Brian Vargus: Melina Kennedy’s Record Fair Game

No major political campaign in Indiana goes unnoticed by Brian Vargus, the noted political science professor from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

Since at least the 1980s, Vargus has conducted independent polls and surveys. Local and national media outlets flock to him for his opinions and 10,000 ft. Hoosier perspective on election cycles that have featured Bayh(s), Quayle, O’Bannon, Daniels, Lugar, Kernan, Goldsmith, Orr, state legislative campaigns, city elections, but oddly enough no county coroner races.

He’s our version of Michael Barone.

Recently Indianapolis Star reporter John Tuohy covered mayoral candidate Melina Kennedy’s swipes at Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard regarding metro crime.

While both camps traded arrows over crime numbers. The issue of whether or not it was fair to criticize Kennedy’s role as deputy mayor in the Bart Peterson administration became part of the story.

Ballard campaign spokesman Kyle Walker on the Kennedy-Peterson connection:

Walker cited FBI statistics that showed violent crime rose 15 percent from 2000 until 2005 and property crimes rose 60 percent in those years.

. . .

“She touted crime-related experience from her role as deputy mayor in her run for prosecutor in 2006,” Walker said. And he said she cites her experience in the administration as a qualification to be the mayor.

“So, she clearly views her time in the Peterson administration as relevant,” Walker said.

Kennedy’s flack, Jon Mills, countered:

“She wasn’t chief of police or director of public safety. Her record on economic development is what matters,” he said. “They are trying to deflect blame from Ballard’s record.”

At this point Tuohy threw a red flag on the field and asked for further review by head referee Professor Vargus.

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis political scientist Brian Vargus said Kennedy’s record is a valid target.

“Calling up someone’s record in a prior administration is a common practice,” he said. “Whether parts of it are relevant or fair, that’s another matter.”

Of course Kennedy’s record was always fair game, but now that Vargus has weighed in with his imprimatur, Kennedy shouldn’t expect her time as a top advisor in Mayor Peterson’s inner circle to go unnoticed.

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By the way Indiana Barrister offers excellent analysis of those Indy crime stats and Kennedy’s weak plan to combat the bad guys.

(Cross-posted at The Hoosier Slant)

This post was tagged under: 2011 Election

3 Responses to “Brian Vargus: Melina Kennedy’s Record Fair Game”

  1. @IndyStudent says:

    Kyle Walker is not a Ballard campaign spokesperson. He's the county GOP chairman.

    • thehoosierslant says:

      I know that, but he often speaks on behalf of the campaign. It's shorthand.

      How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

  2. Nathan Brindle says:

    Vargus's main problem is that he's a flaming liberal. But he's an old acquaintance (Hi Brian!), so generally I just allow for it and draw my own conclusions :)

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