The next citywide election in Bloomington is in 2023. Centrist Democrats who oppose the City’s sellout to corporate real estate profiteers will be ready.
In recent decades, Bloomington has been a virtual one-party city, dominated by its local Democratic Party centered around Mayor John Hamilton. The Hamilton years have been characterized by a grandiose vision of Bloomington as a city several times its actual size, growing much more rapidly than it is, offering knowledge job opportunities that are not here, and drawing significant in-migration from southern Indiana, which it isn’t.
The administration’s record is one of anger and polarization. Criticism has been almost continuous — of the administration’s ideological rigidity and lack of transparency in pursuing controversial initiatives, such as the purchase of a $250,000 armored riot control vehicle, financing of a $30 million downtown parking garage, the attempted Local Income Tax increase, a deeply unpopular policy toward the city’s homeless population, the upzoning of the city’s core and annexation of the suburbs.
The administration has never faced an opposing coalition. There is no viable Republican opposition at any level of Bloomington government, and an inbred coalition of Democrats has grown up around the Mayor. In November 2019, Bloomington held an election in which the Mayor and all but two members of the City Council ran unopposed.
Let’s tell our council members — both those who represent us in our geographic districts and the three who represent us At Large — that this year’s decision on upzoning will be the one dominant issue in the next election. The May 2023 Democratic primary will be competitive in every district, and incumbents should expect a challenge from Dissident Democrats, whose supporters will remember which of our elected officials in Bloomington and Monroe County supported upzoning, and which ones opposed it, and will vote accordingly.