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GOP insiders shrug at Souder’s missive

Stutzman
Souder

– Former Rep. Mark Souder’s lengthy message on the coming caucus to replace him will likely cause little ripple with actual voters, according to several Republican sources.

“My personal reaction to it was sort of ‘Who cares?’ ” said Allen County Recorder John McGauley, who is a precinct voter in this weekend’s caucus.

The 14-point missive was sent Sunday evening by Facebook to Randall Kirkpatrick, Noble County GOP chairman, and Steve Clouse, Noble County prosecutor. They sent a copy to a number of other Republican officials across northeast Indiana and members of the media Monday afternoon.

Souder confirmed the authenticity of the message to The Journal Gazette by e-mail, but he declined to comment beyond saying it was intended to be a private message and he considers the message to be “mostly pro-Marlin Stutzman.”

In the Facebook message, Souder touts Stutzman, a state senator, as the favorite in the caucus but also discusses possible campaign finance violations and that Stutzman possibly played a role in making Souder’s affair public. Souder resigned because of the affair with a staffer.

A caucus of about 520 precinct officials from across the district will select the Republican nominee on Saturday in Columbia City.

Stutzman on Tuesday said he didn’t know why Souder would write such a message, noting he is not involved in the caucus.

“He should be focusing on his family and his marriage right now,” Stutzman said. “If he had concerns about our finances – which he shouldn’t – why didn’t he talk to me?”

Stutzman said he believes the message was meant to hurt him and to help state Rep. Randy Borror.

Borror’s campaign said he doesn’t know whether it might change votes, but he hopes it doesn’t distract from the real issues, which for him are jobs and spending restraint.

Whitley County Republican Chairman Jim Banks said Stutzman has a loyal following across the district and was uncertain how much damage the message could do. He said Stutzman has been the favorite in the race since the beginning, which is why things can become uncomfortable for him.

“It’s natural for people to be taking shots at him,” Banks said.

Kosciusko County Republican Chair Randall Girod said he didn’t even know about the message from Souder.

McGauley, a Borror supporter, said he didn’t think the message would hurt Stutzman.

Even if Stutzman did help make Souder’s affair public, something that is still unverified, McGauley said it wasn’t as if Stutzman was making false accusations.

He said some people may try to use it in the caucus, but it is nothing more than “great gossip.”

“People are going to get excited about it, but I’m not sure it’s going to change any votes,” he said.

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nkelly@jg.net

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