Political Notebook

  • Allen Right to Life PAC endorses 24
    The Allen County Right to Life Political Action Committee announced Wednesday it has endorsed 24 candidates in the Nov. 4 election for federal, state, county and school board seats.
  • Hoosiers asked to help make Indiana more competitive
    The Indiana Department of Revenue on Monday released a report of ideas and recommendations generated at the Indiana Tax Competitiveness and Simplification Conference in June.
  • Stutzman’s wife on ‘19 Kids’
    Christy Stutzman, wife of Congressman Marlin Stutzman, made a surprise appearance last Tuesday night on the TLC reality show “19 Kids and Counting.

Independent plans to mount serious campaign for mayor

Mayor Tom Henry and Republican nominee Paula Hughes will have some extra competition this fall.

Haley Ahrendt on Friday filed the required 1,213 voter signatures to be an independent candidate for Fort Wayne mayor – in fact, he filed more than 2,000.

The 41-year-old operations director for a retail company said he is “politically balanced” and plans to help make Fort Wayne a safe city that supports small and medium businesses.

His voting record showed he has switched between party primaries several times in the past decade, voting in Democratic primaries in 2003 and 2008 and Republican ones in 1999, 2002, 2006 and 2010.

“I’m looking forward to the campaign, and I’m looking forward to winning,” he said.

Ahrendt has been owner of Three Rivers Limousine Service and loss-prevention director for Lassus Handy Dandy. He also filed for bankruptcy in 1998 and 2009.

While he acknowledged it is difficult to run as an independent, he said his ideas are real and dismissed the notion of being a “sideshow” in the fall. Ahrendt said he will get his message out by directly talking with voters – the same method he used to gather signatures to run.

This is Ahrendt’s first run for office. He said Ronald Reagan sparked his interest in politics.

Independent candidates have until June 30 to file for office.

Skirting the line

State Treasurer Richard Mourdock – who is challenging U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar for his seat – is not shy about putting his face and name out there.

But is he following both the spirit and letter of an ethics law passed last year? You decide.

A recent Ball State alumni e-magazine has a nice ad with Mourdock’s picture and a quote for a college savings plan – a program he administers as treasurer.

Last year, lawmakers passed a law banning state officers from using an officer’s name or likeness in a “communication” paid for with money appropriated by the General Assembly “regardless of the source of the money.”

A communication refers to audio, video or newspaper ad, so technically an e-magazine doesn’t count.

And regardless, Ian Slatter, spokesman for Mourdock, said no state funds were used. Instead, the ads are paid for by a state administration fee charged to each Hoosier who sets up a college savings plan.

Finance fines

The Allen County Election Board last week issued fines to several candidates, including a relatively large one to a sitting City Council member.

Councilman Mitch Harper, R-4th, was fined $250 by the board for filing a supplemental report five days late. Candidates are required to report contributions of more than $1,000 within 48 hours, but Harper did not report giving himself $10,000 on April 12 until April 19. Harper said it occurred to him too late that the requirement applied to donations from yourself.

He also said at least one supplemental report did not list when the large contributions were given – leading him to question whether election staff does any evaluation of the filed reports. Former Councilman John Crawford filed a supplemental report listing four large contributions but did not include dates when those were received.

Councilman Glynn Hines, D-6th, was fined $50 by the board for filing his pre-primary finance report a few hours after the deadline. Other fines issued include $25 to failed mayoral candidate Tom Cook; $25 to failed New Haven mayoral candidate Carrie Schoff-Wilson; $25 to Democratic council candidate Tommy Schrader; and $5 to Jeffrey Smead, who ran for Grabill Town Council.

Never too early

Well, that didn’t take long. The day before the new legislative maps were signed into law, Republican David Ober threw his hat into the ring for a newly drawn 82nd District in the Indiana House.

The Noble County Young Republican chairman formed an official campaign committee for the district, which includes all of Noble County as well as parts of Allen, Elkhart, LaGrange and Whitley counties.

No current incumbent lives in the district.

An election won’t occur for the seat until May 2012.

“I have a passion for this community and a heart for public service. I hope to utilize both if chosen to serve the people of the new 82nd District,” Ober said.

He plans to tour the district in the coming months to speak with supporters and meet with members of the communities he hopes to represent.

Ober, 24, is a lifelong resident of Albion. He earned a bachelor’s degree in computer graphics technology from Purdue University and is as a Web designer at KPC Media Group in Kendallville.

Keeping the fight

City Councilwoman Liz Brown’s recent loss in the Fort Wayne mayoral primary did not take any fight out of her at the council table.

Brown, R-at large, was particularly upset by the city’s ability to slip in a bill for introduction well after the Friday noon deadline.

Of course, it did not help that this bill was Mayor Tom Henry’s request for $700,000 to help streamline the permitting process.

“That’s not the right way to do things,” she said. “I don’t think we should break our rules for this.”

Brown was the lone member to vote against introducing the bill, which will likely be discussed over the next two weeks.

She also used her time at the microphone to bash the proposal on its merits and called for the county to reject it.

Her comments stretched so long that Councilman Glynn Hines, D-6th, got up and left midway through them – making no secret of his distaste for her tenor.

All this happened, by the way, after Brown received a bipartisan round of applause from her fellow council members for her work in the mayoral primary.

Democrats’ director

The Allen County Democrats recently announced hiring a new executive director.

The party last month named Jack Morris, a loyal Democrat and the party’s organized labor liaison, as the local director.

He started April 12 and will assist Chairman Mike Bynum with daily operations, get-out-the-vote efforts, candidate training and other work. Morris is a local attorney and ran for state Senate last year.

This year, the party moved to new headquarters at 7301 Old Decatur Road, Fort Wayne.

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.