Indiana’s blue vote for president-elect Barack Obama on Election Day was a sign that Hoosiers are ready for change. So was
the state’s red vote to keep incumbent Gov. Mitch Daniels in office. In this case, the status quo means more change. Daniels
has been making gutsy and sometimes unpopular moves since taking office four years ago. He ran on a promise to keep shaking
Ice Miller LLP partner Lacy Johnson, who helped organize Ill. Democratic Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign here, said
the election represents an opportunity for businesses to move beyond labels.
For the first time in more than 40 years, Indiana helped elect a Democratic president.
Republican Sen. John McCain has been unable to achieve the same Indiana fund-raising edge on his Democratic opponent that
President George W. Bush did in past elections. Bush rang up an Indiana fund-raising advantage of $1.7 million over Sen. John
Kerry in 2004, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. And his popularity in Indiana allowed
him to spend those dollars to help him campaign in other states while easily winning Indiana’s electoral
votes. But this election, Sen. Barack Obama had outraised Republican John McCain by $360,000 through the end of August, when
McCain’s decision to take public campaign funds forced him to stop raising funds directly for himself.
Obama did not take public funds, and so has continued to raise money.
The topic of health care sparked the most spirited comments from business leaders interviewed by IBJ ahead of the May 6 presidential
primary. When asked whether they thought Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton would be better for business, executives in manufacturing,
exporting, computer technology, logistics and education largely demurred.
Indiana’s business community is divided in its support during this presidential election. Many Republicans are disenchanted,
which has contributed to slow contributions to their candidate, Arizona Sen. John McCain. But those looking to support Democrats
are torn this year, as the fierce competition between Clinton and Obama has made Indiana’s normally sleepy May primary a battleground.