MERRILLVILLE – When the 30-day rule kicked in around Northwest Indiana last week, it became increasingly clear who was tagging his wagon to whom.
Most area communities have adopted an ordinance limiting the placement of political yard signs to the 30 days prior to an election.Those ordinances lately have come under fire and there is a move afoot to get rid of them. Lake County Commissioners Attorney John Dull recently said the ordinances are unconstitutional. Until the ordinances are wiped away, municipalities seem to be adhering to the 30-day provision.
Accordingly, the yard signs sprouted last weekend and it is interesting to note whose signs are being paired. At the heart of the matter is John Gregg, the Democratic candidate for governor. It’s interesting whose signs appear with Gregg’s. There are Gregg and Shelli VanDenburgh signs together as well as Gregg and Tom O’Donnell signs side by side.
VanDenburgh is trying to win back the 19th House District seat she narrowly lost to Republican Julie Olthoff two years ago. VanDenburgh held the seat in the heart of Lake County for four terms. O’Donnell is taking on incumbent Republican Hal Slager in the 15th House District on the west/central side of Lake County.
O’Donnell took on Slager in 2012 after new House districts were drawn following the 2010 Census. O’Donnell, an attorney and former county councilman, came within a whisker of defeating Slager. Slager easily defeated Democrat Jim Wieser, an attorney and longtime Democratic player, in 2014.
O’Donnell was giving serious thought to running for sheriff in 2018, but party officials convinced him to run for state representative. O’Donnell conceded, thinking that with Donald Trump heading the Republican ticket that he stood a good chance of winning the House seat.
Winning the 15th and 19th districts are important to Democrats if they are to break the Republican super-majority in the House. O’Donnell, as he was putting up signs last weekend, said he felt good about the race, largely because Trump’s campaign seemed to be imploding. However, a question remains about the pairing of the signs.  And, that is who stands to gain the most.