Matt Kelty quite possibly stole the show Tuesday when he quietly joined the GOP election night party at Cerutis.
Neither Dan Coats nor Mark Souder attended the party, but much of the focus was on those national races with some remaining interest in the candidates who ran for county commissioner and County Council, few of whom also attended.
But Kelty worked the room like a future candidate, shaking hands and joking with elected officials and party backers – complete with his signature broad grin.
Before making a quick exit from the event, he even greeted Nelson Peters, whom he soundly defeated once upon a mayoral primary to the surprise of many of the partys leaders.
Some in the room might have had reservations about seeing Kelty – whose mayoral run and felony indictments splintered the party – but party Chairman Steve Shine was evenhanded in his response to Keltys appearance. He said it was a sign that the party is healing and finally moving forward.
And he noted that former county Commissioner Marla Irving, who was a Kelty supporter, also attended the party Tuesday.
State Sen. Marlin Stutzman, R-Howe, didnt quite pull off the upset last week in the Republican U.S. Senate race.
But his showing has a lot of people talking in the Capitol and beyond.
What should Stutzman run for next? The speculation includes secretary of state, lieutenant governor or Congress.
As for Stutzman, all he had on his mind after a whirlwind of campaigning was mowing the grass and spending time with his family.
I have no idea. Im not interested in secretary of state. And lieutenant governor is really not anybodys choice except for the gubernatorial nominee.
Im proud of what we did and what we accomplished. Were going to get some rest, and keep our options open. We laid a foundation for the future.
One of the few surprises of Tuesdays primary was the defeat of veteran Rep. Bill Ruppel, R-North Manchester.
Even more interesting is that the defeat came largely at the hands of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce.
The Chambers political action committee poured tens of thousands of dollars into his opponents campaign in the final days. That money translated into television ads and pointed campaign mailers against Ruppel.
According to the most recent ranking of legislators by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, Ruppel voted with the Chamber 90 percent of the time in 2009 and 84 percent of the time over a two-year period.
But Chamber President Kevin Brinegar said that wasnt enough.
He said a statistical program ranks legislative districts by how much the residents are pro-business and the likelihood of electing a pro-business candidate.
House District 22, covering Wabash and part of Kosciusko County, is very pro-business, Brinegar said.
But over the years (Ruppel) has not voted with us nearly as much as he should for that district, he said. He has been problematic in certain issue areas.
This includes Ruppels involvement with the Indiana State Teachers Association as a retired teacher. And he supported a bill this year allowing employees to bring a gun to work, which the Chamber opposed.
They told me in December they were coming after me, Ruppel said of the Chamber. When they put as much money in as they did, it was expected. I had no money to compete with that.
Political wounds often take time to heal, but Commissioner Linda Bloom forgot all about them after her primary opponent suffered physical injury.
County Councilman Roy Buskirk, R-at large, apparently rolled his vehicle Monday evening, landing him in the hospital on the eve of the primary election. At the local Republican hot dog luncheon Wednesday, a clearly emotional Bloom asked the room to pray for Buskirk, saying she didnt think he was faring well.
Buskirk was released from the hospital and was resting at home late last week.
Although Blooms sentiment was heartfelt, GOP Chairman Steve Shines quip that Buskirk and Bloom should be called Crash and Burn seemed a bit out of line. Bloom burned herself baking Tuesday.
Amanda Iacone of The Journal Gazette contributed to this column.