Everything you need to know before voting for Indianapolis mayor

Here’s everything Indianapolis voters need to know about Democratic Mayor Joe Hogsett and his Republican challenger, businessman Jefferson Shreve, before casting a ballot in the 2023 mayoral election.

Early voting is underway now, and Election Day is Nov. 7.

Early voting:Here’s where you can cast a ballot in Central Indiana now

Indianapolis issues: Crime and public safety

After a record-breaking year of gun violence in 2021, homicide rates and public safety have emerged as the likely hinge upon which this election swings, even though homicides and nonfatal shootings are significantly lower this year compared to last year.

Indianapolis gun violence:High homicides, police shootings worry voters as Hogsett and Shreve bid for mayor

Mayor Joe Hogsett’s public safety plan:How will Hogsett’s big gun violence prevention plan fight crime?

Jefferson Shreve’s public safety plan:Republican mayoral candidate Shreve calls for stricter gun control in public safety plan

What works in reducing gun violence?Instead of resorting to violence, these people sought help from Indy’s Peace Fellowship

Addressing mental health:Indy’s new clinician-led 911 response team hopes to save lives with therapy, not police

Both candidates have promised to lobby the state to pass stricter gun control in Indianapolis, an unusual and risky move for the Republican candidate, Shreve, as his base reacted with outrage.

A Republican risk:Shreve angers base with gun control plan that NRA calls ‘pathetic’. Will it pay off?

Police killings at an eight-year record high

This yeara has been marred by the highest number of police killings since 2016 and a call for the resignation of Indianapolis Police Chief Randal Taylor. Hogsett has promised accountability and transparency, pointing to steps already taken, while Shreve has blamed the police shortage and Hogsett’s leadership.

Police accountability:Indianapolis police shootings highest in years. What is going on?

Indianapolis issues: Infrastructure and pedestrian safety

A year after record pedestrian deaths in 2022 and amid a continued lack of sidewalks and persistent pothole problems, Hogsett has touted his record $1.2 billion infrastructure plan and vowed to lobby to change the state road funding formula that shortchanges Indianapolis of much-needed money. The two-term mayor has tried unsuccessfully to change the formula since his first term.

Hogsett’s infrastructure plan:Hogsett to put $30M into residential streets and press state for fair funding formula

Shreve vowed to permanently end the downtown mini-park Spark on the Circle and fully open Monument Circle to traffic as part of a downtown development plan that he said would leverage the uncoupling of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis into two separate universities.

Indianapolis pedestrian, cyclist safety:‘A crisis’: After deadliest year for pedestrians, here’s what Hogsett, Shreve propose.

Shreve’s economic development plan:Shreve unveils downtown plan, including reopening the circle to traffic, adding housing

Hogsett and Shreve on bipartisanship

Hogsett’s 2024 city budget passed three weeks before the election with unanimous City-County Council support, including from all five Republican councilors.

2024 city budget:Indianapolis passes record $1.5B budget with historic police, infrastructure spending

Shreve has sought to distance himself from national Republican politics and former President Donald Trump while emphasizing the issues that matter to the city are not red or blue. He’s made reforming the city animal welfare system a key campaign promise, pledging to donate his mayoral salary to the nonprofit funding the shelter.

Animal care services:Shreve pledges to improve shelter, donate salary if elected mayor

Indianapolis issues: Abortion, Trump, gun control

It’s local election season in Indianapolis but national political issues from abortion to Trump have played an outsized role in voters’ and campaigns’ discourse.

Nationalization of local elections:Abortion, national issues prominent in Indianapolis mayor race

Hogsett, Shreve face off in debates

The candidates have faced off in one forum and one debate, with two more debates planned for Oct. 23 and Oct. 26. Black voters, particularly, the African American Coalition of Indianapolis, have pressured both candidates to deliver an agenda that addresses problems that acutely impact Black residents.

In the first mayoral election after the nationwide and local racial justice protests of 2020, issues of race have featured prominently in many voters’ minds.

The first Indianapolis mayoral debate:Hogsett, Shreve spar on charter schools, policing, food, at Black issues mayoral debate

Hogsett and Shreve’s first encounter:Crime, neighborhoods: Hogsett, Shreve face off for first time in Indianapolis mayor race

Campaign season kick-off:5 takeaways from Hogsett, Shreve remarks at Indy Chamber Hobnob

Partisan loyalty remains strong

No Republican has won countywide since 2011, when Republican Mayor Greg Ballard won his bid for a second term. Indianapolis voters lean about 60-40 Democratic, according to 2022 election results, giving Hogsett a clear advantage.

Nonetheless, Shreve is seen by experts as the strongest opponent against Hogsett in the mayor’s three bids for office. This election stands to be a competitive one, with voter turnout in the May primary being highest it has been since 2011.

Indianapolis’ Democratic lean:Hogsett leads Shreve in Indianapolis mayor poll. But voters are more split on crime.

Indianapolis city government:Examining Mayor Joe Hogsett’s record over his first 2 terms

The most expensive mayoral race in Indianapolis history

Shreve, with a $14.5 million campaign, has been his own biggest donor in the most expensive mayoral race in Indianapolis history. Meanwhile, Hogsett reported raising record-breaking funds this year for his $6.1 million reelection campaign.

Top donors in Indianapolis mayoral race:Shreve bankrolls $13.5M in Indianapolis’ most expensive mayoral election. Will it pay off?

Indianapolis mayoral candidates in their own words

Joe Hogsett Q&A:Mayor Hogsett on his public safety record, 2020 protests, guns and abortion

Jefferson Shreve:Republican candidate on gun control, the abortion ban, broken windows policing and crime

Contact IndyStar reporter Ko Lyn Cheang at kcheang@indystar.com or 317-903-7071. Follow her on Twitter: @kolyn_cheang.

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