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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, May 14, 2017 1:00 am

Rokita hires prominent GOP fundraiser

BRIAN FRANCISCO and NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

Rep. Todd Rokita, R-4th, has taken a step toward launching a U.S. Senate bid by appointing a statewide campaign finance staff.

Rokita has named Dan Dumezich to chair the team. Dumezich, an attorney from Schererville, is a former treasurer of the Indiana Republican Party and a former state legislator who has worked on campaign finance teams for GOP presidential candidates Donald Trump, Mitt Romney and George W. Bush.

“There is no better political fundraiser in Indiana,” Rokita said in a news release.

Other members of Rokita's finance team include Jamie Weber and Dave Buskill, who have worked on Rokita's House campaigns, and Washington-based fundraisers Laura Van Hove, Jon Graham and Mike Gula.

Rokita is considering seeking the Republican nomination next year for the seat held by Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind. Rep.

Luke Messer, R-6th, also is considering running.

Announced candidates for the GOP nomination are Kokomo attorney Mark Hurt, Hamilton County businessman Terry Henderson and New Albany college branch administrator Andrew Takami.

Driving tip

Rep. Jim Banks, R-3rd, has revealed one of the reasons he introduced legislation that would allow restaurants and convenience stores to build at rest areas along interstate highways.

Banks said Friday that he regularly drives along U.S. 30 between Fort Wayne and his home in Columbia City and is “always bothered” by the sight of two rest areas the state closed many years ago.

“They're not particularly appealing to look at,” he said during remarks to the Summit City South Rotary Club.

“They're often a speed trap” for police on the lookout for traffic violations, he added. 

“That's my congres­sional tip for you,” he said, evoking laughter from the audience. 

Democrats to hear from lawmakers

State Reps. Joe Taylor, D-South Bend, and Melanie Wright, D-Yorktown, will be the featured guests at the Allen County Democratic Party's Pasta & Politics Series on Friday.

The program will take place at Bergstaff Place, 2020 E. Washington Blvd. Social hour with cash bar will begin at 6 p.m., and a pasta buffet dinner will be at 7.  

Admission is $30 a person. Seating is limited to 200 people.

For ticket information, call 478-8239 or go to

To reach Political Notebook by email, contact Brian Francisco at or Niki Kelly at An expanded Political Notebook can be found as a daily blog at