Each group got about 15-20 minutes with each candidate and we were able to pepper them with questions.
I think it's clear that both McGoff and McIntosh are the most studied for this job. It helps that the two men have run for this district's seat before and served in Congress, respectively. Both expressed their past elected offices (McGoff as Marion County Coroner, McIntosh as a former Congressman) and had the most detailed answers to questions asked.
Lugar doesn't bring much to the table at this point in time. He's running sort of as the anti-candidate, but there's at least four other candidates that filed to run that didn't attend this meeting. So that vote is likely going to be split. There's still time to find his footing. And he's able to talk with people in Broad Ripple just as well as he was able to talk and connect with people in Kokomo. So that's a plus.
Susan Brooks** was clearly in her backyard and was on top of her game, which was a stark contrast to what I observed in Kokomo where she came across as a bit stiff. It probably helped that her husband, Marion County GOP operative David Brooks, was there as well as a bunch of county GOP backed candidates. However, Brooks is going to face an uphill battle in a district where only a small sliver consists of Indianapolis, while most of the rest of the district doesn't hold Indianapolis in high regards. Her selling point is that, as deputy mayor under Mayor Steve Goldsmith, she knows how to get legislation passed and work across political divides. I kind of wonder how much 5th district GOP primary voters would value that, but it'd be a handy skill to have in a legislative body where even members who have been there for a decade might not have a piece of legislation ever pass a sitting President's desk.
While several others have filed to run for the 5th district GOP primary, the only notable candidate of the bunch is Wayne Seybold. Seybold, who wasn't present at last night's forum, is the current Mayor of Marion, Indiana. Word on the street is that he's likely to be endorsed by incumbent Congressman Dan Burton, who has announced his retirement.
Though at some point, you have to ask, does anyone really want Danny's endorsement?
I also had the pleasure to finally meet Carlos May. May is running for the nomination to run as the Republican 7th Congressional district challenger to Democratic incumbent Andre Carson.
Several of the Marion County GOP's slated judicial candidates, including Helen Marshall, were also in attendance.
Finally, a note to my readers. I know a number of you consider yourselves politically independent and are hesitant to attend these functions that are hosted by partisan political organizations.
I think most event organizers are very aware of that and try to be open to even those who aren't part of the inner-party workers. Sure, they might hit you up for a donation or put you on a mailing list. But it's a small price to pay to get educated on candidates that might be representing you in the state legislature or in the halls of Congress.
A couple of other interesting tidbits happened at this event, but they aren't related to the 5th Congressional district. So I'll save that for another post.
**Full disclosure: Susan Brooks is an old family friend and both attend St. Monica in Indianapolis.