My colleague Jon Easter over at Indy Democrat has compiled two interesting posts (here and here) on the upcoming slating convention here and here.
The first post explains how slating will work for the nominations for At-Large City-County Council seats, of which there are four. Previously, all candidates ran in one category and, if I understand correctly, the top four vote getters in slating would be the "slated"/party endorsed candidates for the May primary.
Marion County Democrat Party Chairman Ed Treacy had concerns over the aforementioned method. He believes there are precinct committeemen who would only vote for one candidate, thus possibly making it harder for lesser known but still qualified candidates to even have a shot. So instead of running in one big pile, At-Large candidates can file in four different slots. Then, during slating, everyone votes for one candidate in each slott.
Currently, Zach Adamson and Joanne Sanders are in their own slots and thus uncontested. Adamson is a downtown business owner of Just Hair. If nominated, he'd be the first openly gay candidate for the City-County Council. Sanders is the only Democrat At-Large councillor and currently serves as Minority Leader of the Democrat caucus.
The two slots that are contested are between Pat Andrews and John Barth, and Annette Johnson and Leroy Robinson. Andrews has served in various community groups such as the Marion County Alliance of Neighborhood Association (MCANA). Barth has worked within the non-profit sector for several years and also serves on the board of Project Home Indy. Johnson sits on several Democrat organizations based in Pike Township and previously ran for the 7th district City-County Council nomination in 2007, which ultimately went to Maggie Lewis. Robinson is the most recent candidate to file, and I honestly know little more than what's displayed on his Facebook page.
Jon Easter keeps saying that the field for At-Large is going to "blow up", and so far, he's been right.
The question that sits in my mind is that three of the candidates (Barth, Johonson, and Adamson) have been running for the seat for the better part of 2010, and Sanders is the incumbent. Does that put Andrews and Robinson at a disadvantage?
And if more candidates file, which slot will they file under? I find it interesting that the two candidates who are African-American are in the same slot. Will Adamson or Sanders also face a challenger?
And while all this activity is going on in the left side of the isle, what's going on with the right?
Frankly, I haven't a clue. I've talked to several insiders within the Marion County GOP and I haven't heard a peep. Either my sources are being sly, or they have as much of an idea as I do. I can only presume that Barbara Malone and Angel Rivera, the two sitting Republican At-Large council members, will be running. Malone won election in 2007, while Rivera was appointed via caucus after Kent Smith resigned from the council to attend to his duties in the National Guard.
Maybe they'll employ the same "winning" strategy they used in 2007 and 2010. While the county GOP slated four At-Large council candidates in 2007, the only one that received significant party support after the primary was Kent Smith. Smith even appeared in some of then-candidate Greg Ballard's political commercials, as seen here. In 2010, the only candidate to get significant party support after the primary was Mark Massa, the candidate for prosecutor. Despite support from the county party, state party, and Governor Mitch Daniels, he lost to now-Prosecutor Terry Curry. All other county-wide GOP candidates in 2010 lost.
The third Republican to win election to the At-Large seats in 2007, Edward Coleman, later bolted and became a Libertarian. Coleman is arguably the highest elected official in the entire Libertarian Party nationwide, and one can imagine that the national party will support the state and county party in his effort to retain the seat he holds.
While the Democrat field seems to be very active, with several At-Large and district candidates for council announced, the GOP field seems to be stone cold. And in a town/county with demographics that lean Democrat, the GOP needs to hit the ground running and soon.