DOUG ROSS: Sifting through fallout from last week's election

2012-11-14T00:00:00Z DOUG ROSS: Sifting through fallout from last week's electionBy Doug Ross, (219) 548-4360 or (219) 933-3357

The fallout from the Nov. 6 election is still being sifted through. Today, I'm highlighting three observations.

Porter County feels blue

I sliced and diced the Porter County election results, and each way I looked at them, the power of the Democratic Party was inescapable.

People who see Porter County as Republican are perhaps noticing that Valparaiso's government is heavily Republican, or maybe they're looking at the county's two mayors, both of which are Republican. 

Look at the number of Porter County's straight-party votes -- 56.4 percent were Democrat -- or the federal and statewide offices, all of which went  Democratic. All the County Council members elected were Democrats, too.

It looks to me like the people moving to Porter County from Lake County or Illinois are bringing their political party preferences with them.

Legislative muscle flex spending

How much legislative muscle does Northwest Indiana have after the general election? Good question.

Lake County has historically been a Democratic powerhouse. Downstate Republicans --  and when you're this far north nearly the entire state is downstate -- might not care what happens in Northwest Indiana.

However, Lake County has two new Republican legislators, state Reps. Rick Niemeyer and Hal Slager.

Slager has House Speaker Brian Bosma's ear, which surely will help. The Republican supermajority in the House means they don't need Democrats' votes if the Republicans are in lockstep, but Bosma has said he will work with the Democrats, as long as they're willing to work with the Republicans. 

The House Democratic leadership has changed, too. The obstinate Pat Bauer has been ousted. Rep. Scott Pelath of Michigan City is the new minority leader, and Linda Lawson of Hammond is his second in command. That should help Northwest Indiana as well.

The other absentee vote

Illinois' 2nd Congressional District is a perfect illustration of what people around the nation mean when they derisively refer to "Chicago-style politics."

On election night, I quipped that this race brings new meaning to the term "absentee voting." Voters overwhelmingly re-elected U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., who hasn't represented them since June, when he began a medical leave.

We've seen speculation that Jackson, who left the Mayo Clinic on Tuesday, might leave office before his term is up -- specifically, that he is negotiating the terms of a plea deal with the federal government.

Disgraceful? Yes, for most people. But the 2nd Congressional District is, well, different.

Editorial Page Editor Doug Ross can be reached at (219) 548-4360 or (219) 933-3357 or Follow him at and on Twitter @nwi_DougRoss. The opinion expressed in this column is the writer's and not necessarily that of The Times.

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