Political Notebook


Shine acts to avoid 4th straight loss

Allen County Republican Chairman Steve Shine is determined not to let history repeat itself.

After three consecutive losses in the Fort Wayne mayor’s race, including an especially damaging campaign in 2007, Shine has asked this year’s candidates to pledge to be team players.

In a letter sent last week to Paula Hughes, Liz Brown and Eric Doden, Shine asks the three currently announced candidates not only to support whoever wins the primary but also to ask their supporters to help the nominee claim victory in the fall.

“Our party has come up short in the last three mayoral elections, not because our philosophical opposites have significant organizational strength, but rather, because of the GOP’s self-inflicted wounds of disunity and dissent,” he wrote. “To that end, I am respectfully requesting that you acknowledge to me your willingness to support the party’s nominee for mayor with the same enthusiasm that you intend to show during the primary.”

Shine said his party is primed for victory this year as long as the primary campaign is constructive and the party can coalesce around the winner.

While Doden, Brown and Hughes agreed to the pledge on Friday, it will be interesting whether that holds true after what is sure to be a lively campaign.

Shine’s letter indicated he would ask any other GOP candidate who runs for mayor to make the same pledge.

Daniels’ stock rising

Gov. Mitch Daniels is showing up all over the place in his non-bid to run for president in 2012.

Last week alone he was the focus of not one, but two, stories in the New York Times.

He appeared on CNN with Wolf Blitzer. He accepted an award for fiscal conservatism. His leadership during the recession was discussed in the Detroit News. He was featured on the “This Week’s” roundtable, with two analysts picking him as a top GOP nominee.

Most interesting, though, were the results of the National Journal’s insiders’ poll on GOP White House contenders; Daniels moved from fifth to second in the past year – behind former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

Daniels also told reporters not to read anything into the fact that he will address the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in February.

He said a good friend had asked him six years in a row to speak and he finally accepted.

“I hope it’s a chance to make a contribution of some thoughts about the nation’s situation and how the people in that particular room can help lead us out of our current trouble, but that’s all it is.”

The race is on

Candidates can’t officially file for municipal offices yet, but that hasn’t stopped one Fort Wayne mayoral hopeful from asking that campaigns get going.

Fort Wayne City Councilwoman Liz Brown, R-at large, last week called on her fellow GOP candidates to begin planning events at which they can all speak to voters. She acknowledges the field may grow in the coming weeks, but she sees no need to delay discussions.

“Planning and preparation for multiple debates and town hall forums should not begin after the official February filing deadline – it should begin now,” she wrote in a release.

Brown asked for not just the usual debates, but also “multiple town hall forums and neighborhood meetings” so issues could be dealt with in depth.

Doden, who announced his candidacy last week, said he was sure there will be some public events for all the candidates, but he was planning to run his own campaign and would let Brown do the same.

Hughes said she is willing to participate in events that are held by a third party so they are objective and that are well promoted. She added she didn’t just want to talk at people but also listen and have a conversation with voters.

Lugar’s numbers

Sen. Richard Lugar last week became the longest-serving member of Congress in Indiana history.

On the opening day of the new session, he had racked up 12,421 days of service in Congress; taken 12,587 votes in the Senate; had a 98.2 percent voting attendance and returned $5.2 million in office funds to the federal coffers.

Lugar surpassed the 12,420 days served by the late Congressman Ray Madden; the 12,419 days served by former Congressman Lee Hamilton; and the 12,394 days served by the late Congressman Charles Halleck.

According to the Library of Congress, the only other Hoosiers to serve 30 years or more in Congress were William Holman, who served in the House and Senate at various intervals from 1859 to 1897, and former Congressman Andy Jacobs Jr.

Wyss supports kids

Sen. Tom Wyss, R-Fort Wayne, proudly boasted to his colleagues on the Senate floor last week about the success of the Voices of Unity Youth Choir.

With dozens of choir members standing behind him for a resolution on their behalf, he talked of their victory last summer at the World Choir Games in China. He included the fact that they had to raise money for the trip.

“When I would go to the grocery store, one of them would always grab me for a dollar,” Wyss said. “And in an election year, you have to make sure you give every time.”

Awkward comedy

Mayor Tom Henry made his annual address to the City Council last week. While most of it focused on the city’s accomplishments over the past year, Henry decided to end it with a politically hued joke. He noted that when he was trying to park before the meeting, someone was in his reserved spot.

“I hope Councilwoman Brown, you’re not being too presumptuous,” he said.

Brown, an at-large Republican member who is running for mayor, responded that her vehicle was parked as usual on the first floor of the garage.

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.