Political Notebook

  • Teachers union got A-F data early
    One mystery from the chaotic State Board of Education meeting Wednesday has been solved – how the Indiana State Teachers Association got hold of restricted A-F school grades.
  • ISTA receives data in advance
    One mystery from the chaotic State Board of Education meeting Wednesday has been solved -- how the Indiana State Teachers Association got embargoed A-F school grades.
  • Allen GOP donations 'off the charts'
    The Allen County Republican Party says it has raised a record amount of money – more than $485,000 – so far this year.
Brian Francisco | The Journal Gazette
U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock, in a black and white helmet, rode in last week’s Freedom Ride from New Haven to the National History Center in Auburn.

Pence rents house, returns to Indiana

Republican gubernatorial nominee Mike Pence seems to have made his residency issue a bit more confusing on his own.

His campaign on Thursday announced that Pence and his family rented a house in McCordsville, near Indianapolis, for “personal and professional” convenience although they will maintain their Columbus home as well.

“Columbus is home for the Pences, but family needs and professional convenience made this move necessary,” according to Pence spokeswoman Christy Denault.

Democratic nominee John Gregg’s campaign was quick to pounce on the announcement after having repeatedly tried to make Pence’s residency an issue.

Pence was first elected to Congress in 2000 and has had a home in Arlington, Va., since 2002 while serving in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“We are glad to hear that Congressman Pence is finally moving back to Indiana,” said Daniel Altman, Gregg spokesman. “As a gesture of good will, the Gregg campaign will pay to send the first moving truck to Pence’s real home, in Virginia.”

Assessing caucus

Whitley County Republicans will select the county’s new assessor this week after Angela Adams Heath formally resigned Saturday.

Adams Heath had previously told county officials that she planned to take a personal leave from May through October, although she would continue to draw her annual salary of $42,682. This drew fire from many local officials who said her departure should be sooner, so she agreed to leave this month.

The party has 30 days to hold the caucus but will do so much sooner, having the event at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Peabody Public Library’s auditorium. The library is at 1160 E. Indiana 205, Columbia City.

Rita Saunders, the county deputy assessor, was the only one to have filed to seek the position as of Friday afternoon.

Mourdock rides

Richard Mourdock revved up his U.S. Senate campaign Thursday evening in northeast Indiana.

The Republican candidate borrowed a Honda Shadow motorcycle to take part in the sixth annual Freedom Ride from New Haven to the National History Center in Auburn.

More than 100 motorcyclists participated in the event, a tribute to the U.S. military.

Mourdock rode a motorcycle similar to one he has at his Vanderburgh County home.

“It’s a bike I dearly love,” the state treasurer said.

During remarks to a crowd before its trek, Mourdock talked about the freedom that America provides its citizens.

“So often these days we do take it for granted,” he said. “Those of us who love to get on a motorcycle enjoy that special freedom, but it’s a lot more that we should be thinking about than just that freedom to ride the motorcycle, experience it, and even in a state where you have the freedom not to wear a helmet – it’s something that a lot of people don’t enjoy in this country.”

Mourdock, who is running against Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-2nd, did wear a helmet for Freedom Ride.

Waiting on a clerk

The new Fort Wayne fire chief had to wait a little bit longer than expected before taking her leadership post.

Amy Biggs’ swearing in was delayed 15 minutes as the crowd of friends and family waited for Clerk Sandy Kennedy to arrive. Mayor Tom Henry joked that Kennedy walked to the event from home, although he said the delay was beyond the clerk’s control.

Kennedy, who didn’t disclose the exact reason for her tardiness, fired back at the mayor, saying to be late one time in decades should be OK.

“Normally, we’re waiting on the mayor,” she joked.

Romney stand-in

Indiana Republicans will have a fundraising reception for GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney this month in Hamilton County, but Romney won’t be there.

His stand-in will be Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor who is the son of one president and the brother of another.

Bush will be the “special guest” at a reception July 17 at the Fishers home of Jerry Slusser, a major financial contributor to the campaigns of Gov. Mitch Daniels.

Admission to the reception is $500 a person and $100 for members of Young Professionals for Mitt, according to a copy of the invitation. For $2,500, a guest can attend a photo reception with Bush. Throw in dinner with him, and the price goes to $15,000 a person.

Hosts of the fundraiser include Dan Dumezich, chairman of the Indiana Election Commission and a leader of Romney’s Indiana campaign, and former state Republican Party Chairman Al Hubbard.

Journal Gazette Washington Editor Brian Francisco contributed to this column.

To reach Political Notebook by email, contact Benjamin Lanka at blanka@jg.net or Niki Kelly at nkelly@jg.net. An expanded Political Notebook can also be found as a daily blog at www.journalgazette.net/politicalnotebook.