Political Notebook

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Courtesy the office of first lady Cheri Daniels
Gov. Mitch Daniels dressed as the Mad Hatter and first lady Cheri Daniels as Alice for trick-or-treat.

Postelection, might be a new Brown around

Courtesy the office of first lady Cheri Daniels
Gov. Mitch Daniels dressed as the Mad Hatter and first lady Cheri Daniels as Alice for trick-or-treat.

Allen County will likely elect a Commissioner Brown next year, but odds the office will be filled by the incumbent seem to be fading.

During last week’s local Republican Bean Dinner, Commissioner Bill Brown said he would not seek re-election unless the county adopted a full-time county administrator model.

Brown said he supported having three commissioners as the executive to promote open government, but he said a county administrator who handles the day-to-day responsibilities is better, even if it means cutting the commissioners’ hours and pay.

With the election season only a few months away and that model far from being implemented, Brown’s run for office appears unlikely.

But that opens the door for Allen County Clerk Therese Brown, who told the crowd she will seek that commissioner seat.

Therese Brown this fall was also elected second vice president of the Association of Indiana Counties Board of Directors.

GOP contest

Phil Troyer, a one-time colleague and political ally of Rep. Mark Souder, R-3rd, says the eight-term incumbent is too loose with the public purse and should be turned out by Republicans next spring.

Troyer will announce this week that he should be the GOP choice in the May primary. Rachel Grubb has also announced her candidacy in the Republican primary. Both have loosely aligned themselves with the conservative “tea party” movement.

Troyer, 45, is an attorney with NRP Financial, which gives retirement fund advice to institutions and individual clients. He previously worked for Medical Protective Co.

He ran unsuccessfully in 1992 in the GOP congressional primary but said he has been a Libertarian in recent years. Troyer said he will jump-start the financial side of his campaign with a $25,000 personal contribution.

Hoosier Halloween

For Halloween, Gov. Mitch Daniels and first lady Cheri Daniels dressed as characters from Alice in Wonderland to hand out candy at the governor’s residence.

As Alice and the Mad Hatter, the first couple gave out a top-notch array of candy donated from five Indiana companies – caramels from Abbott’s Candy Shop of Hagerstown; chocolates from DeBrand Fine Chocolates of Fort Wayne; gummy candies and chocolate rocks from Mundt’s Candies of Madison; chocolate-dipped pretzel rods from Schimpff’s Confectionery of Jeffersonville; and candy corn from Zachary Confections of Frankfort.

Previous costume themes for the governor and first lady have included the Wizard of Oz, Pirates of the Caribbean, Indianapolis 500 and the 1950s.

Ally gets to work

Democrats picked up an ally last week in trying to get President Obama’s first federal judiciary nominee through the Senate confirmation process – from the other side of the aisle.

Indianapolis attorney Peter Rusthoven, a Republican, wrote a detailed memo to Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., with a point-by-point rebuttal of allegations made by Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., in a letter to other senators explaining why he is trying to block David Hamilton’s confirmation to be a federal appeals court judge.

Lugar, who has endorsed Hamilton, needed no convincing. But Sessions is wrong when he says Hamilton used his rulings as a district court judge “to drive a political agenda,” Rusthoven wrote.

Hamilton is a former law firm colleague of Rusthoven’s, who said his “views on the judiciary and judicial activism are similar to those of Senator Sessions.” That said, Sessions’ concerns are misplaced and reflect “distortions by others” of Hamilton’s statements and views, Rusthoven said.

Rusthoven, an unsuccessful candidate for the GOP Senate nomination a few years back, worked in the Reagan administration alongside future Chief Justice John Roberts.

Essential hire

Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, sent out a statement Friday touting what his chamber is doing to rein in spending after Gov. Mitch Daniels announced spending cuts.

Among the efforts was continuing its “current hiring freeze.”

But less than 10 minutes later another release from Long appeared – this one welcoming a new policy analyst.

So much for that hiring freeze.

Senate officials later defended the hire as essential to the operation of the chamber.

Mayoral waves

Allen County Councilwoman Paula Hughes, R-2nd, tried to be coy about her future when announcing last month she would not seek another term on the council. But her intentions were quite clear at Monday’s Bean Dinner.

Hughes for Mayor stickers were being distributed at the door, and she had a large display showing already-made campaign videos. She was even touting her campaign’s Facebook page and Twitter account.

She said it was important to reach out to the Republicans, calling them her family, but it wouldn’t be appropriate to officially kick off her campaign until after the May primary ended. She said this would give proper respect to candidates running next year.

But for all that effort, the signs getting the most buzz Monday were those of City Councilman Mitch Harper, R-4th. The intentionally vague signs said “Fort Wayne Classic 2011, Mitch Harper, Long Distance Run.”

They were financed by the Mitch Harper Leadership Committee.

Harper said the signs were meant to generate some interest from the crowd, but he said he has not yet made his plans for the 2011 election.

That didn’t stop others from saying the signs indicate Harper is looking at running for mayor.

Sylvia A. Smith, Washington editor of The Journal Gazette, contributed to this column.

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