Political Notebook

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City ballot spotty as deadline looms

With less than a week left to file, many Fort Wayne legislative offices remain relatively bereft of candidates.

While seven people have filed for mayor and three for clerk, ballot vacancies exist on both sides of the aisle for the nine City Council posts.

There are currently no Democratic candidates for the 3rd District or for the three at-large seats.

Republicans have yet to field a candidate for the 6th District. Neither party has a candidate for the 4th District, including Republican incumbent Mitch Harper, who has been rumored to be mulling a mayoral run.

Several announced candidates haven’t filed, including businessman Eric Doden for mayor and a Republican challenger for the 2nd District seat held by Democrat Karen Goldner.

Goldner has filed for re-election.

Councilmen Tom Didier, R-3rd, and Glynn Hines, D-6th, face no competition from either party, so far.

Allen County Democratic spokesman Kevin Knuth said he expects his party to fill many of the vacancies. The party was expected to have a breakfast meeting this weekend to discuss them. Allen County Republican Chairman Steve Shine said he expects several more GOP candidates to file this week, including another high-profile at-large candidate.

Shine said he is unsure whether the party will challenge Hines in the 6th District, noting the demographics make it difficult for a Republican to win there.

Candidates have until Friday to file for office, and parties can fill vacancies through the summer.

Independent work

One candidate for Fort Wayne mayor who has filed still has work to do before he can be on the ballot.

Haley Ahrendt filed paperwork lastweek to run as an independent candidate. Ahrendt, however, did not file the required 1,213 voter signatures, leaving his candidacy open to challenge.

While it is fairly simple to run for local office in a party primary, the state requires signatures for independent candidates, presumably to ensure people on the fall general ballot have some level of support. Independent candidates have until June 30 to file for office.

Tweetaholic

Sen. Jim Banks, R-Columbia City, already has proved himself to be a prolific lawmaker, having filed more than 20 bills in his first legislative session.

Turns out he is also a prolific tweeter.

Banks regularly tweets from the Senate chamber and during committee meetings about action in the General Assembly, racking up more than 2,000 tweets on his Twitter page.

Sometimes he posts stories about his own bills going through the process. But often it’s just quick updates on his day.

Recent tweets include these:

•“We are now beginning the hearing on Senate Bill 1 regarding teacher evaluations & licensing before the Senate Education Committee.”

•“What’s next, cocaine bath salt?! Actually, yes. ‘Florida Bans Cocaine-like ‘Bath Salts’ Sold in Stores.’ ”

•“Senate Tax and Fiscal Policy panel to look at lowering corporate income tax, phasing out inheritance tax.”

Banks also retweets items others post to pass on the sentiment, such as a former congressman testifying on an immigration reform bill who said “the impact of aliens on our society is clearly the province of the state government and not the federal government.”

Banks has more than 850 followers. You can find him at “@Jim_Banks.”

Kimmel on Baals

The fight to name the new city hall after former Mayor Harry Baals garnered international attention last week with comics poking fun at the name and the city.

Late-night comic Jimmy Kimmel offered two words for city leaders concerned the name would lead to mockery: Too late.

Kimmel’s full bit can be seen at www.tinyurl.com/Kimmel-on-Baals.

The Harry Baals Government Center finished with 23,867 votes in the city’s online poll, far ahead of second-place Thunder Dome, which finished with 2,221 votes. Voting ended Friday afternoon.

But though Baals was a popular mayor, being elected to serve four terms, he was not the longest-tenured one. Democrat William Hosey was elected to four terms in office – edging out Baals because of the Republican’s death in office. Most interestingly, Hosey’s terms weren’t consecutive – his terms began in 1905, 1913, 1921 and 1929.

Although Hosey didn’t have as odd a name as Baals, he was honored with a local dam.

Till death do us part

Rep. Phil GiaQuinta, D-Fort Wayne, wanted to make a point last week when House members were debating changes to a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

So he filed a motion to add one simple line to the bill: “Marriage between one man and one woman shall remain permanent until death do they part.”

GiaQuinta knew it never had a chance.

“I’m just trying to make the point that if you really want to preserve marriage, half of them end in divorce, so let’s go right to the heart of the matter,” he said.

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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