IBJNews

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."

ADVERTISEMENT

  • 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

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. Liberals do not understand that marriage is not about a law or a right ... it is a rite of religous faith. Liberals want "legal" recognition of their homosexual relationship ... which is OK by me ... but it will never be classified as a marriage because marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman. You can gain / obtain legal recognition / status ... but most people will not acknowledge that 2 people of the same sex are married. It's not really possible as long as marriage is defined as one man and one woman.

  2. That second phrase, "...nor make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunitites of citizens..." is the one. If you can't understand that you lack a fundamental understanding of the Constitution and I can't help you. You're blind with prejudice.

  3. Why do you conservatives always go to the marrying father/daughter, man/animal thing? And why should I keep my sexuality to myself? I see straights kissy facing in public all the time.

  4. I just read the XIV Amendment ... I read where no State shall deprive any person of life, liberty, or property ... nor make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunitites of citizens ... I didn't see anything in it regarding the re-definition of marriage.

  5. I worked for Community Health Network and the reason that senior leadership left is because they were not in agreement with the way the hospital was being ran, how employees were being treated, and most of all how the focus on patient care was nothing more than a poster to stand behind. Hiring these analyst to come out and tell people who have done the job for years that it is all being done wrong now...hint, hint, get rid of employees by calling it "restructuring" is a cheap and easy way out of taking ownership. Indiana is an "at-will" state, so there doesn't have to be a "reason" for dismissal of employment. I have seen former employees that went through this process lose their homes, cars, faith...it is very disturbing. The patient's as well have seen less than disireable care. It all comes full circle.

ADVERTISEMENT