GOP sets sights on maintaining supermajorities

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

After most Indiana lawmakers survived their primary contests, Republicans turn their focus to November as they try to maintain majorities in the General Assembly that are so large even a Democratic walkout can't stop them from passing legislation.

Republicans, who control the House 69-31, hope to retain the supermajority they gained in 2012 that allows them to conduct business without any Democrats present. Senate Republicans, meanwhile, hope to build on a 37-13 supermajority. In the House, the Democrats would have to win at least three seats to break the supermajority and in the Senate they would have to win at least four seats.

House Democrats effectively filibustered debate on a divisive right-to-work measure by walking out in 2011 and 2012, denying Republicans the numbers of lawmakers needed to conduct business. But achieving a supermajority took away that threat from Democrats.

But in the GOP battle to keep the supermajorities, Democrats may have a slight edge heading into November, said Andy Downs, director of the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics at Indiana University Purdue University Fort Wayne. Because so few Democratic candidates faced primary challenges Tuesday, they are able to focus their time and money squarely on November's general election, he said.

"I'd be willing to bet the Democrats are feeling somewhat optimistic because they actually have people who even today can be thinking about what they're doing for November," he said.

All nine congressional incumbents won their primaries Tuesday, as did most Statehouse veterans. But social conservatives' displeasure over votes that kept a constitutional ban on gay marriage off the November ballot helped tea party candidates oust Reps. Rebecca Kubacki of Syracuse and Kathy Heuer of Columbia City. State Sen. John Waterman also lost.

Compared to two years earlier, when U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar was ousted in the Republican primary, Tuesday's election was subdued, with low turnout reflecting the lack of statewide races on the ballot. Even the contentious battle over whether to amend the state's gay marriage ban into the constitution was silenced for this year, leaving voters more worried about the economy and jobs.

"We don't have any real new jobs. We haven't in how long? That doesn't mean we're not creating jobs. But jobs that actually pay enough for people to live off of," said Bruce Jones, 51, a stock broker who was voting in South Bend.

Republicans could turn their focus to bread-and-butter issues rather than social ones. Despite a grueling gay marriage battle at the Statehouse just a few months ago, the issue wasn't much of a factor in Tuesday's outcomes.

"It wasn't even important to me as long as my needs were met in terms of our young person and the safety of our city. Those trumped everything," said Willie Gupton, 49, of Indianapolis, executive director of Kaleidoscope Youth Center.

What did strike a chord was the need to make ends meet.

Indiana's unemployment rate has dropped sharply in the past year, something Gov. Mike Pence consistently points out. But the state's median income, a measure used to gauge how the middle class is performing, has also declined.

"There are jobs, but you've gotta have three or four jobs to make it," said Nina Whitsey, 74, of Indianapolis.

A study from the Tax Foundation, a conservative Washington, D.C.-based think tank, found that the average tax burden for Hoosiers crept up from 2001-2011 while incomes dropped. Pence's staff says the numbers don't take into account tax cuts signed by the governor.

Republicans have won sizable gains inside the Statehouse in the last two cycles. They won back the House from Democrats in 2010 and built on that lead in 2012, achieving a supermajority for the first time in decades. The recipe for Republicans is to keep doing what they've been doing, said Pete Seat, an Indiana Republican operative and former party spokesman.

"First, you focus on and highlight the results of legislation that has been previously passed, the positive effects of those policies, and second is continuing offering ideas for the future," Seat said. "I think that's how Republicans have been successful in the past several cycles."


  • Blinded
    Anyone who thinks that either party has the answers is blinded to history. Debt had increased under both parties, education has failed under both parties, healthcare costs have increased under both parties, etc. If all you do is drink the Kool-Aid, then you will end up like Jonestown. Look at what the candidates DO, not what they SAY. Government is not the end all, be all answer, nor is it the Great Pariah.
  • Speaking for this comment area
    Correct me if I'm wrong but I don't see any negative comments from liberals on here.
  • um
    because lame names is strictly a gop thing or something.....I do like Killary though I prefer 'The Great Divider" over Obummer lol of course we haven't heard the play on words involving Speaker Boehner, the Tea Party, but typically progressives play dirty and call GOP, well see for yourself http://redalertpolitics.com/2013/09/30/10-names-democrats-have-called-republicans-on-the-brink-of-a-government-shutdown/ now stick to yelling racist and blaming Bush...because we all know that progressives are incapable of comments that actually contain anything of substance pointing to positive results of socialist policy
  • GOP Greatest Hits
    Wow we get to see comments with both "Killary" and "Demorat" today! Indiana's finest conservative "clever" name writers are at it! Maybe we'll see a reference to Obummer in an upcoming comment?? I can't wait!
  • vote DEMORAT
    ....if you like high debt, high unemployment, lack of future, lack of school choice, zero control of healthcare, gun control, wasted tax funds.... a vote for dems and we'll see the few jobs disappear and schools will decline. what will increase is debt, union thugs, and crime
  • Left wing sheep
    My loyalty to political parties passed long ago, thank God. The GOP may have too many idiots in its ranks, but at least there's choice in their primaries. The left wing goes along with anyone their party machine anoints. I'm highly amused at democrats already lining up to support Killary in 2016. LOL at loyal leftwing sheep.
  • GOP
    Continue the good work GOP! http://www.theatlanticcities.com/neighborhoods/2014/05/new-memorial-indianapolis-homicide-victims-will-be-built-out-guns-killed-them/9043/
  • Set Aside the Culture Wars
    What happened to the relatively sober position of Gov. Daniels, who said we should set aside divisive social issues and instead focus on the economy and the budget? Instead, we have a state legislature that is so busy with social engineering and micromanaging local governments that they miss the forest for the trees!
  • GOP Trainwreck
    It really is time to balance Indiana State government. The GOP in Indiana has proven that they're more interested in keeping women barefoot and pregnant, putting gays back in the closet, removing social safety nets, and shoveling more money to the wealthy. Vote AGAINST the GOP and vote FOR Independents and Democrats!

Post a comment to this story

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

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Aaron is my fav!

  2. Let's see... $25M construction cost, they get $7.5M back from federal taxpayers, they're exempt from business property tax and use tax so that's about $2.5M PER YEAR they don't have to pay, permitting fees are cut in half for such projects, IPL will give them $4K under an incentive program, and under IPL's VFIT they'll be selling the power to IPL at 20 cents / kwh, nearly triple what a gas plant gets, about $6M / year for the 150-acre combined farms, and all of which is passed on to IPL customers. No jobs will be created either other than an handful of installers for a few weeks. Now here's the fun part...the panels (from CHINA) only cost about $5M on Alibaba, so where's the rest of the $25M going? Are they marking up the price to drive up the federal rebate? Indy Airport Solar Partners II LLC is owned by local firms Johnson-Melloh Solutions and Telemon Corp. They'll gross $6M / year in triple-rate power revenue, get another $12M next year from taxpayers for this new farm, on top of the $12M they got from taxpayers this year for the first farm, and have only laid out about $10-12M in materials plus installation labor for both farms combined, and $500K / year in annual land lease for both farms (est.). Over 15 years, that's over $70M net profit on a $12M investment, all from our wallets. What a boondoggle. It's time to wise up and give Thorium Energy your serious consideration. See http://energyfromthorium.com to learn more.

  3. Markus, I don't think a $2 Billion dollar surplus qualifies as saying we are out of money. Privatization does work. The government should only do what private industry can't or won't. What is proven is that any time the government tries to do something it costs more, comes in late and usually is lower quality.

  4. Some of the licenses that were added during Daniels' administration, such as requiring waiter/waitresses to be licensed to serve alcohol, are simply a way to generate revenue. At $35/server every 3 years, the state is generating millions of dollars on the backs of people who really need/want to work.

  5. I always giggle when I read comments from people complaining that a market is "too saturated" with one thing or another. What does that even mean? If someone is able to open and sustain a new business, whether you think there is room enough for them or not, more power to them. Personally, I love visiting as many of the new local breweries as possible. You do realize that most of these establishments include a dining component and therefore are pretty similar to restaurants, right? When was the last time I heard someone say "You know, I think we have too many locally owned restaurants"? Um, never...