Political Notebook

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Auto dealer close to ’yes’ on Senate bid

Thomas

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.

bfrancisco@jg.net

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