Lack of funding, coordinated attacks by One Region media and Democratic Machine coordinate to crush candidates who pose a threat to the status quo.
Endorsement Process Costs Money
Many people do not realize that the process of being endorsed by a local precinct organization costs money. In fact, the organizations charge a “speaker fee” ranging from $50 to $200 or more just to make a pitch to the committee in an attempt to gain the endorsement. Precinct organizations are largely comprised of individuals who hold local or county jobs or who have family members on the payroll. Despite a slew of worthy challengers, Calumet Township Assessor candidate Jim Nowacki is the only challenger in Lake County who garnered the support of a precinct organization.
Party Organizations Support Incumbents
In the House District 12 race, challenger Pam Eanes has mounted a strong campaign against long-time incumbent Mara Candelaria-Reardon despite being outspent by a margin of 10 to 1. Eanes showed up at the Hammond Democratic Precinct Organization to speak only to find that they have a $200 speaker fee. Given the few precincts which Hammond has in the district and the slim likelihood of success, Eanes says she decided to spend the $200 elsewhere. In Munster Eanes paid the speaker fee and garnered the majority of votes of those in attendance but was not selected based on votes from those who didn’t even bother to listen to her speak and had cast ballots beforehand. In short, the Precinct Organization took money from Eanes knowing that the votes had already been cast for her opponent. If you do manage to garner the endorsement of a precinct organization, you can expect to dole out anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars to get your name on the slate.
In addition to being outspent, the incumbent has access to the resources of the Indiana Democratic Party which are denied to the challenger. Despite forcing taxpayers to pay for primaries, both the Democratic and Republican parties take any steps that they can to protect their incumbents (unless you cross the king, which we will discuss later). In the case of candidates for state representative, the Indiana Democratic Party provides access to the Voter Access Network (VAN) to incumbents but not to challengers. The powerful VAN network makes reaching voters easier and lowers the cost of mailings by allowing candidates to better target likely voters.
Money Favors Entrenched Politicians
In the race for Lake County Clerk, there is no incumbent in the race. Relative newcomer Josefina Magallanes faces 77 year old Lorenzo Arredondo. Arredondo kicked off his campaign with Bobby Cantrell at his side at Gino’s Restaurant in early January. Arredondo has raised and spent over $30,000 garnering contributions from the Cantrells and Jewell Harris’s of the Lake County Political Swamp. Arredondo kicked off his campaign with a $5,000 loan from former (and likely future) employee Nikki Angel in November, 2017.
Magallanes on the other hand has spent so little that she was not required to file a pre-election camaign report. Instead, Magallanes has relied on social media and going door to door in order to get the word out. Arredondo has used the tens of thousands in campaign contributions to purchase billboards, radio time and yard signs reaching voters without walking a single block.
Incumbents who have doled out lucrative contracts raise hundreds of thousands of dollars without event trying. County Council incumbent Christine Cid reported $11,400.00 in contributions in 2017 with all but $100.00 coming directly from county contractors or other candidates. Incumbent County Commissioner Kyle Allen reported $53,565.00 in contributions in 2017 with virtually all of it coming from county contractors including $500 from Aruba trip participant Rinzer Williams, $2,000.00 from the Law Office of Jewell Harris, P.C. and $2,000.00 from Sneed Construction, Inc.
In both editorials and articles the established One Region media has shown that they are one with incumbents who have demonstrated a willingness to pay to play. So myopic is their vision that yesterday they reported that Lake County Treasurer Peggy Katona fired an employee for accepting a tax payment from a delinquent taxpayer because the City of Gary wanted the property. That employee is now running against Katona and Times reporter Bill Dolan actually wrote the article as if the employee did something wrong in taking a delinquent tax payment and keeping an individual in his or her home. This is the sad state of affairs in Lake County, Indiana and a big part of the reason we will continue to see residents fleeing and politicians being dragged off in handcuffs.