Hogsett wins third term in most expensive mayor’s race in Indianapolis history

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Joe Hogsett at his victory party. (IBJ photo/Mickey Shuey)

Democratic Mayor Joe Hogsett beat back his best-funded Republican challenger ever in businessman Jefferson Shreve, winning a third term Tuesday in what was the most expensive mayoral race in Indianapolis history.

Running on his administration’s fiscal accomplishments and a desire to finish business disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Hogsett had won about 60% of the vote to Shreve’s 40% with nearly all of Marion County’s vote counted. At about 8:52 p.m., Shreve campaign officials said Shreve was calling Hogsett to concede the race.

Hogsett took the stage about an hour later, saying of that “we together highlighted the challenges and the opportunities present in our city.”

He referenced his re-election campaign announcement in City Market last November, repeating that the pandemic delayed but did not deny Indianapolis’ progress.

“Over the past many years, we have rejoiced together and we have stood in solace together,” Hogsett said. “In good times and in tough times, it has been the residents of our beautiful city who have kept us focused and energized, and that does not stop today.”

Hogsett said his administration’s next steps include getting guns off the streets and infusing new money into the city’s roads.

With his victory, Hogsett became the first mayor since the late Bill Hudnut to win three consecutive terms. Hudnut, who ended his fourth term in 1992, is the longest-serving Indianapolis mayor. If Hogsett serves a full third term, he would become the city’s second-longest serving mayor.

Spending in the mayor’s race was expected to top $20 million, once the final tally is complete. As of mid-October, Shreve had given $13.5 million of his own fortune to his campaign. Hogsett set a personal campaign finance record this year by raising $2.6 million as of mid-October, giving him a total campaign war chest of more than $6 million for this election cycle.

Speaking to supporters, Shreve said he made the decision to challenge Hogsett with his heart, not his head.

Jefferson Shreve, joined by his wife, Mary, addressed supporters Tuesday night after losing to incumbent Mayor Joe Hogsett. (IBJ photo/Peter Blanchard)

“This candidate has grown tremendously. … Now it’s been an expensive education,” he said as the crowd laughed. “But I have grown tremendously.”

For his money, Shreve did manage to perform better than Hogsett’s previous underfunded Republican opponents. In 2019, former state Sen. Jim Merritt netted just 27% of the vote, while 2015 Republican mayoral candidate Chuck Brewer garnered 37%.

But Shreve’s relentless hammering of Hogsett for the city’s homicide rate and his inability to fill more than 300 police officer openings weren’t enough to persuade voters to deny Hogsett a third term.

Shreve blamed the defeat in part on straight-ticket voting. Reports from the Marion County Election Board indicated about two-thirds of Indianapolis voters pulled a straight ticket, meaning they were able to vote for all the candidates in one party with a single push of a button. Those straight-ticket voters broke heavily for Democrats.

“The straight ticket partisanship that is Marion county is sobering and we just have to learn to work within that model to advance change and improve our city,” Shreve said.

Hogsett called Shreve a “long-valued” member of the Indianapolis community and says he welcomes continued contributions from his former opponent to bring Indianapolis closer to the city they envision.

Hogsett, a fiscally-conservative moderate Democrat, leaned heavily on his record of bipartisan-passed balanced budgets, record police funding and non-police violence-reduction strategies.

But some of his campaign ads focused more on national issues such as abortion rights and gun control and tried to paint Shreve as conservative extremist that Democrats should fear. It was that approach which drew national attention and Hogsett’s victory gave Democrats more hope that their abortion-rights message would resonate across the country in 2024 in the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade.

Hogsett supporters celebrated at Kountry Kitchen restaurant Tuesday night. (IBJ photo/Mickey Shuey)

As for the future of downtown Indianapolis, Hogsett said he planned to focus on capitalizing on new economic development spurred by the splitting of IUPUI, increasing residential housing and continuing the city’s convention and tourism sports strategy through a planned expansion of the Indiana Convention Center.

While critics slammed Hogsett for a lack of vibrancy around the office buildings on and near Monument Circle as the pandemic eased, he was quick to point out an eye-popping pipeline of nearly $9 billion in development either underway or expected to begin downtown in the next few years.

“That is, to me, an indicator of success in Indianapolis and potential growth that … may very well supersede our pattern and experience with growth over the next four or five years,” Hogsett told IBJ during the campaign.

Those projects include a $500 million convention center expansion, a $300 million proposed redevelopment of the CSX building across Pennsylvania Street from Gainbridge Fieldhouse, a $4.3 billion Indiana University Health complex on the north side of downtown, and a $100 million headquarters campus for Elanco Animal Health.

Hogsett decided in May that the city would take over financing and ownership of the $510 million Signia Hotel planned to support the convention center expansion. The city made the move after the developer determined it wasn’t possible to secure practical interest rates to finance the project on the private market.

Supporters of incumbent Mayor Joe Hogsett watch on television as Republican Jefferson Shreve concedes the Indianapolis mayor’s race. (IBJ photo/Mickey Shuey)

The decision drew criticism both from Shreve and local hoteliers as anti-free market.

Hogsett’s campaign also largely laid the groundwork for the city’s 2024 priorities at the state Legislature. Hogsett has proposed a change to the state’s road funding formula that would stop it from favoring rural counties and an exemption to a state law that prevents Indianapolis from enacting local gun control measures. Shreve favored the latter approach as well.

The campaign was probably Hogsett’s most difficult on a personal level. His wife, Stephanie, filed for divorce in September. He also faced scrutiny after he missed a week of events due to a fall that resulted in a busted lip.

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63 thoughts on “Hogsett wins third term in most expensive mayor’s race in Indianapolis history

    1. I got a flyer in the mail today (Wednesday) imploring me to vote for Shreve from the Indiana Republican Party. Good use of money there …

  1. Message: the Republican brand is broken in Indianapolis. You have sided with racists, lunatics, and religious extremists. The people here do not trust you. State government, run by gerrymandered party apparatchiks: we are fed up—start using the billion dollar surplus supplied by urban populations to fix our streets (your “rainy day” fund obscures the potholes), and let us fix our crime problems by regulating guns. No one here trusts you.

    1. Most of us don’t step foot into the Indianapolis area anymore. It’s a dump under liberal leadership. We will all just stay in the suburbs and spend our $ here.

    2. Alexander M.

      Four more years of high crime. Criminals treated better than their victims.
      Not holding criminals accountable to appease the social justice idiots.

      Four more years of NO jobs coming to Indianapolis. People and jobs
      are and will continue leaving Indianapolis because of high crime.
      But hey, leftists hate capitalism.
      Obviously you do t pay attention or hold your

      Dem racism is far worse by a country mile
      than anything coming from the right. But hey!! That’s how the Dems roll.

    3. Mad Max becomes real life in our cities, and they still think they have the moral high ground. You can’t make this stuff up. Shreve was a weak candidate, but he wasn’t competing against Hogsett–he was competing against the mass psychosis that re-elected Hogsett four years ago. Your crime problems are are human problem, wedded to the same mentality that explains why virtually all violent crime takes place in Democrat run jurisdictions.

      With love,
      A racist, lunatic, and religious extremist.

    4. Lol the squirming, pearl-clutching, and hyperbole from “alpha” right-wingers is hilarious.

    5. A.R.

      No squirming.
      Just some good ole fashion truth telling.

      Leftwingers coddle criminal’s. Crime rates go up under Dem leadership
      causing people and businesses to leave Indianapolis.

      You get what you tolerate.

    6. WK and the rest of you haters just go ahead and stay in the whitewashed burbs, Indy and it’s tens of thousands of visitors each year are doing just fine without you.

    7. Whitewashed burbs?? Lol…..
      Nothing racial about that is there ( sarcasm for my leftist friends )?? Lol…..
      Only a Dem supporter would come up with that.

  2. Congratulations IBJ employees. Your candidate won. You should hire Alexander and Micah as employees and double down on your brand. They represent you perfectly.

    1. Yes, the IBJ owned by local Republicans is a Democratic Party organ.

      Maybe the candidate was weak.

  3. When one looks at how Lawrence, so quickly, turned its collective back on what Collier’s leadership did to completely turn around that city…it’s no wonder that Indianapolis chose to cement itself in its current state. Tuesday’s election results prove that facts, conditions, along with complete ineptitude have no effect on the Democrat machine and mindset. In re-electing Hogsett, Indianapolis has chosen to be at odds with the statehouse and ensure its accelerated demise with record breaking crime, terrible neighborhood infrastructure, incompetence of daily operational activities, a reduced population, bad policy and empty, irrelevant promises. Indianapolis has officially joined the ranks of Oakland, Portland, St. Louis, Chicago,, New York and others. Finally, Hogsett’s operation, from TV ads to his selection of his election night ‘headquarters’ are maybe the most overtly, non inclusive, racist overtures of anyone that has ever held or vied for mayor.

    1. It’s the problem and fault of Indianapolis residents that they don’t lean into what the Statehouse wants to do, which is tell them what NOT to do and take their money for the rotting rest of the state?

      Spare me. Indianapolis is the engine of the state.

      Reminder – people around the state are moving to be near Indianapolis, not to go live in a place where they are lucky to have a Dollar General.

      Shreve’s campaign was awful. He took 2-3 months off after the primary. His campaign was effectively the same as what Cyndi Carrasco did a year ago and she lost by the same margin as Shreve. That’s three awful mayoral candidates in a row for the Marion County GOP.

    2. Joe, ever the ideologue, thinks Indianapolis is “the engine of the state” in the same way Chicago is the engine for Illinois. And he’s not wrong. It’s just that Chicago is a sputtering engine, upsetting the political balance in a formerly business-oriented state that can’t seem to retain jobs or a consistently growing population. At least it benefits southern Wisconsin and Lake County IN.

      People might be moving “around the state are moving to be near Indianapolis” but they aren’t really moving to Indianapolis itself. Virtually all Census estimates show that it, like most cities, has a net loss the last few years. Never mind those plywood mid-rises going up downtown, many of which were approved before the Dems’ “summer of hate” and many of which are populated with unmarried childless Millennials/Xers while households with families leave the city.

      I guess the one case where Joe truly plays his uniparty hand is mocking backstate Indiana for being “lucky to have a Dollar General”. Such elitism fits in perfectly with the modern-day Dems since they despise the working class too. But that’s why its so delightful to us that the modern neo-lib/neocon domain is a filthy homicide-ridden cesspool. At least it’s just leftists killing other leftists. That’s one thing they’re consistently good at.

    3. There is one uniparty in Indiana – the Indiana Republican Party. They throw good money after bad and have no vision for the future of Indiana. They are training our kids for the jobs of 20 years ago, which might be why we have to bribe companies with lots of tax dollars to locate here despite being a low-tax state (whatever that means).

      But hey, when your leading voices going forward are Mike Braun, Jim Banks, Todd Rokita, and Diego Morales, what are you expecting?

      It’s little wonder the Marion County GOP keeps getting destroyed in Indianapolis elections with their awful candidates and insistence on the candidate paying for the election themselves. A twice appointed to the CCC candidate was unable to explain why people should choose him despite spending $13 million dollars. Maybe don’t take the summer off next time, and maybe don’t be scared of running for the CCC yourself. But hey, let’s just blame the voters instead!

      I admitted that people move near Indianapolis. You can’t be a suburb of nowhere. But still, Census numbers for Indianapolis:

      2010: 820,445
      2020: 887,642

      You just are not good with factual research.


    4. Joe B.

      You conviently left out the 2021 through 2022 census figures.
      Indianapolis has lost around 10,000 residents since 2020.
      High violent crime rates are driving people and businesses out.

    5. Joe B, don’t you know that Lauren and her ilk don’t care about facts or researching the facts themselves. They just buy into whatever the right wing AM radio and Faux News hosts tell them, and they live inside the echo chamber that is “Truth” Social.

    6. Lol……Leftisys don’t l8ve in their echo chambers??? LOL….

      The national news media is dominated by the left.

    7. Keith – those are estimations. They may well be right but estimations still.

      And you don’t also have the data to say all those people left due to high crime. I suspect it’s some combination of crime, the remote work craze which will be ending soon, and people going elsewhere for work.

      Of course murders were also down 16% from 2021 to 2022 but that doesn’t seem to come up much, nor does the decrease so far this year. Instead the subject was changed to “oh, but they’re not being solved!”

      Also, blaming the media or blaming the voters is like blaming the refs. It’s weak. Marion County Republicans knew what they needed to do to compete in Indianapolis and they chose not to. I beat this drum for months.

      For all those who wondered where Joe Hogsett was during the riots, where was Jefferson Shreve all summer? He sure wasn’t campaigning or laying out a vision for Indianapolis.

  4. Indianapolis, a once great city, is dead! Democrats bring a culture of death and despair and want the rest of us to wallow in it. I grew up on the east side of Indianapolis….never felt unsafe! The Dems first want to kill black babies in the womb and if they don’t get you there, they’ll make sure they get you in the streets.

    Yet…..you all still vote for this evil! You shout “Abortion” and “NRA”, chase of police men and women and tolerate riots and destruction of businesses as the city circles the drain.

    It’s a culture that puts murderers back on the streets and hates anyone that might have made a success of themselves. Twenty years ago, even with Democrat mayors, Indy survived and thrived….Now, Indy is the South Side of Chicago and the city of Detroit…and you think you’re now in the “Big Time”..If it wasn’t so sad I’d be laughing my ass off!

  5. This pervasive attitude of “let Indianapolis rot” is shameful. No one should be rooting for any city to fail just because of the ingrained R vs D politics that have gotten so toxic. Take a breath, take a walk, get off of the internet. Joe B. is right. Indianapolis IS the economic engine for the state, giving far more tax dollars to surrounding areas than they get in return. Shreve was an absolutely awful candidate and didn’t propose any serious alternative aside from just not being the other guy. If you were to actually speak to any Indianapolitan (which apparently most of this board is too scared to visit) there would be an unenthused consensus that this wasn’t a vote for a Democrat but a vote against the rural fear mongering tactics that dominate this and other discussions about Indianapolis.

    1. Republicans want Indy to collapse so bad, even thought Indy keeps their towns and counties afloat. They don’t care if they go down with the ship, they just want to see “others” get hurt and are very upset when that doesn’t materialize.

    2. A.R.

      Evidently it’s the Dems that are to ignorant to care. Around 10,000 people
      have moved out of Indianapolis since 2020. Businesses are leaving also.

      Hmmmm, Ever hear the phrase, you get what you tolerate.
      The social justice pukes never learn.

    3. Keith B, billions of dollars in investments in progress and coming to Indy prove otherwise.

    4. Yes,
      Billions in investments in downtown. A vital component of our city.
      But outside of downtown, people and businesses are still leaving.

      Since 2020, around 10,000 people have left Indy and businesses are following.
      Crime is probably the biggest factor.

    5. Weird, it’s like the overly-restrictive immigration policies of conservatives impacts population trends and labor markets! Now, why would conservatives want to further constrain said labor market…hmmmm…

    6. A.R.

      We also don’t want open borders, which is exactly what we have right now
      thanks to Biden and the Dems.

    7. You don’t get to complain about population losses, tight labor markets, and insist that we make it harder for people who want to live and work here to do so. Sorry.

  6. Nobody is blind, there is always room for change and improvement and every problem cannot be attributed to political leadership regardless of party but obviously the fear and outrage concerning current Republican policies, mentality, and leadership far outweighs whatever dark picture they want to paint of Indy and our country. Clearly not a winning platform in Indy (and based on yesterday and 2022, many places). Conservatives live in constant misery and people are tired of their negativity. Love it or leave it. You couldn’t pay me to live in Carmel.

  7. Hogsett Staffer – get out a pencil, write this down:

    DPW needs to pick-up leaves with a vacuum truck.
    Repave the streets – patching does not work.
    Crime is bad, hire some more cops and try and keep pushing, but it’s an uphill battle, do what you can…
    IPS schools are a wreck.

    I’m not going to move out of mid-town, but little improvements for all residents are just as important as the big-ticket items. People will keep moving north until you fix these items.

    Voted for Joe twice, but NOT YESTERDAY – Shreve got my vote. Our city is a wreck, put down your champaign and get back to work. You kept your job, now go get something done…

    1. Where do you propose Indianapolis find the money to repave roads?

      Given the money paid in taxes isn’t returned to the city (we are a donor to the rest of the state) and the only option remaining to the city is a wheel tax capped at $25 million a year, which is a drop in the bucket?

      We’ve only got $232 million a year to spend on roads and the projected annual need approaches four times that.

      What do you want the city of Indianapolis to stop spending money on?

      It won’t be the homeless shelter. The state declined to hear the bill funding that. I’m sure that’s Hogsett’s fault too.

    1. This must be true (!) and definitively explains the support for trump that the entire world finds bizarre.

  8. Perfect
    Another term he can drink us into more dead IPS dropouts, more homeless studies, more crime, boarded up stores, empty offices. …..

    But the good news is he’s a democrat, so his appointees will continue to be unqualified hacks.

  9. I came here for the coping and boy was I not disappointed. Looking forward to four more years of working to make Indy a better place to live for its residents, not the whiners who go from their car to their office and vice versa five times a week. Cope harder losers!

    1. The true losers in this election will be the residents of Indianapolis.

      High crime will still impact their neighborhoods.

  10. Republican run amok when vote don’t meet their expectations. When citizens vote, as each citizen has the right to do, and the result is a democratic win, they scream, point fingers, embrace hyperbole, and in the case of 6 January 2021, they (many, one wishes to minimize generalizations) seek to destroy democracy with a deadly violent coup. So fo not lecture on crime. Do not make continued asinine statements.

    Do seek to improve the geo-political sphere, Indianapolis and Indiana rather than constantly complain, do something positive.

    Maybe visit a crimeless large city.

    And one has to right to live where one wishes and to visit as desired. But only residents get to vote. Granted, all can complain. Indianapolis voters. have spoken. Lawrence voters have spoken, Beech Grove voters have spoken. And voters have spoken in Zionsville, Carmel, Westfield and Fishers.

    Yeah, it’s true — if the entire city were republican, crime would disappear entirely, poverty would be no longer exist, traffic would flow seamlessly and all would be happy.

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