Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

Breaking News

Commentary

November 23, 2012

How an unknown won with social media

There were rumblings this summer and fall that Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett might have a race on his hand.

This was statistically quantified with the Howey/DePauw Indiana Battleground poll taken Oct. 28-30 that showed Bennett with a mere 40-36 percent lead over Democrat Glenda Ritz. An incumbent at just 40 percent that late in the game is, essentially, a dead politician walking.

Ritz was a political novice and an Indianapolis school teacher, recruited by Indiana Democrats to fill a ballot position. The party's platform called for the office to be one appointed by the governor. In fact, a Democrat hadn't been elected to one of the "statewide" executive branch offices (below governor and lieutenant governor) since 1996.

When the ballots were counted Nov. 6, Ritz had pulled off a stunning 1,335,232 to 1,185,104 vote upset. She received 61,656 more votes that Gov.-elect Mike Pence, who outspent her by more than 20 to 1.

How did this happen?

There were several elements to this story. One western Indiana Republican county chairman told me there were about 30 other, mostly rural GOP chairs looking for "payback" to Gov. Mitch Daniels, who had backed Valparaiso Mayor Jon Costas over Attorney General Greg Zoeller, who won the nomination and office in 2008.

There were educators chafing under the sprawling education reforms initiated by Bennett and Daniels and passed in 2011 that brought changes to teacher evaluations and the grading of schools on an A through F scale. There had been the state takeover of schools in Gary and Indianapolis with more in the pipeline.

Thus, there was discontent across the spectrum. But something else happened.

The Ritz campaign faced a distinct money disparity, with Bennett raising north of $1.6 million that fueled hundreds of TV ads for more than two months, while Ritz raised a meager $300,000 - peanuts for a statewide race.

Text Only
Commentary
  • Free Rick Perry |It tells you much about the laughable indictment of Texas Gov. Rick Perry that it has made him a figure of bipartisan sympathy. Perry was indicted recently for the offense of vetoing an appropriations bill. Not vetoing an appropriations bill in exch

    August 21, 2014

  • Icy heads and warm hearts |Internet fads come and go. Most of them are ridiculous, pointless and often dangerous like the cinnamon challenge, planking and Justin Bieber. Normally the fads involve a lot of people who want to be seen and heard. The new fad, however, is the ice

    August 21, 2014

  • Trick or treating already? |So there I was, wheeling my cart merrily through the grocery store, whistling while I went on a search for enchilada sauce, when I rounded a turn at the end of an aisle and found myself face-to-face with … A wall of candy. Halloween candy. In Augu

    August 18, 2014

  • Trick or treating already? |So there I was, wheeling my cart merrily through the grocery store, whistling while I went on a search for enchilada sauce, when I rounded a turn at the end of an aisle and found myself face-to-face with … A wall of candy. Halloween candy. In Augu

    August 18, 2014

  • The Ferguson melodrama |Even if the police in Ferguson, Mo., are the brutal occupying force alleged by the protesters there, what do local shop owners have to do with it? In the wake of the police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in disputed circumstances, rioters bur

    August 18, 2014

  • The Ferguson melodrama |Even if the police in Ferguson, Mo., are the brutal occupying force alleged by the protesters there, what do local shop owners have to do with it? In the wake of the police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in disputed circumstances, rioters bur

    August 18, 2014

  • Debate filled with 'hate' gives Hamas a pass |One of the worst things about our “divisive” political culture is that we’re wearing out words. We use some of them so constantly that they’ve lost their power. To paraphrase Nigel Tufnel of “This is Spinal Tap,” we’ve turned them up to 11 and kept

    August 18, 2014

  • The seven Facebook friends everyone has |Recently, I was told that I’m behind the times because I’m still on Facebook. Just five years ago, I was told I was behind the times because I wasn’t on Facebook. The new “it” social media apps are Instagram, Twitter and a thousand other apps that I

    August 14, 2014

  • A hell of a diplomatic foray |If an Israeli high-level official were caught on a hot mic candidly commenting on Secretary of State John Kerry's ill-fated act of Israel-Hamas peacemaking, he might call it "a hell of a diplomatic foray." Kerry was caught sarcastically describing t

    July 30, 2014

  • Adopting Indiana? Or a 'deadbeat parent'? This past week we’ve learned that the State of Indiana has essentially stiffed 1,400 families who have adopted special needs children. The subsidies they were promised to raise kids in the state’s foster child program have been denied, prompting one

    July 12, 2014

House Ads
Hendricks County Marquee
Email News Sign Up
Facebook
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Poll

Are you worried about the violence in Ferguson, Mo., spreading across the country?

Yes
No
Not concerned one way or the other
     View Results
AP Video
Hospital Releases Two Missionaries Who Had Ebola Ramen Health Risks: The Dark Side of the Noodle NYC Doctor-in-chief Seeks Community Approach Indonesian Police Fire Tear Gas at Protesters Raw: Shots Fired in Liberian Shantytown DOJ, Bank of America Reach Record Settlement Raw: Cubavision Airs Images of Fidel Castro Raw: Grief After Deadly Airstrikes in Gaza Officer Who Pointed Gun at Protesters Suspended Kathy Griffin Challenges Minaj to 'a Booty Off' Johnson: Six Arrests, No Tear Gas in Ferguson Raw: Rescue, Relief Efforts at Japan Landslide Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream California Drought Stings Honeybees, Beekeepers Officer Who Pointed Gun at Protesters Suspended US Mission to Rescue Hostages in Syria Failed
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Must Read