Exclusive: Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett calls for end of slating process
The primary vetting process should change, according to the mayor and the county party.
Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett called for the end of the Marion County Democratic Party's controversial slating process Wednesday evening.
Hogsett and his political operation have long advocated privately for the abolition of slating, a form of vetting in which the party picks which candidates it wants to back officially, according to a person familiar with his thinking. But Hogsett’s political operation has faced stiff opposition from traditional Democratic elected officials. Recent criticisms of the process from many of those same officials liberated Hogsett to finally move on reforms.
"The Marion County Democratic Party has always enjoyed success welcoming fresh ideas and amplifying the energy of new voices," Hogsett said in a statement issued by his campaign committee to IMPORTANTVILLE. "While there are historic reasons for its existence, it has become clear in recent years that the decades-old convention endorsement process no longer serves such a purpose. As a result, I am calling on the Marion County Democratic Party to commit itself to an open primary process in next year's municipal elections and to strongly consider abandoning the practice altogether moving forward. In so doing, I am confident the Marion County Democratic Party of today will find strength in ensuring that every voter has an equal voice in determining our future."
Asked to respond to Hogsett's statement, Marion County Democratic Chair Kate Sweeney Bell—who has said she will step down prior to 2023 if elected Marion County Clerk in November—said: "In recent years, the Marion County Democratic Party has made long-overdue changes to ensure we better reflect our constituents. That includes increasing the number of Democratic women on the Council, improving the diversity of our Executive Committee, and celebrating a group of 2022 endorsed candidates where half of our ticket was Black. I would strongly urge the next Chair to consider Mayor Hogsett's suggestion as we work to move forward as a united Marion County Democratic Party."