On Tuesday the Green Mouse reported that Sam Charbonneau might be seeking a city council seat in the 6th district. Speaking for myself, he was in attendance at the last council meeting; given the masochism of such daring decisions, few disinterested citizens bother with the peanut gallery unless they’re contemplating involvement … or resistance.
Charbonneau’s only previous campaign came last year. Here are the votes for Indiana House in 2018 from the 6th council district.
Precinct Ed Clere (R) Sam Charbonneau (D)
27: 198 261
41: 336 276
42: 271 221
43: 163 189
44: 323 300
Total: 1,291 1,247
We see that even while losing the 6th, Charbonneau did quite well, especially for a first-time candidate. Overall, Clere won re-election in 2918 with around 55% of the vote, but in the 6th, the tally was just shy of 51%.
Yesterday Jason Applegate (D) announced his bid for an at-large city council seat in 2019, having lost a commissioner’s race last fall to Shawn Carruthers (R) by a razor-thin margin.
Jason Applegate files for NA city council at-large. Does this mean fellow Democrat Sam Charbonneau will challenge Scott Blair in the 6th?
Both Applegate and Charbonneau reside in the 6th district, so it might be instructive to compare the totals in the 6th for the Carruthers-Applegate contest in 2018.
Precinct Shawn Carruthers Jason Applegate
27: 171 276
41: 310 294
42: 228 252
43: 145 201
44: 282 320
Total: 1,136 1,343
Applegate won four of five precincts in the 6th and rolled up a 54%-46% advantage over Carruthers. This seems to suggest that Charbonneau opting for at-large and Applegate in the 6th would be more advantageous to Democrats than the other way around — although we still don’t know for sure whether Charbonneau will be running at all.
Yet again, the big voter turnout in 2018 (around half the registered voters in Floyd County, roughly double the norm) makes it difficult to compare apples with apples.
Here are the results from the last 6th district city council race in 2015.
CITY OF NEW ALBANY COUNCIL MEMBER DIST 6
Total votes: 1,345
LARRY BELCHER (REP) 358 26.62%
CLIFF STATEN (DEM) 404 30.04%
SCOTT A. BLAIR (IND) 583 43.35%
For the past two election cycles, Blair’s status as an Independent has muddied traditional norms in the 6th district. He’s certainly more R than D in terms of appeal, but in 2019, the Republicans have Scott Evans, a candidate with more potential upside than Belcher, and if Charbonneau goes for it, the Democrats will boast a hard worker who lost in the 6th by a very slim margin to the presumably unassailable Clere.
This one’s going to be fascinating.