INDIANAPOLIS – In the southern part of the state, Rep. Ed Clere, R-New Albany, was the target of a mailer from the Indiana Democratic Party that criticized his vote on a Department of Correction bill this year.
In the mailing, a picture of a teddy bear lies haphazardly on the ground. The accompanying text accuses Clere of putting Hoosier children at risk.
Almost 200 miles away in west-central Indiana, Rep. Dale Grubb, D-Covington, was targeted with an almost identical mailer from the Indiana House Republican Campaign Committee, which claimed he too failed to protect Hoosier children.
The same teddy bear photo is used. The same typography. Similar wording.
Both men – one Republican and one Democrat – voted against Senate Bill 415.
The legislation had two major parts. The first allowed long-term prison offenders to earn credit time for completing a reformative program. But the second part of the bill denied any credit time – such as for completing a GED – to those who had committed sex offenses.
At the time the vote was taken, Rep. Craig Fry, D-Mishawaka, told members of the House that their vote would be used against them in the upcoming election, holding up a similar mailer sent to his house in a previous election.
Ironically, Fry was concerned about voting yes on the bill. But either way, legislators could be attacked – either for being soft on crime and letting criminals out early or for allowing sex offenders to earn credit time and then get out early.
The only legislators who couldnt be attacked were 10 Democrats who didnt vote.
Businessman Eric Doden last week announced the formation of an exploratory committee to seek the GOP nomination for Fort Wayne mayor.
He listed a 16-member committee that included chairman Larry Weigand, president of Weigand Construction; County Recorder John McGauley; and David Bobilya, chief financial officer for Pizza Hut of Fort Wayne.
This is a great community, Doden said in a prepared statement. Im proud to call it home, and Im excited about our citys future. Ive always taken a hands-on approach to my work in the business world, and I believe our city deserves a leader who takes the same entrepreneurial, innovative approach to government.
The statement doesnt mention that Doden bought a condominium from Laurie Doden, his sister, last month, giving him a Fort Wayne residence. Dodens home, according to county tax records, is near Notestine and Wheelock roads, outside the city limits.
County Councilwoman Paula Hughes has already announced her pursuit of the GOP nomination, but Mayor Tom Henry, a Democrat, has said only that he will make his re-election decision soon.
On the outside
The names of two Hoosiers – Gov. Mitch Daniels and Rep. Mike Pence – come up when political insiders predict who will be in the mix when Republicans choose their presidential nominee for 2012. But Daniels and Pence arent on the minds of GOP voters in early primary states.
Heres what CNN found in Election Day exit polls of GOP voters in some of the states that vote first in the presidential primary calendar:
In Iowa, Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee tied at 21 percent for the top number of GOP voters who said one or the other was their likely choice in the 2012 Iowa caucuses. Sarah Palin received 18 percent and Newt Gingrich 7 percent.
In New Hampshire, 39 percent named Romney their likely choice in the states primary. Palin received 18 percent; Huckabee 11 percent; and Gingrich 8 percent.
In South Carolina, 25 percent prefer Palin; Huckabee got 24 percent; Romney 21 percent; and Gingrich 10 percent.
Gov. Mitch Daniels delivered an interesting bit of advice last week to himself and other politicians considering their future.
Ill ask anybody who is thinking of running for any office in 2012 to be quiet about it for the next several months. We just finished an election. We now ought to all be about the business of delivering on the change and the duties that we have.
So Im going to ask anybody who is thinking about running for anything to just stifle yourself for a few months.
The advice came in response to a question about a gubernatorial bid by Rep. Mike Pence, who was just re-elected in the 6th House District, but it also applies to Daniels, who is leaving open the possibility of a White House run.
Independent advocacy groups trying to tip the outcome of Indianas congressional elections spent $6.7 million, with 89 percent used for advertising, phone calls and polls on races in opposite corners of the state, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.
The groups were successful in ousting Rep. Baron Hill, D-9th, spending nearly $1.5 million to oppose him. Groups working against his Republican opponent, Todd Young, spent nearly $1.6 million. Hill represents the southeast corner of Indiana.
The groups spent nearly $1.6 million in opposition to Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-2nd, and nearly $1.4 million against his Republican opponent, Jackie Walorski. Donnelly won. Donnelly represents the South Bend area.
Groups that supported or opposed candidates spent more money in the 2010 election than in any other midterm election year. As long as they did not coordinate their campaigns with candidates, the groups could spend an unlimited amount.
The Republican tidal wave last week was so strong, victory required little to no effort for some GOP candidates.
Jamie L. Garwood won a contested seat on the Adams Township Advisory Board but admitted the win came with little effort.
Whats really sad – I didnt actually do anything to kick this person off (the board), she said. She said she did set up a campaign page on Facebook but did little else to unseat Democrat Johnnie L. Morgan Jr.
Sylvia A. Smith, Washington editor of The Journal Gazette, contributed to this column.