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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, October 22, 2017 1:00 am

Ousting Donnelly hot topic at GOP dinner

BRIAN FRANCISCO and NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

A half-dozen speakers at the local Republican Party's fall dinner spent much of their time bashing a single Democrat.

The event's keynote speaker, the Indiana GOP chairman, a radio talk show host and three prospective U.S. Senate candidates all heaped criticism on Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., during the Allen County GOP's annual Reagan Bean Dinner on Monday at the Ramada Plaza Hotel and Conference Center.

Donnelly made for an easy target. He is the Indiana Democratic Party's only statewide officeholder and will stand for re-election next year at a time when Republicans will be trying to cling to their narrow majority in the U.S. Senate.

Rep. Todd Rokita, R-4th, a candidate for the state's GOP Senate nomination, led the partisan dinner audience in a chant of “Joe must go.”

But Hoosier Republicans helped elect the politically moderate Donnelly in 2012. And they might do so again in 2018, according to one of his potential rivals.

“When I travel the state, and there's Republicans that come to me and say, 'Andrew, I don't know who our nominee's going to be, but I'm thinking about voting for Joe Donnelly.' That's a problem,” Andrew Takami, a New Albany college administrator who seeks the GOP Senate nomination, told 350 people at the Reagan Bean Dinner.

“I'm hearing it more and more,” Takami said, adding that Republicans must nominate “the right candidate against Joe Donnelly, or else people may say there's no choice.” Takami did not elaborate on what qualities “the right candidate” should have.

As previously reported, results of a Morning Consult poll released in August found that 55 percent of nearly 1,200 Indiana Republican voters who were surveyed in the spring said they approved of Donnelly as their senator.

Journalist at Rifkin

Jeff Goldman, an Emmy Award-winning producer and reporter for CBS News and PBS, will speak at 7 p.m. Oct. 30 at Rifkin Campus, 5200 Old Mill Road.

Goldman's talk is titled “My White House Journey from Reagan to Trump.” Goldman has covered six presidents over 34 years.

The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Goldman's appearance is presented by the Jewish Federation of Fort Wayne with support from the Dr. Harry W. Salon Foundation.

Meetings planned

Two area political organizations will have meetings Wednesday.

• Our Revolution of Northeast Indiana will meet at 6:30 p.m. in Meeting Room C of the downtown Allen County Public Library. Retired labor leader Bill Farmer will speak about income inequality.

For information, call Mary Pat Leonard at 260-402-7271.

• The Libertarian Party of Allen County will meet at 7 p.m. at Liberty Diner, 2929 Goshen Road. Outreach games such as “Tricky Questions” and “Ask Aunt Libby” will be played.

For information, call 260-750-0913.

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