Say it ain't so, Jo....n.
Sure, Bush's legacy in November will be as beneficial to downticket races as pizza at a Weight Watchers meeting, but I was floored to get wind of scuttlebutt that Jon Elrod, having lost to Andre Carson in the special election and seeing little hope of improving in November, is contemplating resigning his federal candidacy and jumping back into his old house district.
If he pops back into Indiana House District 97, Elrod would face Democrat Mary Ann Sullivan, who edged out city-county councilor Dane Mahern at the Marion County Democratic Party's slating convention.
The Republicans had none of that drama. In fact, nobody even filed a declaration of candidacy pre-primary. As a result, there is a candidate vacancy that must be filled by a Republican Party caucus. Ostensibly, the precinct committee persons covering HD 97 could appoint Jon Elrod, EXCEPT for one small detail. He can't run for congress and state representative at the same time, which is why David Orentlicher had to give up his state house seat. (More on that in a second).
Elrod is allegedly getting pressure from some Repubs to drop the lost cause congressional race and help the R's hold ground in the House by reclaiming a seat he won in a labor-intensive campaign against Democrat Ed Mahern in 2006.
While such a two-step of resigning the federal candidacy and getting appointed to fill the vacancy in his former seat seems completely legal by my cursory review of the election code, I'm skeptical it would be easy for Elrod to pull off politically. He basically told the folks in HD 97, "Your little pond is too small for me." I don't know how keen they'll be now to let him swim in it again just because he saw the piranhana that is the Carson machine coming at him in the congressional campaign stream.
This is a bi-partisan critique, by the way. There's a corresponding rumor that either Ed Delaney offered to withdraw his candidacy so David O. could take HIS seat back or that Delaney has been asked by some Democrats to do so. I find the former version highly suspect. Ed Delaney is no slouch, folks, and I seriously doubt he was running just because he thought it would be a fun thing to do. (I'll let you know when I sort this out).
In my opinion, the vanquished (or the "not even fully vanquished yet") shouldn't get to take their ball and run home. At least not until they regroup and come out swinging in the next election cycle.
Some may say, "What's the big deal? Presidential candidates all have other offices they hold, and they lose and go back without political fallout." First, there CAN be fallout if your state suffered a crises in your absence. Second, if there isn't fallout, it's because either:
(a) many people are wowed to see somebody from their home state playing on the national stage (Evan Bayh, for example...even as an Obama guy, seeing the Senator get national play was pretty sweet); and
(b) presidential candidacies are waged by people who gain FOR their constituents by having assembled national contacts. Hillary Clinton will have more political resources now as a Senator than she ever had before this campaign. That will make her more formidable in the Senate, and every one of her constituents will benefit.
In contrast, what can Jon Elrod say he got for HD 97 by virtue of running....er....starting to run....against Andre Carson? Yeah, I don't know either. Same for David O. Sit tight until the next go-round, lads. You'll come off more respectably.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Say it ain't so, Jo....n.