Political Notebook

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Ballot battle keeps Guido on sidelines

George Guido watched intently as Allen Circuit Court Judge Tom Felts made his ruling last week.

Felts dismissed the local Democrats’ lawsuit to remove Tommy Schrader from this fall’s ballot – putting Guido’s political future in limbo.

Had Felts removed Schrader, Guido would have been assured to take over his spot on the ballot. Now even if the Allen County Election Board’s separate decision to remove Schrader is upheld – a decision likely to be appealed back to Felts – Guido must work for the nomination.

Guido, an attorney with Carson Boxberger, finished fourth in a five-way Democratic race for three City Council at-large nominations. He did little public campaigning during the primary, even telling The Journal Gazette he was planning to see what happened in the primary before working to raise money.

That decision helped lead to the Schrader fiasco, where a perennial candidate won third place despite doing no campaigning and living in Wisconsin for most of the primary season.

Guido did not return calls seeking comment Friday, but his appearance at the hearing sends a message he has at least some interest in the nomination many assumed he would win.

Gina Burgess, who is supporting Schrader’s efforts to remain on the ballot, questioned the legitimacy of Guido’s candidacy. She noted Guido and another candidate lost to Schrader even though Schrader didn’t campaign.

Running in the fall against a formidable slate of Republicans would be difficult for Guido or any Democrat, let alone having to overcome the stigma of losing to Schrader in the primary.

If the election board’s decision is upheld, local Democrat Chairman Mike Bynum will select a replacement for Schrader on the ballot.

Up-and-comer

Governing magazine tapped Indiana Sen. Jim Banks, R-Columbia City, as a GOP “legislator to watch” in a recent Web posting.

The magazine took nominations from around the country and decided to feature politicians with a long future, particularly with the possibility of winning higher office at the state or federal level.

“We looked for leadership qualities, demonstrated either through formal leadership posts or service in junior positions where a legislator showed unusual initiative,” the magazine said. “The ability to strike alliances across party lines was a plus, as was a record of leading his or her party to noteworthy gains.”

Included in the GOP list were legislators from Ohio, Oregon, Washington, Alabama, Minnesota, Utah, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Georgia, North Carolina, Louisiana, Iowa, Massachusetts and Minnesota.

Many of the lawmakers were House speakers or majority leaders.

They said Banks, a county party chairman and congressional district vice chairman, is touted as being on a fast track to a leadership post even though he’s only in his first term.

“He has harnessed his experience as a political consultant and crafted a strong media strategy that uses both traditional and new media,” the magazine said.

They also quoted a political observer saying he is tireless and doesn’t miss an event – political or otherwise. He is also looked to by his freshman peers for political advice and policy counsel.

Banks, who alerted Political Notebook to the article, quipped, “must be a pretty mediocre crop out there!”

Stutzman home

The U.S. House is in recess this week – or what it likes to call “district work period,” when congressmen can return home to rub elbows with constituents and supporters.

Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-3rd, has scheduled several appearances, both in his district and out.

On Saturday, he was a featured speaker at commencement ceremonies at The Howe School in LaGrange County. Stutzman is a farmer in Howe.

On Wednesday, he will be available to meet with constituents from 9 to 10:30 a.m. at American Legion Post 215 in LaGrange; from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Angola Chamber Day in the Park at Commons Park in Angola; and from 4 to 6 p.m. at CC Deli on West Van Buren Street in Columbia City.

Stutzman is having a public forum on energy needs and costs from 9 to 11 a.m. Thursday at IPFW’s Neff Hall.

The freshman lawmaker will cap his week Saturday evening as the keynote speaker at the Indiana Young Republicans Convention in Indianapolis.

Poor patient

Allen County Sheriff Ken Fries sat poolside at an undisclosed location along the Gulf of Mexico soaking up rays and some R&R last week.

And he did so, much to his doctor’s probable chagrin, without the sling he’s been ordered to wear for the next several weeks so that his left shoulder can heal.

“I’m a bad patient,” Fries joked. “They know that.”

Television cameras caught Fries during a Memorial Day parade waving to the crowd with one arm while his other remained folded in that sling, which he’s wearing – or supposed to be wearing – due to recent shoulder surgery.

Fries said he injured his shoulder lifting weights at a local YMCA. A bone spur started tearing into a tendon and before he knew it, he needed an operation. After the surgery, the doctor told the sheriff to stop running, stop lifting weights and to wear that sling for the next four weeks.

Later, a nurse told him he could take his arm out of the sling occasionally, Fries said.

This latest surgery marks the sixth for Fries – all of them coming in the past five years.

In 2006, doctors operated on a tendon in his elbow. A year later, he had major rotator cuff surgery on his right shoulder. Four months after that, in April 2008, he slipped on ice and reinjured that shoulder, which required another surgery.

In December 2009, he tore a tendon in his right knee, and in 2010 he needed neck surgery due to a damaged disc, which he thinks was ultimately caused by a car crash in 1988.

Fries said the seriousness of his recent injury might have been lessened if he’d had his shoulder checked out sooner, but he continued to hit the gym, instead of heeding his wife’s advice to stop.

“I don’t know when to quit,” he said.

Washington Editor Brian Francisco and reporter Jeff Wiehe of The Journal Gazette contributed to this column.

To reach Political Notebook via 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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