Political Notebook

  • Kuhnle open house set for Sunday
    Congressional candidate Justin Kuhnle will have an open house Sunday at his campaign office in Albion.
  • Shepard to receive democracy award
    The Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site has announced Randall T. Shepard of Evansville as the recipient of the 2014 Advancing American Democracy Award.
  • Stutzman ready for a real recess
    Congress is off the month of August for a "district work period," but its members and the media still refer to such breaks as "recess."

Pence opponent: ‘I’m here’

Republican businessman Jim Wallace last week became the first gubernatorial candidate to hit the air with campaign commercials.

The ad shows him working at a desk, walking along an Indianapolis street with a jacket slung over his shoulder and chatting with folks at a county fair.

It ends with the tagline: “I’m Jim Wallace. I’m here. I’m running for governor, and I’m on it.”

In a news release, the campaign said the ad would run during a multiweek blitz starting in Indianapolis and then moving to Fort Wayne and other major markets. The advertising buy is said to be six figures.

“This ad is designed to introduce businessman Jim Wallace to Hoosiers as he seeks his party’s nomination for governor next May,” said Jeff Howe, campaign manager for Wallace.

“Jim’s real-life experience managing businesses, working with tight budgets, and creating jobs has prepared him for the challenges of the governor’s office. Jim’s ready to use his administrative expertise for the citizens of Indiana. And he’s ready to talk about real issues that affect Hoosiers.”

This month, Wallace, from Fishers, reported having nearly $1 million on hand in his campaign finance report, with the majority of that self-financed.

He faces frontrunner U.S. Rep. Mike Pence in the GOP primary; Democrat John Gregg is running an exploratory campaign as well.

Tempting fate

The Fort Wayne City Council had its second straight week of a “summer quorum” as President Mitch Harper, R-4th, dubbed it. Four members were not there for the start, giving the council the bare minimum to conduct business.

Councilman Tom Didier, R-3rd, did show up late last week to give the body six members present.

Harper for the second straight week jokingly offered a seat at the council table to Geoff Paddock, the Democrat running to replace Councilman Tim Pape, D-5th.

Since announcing he won’t seek re-election, Pape has missed several meetings, especially those where no controversial bills were before the council for discussion.

Paddock, who faces Republican Ben Hall this fall, cautioned Harper not to tempt fate.

“Be careful what you wish for,” he said.

Delaying discord

The expected contentious discussion over Councilwoman Liz Brown’s bill to prohibit contractors who do business with the city from donating to city politicians was delayed again last week.

The bill, which was introduced July 12, was not discussed July 19 because the author was out of town. It was delayed last week after Pape asked to stall it because City Council Attorney Joe Bonahoom would not be in attendance.

Bonahoom and Pape previously argued about the bill’s legality.

While President Harper questioned the need for another delay, Brown agreed to it – perhaps leading to the sparse attendance at the meeting.

Lugar series

The next class of the Richard G. Lugar Excellence in Public Service Series is coming up, and applications must be postmarked by Monday to be considered.

As many as 20 participants will be selected for the nine-month program, which features monthly sessions with government and political leaders, lobbyists and media representatives. In addition, class members meet several times with Lugar and spend four days in Washington, D.C., meeting with national Republican leaders.

Almost 400 women from around the state have completed the program, which is entering its 22nd year.

Visit the website for the online application at www.lugarseries.com.

Flower philanthropy

Turns out the state didn’t pay for new flowers in dozens of planters around the Statehouse, as Political Notebook theorized last week.

After two years of being flower-free, the government complex is full of color this year – leading to hope that the economic turmoil had finally ended.

But state Auditor Tim Berry said state employees from various agencies donated money to buy and plant flowers in the containers. Some even planted vegetables.

An interesting example of employees subsidizing government.

To reach Political Notebook by email, 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.