothold in that race because of it. I expect the same to be the case should other candidates appear to go for FW Mayor.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Prediction Results

Here's how the Pundit did on the primary predictions
Predicted winner, actual winner

Irving vs Brown
Bloom vs Buskirk
Taviano vs Joyner vs Roach
Foster vs Fries vs Griffith vs Keesler
GiaQuinta vs Paddock
Miller vs Warner
Pond vs Worman
Hayhurst vs Boyd

I missed on Bloom vs Buskirk, and Miller vs Warner. I was also uncommitted to either candidate in the Democratic sheriff nomination. No matter what a campaign looks like it all comes down to those who go to the polls.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Midday Report

Turnout is about 20% under expectations in some areas. But that gap is shrinking.

For those who live in a cave with no windows, its still raining in most of the county.

First Report From the Field

Reports from the field indicate a low turnout due to the weather. This may cause a surge of voting if a clearing in the storm appears.

Early Bird Caught the Worm

I took a pre-election inspection of all the polling stations. Everything looks normal. All polling stations appear ready to go. I was able to make a few observations.

There was visible security at several polling stations during the night.

Most of the campaigns are in violation of election day law as their yard signs are within 50 feet of the chute (most are within 50 feet of the door to the polling station)

Campaign decorum at polling stations was exhibited countywide except for one precinct. Someone ran over four Mike Pence signs. It was a deliberate attempt as each was more than 30 yards apart. I have a suspect but am not releasing their name at this time. (word of advice, don't put your favorite candidate's signs next to your handiwork). There was also a Buskirk sign nearly destroyed at the same precinct. I suspect that person for that as well.

Don't Make it Personal

I was going through the archives of recent letters to the editors referring to the primary (here). In it I found a gem of what candidates shouldn't do themselves.

Cal Miller berated a member of his opponent's campaign committee, John Popp. This is an unwise move on Miller's part. The Popp family is well-respected in the community and have played an active part in local politics.

Cal may have burnt some bridges with this comment that he wished he hadn't. He broke a cardinal rule for politics. Don't make things personal.

My guess is that he's just angry that Fred got the endorsements of some very well-respected elected officials in the Aboite township area (where the majority of his vote comes from).

Fred Warner was endorsed by:
Barbara J. Krisher, Aboite Township trustee
Carolyn Berghorn, Aboite Township assessor
Janet VanHoozen Bolyard, Aboite Township board member

Monday, May 01, 2006

In Case You Missed It

Kevin Leninger wrote a piece on the use of straw polls and blogs (link). Indiana Pundit was one that had been featured.

He thinks we do an injustice to the credibility of polling. I think there have been a number of other sources that have done a good enough job of that without the help of bloggers.

Its an insult to the intelligence of blog readers to say they are gullible enough to think these polls have any semblence of accuracy. Blogs have niche readership which automatically skews any polling numbers. The only statistical value of these polls is to see if a shift in opinion from our readership has occurred.

So why do it? Because it gives a way for our audience to interact with the website and feel like they participated in a campaign.

Lighten up Kevin. You're taking it too seriously.

Checklist for Campaigns for Election Day

  • Make sure everybody in the organization (who is registered) votes.
  • Have your sign people out at 3AM for setup at polling stations. (Things amazingly disappear before that time)
  • Have cell phone numbers for everybody covering polling stations.
  • Don't forget the donuts and have coffee ready by the barrel.
  • Be prepared to make a speech for winning and losing.
  • Relax. At this point there isn't much you can do. It won't do you or the carpet you're pacing back and forth on any good.

Yard Sign Reform Proposal

As we suspected it was an individual (there are still more) who was caught stealing yard signs this past weekend. While the guy gets some simpathy vote from the public who are sick of the signs he still broke the law.

There has been a lot of talk about how voters are receiving the barrage a yard signs and their diminishing effectiveness.

Here's my suggestion. Make a county ban on yard signs from the right of way. That is where the most ill will from the public resonates.

Some have suggested that all yard signs be banned but I'm not willing to go that far. The use of a yard sign on somebody's own property is not as much an advertisement as it is an endorsement for a candidate by an ordinary Joe. In a compromise to those who wish to see all signs gone, put a limit on the number of signs that can appear on a property.

This is what this proposal would do:
  • Candidates would have to interact more with the public to gain name ID
  • More resources could be allocated to other parts of campaigns such as mailers and commercials
  • The right-of-way gets an extreme makeover during campaign season
  • Voter's rights to freedom of speech are not harmed

The end result of this kind of reform would be that the yard sign would have more value to campaigns, the public wouldn't be as annoyed by them, and there wouldn't be such an addiction to them as shown by current campaigns.

Souder on "Sin"

By now most of us have heard the "sin" commercial by Congressman Souder. There has been a lot of coverage on it by people who don't like it. It has its positives and its negatives when it comes to a campaign.

First, it has been effective in the aspect that it has people talking about the candidate and the campaign. For those who have heard commentary on the commercial but have not heard the commercial itself it can raise positive name ID (not that Souder really needs that).

Second, it has caused some backlash from voters of all political persuasions. Why? Because sin is considered a matter of both religious and personal moral. That means that the definition of sin can change from person to person. Stating it is the reason for this or that in a political context can be perceived as an insensitivity to any deviation from that candidate's personal moral code.

Effectiveness of Automated Calls

There is only one thing that gets under voter's skins than a million yard signs in the right of way. It is the automated call.

Helmke used them in the past and there are a few candidates using them now. Don't get me wrong. They work well in other places. Allen County is a little different when it comes to being interrupted during Jeopardy.

They hate being called by a campaign in the evening. I spoke with one voter recently who said "if they're going to call me they should at least have the balls to have a live person on the other end."

In this area when people realize that the caller is nothing more than a recorded message they hang up. How effective can that be? The answer is minimal.

The effectiveness can backfire completely if more than one candidate is using them. A second auto-caller can cause voters to have a negative impression of either one or both of the campaigns that called them. Every automated call a voter gets increases the likelihood they won't vote for a candidate who used them.



Resource Links

Blog Links

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Copyright 2006 ©. Indiana Pundit.
All Rights Reserved.