IBJNews

Delph gains names recognition in fight with own party

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

When conservative state Sen. Mike Delph took to Twitter about gay marriage and ultimately lost his formal vestiges of power within the Senate Republican caucus, he gained something far more valuable in the world of politics: "Name ID."

The political lingo stands for public recognition — good, bad, beautiful or ugly, it all matters. Delph reaped it in spades last week, reeling in Statehouse media and Senate Republican leadership to keep him in the public eye.

It started when Delph tweeted angrily about the demise of the gay marriage ban just hours after the Senate decided earlier this month to push back a public vote on the ban until at least 2016. The fracas ended last week, as Senate Republican leaders stripped him of his formal rank within the caucus and moved his seat in the Senate chamber next to the Democrats.

While it might have looked like reckless politicking, the maneuver elevated Delph from a rank-and-file senator to receiving more attention than even Gov. Mike Pence.

But simply getting that acknowledgement is not a guarantee of success — especially if it's highly divisive — said Pete Seat, an Indiana Republican strategist and former Republican Party spokesman.

"Name ID is important because voters need to have familiarity with who you are and what you stand for," he said. "But it's not a guarantee of success. Just because they're familiar with your name doesn't necessarily mean they believe in the same things you stand for."

Take the 2012 gubernatorial race. Candidate John Gregg's advisers often said it was a good thing he wasn't widely known in the state because it allowed them to build an image. But Gregg was late to the advertising game, and found himself washed out not only by his opponent, Pence, but also by a sea of advertising in the U.S. Senate race.

Former Senate candidate Richard Mourdock had little trouble winning a Republican primary against Richard Lugar, in part because of Mourdock's own extensive work on the local fundraising circuit. Mourdock's recognition among the conservative base of voters was extensive, enough to knock out Lugar easily in the Republican primary.

When the general election got underway, Mourdock had little name recognition with the broader populace, something Democrats immediately used to their benefit with a barrage of negative advertising. But by the time Mourdock let slip a statement concerning God, rape and abortion just a couple of weeks before Election Day, his brand had already been defined.

Delph has declined comment about his Twitter battle and the sanctions levied against him by Senate Republicans. But in a Statehouse news conference last week — a rare occurrence for individual state senators — said he was whipping up a media storm in order to protect the definition of marriage being between one man and one woman.

Asked why he was making his arguments on social media and to reporters instead of the Senate chamber, where he was silent during the week of the marriage debate, Delph only said he was respecting the Republican caucus' code of silence about internal debates.

Delph has not said if he has aspirations for higher office. He's filed for re-election to the state Senate this year and missed perhaps his best chance to run for Congress in 2012 after his political mentor, former U.S. Rep. Dan Burton, retired.

But maintaining a strong base of name recognition is not always about winning the current election. It's often good for any future race.

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Delph Is Clearly A Goofball
    Delph's recent publicity and the content of his rants only accentuate what a real goofball he is. Contrary to conventional wisdom, all publicity is not good.
  • 15 minutes over?
    I was thinking that, given Sen. Delph's grandstanding last week, IBJ's excellent editorial on why he needs to be voted out, and the fact that almost everyone who commented here said they didn't even realize he represented them, but they do now...given all that, Sen. Delph would not survive the next election...but we will see...as the article so aptly noted, Dan Burton represented the district for a long time...so I'm thinking that a lot of the folks in that district like having representatives that are certifiable, those folks just don't comment here...so we will see...there is some truth to the adage that there is no bad publicity...
  • What are Delph's Unfavorables?
    Good story, but I have to think that Mullah Mike's unfavorable ratings in any survey would be astronomical. His name recognition may be soaring, but it's not very helpful when most people view you unfavorably except those from the fringe

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. So much for Eric Holder's conversation about race. If white people have got something to say, they get sued over it. Bottom line: white people have un-freer speech than others as a consequence of the misnamed "Civil rights laws."

  2. I agree, having seen three shows, that I was less than wowed. Disappointing!!

  3. Start drilling, start fracking, and start using our own energy. Other states have enriched their citizens and nearly elminated unemployment by using these resources that are on private land. If you are against the 'low prices' of discount stores, the best way to allow shoppers more choice is to empower them with better earnings. NOT through manipulated gov mandated min wage hikes, but better jobs and higher competitive pay. This would be direct result of using our own energy resources, yet Obama knows that Americans who arent dependent of gov welfare are much less likely to vote Dem, so he looks for ways to ensure America's decline and keep its citizens dependent of gov.

  4. Say It Loud, I'm Black and Ashamed: It's too bad that with certain "black" entertainment events, it seems violence and thuggery follows and the collateral damage that it leaves behinds continues to be a strain on the city in terms of people getting hurt, killed or becoming victims of crimes and/or stretching city resources. I remember shopping in the Meadows area years ago until violence and crime ended make most of the business pack you and leave as did with Lafayette Square and Washington Square. Over the past 10 to 12 years, I remember going to the Indiana Black Expo Soul Picnic in Washington Park. Violence, gang fights and homicides ended that. My great grandmother still bears the scares on her leg from when she was trampled by a group of thugs running from gun fire from a rival gang. With hundreds of police offices downtown still multiple shootings, people getting shot downtown during Black Expo. A number of people getting shots or murdered at black clubs around the city like Club Six on the west side, The Industry downtown, Jamal Tinsley's shot out in front of the Conrad, multiple fights and shootings at the skating rinks, shootings at Circle Center Mall and shooting and robberies and car jackings at Lafayette Mall. Shootings and gang violence and the State Fair. I can go on and on and on. Now Broad Ripple. (Shaking head side to side) Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Ashamed.

  5. Ballard Administration. Too funny. This is the least fiscally responsive administration I have ever seen. One thing this article failed to mention, is that the Hoosier State line delivers rail cars to the Amtrak Beech Grove maintenance facility for refurbishment. That's an economic development issue. And the jobs there are high-paying. That alone is worth the City's investment.

ADVERTISEMENT