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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, September 16, 2018 1:00 am

City native next NH governor?

NIKI KELLY and BRIAN FRANCISCO | The Journal Gazette

Did you know a Fort Wayne native might be the next governor? Of New Hampshire, that is.

Molly Kelly won the Democratic primary last week and now faces Republican incumbent Gov. Chris Sununu.

Kelly was born and grew up in Fort Wayne before moving to the East Coast. She still has a network of aunts, uncles and cousins in Fort Wayne, including state Rep. Phil GiaQuinta, D-Fort Wayne.

GiaQuinta called to congratulate his cousin after her big win.

“I think it's great. The fact that she stepped up to run and put herself out there is fantastic,” he said. “I'm very proud of the race she has run so far and it's very exciting to see what happens next.”

Kelly was elected to the state Senate in New Hampshire the same year GiaQuinta joined the Indiana House.

She is the second oldest of 11 siblings. Former Fort Wayne Fire Chief Pete Kelly is one of her brothers, GiaQuinta said.

McCormick gives praise to Donnelly, no endorsement

Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick, a Republican, effusively praised U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly, a Democrat, on Monday at a school safety event.

But that doesn't mean she is endorsing him in his re-election bid this fall.

“I'm not endorsing anyone today,” she said. “What I will say is I have been Ellis Island from the beginning – come one, come all. If you're a Democrat, Republican, independent, it really doesn't matter to me as long as you are willing to help kids.”

McCormick called Donnelly a constant partner for the Indiana Department of Education, with prompt responses. And she said his presence at the safety academy means a lot to teachers and administrators in the field.

She also noted others at the congressional level have been helpful, including Rep. Jim Banks, who visited the event Monday morning.

Donnelly made clear he hasn't asked for an endorsement.

“We have a great working relationship because the idea is, 'How do we help our kids?' That's as political as this gets,” he said.

Tritch plans education panel on Thursday

Congressional candidate Courtney Tritch is having a town hall meeting Thursday to discuss education in northeast Indiana. The public event will be from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the Wayne High School auditorium.

Tritch will moderate a panel discussion involving Meg Bloom of Northeast Indiana Friends of Public Education, Chris Cathcart of Ivy Tech Community College, Shannon Gage of Early Childhood Alliance, Fort Wayne Community Schools board member Jordan Lebamoff, parent Deb Norman and Janet Thomas of Smith-Green Community Schools.

Tritch is the Democratic candidate in northeast Indiana's 3rd Congressional District. She is challenging Republican Rep. Jim Banks in the Nov. 6 general election.

FOP backs Donnelly

U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly's campaign announced Monday that he has been endorsed by the Indiana Fraternal Order of Police.

According to the Democratic senator's campaign, state FOP President Bill Owensby said the organization's executive committee unanimously agreed to the endorsement. The FOP has 14,000 members.

Donnelly is being challenged in the Nov. 6 general election by Republican Mike Braun and Libertarian Lucy Brenton.

Donnelly's campaign said he worked with the Indiana FOP on the Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act, which was signed into law this year by President Donald Trump. The legislation, introduced by Donnelly, Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., and Reps. Susan Brooks, R-5th, and Van Demings, D-Fla., provides federal funding and other support for law enforcement agencies to provide mental health services for their personnel.

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