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Local politics


Wis. governor in city for Romney fundraiser

A fundraising reception for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is planned today in Fort Wayne, although Romney won’t be there.

Standing in will be Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. Between 60 and 80 guests are expected to pay at least $1,000 each to attend the fundraiser this afternoon in a private home, with “more than one” giving $25,000, according to local developer Bill Bean, co-chairman of the event.

“We are getting people who are willing to invest heavily in this race because they believe strongly” in Romney’s campaign, Bean said Monday.

Also this week, a group that opposes President Obama’s re-election will be selling gasoline for $1.84 a gallon, the price when Obama took office in January 2009. Regular gas was less than $3.30 a gallon at many Fort Wayne stations Monday after selling for more than $3.60 for much of October.

Americans for Prosperity Indiana will be sponsoring the reduced price from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday at the Marathon station at 6230 E. State Blvd. The group said in a statement the promotion will try to show that Obama’s energy policies, “are only making things worse.”

Gas prices hit $4.11 a gallon in July 2008 before plunging below $2 ahead of Obama’s election.

Americans for Prosperity, financed by billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch, has sponsored similar gasoline price-cut promotions across the country this month. The group pays the difference between the retail price and the $1.84 rate, which is limited to 10 gallons for each Fort Wayne customer.

Today’s Romney fundraiser is the third event of its kind that local Republicans have had this fall at the home of Bruce Dye, who founded Heritage Food Service Equipment. Allen County GOP Chairman Steve Shine said Dye, “has been the largest (financial) contributor to our organization” in recent years.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal headlined a Sept. 21 fund raising party at Dye’s house for gubernatorial candidate Mike Pence, and Sens. Dan Coats of Indiana, Rob Portman of Ohio and John Cornyn of Texas were featured at a Sept. 26 reception there for Senate candidate Richard Mourdock.

“We are very interested in the outcome of these races. … We have a number of people that are willing to step up to the plate and give of their time and give of their monies to help support those efforts,” Bean said.

Other hosts listed on an invitation to the Romney fundraiser include Keith Busse of Steel Dynamics Inc., Dick Freeland of Pizza Hut, John Popp of Aunt Millie’s Bakeries and City Councilman John Crawford.

Obama’s campaign said it knew of no fundraisers for him in Fort Wayne this election cycle.

The campaign for Democratic Senate candidate Joe Donnelly said he “has had several fundraisers” in Fort Wayne but did not provide the names of any high-profile politicians who might have been featured at them. The campaign for Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Gregg did not identify any fundraising receptions or parties in Fort Wayne.

Bean said local Republicans chose Walker from among available Romney surrogates. Guests who give at least $10,000 will receive more one-on-one time and photo opportunities with the Wisconsin governor, Bean said.

Campaign finance rules limit contributions to a federal candidate to $2,500 a person per election. But Romney Victory Inc. is a joint fundraising committee consisting of eight political organizations that can receive funds, including two national Republican committees and four state GOP committees. A person can give as much as $30,800 a year to a national political committee and as much as $10,000 to a state committee.