Political Notebook

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Once-broke county GOP rakes in cash

In Allen County, this certainly was the year of the Republicans – at least financially.

The local GOP has raised more than three times as much as county Democrats this year, and it has more than three times as much money left in the bank, according to campaign finance reports filed this month.

Republicans raised $118,674 this year and have $54,135 left heading toward Election Day. Democrats raised $36,546 and have $16,272 left to spend. The reports show fundraising and expenses through Oct. 8 and do not include the expenses associated with the GOP’s bean dinner with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

Democrats received only a few large donations: $1,000 from Mayor Tom Henry’s campaign account, $2,000 from the campaign money of Rep. Win Moses and $1,250 from Rep. Phil GiaQuinta’s campaign funds. They also got more than $1,000 from two local unions.

Republicans received about 20 donations of more than $1,000, including $3,500 from Prosecutor Karen Richards, $3,186 from Commissioner Linda Bloom and $3,060 from Sheriff Ken Fries. Those donations came from their campaign accounts, not personal funds. Bruce Dye, a loyal Republican supporter and CEO of Heritage Food Service Equipment Inc., gave the party $4,940.

The difference in money raised isn’t that different from historical norms but is a great change from recent years when the local GOP was swimming in debt. The party has gone from having less than $100 in the bank and nearly $50,000 in debt in the spring of 2008 to an enviable cash position today.

Daniels for MLB?

There is one national post Gov. Mitch Daniels really wants – commissioner of Major League Baseball.

While visiting recently with reporters in his office before getting a flu shot, Daniels – an avid baseball and Los Angeles Dodgers fan – said he would love to be commissioner.

Current Commissioner Bud Selig’s contract runs through 2012, and there’s speculation that he would then retire, at age 78.

Conveniently, Daniels would end his run as governor at roughly the same time.

But the governor didn’t appear to appreciate it when Political Notebook asked where he stood on allowing Pete Rose (banned from baseball for gambling on his team) into baseball’s Hall of Fame.

Daniels responded with silence, looking away and finally saying “tough call” under his breath.

Home is where

Pete Buttigieg, Democratic candidate for state treasurer, took his Republican opponent to task last week for taking time to pose for pictures with supporters outside Buttigieg’s South Bend home.

He said some concerned neighbors saw a group of people outside Buttigieg’s home posing for pictures and that state Treasurer Richard Mourdock was among them.

“Frankly, the whole thing is odd and a bit creepy,” Buttigieg said, noting Mourdock has ducked a debate but still had time to hang out by his house.

But a Mourdock campaign staffer said Buttigieg did not give an accurate description of what happened.

The Mourdock camp said Mourdock and some campaign volunteers were going door-to-door in Buttigieg’s neighborhood, but Mourdock was not present at Buttigieg’s house when volunteers stopped to take a picture.

“It’s really a non-issue as Richard was not even there at the house and the volunteers were on the sidewalk and across the street and not on Mr. Buttigieg’s property,” campaign staffer Jim Holden said.

Bauer bails

The highlight of an Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute panel on budget issues was supposed to be diminutive House Speaker Pat Bauer, D-South Bend, squaring off against lofty Republican House Minority Leader Brian Bosma of Indianapolis.

The only problem was that Bauer was a no-show. And he didn’t send another Democrat in his place.

That gave Bosma the entire floor, which started with Institute President John Ketzenberger accidentally introducing Bosma as Bauer.

“We’re practically indistinguishable,” Bosma deadpanned.

He also noted that the legislative process has degenerated in recent years and promised to be more open and bipartisan if Republicans gain control of the House and he becomes speaker.

“If we do the normal routine, it’ll be a cage fight.”

Council horse race

With just more than a week to go, candidates for Allen County Council’s 2nd District are in a dead heat based on campaign spending, despite the district leaning heavily Republican.

Republican Tom Harris outspent his opponent, Democrat Mike Conley, by less than $100 during the latest reporting period.

Conley spent $6,275 compared with Harris, who spent slightly more at $6,353 but owes his campaign $4,400. But Conley still has $5,700 in the bank that he could spend until the election.

Conley spent almost $2,000 for T-shirts and a radio ad plus $2,220 on pamphlets and business cards. Harris spent $1,660 on yard signs and other printed materials and about $800 on food and events.

Harris received small donations from Republican Party insiders and current elected officials, plus several local law firms and the Realtors PAC. Conley, who is best known as a local musician, received backing from a handful of local bands, several labor unions, plus several current Democratic elected officials.

Amanda Iacone 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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