In Indiana, potential Dem. Senate candidate Brad Ellsworth is ‘a recipe for disaster’

Bil Browing lives in Indiana. He knows Indiana politics. And, he’s not happy that the the Indiana Democratic Party’s 32-member Central Committee might appoint Rep. Brad Ellsworth as the party’s nominee for Evan Bayh’s open seat. And, there’s good reason for concern. In 2010, the Democrats need their base to vote. Yet, Ellsworth has spent the past few years working against the base:

Ellsworth is following along a path that will virtually guarantee that all of these groups will stay home in 2010. Why would they vote for him? Besides all the reasons I listed above, he’s a demagogue on immigration issues, which Latino voters care deeply about. As I pointed out, he’s horrible on LGBT issues. That may work in his House district, but even in Indiana, you can’t throw your entire base- Latinos, LGBT people, pro-choice advocates, African-Americans, environmentalists, low-income folks, young people, unmarried women- under the bus and expect to be elected statewide.

That’s okay, some might say, he’s got cross-over appeal as a conservative Democrat. I don’t buy it. Not in Indiana, a hotbed of teabagger conservatism, and not in 2010, when you’ve got a Washington Congressman as your candidate while polling shows Congressional disapproval is at a historic high and fewer than 1 in 10 Americans say members of Congress deserve re-election. Not exactly the most brilliant strategy.

Ellsworth has a base problem, and in 2010, more than ever, Democrats need their base to turn out. Demoralized Democrats stayed home in New Jersey, Virginia and Massachusetts when their candidates didn’t even have a record in Congress. If the State Central Committee chooses Ellsworth, a candidate from Washington with a voting record, it will prove to be the same story.

Democrats have an uncanny ability to repeat history. Ellsworth is the wrong candidate at the wrong time.

The base needs to be inspired. And, Ellsworth won’t do it. The powers that be at the DSCC and the the Indiana Democratic Party’s 32-member Central Committee better figure that out.


On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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