Mayor Joe Hogsett is hoping his record as the city’s top elected official for the last six years will be enough to secure a third term in next year’s election.
However, as state Rep. Robin Shackleford announced her bid for mayor Nov. 10, Black voters, who have generally supported Hogsett at the ballot box, may soon be feeling tension on where to cast their vote in the 2023 Democratic primary.
Although Shackleford would serve as the first Black and woman mayor of Indianapolis if elected, Hogsett said he believes his record within the African American and other minority communities in Indianapolis since he became mayor in 2016 has reflected well.
He said in an interview with the Recorder Nov. 18 that he wants the African American community in Indianapolis to judge him based on how he’s worked to represent their interests. As mayor, Hogsett said he’s remained visible and present in in these communities, advocating for investments such as property tax relief, using federal pandemic relief funds to support more affordable housing and investing in Frederick Douglass and Riverside parks.
“I’m proud of the record I compiled,” he said, “and I’ll be happy to stand on it in the primary and in the general, I should say … if I’m nominated.”
Hogsett said his decision to run for a third term is not one he made lightly. In fact, he said he’s been thinking about whether to seek a third term throughout the last year. With the midterm elections over and his 2023 city-county budget passed, Hogsett said he believed now was a good time to make the announcement.
“I’ve been contemplating it for quite some time throughout the course of 2022,” Hogsett said, “because I knew there was going to come a day when I had to make a final decision.”
Many believed Hogsett’s current term would be his last because he said as a candidate in 2015 he wouldn’t seek a third term. When Hogsett announced his reelection bid Nov. 15, he said the COVID-19 pandemic left things “undone,” adding this would be his final term as mayor.
Hogsett confirmed in the interview that COVID-19 was the driving force behind his decision to seek a third term. If he’d been asked if he would seek a third term immediately following his win in 2019, Hogsett said he would’ve said “no.”
“I think it’s fair to say that I started thinking about the type of leadership that I had enjoyed participating in, that the city enjoyed prospering in, in the first term,” Hogsett said. “How different the second term was in terms of some progress being considerably delayed and how I’d like to perhaps make up for that lost time by serving a third and final term.”
Hogsett said who his opponents may or may not be — on either side of the political aisle — had no influence on his decision either. He left open the possibility that more candidates may still join the race.
“My decision is a very personal one,” Hogsett said, “that is really driven by what I have accomplished, what I’d like to see accomplished and some of the unique characteristics and qualities that I might be able to bring to the office that would help move Indianapolis forward.”
Contact staff writer Chloe McGowan at 317-762-7848 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @chloe_mcgowanxx.