Political Notebook

  • Pence taps city native for key post
    A Bishop Dwenger High School graduate was one of four deputy chiefs of staff tapped by Gov. Mike Pence last week. Sean Keefer will serve as deputy chief of staff of executive branch agencies.
  • 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.

Auto dealer close to ’yes’ on Senate bid


Auto dealer Bob Thomas is leaning toward running for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in next year’s primary election, according to a political website.

Howey Politics Indiana reported Wednesday that Thomas will make a decision by Jan. 2.

“I would say it will be a yes, based on everything I know,” Thomas told Howey Politics Indiana.

The Carmel resident would become the third candidate in the GOP field, joining Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., and state Treasurer Richard Mourdock. Lugar has held the seat since 1977.

Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-2nd, is the only announced candidate for the Democratic nomination.

Thomas, whose auto businesses include a Ford dealership in Fort Wayne, sought the Republican congressional nomination in Indiana’s 3rd District in 2010, losing to incumbent Mark Souder.

Thomas later finished fifth in a GOP caucus to replace Souder on the general-election ballot after Souder resigned in the wake of acknowledging an extramarital affair with a part-time staff worker.

Websites and news media reported in November that Thomas was considering seeking the GOP Senate nomination in the May 8 primary election. The conventional wisdom is that his candidacy would most hurt Mourdock, who has attracted the support of state and national tea party organizations.