Political Notebook

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2 Democrats seek Stutzman's seat

It appears Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-3rd, will have an election challenger in the fall.

John Forrest Roberson, 62, and Tommy A. Schrader, 49, both residents of Fort Wayne, filed this week as candidates in the Democratic primary election for the 3rd District congressional seat.

Schrader won a City Council at-large nomination last May. He was later removed from the general-election ballot by the Allen County Election Board after acknowledging he was registered to vote in Green Bay, Wis., and had voted in a municipal primary election there.

Schrader said Wednesday he is running for Congress to get back at the Allen County Democratic Party for seeking his removal from the ballot.

“They need to be taught a lesson,” he said. “People voted for me. I won the primary. They ran me through the sewer.”

Schrader, who finished third out of five candidates for three at-large nominations, said he opposes abortion rights and is “more of a conservative.”

Roberson said he is a retired truck driver, an Army combat veteran of the Vietnam War and a former Fort Wayne police officer. Roberson was fired by the police department in 1999 after an 18-year career in which he was disciplined 28 times.

Asked whether his firing would affect his chances to be nominated for Congress, Roberson said, “I will let the people decide that.”

He said he is running for Congress because Stutzman “hasn’t represented the people at all.”

“What about middle America, people who work hard for a living? I want to represent them,” Roberson said Wednesday. “It’s about people, not party.”

Stutzman, a LaGrange County farmer and former state legislator, was elected in 2010 and has filed to seek a second two-year term. No one has filed to run against him in the May 8 Republican primary. The filing deadline for primary-election candidates is Feb. 10.

After last year’s redistricting, the 3rd District will cover 10 counties and parts of two others in northeast Indiana. New to the district for the primary election are Huntington, Adams, Wells, Jay and northern Blackford counties.