Political Notebook

  • Indiana House sets leaders for session
    The Indiana House has tapped leadership and committee chairs for the 2015 General Assembly.
  • Charity wins on Organization Day
    Area House members joined Tuesday in donating linens, gift cards and various supplies to the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence at the Indiana Statehouse.
  • Coats, Donnelly support pipeline
    Sens. Dan Coats, R-Ind., and Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., spoke Tuesday in support of legislation to complete construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

Lugar backs Massachusetts senator

Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., has endorsed a candidate in a high-profile Senate race.

But that candidate is not Richard Mourdock, who defeated Lugar in Indiana’s Republican primary election.

Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., announced Tuesday that Lugar has endorsed him in his contest against Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren.

According to various media reports, Lugar said in a statement that Brown “has established himself as a Senate leader who can be counted upon to rise above partisanship and do the right thing.”

The six-term senator lauded Brown for supporting one of Lugar’s chief legislative efforts, the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with Russia known as START.

In a Monday debate, Warren named Lugar as a Republican she could work with in the Senate. She was quickly reminded by moderator David Gregory that Lugar will not be in the Senate after year’s end.

Lugar has stopped short of formally endorsing Mourdock in a manner similar to that for Brown. He said the night of his primary-election defeat, “I hope my opponent prevails in November” and that Republicans win a majority of seats in the Senate.

Lugar did introduce Mourdock to Republican senators at a Capitol Hill luncheon in July. But he told Indianapolis blogger and commentator Abdul Hakim-Shabazz in a September interview that he did not intend to actively campaign for Mourdock, who is running against Democrat Joe Donnelly and Libertarian Andrew Horning in the Nov. 6 election. Polls have indicated Donnelly and Mourdock are running even.

During the primary-election battle, Mourdock criticized Lugar for backing START. After his loss, Lugar said Mourdock’s stated opposition to bipartisanship “is not conducive to problem solving and governance.”

Stutzman’s house

Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-3rd, is among only four freshmen congressmen to buy a house in the Washington, D.C., area, according to a recent report by The Hill newspaper.

Stutzman’s Democratic opponent in the Nov. 6 election is trying to turn that purchase into a campaign issue.

“In my opinion, purchasing a home as a freshman indicates an arrogant assumption that the people will blindly return one to Washington,” Kevin Boyd said Monday.

Boyd said a House seat “is a temporary role that one enters with the understanding that one does not need permanent headquarters in Washington.”

In response, Stutzman said Tuesday: “In order for me to be an active father and husband, my family has decided to have our home in LaGrange County and a house in Virginia. In D.C., I see no reason to hang out with the lobbyist crowd when I can have dinner with my family as often as possible.”

The home is in Alexandria, Va. In an interview published last December by The Journal Gazette, Stutzman said he and his wife, Christy, wanted their two sons “back home and around the farm during the summer months and then school out here (in Alexandria).”

The Hill reported Saturday that some of the 95 freshmen – of which 87 are Republicans – live in their offices when the House is in session.

In addition to Stutzman, The Hill said freshmen with mortgages in the Washington area include another Hoosier, Rep. Larry Bucshon, R-8th, and Reps. Scott Rigell, R-Va., and Rob Woodall, R-Ga. An aide to Woodall said he has a 380-square-foot efficiency condo.

The Hill collected the information from House members’ financial disclosure forms. The newspaper noted that members do not have to provide information about rental properties.

Boyd pointed out that when Stutzman sought the Republican nomination for a U.S. Senate seat in 2010, he ran a TV ad in which a narrator called Stutzman “a fourth-generation farmer who, unlike his opponents, has never had an address in Washington, D.C.”

Gregg, Pence here

Fort Wayne’s Downtown Rotary Club has special October programs booked featuring gubernatorial candidates.

Democratic candidate John Gregg is scheduled for Oct. 15; Republican candidate Mike Pence is scheduled for Oct. 29.

The club meets at noon at Parkview Field. To RSVP or for more information, call club secretary Jane Wilkes at 260-267-6540 or email fwrotarysecretary@gmail.com.

Whitko candidates

The Whitko Board of School Trustees will hold a special session at 7 p.m. Oct. 15 at the Whitko Administration Office in Pierceton to allow the public to meet the candidates running for Whitko school board positions in the Nov. 6 general election.

Board candidates will discuss their views on issues facing Whitko Community Schools; their terms begin Jan. 1.

Candidates include Joe Begley, running unopposed for District 3; and Georgia Tenney and Phil Menzie vying for one seat in District 1.

Dan Stockman of The Journal Gazette contributed to this column.

To reach Political Notebook by email, contact Brian Francisco at bfrancisco@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.