Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard, a well known figure in Indiana politics and the Republican party, shared some of his thoughts about the 2016 election, which includes Gov. Mike Pence running for re-election, U.S. Reps. Todd Young and Marlin Stutzman battling to replace U.S. Sen. Dan Coats and a very interesting presidential primary for the Grand Old Party.
Why did you choose to support Rep. Todd Young for U.S. Senate?
I think he’s a moderate that can get something done in Washington. We haven’t had much success with people who are so rigidly orthodox. They’re idealogues. They go to Washington and nothing happens. Todd Young is still a strong conservative but he can sit down with the other side and make progress, and that’s why I support him.
Did Eric Holcomb’s decision to become lieutenant governor instead of running for Senate play into that decision?
I think they both would have been good candidates. Now that Eric Holcomb has decided to take his name out of the running, it became clear to me that I should be supporting Todd Young. And he grew up in Carmel.
The national Republican primaries are really interesting. We have one candidate, in Donald Drumpf, which is something we’ve never seen before.
Well, we had Aaron Burr at one point. I see some similarities. He tried to start his own country at one point.
And then you have someone like Ted Cruz who is known for filibustering.
Ted Cruz doesn’t make any sense to me. He said he wanted to abolish the IRS. How do we pay for the Army? Do we ask people for contributions? How do we protect our borders? How do we have an Air Force? How do we do these things if we don’t have an agency that collects our taxes? That may make a good soundbite, but has he ever run anything?
It seems like unlike legislators, executives like mayors, governors and presidents often talk about reaching across the aisle to get things done.
You have to reach across the aisle to get things done. Compromise. Consensus building. Those are the skills that a legislator needs. If you’re a rigid ideologue, you’re never going to get anything done. Democracy is a tough thing compared to other forms of government, but that’s what we have in this country and it’s a citizen legislature. And that legislature is only going to be as good as the people we put in it. If people criticize government, elect better people.
We’ve reached a point in the national debate where Gov. Chris Christie was criticized for hugging the president or shaking his hand.
It’s absolutely ridiculous. We have to get along even if we disagree. Criticism for being nice to a political opponent is absolutely ridiculous.
What do you think about former Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard? Would he be a valuable asset to the Indiana Republican Party if he ran for office again?
Greg is a very talented person. Hasn’t forgotten where he comes from. He has a way of bringing people together from both sides of the aisle. He’s been a great public servant and I’d love to see him remain in politics.
It seems like Ballard’s popularity grew over his two terms.
A lot of people didn’t know him. Once people got to know Greg Ballard, they liked him. He was a likable guy. People can tell if someone is fake or real. He’s a real person who’s doing this to make his community better and that comes through easily.
Any thoughts on the governor’s race?
I’m a Republican. I want to see Republicans win. I think both candidates are good people and have talent. It will be an interesting race.
Do you think Holcomb helps Pence?
I think Holcomb absolutely helps a Republican ticket. Sue Ellspermann would have helped, too. Those are two good people. It surprised me, the change, quite honestly.