Local Republican officials keep suggesting that Mark Souder should donate his leftover campaign cash to pay for a likely special election to choose his replacement.
And Thursday, Allen County Councilman Larry Brown, R-4th, asked the county election board whether it is pursuing that possible funding source.
The short answer was no.
The election board does not accept donations, not even to pay the costs of the election and not even to buy food for workers on Election Day, said Andy Downs, the outgoing Democratic board member.
Accepting donations would put a cloud over the validity of election results. Protecting the integrity of elections is paramount, Downs said.
County Councilman Paul Moss, R-at large, conceded Downs point, but bemoaned that taxpayers might have to foot the bill. Moss, a frequent critic of federal spending, wanted some of the federal tax dollars used to run Souders office to cover the special election.
Thats outside the realm of possibility, Republican board member Zach Klutz said.
For one thing, an election is not an operating expense for a congressional office, Clerk Therese Brown, also a Republican, pointed out to the council.
Of course the argument could become academic if Gov. Mitch Daniels makes the special election the same day as the regular election in November.
The cost of such a special election will not be cheap. Estimates obtained by The Journal Gazette from each of the eight counties across the district put the cost about $540,000.
Of course that hasnt stopped others from inflating the cost. News outlets across the region, and even Gov. Mitch Daniels, have floated the idea that a special election could cost $1 million to northeast Indiana taxpayers.
Such a cost, however, is fairly absurd considering the most expensive portion of the race – in Allen County – is estimated to cost $275,000, and Allen has half the districts precincts.
Andy Downs, Democratic member of the Allen County election board, said $500,000 was much closer to what a special election would cost the district.
Gone, not forgotten
If the early response to John Crawfords political ad is any indication, the former Fort Wayne councilman knows he is known.
The only thing I know for sure is I have not been forgotten, he said.
Crawford ran advertisements in The Journal Gazette last week asking anyone to weigh in on what his political future should be. He offered five choices: 1) Run for mayor; 2) Run for City Council; 3) Run for the hills and never come back and will hate you forever for the smoking ordinance; 4) Want to help you run and will contribute to help get you organized; and 5) Want to help later by hosting yard sign, making calls or doing volunteer work.
Crawford said he received 100 responses Thursday, the first day they likely could have gotten to him by regular mail. The responses were far-ranging, including some memorable and humorous ones.
They range from overwhelming support to abject loathing, he said.
Crawford added he is not sorry he didnt add a run for Congress box, in light of recent political events, saying he is not interested in the position vacated by Mark Souder. He did say some people have already sent money and offered to volunteer for a campaign.
Far from the tree
Apples do sometimes fall far from the tree. In New York, the son of a former Hoosier Democratic gubernatorial candidate is running for the GOP Senate nomination.
Wayne Townsend ran for governor in 1984 (losing to incumbent Gov. Robert Orr). His son Jay says on his website that he was born a Democrat and raised to be one but switched party affiliations in the 1980s.
Now he is one of at least four candidates for the Republican nomination for Senate.
Journal Gazette Washington Editor Sylvia Smith and reporter Amanda Iacone contributed to this column.
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