Two northeast Indiana senators want to set the record straight – they aren't part of an effort to oust Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, from his leadership post.
Sen. Jim Banks, R-Columbia City, and Sen. Travis Holdman, R-Markle, are disputing rumors circulating around the Statehouse based on a political newsletter report citing unnamed sources.
They contacted Political Notebook to clarify the issue for northeast Indiana residents and constituents.
"I am not part of any conspiracy," Holdman said. "I am terribly offended and so frustrated. I have full faith in David (Long) and (Majority Floor Leader) Connie Lawson."
The allegations are that a group of conservative senators – including Banks and Holdman – are trying to get people to challenge members of the caucus who support Long, including Lawson.
There are two factions in the Senate Republican caucus – one more moderate; one more conservative. But Banks said Long championed conservative issues such as strengthening gun rights and defunding Planned Parenthood last year.
Banks was identified as the leader of a Republican conservative caucus in the Senate. But that group had disbanded before he arrived and he was never a member.
"I am not an organizer of a conservative caucus… I have not sought to recruit any candidates to challenge Republican incumbents," Banks said in an email supporting Lawson's re-election effort. "Most importantly, I have not spoken to anyone about challenging Senator David Long's leadership as President of the Senate as I have appreciated his leadership and fully support him in his role of leading our state forward."
Both Banks and Holdman have sent emails to their Republican colleagues in the Senate denouncing the rumors, and they spoke personally with Long.
The author of the report – Brian Howey – stands by his analysis.
Email Niki at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @nkellyatJG.