Analyzing the Vanderburgh County Prosecutors Race

Stan Levco

The 2006 election for Vanderburgh County Prosecutor pitted these exact same candidates against one another that are squaring off in 2010. In that election a very young Nick Hermann was introduced to countywide electoral politics by a sound defeat at the hands of the Democratic incumbent Stan Levco by a vote tally of 32,291 to 22,009 a victory margin of over 10,000 votes.

That was 2006 when the sentiment of the county was so strongly in the Democratic camp that Linda Durham rode the coattails of that sentiment to victory in the race for Knight Township Trustee. In the 2006 elections 20,434 (36% of all votes) people voted straight ticket ballots out of the 56,279 that were cast. Of those straight ticket voters 58.4% went to Democratic candidates and 40.2% went to Republicans. The margin of straight ticket voters in 2006 is eerily close to the 59.4% to 40.5% margin that Mr. Levco defeated Mr. Hermann by.

How long were the coattails of Brad Ellsworth and Democratic sentiment in 2006? Did these coattails have any impact at all on the Vanderburgh County Prosecutor’s race or were the results fully determined by the voter’s judgment on the candidates appeal? The real question in this campaign is whether or not Nick Hermann can convince 9.5% of the electorate that in 2010 he is the best man for the job.

Mole #3 has yet to make a call on this race. During the past four years Mr. Hermann has greatly increased his political knowledge base with a stint as the Chairman of the Vanderburgh County Republican Party, has established a track record as a volunteer in children’s advocacy programs including the Juvenile Drug Court, and accepted several board appointments in Vanderburgh County. He also has grown accustomed to the role of father that always offers opportunities to develop a more mature perspective. It is safe to say that the Nick Hermann of 2010 is a much different person than the Nick Hermann that Prosecutor Levco defeated in 2006.

Mr. Levco has spent the last four years right where he has been since winning the election for Vanderburgh County Prosecutor in 1990. Stan has been the steady hand on the plow continually running the Prosecutor’s office now for two decades. Levco knows the job of Prosecutor as he has defined it and managed it for most of his adult life.

This race was disrupted several weeks ago with the reporting that Mr. Levco had violated the Hatch Act by soliciting political donations from staff members. This allegation was addressed quickly by Mr. Levco who communicating exactly what his fundraising practices have been. The typical reaction among the voters has been “don’t they all do that?” If that opinion is broadly held this allegation should have little impact on the election.

This contest really comes down to maturity, experience, and coattails. There is no question that Mr. Levco, who has the support of Sheriff Eric Williams has more experience than Mr. Hermann who was endorsed by the FOP (Fraternal Order of Police) and spent the last four years dedicated to becoming a better candidate for office. It will be up to each voter to decide whether or not Mr. Hermann’s combination of youth and potential merits a decision for the veteran Prosecutor Mr. Levco to pass the torch on to a younger man.

Mole #3, while not making a projection in the Vanderburgh County Prosecutors race is willing to go out on a limb and state that if the coattails of Larry Bucshon, who was recruited to run for Congress by Mr. Hermann, are going to determine this very close race. If Mr. Bucshon’s coattails and the general aura of discontentment with the status quo play themselves out in Vanderburgh County as they are poised to across the nation, then Citizen Hermann will most likely become Prosecutor Hermann.

The discontentment with the state of the country will most certainly influence local elections like the one for Vanderburgh County Prosecutor. Sometimes this is warranted and sometimes it is not. Stan Levco has served this office in an honest and dignified manner and if reelected will continue to do so. The City County Observer hopes that each and every vote is based on a knowledgeable person making an informed vote for the person that they believe is the best candidate for the job of Prosecutor.

Mole #3’s Notes from the Street:

Coattails and sentiment can be quite disruptive. In the City County Observer reader’s polls a “throw the bums out” sentiment runs deep and some of the letters and comments are personal. If 2010 is an indication of things to come, and we have every indication that it is, the volume will be turned up in 2011. The entire Evansville City Council and the Mayor of Evansville are up for election next year. The sentiment on the street with a very few exceptions is that there will be close to a complete change of power in the City of Evansville next year and that no amount of money can keep that tide from coming in.