Mayoral Elections in Indiana: 2003-2015
Political observers’ assumptions about local election trends are often based on anecdotes, incomplete observation or simply conventional wisdom. However, the Kinder Institute for Urban Research and its Center for Local Elections in American Politics (LEAP) offer a first-of-its-kind way to analyze elections. Several important trends emerge in Indiana. The analysis of election data reveals that more than 20 percent of all mayoral elections in Indiana cities go uncontested. The trend is especially pronounced in the state’s smallest cities. The report also shows that during the study period, there has been a steady decline in turnout in both primary and general elections.
Democrats are losing ground to Republicans and independents in recent mayoral election cycles in Indiana. Overall, Democrats have decreased their share of mayoralties from 57 percent in 2003 and 2007 to roughly 45 percent in 2011 and 2015, according this analysis of 474 general elections and 706 primary elections in more than 120 Indiana cities. In addition to the partisan shift, the report also found that more than 20 percent of all mayoral elections in Indiana go uncontested. This issue is especially acute in the state’s smallest cities.