IN Focus: Mayoral candidates lining up key endorsements

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INDIANAPOLIS (Oct. 25, 2015) - With just days remaining until the city elects a new mayor, both candidates are lining up key endorsements ahead of next month's election.

In the video above, IndyStar opinions editor Tim Swarens discusses the Star's decision to endorse Democrat Joe Hogsett, an endorsement announced Saturday on the Star's web site.

Here's what the editorial board had to say about the decision:

Much of this year’s campaign for mayor of Indianapolis has been marked by considerable agreement between Republican Chuck Brewer and Democrat Joe Hogsett on how to tackle the major issues facing the city.

On crime, neighborhood redevelopment and job creation, there’s substantial overlap on Brewer’s proposals and Hogsett’s. Even the candidates’ debates and community forums have been noteworthy more for shared ideas than for pointed disputes.

And the similarities don’t stop with the issues. Both men are smart, thoughtful and passionate about wanting to help Indy build on its strengths and overcome its weaknesses.

Yet there is one key distinction between the two candidates — experience in political leadership, in shaping policy and in working with community leaders.

As a former Indiana secretary of state, Hogsett ran a statewide agency that addressed a range of issues affecting the lives of millions of Hoosiers. More recently, as a U.S. attorney, he took on violent crime, public corruption and Indiana’s struggles with a fast-growing opiate epidemic.

Hogsett over the years also has built deep ties to the community and its leaders — connections that should help him, if elected, to build consensus on how to confront Indy’s many complex problems.

Although a decorated war veteran and successful small business owner, Brewer, a newcomer to politics and, after only four years in Indy, to the city, simply can’t match his opponent’s depth of government experience or knowledge of the community. The Republican, however, would appear to have a bright future in politics if he chooses someday to pursue another office. He offers many attractive qualities. But he is not yet ready to be chief executive of the nation’s 13th largest city.

Still, Hogsett has triggered some concern by how he’s run this campaign. Widely perceived to be the clear frontrunner, Hogsett nevertheless has been unduly cautious in laying out his proposals. He’s noted, for instance, that the city needs to hire more police officers, redevelop badly neglected neighborhoods, and further invest in streets and sidewalks. Yet he’s offered few details about how he would pay for such big-ticket items. Brewer, for his part, hasn’t been any more specific than his opponent.

Our hope is that as he settles in as Indy’s next mayor, Hogsett will set aside the caution of the campaign for the boldness needed to drive change in the city...

Meantime, this week Mayor Greg Ballard is officially endorsing Brewer in a new ad.

Like Ballard eight years ago, Brewer is considered the heavy underdog in the race.

He did receive a campaign contribution from Ballard early on, but this is the first commercial endorsement from the mayor, who's also endorsing two council candidates - Colleen Fanning and Anthony Davidson.

“To keep Indianapolis moving forward, we need the right leadership,” said Ballard in the ad.

“It is later, that tends to be Mayor Ballard’s pattern (with endorsements),” said Swarens. “The thinking may be that a late in the game push could help. I’m not sure it’s really going to make a big difference but in those council races it may be enough to make a difference.”

This week Hogsett is also out with a new ad, talking about his proposals, and tying together some of his key themes from the campaign.

Meantime, the IndyStar’s ‘Truth Squad’ says another Hogsett ad may have used ‘artistic license’ for using someone else’s home in the ad.

Election Day is November 3.

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