INDIANAPOLIS — After a career spent mostly in public service, from Indiana Secretary of State to U.S. Attorney to failed congressional, senate and attorney general candidate, in 2015 Joe Hogsett apparently found a job that fit him as mayor of Indianapolis.

“I’ve loved being mayor,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed the opportunity.”

Enjoyed it enough to announce he’s ready to run for a third term in November of 2023?

“I suppose I could go into December, but the truth is, I think the sooner I make a decision the better,” he said. “You’ll be hearing something very very soon. I owe it to the people of the City of Indianapolis and, frankly, I owe it to my political party to make a decision and I will be doing so within the next several weeks.”

Hogsett told reporters in September he would delay any re-election announcement pending passage of a bi-partisan City budget and until after last week’s mid-term elections.

Two days after the polls closed, State Representative Robin Shackleford, a fellow Democrat from the east side, announced her bid for Hogsett’s job, putting heat on the incumbent to make his intentions known.

“You have this pressure because Shackleford announcing last week that she is running for this position all of a sudden really does put a focus on him and questions about, ‘Is he or isn’t he gonna run for re-election? If he doesn’t what is he going to do? If he does what is he going to do?’,” said University of Indianapolis Political Science Associate Professor Laura Wilson. “For campaign finance, there’s a finite amount of money, and so any dollar that goes to Hogsett, can’t go to Shackleford, for example, or any other opponent for that matter.”

As of last January, Hogsett for Indianapolis, the mayor’s campaign organization, reported nearly $2.5 million in cash on hand, a figure that is certain to skyrocket past $3 million when election finance records are reported early next year.

The Hogsett campaign will hold a fundraiser in downtown Indianapolis Tuesday evening.

Shackleford declared her intention to run in mid-September and has not yet filed any campaign finance reports.

“I think if Joe Hogsett were to run again, he has great name recognition, he has an incredible war chest, and the biggest question is, ‘What will I continue to do?’ That’s gonna be the biggest question for voters and that will be his biggest hurdle in a certain way,” said Wilson.

Hogsett has said the 2020 worldwide shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the social unrest and public safety change that rocked downtown Indianapolis that summer stalled the City’s momentum, progress that is now being regained with the recovery of the City’s convention trade and the announcement of several large business and residential developments from the Elanco project on the west bank of the White River to the plan to build high rise apartments at the renovated City Market.

Also on tap in 2024, the first year of the next mayor’s term, would be the NBA All-Star Game at Gainbridge Fieldhouse and the USA Olympic Swimming Trials at Lucas Oil Stadium, along with anticipated ribbon cuttings at several municipal and parks projects.

“He would be the beneficiary in this case of much of his own work,” said Wilson. “He seems to enjoy leading the city of Indianapolis and he’s had a number of successes as mayor.”

Were Hogsett to develop a new or enhanced agenda for a third term, he would be faced with building a team to help carry it out as many top assistants have moved on to take significant leadership roles in other Indianapolis agencies and organizations, former staffers who could be counted on to further the mayor’s vision for the City.

Hogsett is assured of an overwhelming party majority on the City-County Council to endorse his spending and administrative priorities even though he faced criticism as leader of Marion County democrats for his handling of the primary and slating process and candidates, and the modest one-time property tax break in the recently passed 2023 budget certainly doesn’t hurt an incumbent who boasts of favorable poll numbers about 60%.