Political Notebook


Democrats say Hughes attacking GOP


Divide and conquer is one of the oldest strategies in war and politics.

So it’s not surprising Allen County Democrats tried to use some statements by Republican mayoral nominee Paula Hughes to create fissures within the local GOP.

In a news release this month, local Democratic director Jack Morris stated Hughes had recently attacked her fellow Republicans during a July broadcast of Pat Miller’s afternoon talk show on WOWO-AM 1190.

In the clip, Hughes discusses the problems with the city debt – her campaign’s main theme to date.

“So you’ve got a mayor and a complicit city council that has added to the debt load, which we are going to be paying off for generations,” Hughes said.

The only problem is the statement was not made last month but during the primary campaign when Hughes was running against Councilwoman Liz Brown, R-at large, and businessman Eric Doden. The Hughes campaign said WOWO didn’t even post online a separate interview that Hughes did on the show in July because of technical problems with the data file.

Allen County GOP Chairman Steve Shine said the Democratic attacks are off base because the party has coalesced since the primary and has, for the first time, formed a unified platform.

“Republican candidates are giving voters a clear plan to cut wasteful spending, reduce the city’s record debt and get Fort Wayne working again,” Shine said.

Morris said he was sent the clip by a supporter and mistook it for having run in July. Regardless of the date, however, he said the words are still from Hughes. He said it is odd she can claim to be leading a unified party while she also has a history of attacking a Republican-led council.

“To me, she’s saying she’s right and everyone else is wrong,” Morris said.

The Hughes campaign brushed the criticism off as normal disagreements during a party primary.

Early support

More than a year out, a Republican candidate for one of the state’s redrawn legislative districts is getting strong support.

State Sens. Jim Banks, R-Columbia City, and Carlin Yoder, R-Middlebury, announced last week they will endorse David Ober for the 82nd District state representative seat. The redrawn district will cover all of Noble County as well as parts of Allen, Elkhart, LaGrange and Whitley counties. There will be no incumbent because of the way legislative district lines were redrawn after the 2010 census.

Although candidates can’t file for the office until next year, the endorsements might be an attempt to prevent Ober from facing primary challengers.

Both Banks, 32, and Yoder, 37, credited Ober for his conservative beliefs and his work to grow the party, while noting it is important for the legislature to get more young members elected.

Ober, of Albion, is 24.

The race is on

A lack of a competitive primary will not be a problem for Allen County Republicans next spring.

Recorder John McGauley announced last week on Twitter that he has converted his exploratory committee into a formal 2012 campaign for commissioner. Although he can’t formally file for the office until next year, McGauley made it clear he is in.

“No more exploratory! I’m ready to go!” he tweeted.

Incumbent Republican Commissioner Nelson Peters doesn’t appear to be backing down from a challenge. Last week he told Political Notebook he likely will run for a third term but will wait until after the fall municipal elections to make a formal announcement.

Monroeville slates

The Democratic town convention in Monroeville produced numerous candidates last week. According to county party officials, nearly 22 percent of all registered voters showed up to participate in selecting candidates.

The participants nominated Kevin Wenger, clerk-treasurer; Debra Clark, 4th District council; and Don Gerardot, 5th District council.

Winning their nominations unopposed were Kathy O’Shaughnessey, 1st District council; Joan Bultemeier, 2nd District council; and Marilyn Crabill, 3rd District council.

The Republicans had their own convention last week as well, selecting Ron Walter as the party’s candidate for the 2nd District council seat.

Republicans unopposed in winning nominations were Timothy Berry, 1st District council; Rodney Gibson, 3rd District council; and Jai Burger, 4th District council.

The GOP did not nominate anyone for the clerk-treasurer or 5th District council positions.

The nominees will face off in the fall general election.

Famous Hoosiers

Gov. Mitch Daniels has added portraits of William A. “Bill” Cook and Ernest T. “Ernie” Pyle to the Hoosier Heritage Gallery that adorns the south wall of his office.

“These men were two of Indiana’s finest and are great examples of the worldwide influence and impact of our state,” he said. “One was a groundbreaking reporter whose columns captured the bravery of the American soldier. The other was an innovator and philanthropist whose work saved and lengthened countless lives and whose generosity preserved the landscape of southern Indiana.

“Both are legendary Hoosiers and we’re proud to call them our own.”

The portrait of Cook, painted in 1998 by Keith Kline, is on loan from a private collection. It replaces the portrait of Col. Eli Lilly.

The portrait of Pyle was painted by Dean Cornwell and is on loan from the Indiana University Campus Art Collection. It replaces the portrait of noted jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery.

In January 2006, Daniels designated the south wall of his office as a place for portraits of historically important Hoosiers – a change in the long-standing tradition of hanging portraits solely of former governors.

In addition to Cook, portraits of St. Mother Théodore Guérin and Cole Porter currently hang in the governor’s office.

Schrader returns?

It appears the case of Fort Wayne City Council candidate Tommy Schrader isn’t quite over. An attorney has agreed to assist the Democrat in his fight to return to the ballot. He was removed from the ballot because of residency questions.

Tom Hardin, attorney for the Allen County Election Board, said a motion was filed Friday asking Allen Circuit Court Judge Tom Felts to reconsider his dismissal of Schrader’s case. Felts has not ruled on the motion.

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