(Fishers, IN)- While so many are delighted by the interest shown in Indiana's upcoming primary, thanks to the close Democratic presidential contest, I have yet to think it a positive. Bill Ruthhart's article in this morning's Indy Star is just the article I've been waiting for and expecting to see. Ruthhart's first paragraph says it all:
Indiana's presidential primary has attracted a spotlight so bright that many Hoosiers remain blind to other key races on Tuesday's primary ballot.Of course, who will be the next president is important. But, what goes on in my state is important, too. The candidates for president are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to get their message out. If you don't know what Obama or Clinton are about by now, you haven't tried. And yet, they get all of the press attention. On the other hand, what do you know about Shellinger or Thompson? If you aren't a political junkie, do you even know their first names? Or even their party?
Races for governor and Congress normally would be a top draw for Indiana's voters and media outlets, but instead candidates in those races have scrambled to be heard over the noise of the presidential contest.That's amusing in one tiny way, that the top of the Democratic ticket is making it hard for the Democratic gubernatorial candidates. As ever, that's an unintended consequence. As ever, unintended consequences can be worse than the "benefits" from which they came.
"It is impossible to break through and get any attention on a day when the presidential campaigns are here," said Jennifer Wagner, press secretary for gubernatorial candidate Jim Schellinger. "The presidential race has sucked all the air out of the room, and it's really frustrating."
The bottom line is that the people of our state really aren't any better informed about state politics than in years when the primaries here are non-factors. It may even be worse. Instead of light turnout, we'll have heavy turnout by people who don't know what their voting on.
More quotes, about the "media coverage" candidates for governor are "getting":
A Schellinger rally late last week at a Southside union hall was a prime example.
Obama and Clinton were campaigning in Indiana, so only about 30 people heard Schellinger speak.
Normally, such an appearance would draw heavy media coverage and a higher turnout, but the only other reporter in attendance (aside from the one with The Indianapolis Star) was from The New York Times. That reporter's assignment: to write a story about the lack of attention on Indiana's other races.
See that? They notice the phenomena even in the New York paper. In terms of our vote for the very important state and local offices, we'd be far better off without the Obama-Clinton horse race obscuring these contests.