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Local politics

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Cathie Rowand | The Journal Gazette
Special blue and red editions of the classic Etch A Sketch toys will be featured at the Republican Party’s Bean Dinner next week.

Special Etch A Sketch shakes up county GOP

– There will be politics, rallying cries, promises and beans. There will also be kids’ toys.

Ohio Art’s Etch A Sketch toys are vehemently nonpartisan, but after a top aide to presidential candidate Mitt Romney said Romney’s views would change from trying to please hard-core conservatives to the mass-appeal of moderation after the primaries “like an Etch A Sketch,” the classic toy became a political metaphor.

“We stand firmly behind our proclamation that ‘We have a left knob and a right knob for each political party.’ And ‘ … when we both work together, we can do loop de loops,’ ” the toy’s website states. “We’re especially serious about the loop de loops part.”

So to commemorate being part of the lexicon, Ohio Art has created special editions of its classic drawing tablet, the “Shake It Up, America!” Etch A Sketch. They come in both red and blue for the red-state blue-state designations that have become so popular, and you can even vote for red or blue on the shakeitupamerica.net website.

But just because the company is non-partisan – the website says “Our political neutrality is unflappable” – doesn’t mean its officers are. So Ohio Art Chairman Bill Killgallon will not only attend the Allen County Republican Party’s annual Bean Dinner, but he’ll be bringing 100 of the special edition Etch A Sketches with him.

Party Chairman Steve Shine said some of the toys will be given away as prizes, the rest will be sold at cost.

“Why he’s bringing the blue ones, I don’t know,” Shine said, laughing. “Unless they were taken off the product line for malfunctions.”

Shine said Killgallon has attended Allen County GOP events in the past, but this is the first time he’s been singled out as a guest.

“We’ve known each other quite a few years,” Shine said. “But this is the first time he’s brought something germane to the event.”

Keynote speakers will be U.S. Rep. Marlin Stutzman, U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock, and gubernatorial candidate Rep. Mike Pence.

“Being that it’s one week before the election, it’s going to be a supercharged political atmosphere,” Shine said.

The dinner is 6 p.m. Oct. 30 at Ceruti’s Summit Park, 6601 Innovation Blvd. Tickets are $65 per person with a cash bar.

A $175 VIP reception begins at 5 p.m. Call 745-1970 or email beandinner@allencountygop.org for information.

Killgallon’s trip from Bryan won’t be a long one, but the Etch A Sketches he brings will have come a long way – production was moved to China just before Christmas 2000.

dstockman@jg.net

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