2012 General Election Review
After taking some time to assess the election, we are excited to share with you our 2012 General Election Review. This review is our effort to inform our supporters and grassroots activists on the results of the election and to provide them a clearer picture of what happened.
While Americans for Prosperity does not support, oppose or endorse candidates, we do feel it is important for the public to know and understand the results of an election that will have a direct impact on the policy decisions made here in the near future.
As you know by now, the 2012 Indiana General Election was a mixed day for Republicans and Democrats. While the GOP won the Presidential, Gubernatorial and Attorney General races in our state, the Democrats secured victory in the hotly contested U.S. Senate race and office of State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Republicans maintained their supermajority in the State Senate with 37 seats out of the 50 total. Republicans in the House achieved a supermajority for the first time in recent history and now hold 69 of the 100 House seats.
Over 2.5 million Hoosiers cast a ballot in the election. 2012 turnout was about 58%. Voter turnout was 41% in 2010 and 62% in 2008. Wells County had the highest percentage of voters coming to the polls with 71% turnout. Scott County measured the lowest percentage of turnout with 46%.
Retirements, redistricting and incumbent defeats will bring a record number of new policymakers for Indiana in 2013.
Just look at the Indiana General Assembly. Today, there are 78 state legislators serving in the General Assembly (over 1/2 of our entire state legislature) who were elected for the first time in either 2008, 2010 or 2012. This year alone, 28 new policymakers will join the Indiana General Assembly. (Chart Below Measures Turnover by Cycle in the Indiana General Assembly)
Similarly, Indiana’s congressional delegation of nine now consists of seven members elected within the last two elections.
With so many new policymakers without established records, it makes the job of every citizen to watch their actions that much more important. Americans for Prosperity – Indiana is committed to providing the tools for our activists to hold their elected officials accountable. Our rallies, trainings and educational events all provide a means for you to reach your elected official and make your voice heard.
The Power of Grassroots
There are many lessons to learn from this election, but one certainly to remember is the power of grassroots efforts.
Consider the results for Dr. Tony Bennett who was running for reelection as State Superintendent of Public Instruction. While Bennett’s opponent reportedly ran a grassroots heavy campaign, assisted in particular by teacher unions, Bennett by all accounts ran a more “traditional” campaign and employed TV advertising in various markets across Indiana.
On average, 55.5% of the vote by each county went to the GOP. If a candidate performed at or near the GOP average, they would likely win. For instance, Governor-Elect Mike Pence performed at or better than the average in 86 counties. This average includes the Presidential, U.S. Senate, Gubernatorial, Attorney General, State Superintendent and Congressional races.
Bennett did not achieve a result in any county which was better than the GOP average. Bennett performed the worst in areas where grassroots organizing is key and traditional media matters less. Bennett had 38 counties within 5% of the GOP average, another 38 within 5 to 10%, and 16 where the results were 10% or more worse than the GOP average.
These 16 counties are not as scattered as you might expect. Whether it was teacher union organizing or targeted campaign efforts, the Democrats were effective in building grassroots networks in pockets of the state (some GOP heavy) that provided a major boost to their statewide effort. In GOP heavy Wabash County alone where the GOP average was 60%, Bennett secured just 44% of the vote.
These results clearly show that grassroots efforts matter.
Our mission at AFP-Indiana is to advance economic freedom by protecting taxpayers and promoting freedom in our schools and workplaces. Together, we’ll make sure our policymakers embrace economic freedom and the free market, limited government principles which lead to prosperity. But as we do this we cannot forget the power of grassroots action in achieving our policy goals.