Wednesday, May 5, 2010

I Don’t Understand (And I’m Not Sure That I Want to Understand)

In yesterday’s Democratic primary for Indiana’s 5th Congressional District, Tim Crawford defeated Dr. Nasser Hanna. The vote totals weren’t even close; Crawford received 61% of the 16,000+ votes cast. Well, you might say, that’s democracy in action. But is it? Let’s take a closer look.

The first thing to note is that in Indiana, candidates are listed on the ballot in alphabetical order. Thus, Crawford appeared on the ballot before Hanna. I’d be curious to see if there are any studies on whether candidates who appear first on a ballot are more likely to get elected. If so, then it seems that alphabetical order might not be the best way to determine ballot placement (but I’ll leave that discussion for another day).

More importantly, I’d like to compare the two candidates. First, let’s look at some of the biographic information that they each provided to The Indianapolis Star for the paper’s voter guide. Both men are Christian (Hanna is Catholic). Crawford is single; Hanna is married with children. Crawford is 29; Hanna is 41. Crawford has lived in Hamilton County since he was 4; Hanna moved to Hamilton County 11 years ago. With those vital statistics out of the way, let’s look at their respective educations:


I graduated Core 40 from Carmel High School in 1999. From 1999 to 2001 I attended Vincennes University, majoring in general studies and liberal arts. In 2001 I chose to leave college to join the American workforce. I enjoyed college but found I'd rather have an income rather than an outcome. I do believe degrees are important but there are other forms of education that are just as effective i.e. real life, workplace, and business mentors.


University of Missouri School of Medicine (MD); St. Louis University (BA Biology).

Now I don’t know about you, but I’m much more impressed with a doctor who earned a degree from a well-respected university than I am with a man who dropped out of Vincennes University. And for those who don’t know, “Core 40” is the State of Indiana’s base requirement for a high school diploma. However, as I understand it, Core 40 wasn’t adopted until 2007, so I’m not sure how Crawford graduated “Core 40” in 1999.

What about their respective employment?


I am currently working for Southern Retail Construction as senior estimator and general manager. We are a small business trying to diversify and maintain.


Oncologist at the IU School of Medicine.

Again, I find Hanna’s credentials to be vastly superior to Crawford’s. In fact, the comparison is beginning to remind me a bit of the comparisons of Barack Obama to Sarah Palin.

Let’s look at a few more bits and pieces. The Star’s voter guide includes information about civic involvement:

Founder, Cancer-Free Lungs (2004-present): nonprofit organization that serves school children throughout Indiana; Professional Advisory Board, Wellness Community, 2002-present; Member of 1st class Leadership Development Program, American Society of Clinical Oncology, 2009-2010;

Previous civic involvement/accomplishment highlights: Chairman of the Board, Hoosier Oncology Group (2007-2010): nonprofit cancer research organization; IU Trustee's Teaching Award, 2009; Recipient of a 40 under 40 award (Indianapolis Business Journal), 2008; IU Simon Cancer Center Torchbearer Award, 2007; Recipient RTV-6/Sagamore Leadership Award, 2006; Recipient Healing Spirit Award, Wellness Community, 2006; Outstanding Young Clinician Award, Indiana University, 2005.

I presume that Crawford either has no civic involvement or didn’t respond because no civic involvement is listed. None.

What about endorsements?


Reality, logic, and free trade.


State Democratic Party.

In addition to the State Democratic Party, Hanna’s website (more on that in a minute) lists these other endorsements:

District 5 Democratic Committee
Keith Clock - District 5 Democratic Party Chairman
Hancock County Democratic Club
Michael Adkins - Hancock County Democratic Committee Chairman
Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
Glen Jordan - Brown Township Trustee in Hancock County
Riley Lemmons - Noble Township Trustee in Shelby County
John Ripberger - County Councilman in Tipton County
Ken Ziegler - County Commissioner for Tipton County
Mary Boswell - Richland Township Trustee in Miami County
Frank Fritch - Sheriff for Tipton County
Linda Williams - Adams Township Trustee in Hamilton County
Daniel Brock - County Councilman in Grant County

As for money, again looking at the Star’s voter guide, Hanna had raised approximately $85,000; Crawford: $0.

To finish the comparison between the two candidates from the Star’s voter guide, let’s just look at their responses to the question “What specific background or experience makes you the best candidate?”


The number one issue facing Americans today is the decay of their rights. A large majority of politicians around the nation are reading between the lines of the United States Constitution and not the lines themselves. Their deceptions are revoking our rights as individuals and as citizens of the states in which we reside. The federal government was designed to grant the greatest extent of freedoms, while regulating righteously to provide safety and fairness for residents. Under these circumstances the health care bill needs to be removed from our government and everyone should have the right to keep and bear arms.

I will remind the politicians and the American people of the fundamental ideas of our forefathers. I will vote against any bill I deem to be unconstitutional and find to be revolved around a socialist ideology.


There are many issues we face in our district and country. We know that a change in one has impacts on many others. We can’t always simplify the issues into black and white solutions. We must address complex issues with thoughtful, creative actions and solutions. Standing still and doing the same thing over and over again will never solve a problem.

I believe that there is a health care crisis and that we must address the crisis in a meaningful way. As I answer this question, our current congress is making what seems like hourly changes to the health care bill. I don’t know what will come from that bill, but I do strongly support immediate action. As a doctor, I know the state of today’s health care and the impact of rising costs, denial of coverage and lack of insurance have on the people of the 5th District. Health care costs today also have a major negative impact on an individual finances and our state and national budgets and the deficit. We must recognize that our current health care system works for some people but ignores or devastates many others. I know that the cost of health care limits our ability to address issues in Education, Job Creation, Homeland Security and many other important activities. Health care costs affect every budget discussion that an individual, a state or the Federal government has. It is the most important issue we face today. We must move forward without petty name calling, bickering and unfounded fear tactics. With the support of the people of the 5th District we can bring reform to health care.

Now on the basis of that information, who would you be supporting (presuming that you’re a Democrat voting in the Democratic primary)?

I also want to look briefly at a few other items. First, take a few minutes and go look at Crawford’s campaign website and then look at Hanna’s campaign website. Does one of those websites suggest a serious, knowledgeable, viable candidate more than the other? Then compare the issues pages of Crawford’s and Hanna’s respective sites. Again, does one of those issue pages suggest that one candidate is a more serious, knowledgeable, viable candidate than the other? And finally, take a few minutes to read Crawford’s issue page. If you didn’t know his party affiliation, would you guess that Crawford was a Democrat or a Republican (or even a Tea Party supporter)?

Finally, just a few days before the primary, the Chair of the Hamilton County Democratic Party sent the following email:

Dear Supporter,

I write to you today to urge you to not just vote on Election Day this Tuesday, but to vote in the Democratic Party primary. This may sound like a no-brainer for most of you, however to some Democrats this isn't second nature. There have been some good Democrats in the past that have voted in the Republican primary to vote against Dan Burton or to have a voice in some local elections. For those Democrats who ask for a Republican ballot, I ask for you to NOT do that this election. 

In past elections, the Democratic Party candidate for Congress has not fared well in competing against Rep. Burton and his power of incumbency. However, this year is different. This year we have the opportunity to nominate and elect a viable candidate who we can all be proud of. This election, Democrats have an excellent candidate in Dr. Nasser Hanna.  He is a very impressive and energetic individual who we can all be proud to call our Congressman from the fifth district.  He has managed to garner a record amount of financial support for a Democrat running in the fifth district and gain key party endorsements. Nasser has been endorsed not only by the Fifth District Central Committee but also by the Indiana Democratic Party. You can read more about Nasser and his positive agenda on his website at

The most important element about voting in the Democratic Party primary is due to Dr. Hanna having an opponent. Although this individual is running as a Democrat against Dr. Hanna, his opponent is NOT a Democrat. He is an admitted Republican who says we are living in a Socialist nation. His issues are not what any Democrat could support and are not good for our nation as a whole. Our district has a history of embarrassing candidates in our primary and this opponent is no exception. I urge you to leave the Republican primary up to the Republicans and support a great Democrat in our primary who deserves to be on the ballot in November. 

Thanks so much for your support for Nasser. Again, visit Nasser's website at for more info and to learn how to support his campaign. 

Keith Clock, Chair
Hamilton County Democratic Party

And yet Crawford beat Hanna 61% to 39%. How is that possible?

I already mentioned the fact that Crawford’s name came before Hanna’s on the ballot. So that may have accounted for some of the difference. But let me offer two other things that I believe factored heavily into the decision that voters in the 5th Congressional District may have made. First, compare the names:

  • Tim Crawford: A nice, safe, suburban, American name.
  • Nasser Hanna: That “Nasser” bit sounds almost as scary as Hussein (as in Barack Hussein Obama). Hey, maybe he’s really another one of them scary sekrit Muslims!

And then compare their photos:



Can you guess which candidate is Crawford and which candidate is Hanna? Hmm. How were you able to guess?

Thus, while I’d prefer not to presume that voters in Indiana’s 5th Congressional District voted against Dr. Nasser Hanna because of his ethnic name and appearance, I have a very hard time trying to come up with any reason that 61% of the voters would have chosen to vote for Tim Crawford.

As the title of this post suggests, I don’t understand and I’m not sure that I want to understand. What I do know is that Rep. Dan Burton is going to be reelected to Congress in November and the voters of Indiana’s 5th Congressional District have lost their chance to support a knowledgeable, viable opponent.

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At Wednesday, May 26, 2010 2:05:00 PM , Blogger Keith said...

A Facebook page asking Crawford to withdraw was started a couple of days ago. Please consider joining as well as send an email to Crawford asking him to withdraw.



At Friday, May 28, 2010 7:53:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very considered and impressive post, Mr. Wallack. Looks like the IN-5 district has unfortunately overlooked a man of real substance.

At Friday, May 28, 2010 11:13:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Found this entry via

Indiana: shame on you. How dare you inflict this garbage on the rest of our country?

Words fail me in attempting to express my disgust. I hope your entire state economy crashes and burns, leaving you all jobless and homeless.

At Saturday, May 29, 2010 12:09:00 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Crawford is aloso a blathering idiot, as aptly demonstrated in the five U-Tube videos of Crawford answering questions at a women's democratic club meeting. By the end of the meeting, they had persuaded him to resign his slot on the ticket in Nov., but he went back on the promise two days later and will be the democratic nominee on the ballot.

Interesting that this wonderful blog post helps one understand the republican party's approach to electoral politics even though it's about a democratic primary.

At Saturday, May 29, 2010 8:24:00 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lots of intelligent thoughts, but no wisdom to come up with the logical conclusion. Everyone believes his/her viewpoint is correct, but few can look at a situation and see it as others do. Could it be that many people who are Democrats have decided they disagree with leftist Democrats? Could it be possible that leftists have overreached? That they are so far past the middle ground that many in their own party won't go that far? Folks, it's about the arrogant health-care bill push. All but the Kool-Aide drinkers have seen through it; it's not in line with the American ideal of self-reliance and helping ONLY THOSE WHO CAN'T HELP THEMSELVES.

At Saturday, May 29, 2010 12:34:00 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

If voters must declare party affiliation to vote in the primary, is it possible that the republicans crossed over and elected Crawford in the primary to keep Hanna off of the ticket?

At Saturday, May 29, 2010 1:22:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! Does the consitution specify education?

Send this guy does need to drop out and thirdly this area is very racist in that they chose to disregard an educated person over a TeaCup Joe tha Plumber personality.

Now let me kick some ass here- Every person has the right to run for an office in this country if Sarah Palin can then so can this undereducated racist can.What we have in washington DC is overly educated racists and greedy whores -what is the difference?

At Saturday, May 29, 2010 6:46:00 PM , Blogger MSWallack said...

A few brief responses to some of the preceding comments. First, it is worth noting that IN-05 goes from northern Indianapolis and some wealthy suburbs up through some very rural areas. Second, the idea that any Republicans voted in the Democratic primary makes no sense because there was a hotly contested Republican primary that long-time incumbent (and much reviled) Dan Burton won with a 30+% plurality. Republicans had something to vote for. In fact, it is much more likely that quite a few Democrats crossed to vote in the Republican primarynto vote against Burton. Some criticism should also be directed toward The Indianapolis Star which did lots of reporting on the Republican candidates, but virtually none on the Democrats. A voter had to work to learn about the candidates prior to election day and the Star did nothing to alert Democratic voters to the fact that Crawford was a self-described Republican masquerading as a Democrat. This follows the Star's failure several elections ago to tell voters in the same district that one candidate was a cross-dresser that had previously been charged with impersonating a judge and who had changed his name so that nobody would notice.

As to the suggestion that voters chose Crawford as a rejection of "leftist Democrats" (and why do people who leave
obnoxious arguments do so anonymously?), that is simply ridiculous. First why would those people vote Democratic at all, what with a whole broad field of Republicans. Second,think about what the commenter is really saying: Democrats don't like Democratic policies and are adopting right-wing Republican policies in Democratic primaries. Huh?

Finally to those folks with harsh things to say about our district, let me suggest that rather than hoping that our economy crashes and leaves us jobless and homeless, how 'bout looking for ways to help those in our district who may still factor race into their decision; help us explain to moderates in our district what a failure Republican and conservative policies have been and what Democratic or progressive policies can achieve; and help us recruit and fund viable candidates in the future so that Democratic voters in IN-05 will have reason to pay attention and vote. In other words, help us turn IN-05 from red to blue.

At Tuesday, June 01, 2010 8:40:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like the voters looked at the issues and decided that they want what crawford wants.

Looks like sour grapes to me. Did Obama endorse the doctor? that could also explain this.

btw i'm a conservative, not a republican or democrat(softly snickers seeing how our gov't is a republic). Perhaps people have seen the light and are adjusting to the realities rather than the utopia promised by the messiah.

At Thursday, June 03, 2010 3:24:00 PM , Anonymous jl_austin said...

Can Anonymous (May 29, 8:24 AM) read Hanna's platform statements and tell me what makes him a "leftist" Democrat?

Dr. Hanna's position on health care:
"In my view, the expansion of Medicaid eligibility to insure millions of more Americans is not the right solution ... We must begin to make tough decisions on what health care costs are beneficial and what is wasteful ... Rationing of health care is already taking place by private insurers ... An honest re-assessment is needed and I believe the voice of physicians, other health providers, patient advocates, and health service researchers must be heard."

Hanna's position on jobs and the economy:
"The capitalistic system is the best hope for a prosperous future. The engine to economic growth will continue to be expansion and support of our small business sector. We can support our businesses and respect our workers at the same time ... First, increasing taxes on businesses at a time of massive job loss and a shrinking GDP would only exacerbate the problem and prolong the pain. Secondly, rapidly cutting spending to balance the budget too quickly would result in the same poor outcomes. Thirdly, unnecessary regulation results in 'unfunded mandates' that make our businesses less competitive. I would oppose any of these."

"What I would propose includes the following measures: first, provide tax incentives for companies to create jobs, expand their inventory, keep jobs in the U.S., and invest in new technologies. Secondly, understand that the U.S. does not have a structural deficit; that is we have a strong private sector and stable political system and government‚ which makes the U.S. economy a great investment for the future."

That all sounds pretty moderate to me.

At Monday, October 25, 2010 4:49:00 PM , Anonymous Andy said...

Small correction to the Core 40 statement. I'm not sure when it was instituted, but I graduated in 2003 and it was in place at that time. However, you are correct that it is the most basic requirement that can be achieved.
In addition to being endorsed by the Indianapolis Star, Crawford was endorsed by the Tea Party. It's possible that this helped him if for no other reason than name recognition.
Looks like I'll be voting independent in this year's election...


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