Friday, July 22, 2016
WITHIN CITY LIMITS: Episode X, A Look Ahead to 2019.
By Nick Vaughn, Guest Columnist
My past few articles have been about national politics; ironically, outside of our city limits. I thought that it would be fitting that this week, I completely ignore the Republican National Convention, and take a look ahead to the City Election in 2019. I am going to throw out some way-too-early predictions, do some issue analysis, and even possibly make some endorsements.
Who will be running for Mayor?
The showdown for Mayor of New Albany will be a competitive one, I foresee. I will start off by saying that I do not think Jeff Gahan will be running for a third term (because he really shouldn’t be), three 4 year terms is slightly unprecedented, only one Mayor has served more than two consecutive terms.
C. Pralle Erni served from 1948-1963, enough time to make any follower of Jeffersonian Democracy shiver. (By the way, I found this cool excerpt about Mayor Erni from a book by Gregg Seidl, which you can read here. Beware though, annexation is mentioned!) So, although there is precedent for Gahan to run for a third term, I do not think he will. He will have been much too busy running for State Senate the preceding year.
So who will be running for Mayor? Well, on the Republican side I think there are three obvious candidates who would be formidable in a Mayoral campaign. They are listed in likelihood of winning: Dr. Al Knable, Dave Barksdale, and Dave Aebersold. It should be noted that in the 2015 City Election, Dr. Knable received 3,403 and Mayor Gahan received 3,527. A great showing that I think proves the popularity of Dr. Knable in a citywide election. But don’t count out the Daves either. They received 3,365 (Barksdale) and 3,012 (Aebersold), respectively, enough to easily dispose of their Democrat opponents. Oh, and if you want to reminisce a bit about 2015, you can view the Summary Report here.
Each Republican Councilman has a lot to be excited about with regard to their vote totals and Mayoral aspirations (if they have any). The Democrats, not so much. While they hold a slight majority on the City Council, none of the Council Members really scream “I could win in a race for Mayor!” The obvious choice on the Democratic side based on office rank would be Pat McLaughlin, Council President, but that just makes me giggle.
Greg Phipps, to me, could make a decent run at it, but does he have the name ID outside of his safely Democratic District? And who runs for that seat if he decides to vacate it? It seems to me that each member on the Democratic side would create a domino effect by vacating their seat to run for Mayor. All that being said, the Mayor’s Office is ripe for the taking for Republicans.
What about the City Council?
Obviously, the big question mark is under what party, if any, does Dan Coffey run? In my opinion, I am not sure it really matters which party because I think it will be very hard to find a candidate to run against him ... again. As Dale Bagshaw would say: “That’s almost un-American to have someone run unopposed.” I agree Dale! Regardless, Coffey is a renegade and will be fighting his fights no matter what party.
Like the Mayor’s Office, the other City Council seats are ripe for the taking by Republicans. Last election showed that Republicans can win in the City, and Democrats should be scared. District 6, 5, 3, and 2 are the most likely to flip this time around. Not sure who will be running in those Districts, but I do know the key to winning for the Republicans. The silver bullet that will put each incumbent out of office (at least in those numbered Districts).
It is ... Two-Way Streets.
For what will be 8 years in 2019, Greg Phipps has said that we will fight for Two-Way Streets (where feasible); Scott Blair will abstain, I’m sure; and Bob Caesar hasn’t fought for them at all. This is why I think 2019 will be a Republican wave. Those that I named have been inactive on Two-Way Streets, when some said they would act. Some don’t want them. Some just haven’t cared to mention anything about them.
If the Republican candidates rally around this issue and have a good message on other important issues like a transparent government, curbing poverty, and fiscal responsibility, I think that the 6th, 5th, 3rd, and 2nd Districts will flip Republican. To point out, Two-Way Streets are something some Republican
candidates have supported in the 2015 election, most notably Dr. Knable, who could lead the party in rallying around a great platform that would prove successful in the fall.
Democrats, be scared. Republicans, be ready and able. New Albany, GET OUT AND VOTE! 2019 is right around the corner!
And as always, I leave you with the quote of the day:
“ ... there will be a giant sucking soundgoing south.” (to Greg Fischer’s house ... ) -- Ross Perot