Political Notebook

  • GOP treasurer candidate leaving state post
    Republican State Treasurer candidate Kelly Mitchell is leaving her position Friday as director of TrustINdiana in order to focus more time on her campaign.
  • GOP finds Bayh, Hogsett, unrecognizable
    Indiana Republicans recently sent their intern out to have a little fun with the possible candidacies of Democrats Joe Hogsett for Indianapolis mayor and Evan Bayh for governor.
  • Hamilton honored by ex-Congress group
    Lee Hamilton recently received the 2014 Distinguished Service Award of the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress.
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Many in GOP like ‘kind of dull’ Daniels

The prospect of Gov. Mitch Daniels on the GOP presidential ticket is pretty popular among Washington Republican insiders, according to a survey last week by National Journal magazine.

He is the No. 4 choice in response to “who would be the Republicans’ strongest presidential nominee in 2012?” He got 11 percent of the votes, behind Mitt Romney, Sen. John Thune and Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

When asked who would be the likely nominee, the group thought those three, plus Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, more likely than Daniels to be the nominee, and several cited his low-key personality as a reason. The insiders – made up of 127 Republican lawmakers and policy-makers – had this to say about Daniels:

“Budget-cutting technocrat governors may be in vogue. And he hails from an Obama state.”

“A huge success story to tell.”

“While being a bit charismatically challenged, his record of fiscal responsibility (turning a deficit into a surplus), bipartisanship, pragmatism would be the best counter to President Obama.”

“The plus: Proven champ at cutting fiscal deficits. The minus: Hasn’t axed his personality deficit.”

“The anti-Obama: kind of dull, not afraid to make tough decisions, fiscally responsible.”

Competition in 81st

Local teacher and coach Mike Obergfell has announced he will seek the Republican nomination for the House District 81 seat.

Rep. Win Moses, D-Fort Wayne, has held the seat since 1992.

The Vote Obergfell Committee will host a campaign kickoff at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at Don Hall’s Guesthouse, 1313 W. Washington Center Road. It is expected to last one hour and will include brief statements by the candidate and a number of supporters, entertainment for children and light appetizers.

Obergfell is a lifelong resident of Fort Wayne with a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne. He has been a social studies teacher at Bishop Dwenger High School for the past 15 years and teaches U.S. government to seniors.

He has been head track coach and is head freshman football coach. Obergfell has been married to his wife, Mary, for 25 years. They have seven children.

He faces fellow Republican Curtis Lee Eastes in the primary.

Twitter to the rescue

Twitter and other social media can help the U.S. beat terrorists at their own game of recruitment, said Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind.

In an article in Foreign Policy magazine, Lugar said technology “offers new ways to perform the traditional task of spreading the American message.”

Lugar said social networking technologies, along with cell phones and other devices, mean the U.S. won’t be able to control the message as much, but it’s a risk worth taking.

“Terrorists and other anti-American propagandists have for some time been using the Internet and other techniques to communicate and recruit,” he wrote. “America needs to beat them at their own game, especially since we invented most of the technology.”

Ironically, though, Lugar is a fan of social media and encourages its use by his office. This ode to the use of modern technology was written by a person who doesn’t own a cell phone.

Crawford exploring

Republicans thinking about seeking elected office in Fort Wayne next year might have to contend with a well-known candidate – or maybe not.

John Crawford filed paperwork Dec. 18 to create an exploratory committee for political office. The former at-large city councilman lost his re-election bid in 2007 after pushing a controversial smoking ban and suffering from a party divided over Matt Kelty’s mayoral campaign.

Crawford, however, is mum on what office he plans to seek, or whether he will run at all in 2011.

“My intention is to explore at this point and see how much interest is out there,” he said.

If he did run for mayor, Crawford said he would be unable to continue as an oncologist, which raises problems for him.

“I’ve always enjoyed public office, but I’ve always enjoyed being a doctor more,” he said.

The exploratory committee allows Crawford to raise money, something he said he has already begun. He said the timing of creating the committee allows him to receive more corporate contributions, which are limited each calendar year.

EACS on TV

The East Allen County Schools board might not be ready for prime-time TV, but it could come to a tape-delayed performance near you.

EACS officials are taking steps to begin recording their meetings with the intention of airing them later in the week.

Tamyra Kelly, public relations liaison for the district, said she’s working to secure a camera from Access Fort Wayne that would be on loan to the district for free.

But at least one board member is camera shy.

“I don’t know that I particularly want to be on camera, personally,” board member Rick Allgeier said.

Allgeier said he would go along with it if the rest of the board wanted to be on TV. The board said it couldn’t see anything negative to allowing the public to watch its meetings from home. There might be one negative, though.

“I don’t know if Allen County is ready for this,” board member Leland Etzler said with a smile as he pointed to himself.

Washington Editor Sylvia A. Smith and reporter Kelly Soderlund of The Journal Gazette contributed to this column.

To reach Political Notebook by e-mail, contact Benjamin Lanka at blanka@jg.net or Niki Kelly at nkelly@jg.net. To discuss this entry of Political Notebook or others, go to the Political Notebook topic of “The Board” at www.journalgazette.net.

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