INDIANAPOLIS - It’s still very early, but the 2015 race for mayor is already heating up.
On Thursday, former U.S. attorney Joe Hogsett filed paperwork to form an exploratory campaign committee, then visited the Fraternal Order of Police lodge to meet with officers.
“I'm very glad to be supporting IMPD and I hope I can add to the conversation in the months and weeks ahead,” said Hogsett.
Thursday’s filing allows Hogsett to meet with civic and community leaders to discuss issues facing the Circle City. The announcement comes a day after Republicans said Hogsett may have violated the Hatch Act by discussing his mayoral plans while serving as a federal prosecutor.
“There are many strong indications Joe Hogsett violated this law before prematurely leaving his post as the U.S. attorney,” said Marion Co. Republican party chair Kyle Walker on Wednesday.
“I guess it's inevitable that there's always some partisan petty political gamesmanship, but that's not something I'm going to get involved in,” responded Hogsett on Thursday.
Fellow Democratic candidate Ed DeLaney came to Hogsett’s defense.
“Joe Hogsett and I have worked together (and) we very carefully talked about the Mayor’s office four days after he left the US attorney’s office,” said DeLaney. “He’s behaved responsibly and properly as far as I know so I think it’s just bad politics. We’ll pick our own candidate.”
DeLaney met with reporters on Thursday to criticize the mayor’s new pre-K proposal.
“He’s robbing Peter to pay Paul,” said DeLaney. “I think his proposal is driven by the election cycle, not by good planning.”
While many observers predict Ballard will run for a third term, he still has not technically declared his intention to run.
“Obviously the mayor’s focused on running the city right now,” said Ballard spokesman Marc Lotter. “He’s looking at doing the job the people have elected him to do.”
Meantime, some Democrats had wondered if DeLaney or fellow Democrat Frank Short would drop out if Hogsett entered the race.
“That is not happening,” said DeLaney. “I’ve been interested in this office for a long time and I’m continuing to run for this office and I want to have a discussion. I want Joe Hogsett, Frank Short and the mayor to be a part of it. How do we really solve these problems?”
Short told FOX59 he was still weighing his options, and would make a decision in the near future.