Political Notebook

  • Messer wants GOP leadership position
    Another Hoosier seeks a leadership post with the U.S. House Republican caucus.
  • Lugar Series taking applications
    The Richard G. Lugar Excellence in Public Service Series, a political leadership development course for Republican women, is taking applications for its next class until Aug. 1.
  • Zoeller mum after ban ruling
    Attorney General Greg Zoeller has never been shy.He regularly comments on cases, files briefs around the nation and issues a ton of press releases about office activities.

Daniels offered style tips

Tailored suits, buzzcut among writer’s ideas

So is Gov. Mitch Daniels stylish enough to be the leader of the free world?

That’s the question asked by a recent Examiner.com article on the governor’s style IQ.

The article commends Daniels for taking interesting chances with his shirt-tie combinations and notes he has high collars with big Windsor knots – as opposed to low-hanging, flimsy collars with minuscule knots.

“On the other side of the coin, Daniels could definitely benefit from a style overhaul,” writer Grant Catton says. “If he’s going to run for president, one sure way to set himself apart from the pack is to dress like he’s running for president in 2012 and not 1984.”

The article gives four suggestions to Daniels for improving his style:

•Pay more attention to the cut of his suits – i.e. get them tailored. The writer says the governor is in good shape and could use a slimmer suit cut to help him look younger and taller.

•Throw in a pinstripe suit every once in a while rather than always wearing dark blue, and don’t be afraid of colorful shirts, like lime, pink and teal.

“I’m not asking him to look like he stepped off the runway in Milan, but just to lead the charge out of the red ‘power-tie’ rut that most politicians are in.”

•The writer likes Daniels’ necktie knots but recommends he stay away from longish collars.

•And then there’s the hair. Catton acknowledges that many men get a little thin on top but that doesn’t mean you need your grandpa’s hair. He said a nice buzzcut “would really create a contemporary and tough kind of look. For a guy who rides a motorcycle, this would kill two birds with one stone.”

Another Lugar foe

Chris Chocola has joined the conservative chorus calling for Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., to not seek re-election.

Chocola, a former Indiana congressman, is president of the Club for Growth, a national organization that promotes “economic freedom” by advocating, among other things, lower income taxes, government spending cuts, deregulation and school choice.

Appearing Tuesday on ABC News’ “Top Line,” Chocola was asked whether the Club for Growth would oppose Lugar in his 2012 campaign. State Treasurer Richard Mourdock has announced he will run against Lugar in the GOP primary election, and tea party groups in Indiana have been imploring the veteran senator to retire, claiming he is not conservative enough.

“We are looking at that race very closely,” Chocola said on the show. “We do have some concerns about Sen. Lugar and his service. We think it would be probably best if he would retire at this point.

“So we haven’t made any decisions at this point, but we are looking at it very closely, and it is one of the races that is very high on our radar,” said Chocola, a Republican who represented Indiana’s 2nd District from 2003 through 2006.

Lugar recently issued a statement stating he had been given a 100 percent score by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for his voting record in the 2010 session of Congress. Tom Donohue, chief executive of the Chamber, was quoted in the statement as saying Lugar was given the Spirit of Enterprise award “for supporting the private sector and job growth.”

Lugar said in the statement that he had compiled a 91 percent cumulative score from the Chamber since taking office in 1977.

Chocola was unseated in 2006 by Democrat Joe Donnelly, who confirmed this winter that he is considering running for Lugar’s Senate seat.

If Lugar were to win the 2012 GOP primary and Donnelly the Democratic primary, Political Notebook wonders whom the Club for Growth would support in the general election.

Helping herself

Running for mayor of Fort Wayne is not an inexpensive proposition. So it is normal for candidates or their families to help support the effort.

Eric Doden, Paula Hughes and Liz Brown listed contributions from family members on their reports filed this month. In fact, one of Hughes’ largest donors is tied to the family, although supporters might not know it from simply looking at the report.

HIP LLC gave Hughes $10,000 in her campaign. A quick search of the secretary of state’s website showed the only HIP LLC was based in Elkhart, not the Fort Wayne address listed on her report, which, by the way, is Hughes’ home.

Her campaign manager revealed the company is Hughes’ personal commercial real estate firm. As to why it was listed as HIP rather than its legal name of Hughes Investment Properties, he said that was simply what it said on the company’s checks.

Extra support

In the weeks since the deadline for the most recent campaign finance reports, the city’s mayoral candidates have raked in thousands of dollars in large contributions. Campaigns are required to report contributions of $1,000 or larger within 48 hours of getting the money.

Eric Doden reported getting $1,000 from Valparaiso Mayor Jon Costas’ committee; $1,000 from D&S Equipment of Fort Wayne; $2,000 from Parrish Leasing Inc., of Fort Wayne; $1,000 from Parrish Dedicated Services of Fort Wayne; $2,000 from Kitch Acceptance Corp., of Fort Wayne; $2,000 from Votaw Electric of Fort Wayne; $2,500 from Chad Parent of Fort Wayne; $1,000 from Ian Rolland of Fort Wayne; and $2,000 from the Northeast Indiana PAC for Better Government. Doden also filed an amended campaign finance report revealing an additional $10,000 contribution from the northeast PAC given April 8.

Paula Hughes reported getting $1,000 from Arthur McCoy III of Fort Wayne; $2,000 from Richard and Jennifer Runestad of Fort Wayne; $1,000 from the Indiana Realtors PAC of Indianapolis; $1,000 from Baseline Communications of Fort Wayne; and $1,000 from Katherine Skekloff of Fort Wayne.

Mayor Tom Henry reported getting $1,000 from Laborer Local 213 of Fort Wayne; $1,000 from IBEW Educational Committee of Washington; $1,000 from Indiana UAW-SAC of Indianapolis; $1,000 from the Indiana Realtors PAC of Indianapolis; $1,000 from the Northeast Indiana Building and Construction Trades Council of Fort Wayne; $1,000 from Bricklayers Allied Craftsmen Political Action Fund of Anderson; and $1,000 from Local 166 Plumbers and Steamfitters PAC – no address was given for this group.

Liz Brown did not report any new large contributions.

Boycott questioned

Fallout from the five-week House Democratic walkout continued last week when the Indiana Republicans Party attacked the state Democratic Party for using special interest money.

The GOP examined a recently filed state campaign finance report and found the Democrats received $139,000 from unions during the walkout, most coming from out of state.

The bill for the Comfort Suites in Urbana – Democrats’ home base during the walkout – was almost $85,000.

The Republican Party also noted that the Democratic Party didn’t list any individual contributions during the same time period despite telling several media outlets that smaller donations were flooding in.

“Despite claims to the contrary, the entire walkout charade was supported and financed by out-of-state unions, and now Hoosiers know that,” GOP Party Chairman Eric Holcomb said.

Indiana Democratic Party Chairman Dan Parker said individual donations were listed on the party’s federal report unless they reached $10,000 or more.

“Folks over at the Republican Party apparently don’t know how state parties are financed,” he said, noting 900 new individual donors during the walkout period.

Scheduling snafu

The Allen County Republican Party will have its annual Lincoln Day Dinner fundraising event this week to coincide with the end of the primary season.

The traditionally midweek event falls on a Tuesday this year, allowing party supporters to hear from two area congressmen: Mike Pence and Marlin Stutzman.

But the dinner conflicts with the Fort Wayne City Council meeting Tuesday evening. The conflict is especially relevant because this is a city election year and many of the council members are seeking re-election, and one – Liz Brown – is running for mayor.

Council President Mitch Harper, a Republican, said he never considered canceling the meeting and would not ask it to be shorter than normal so people can attend the political event. He made it clear that official business must take priority over politics – despite Councilman Tom Didier, R-3rd, being asked to sing at the fundraiser.

“We’ll get done when we get done,” Harper said.

Local party chairman Steve Shine said the event was scheduled based on the availability of the speakers.

“We don’t have a lot of flexibility in working around two congressmen’s schedule,” Shine said.

Harper admitted the 5:30 p.m. council meeting might naturally end in time for Republicans to make the 6:45 p.m. dinner. Of course if any of the Democratic council members have long monologues handy, it could make for an awkward night for the GOP.

Brian Francisco, Washington editor for 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.