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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, September 10, 2017 1:00 am

County GOP snags House leader

BRIAN FRANCISCO and NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

U.S. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy will be keynote speaker at the Allen County Republican Party's yearly Reagan Bean Dinner on Oct. 16.

Allen County GOP Chairman Steve Shine said in a news release the upcoming appearance by McCarthy, R-Calif., and a May 5 visit to Fort Wayne by House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., are signs of House Republican leaders' respect for and confidence in freshman Rep. Jim Banks, R-3rd.

McCarthy, a former California state legislator from Bakersfield, was first elected to the House in 2006. The GOP caucus elected him majority whip in 2011 and majority leader in 2014.

Dinner will be 6:30 p.m. at Ramada Plaza Hotel and Conference Center, 303 E. Washington Center Road, Fort Wayne. A VIP reception will be from 5:30 to 6:30.

Admission is $65 a person for dinner and $150 a person for dinner and reception. Reservations are due Oct. 9.

Marsha Coats quits RNC

Marsha Coats is resigning as Indiana's female member of the Republican National Committee.

The Indiana Republican Party announced Wednesday that Coats, wife of National Intelligence Director Dan Coats, a former U.S. senator from Indiana, informed party Chairman Kyle Hupfer and Gov. Eric Holcomb of her decision by letter.

She gave no reason for leaving the RNC nor a date that her resignation is effective. The Indiana GOP said her replacement will be nominated and selected “in the coming months.”

Coats, a former resident of Fort Wayne, said in her resignation letter, “I tried to represent the views of most Hoosier conservatives, and it made me happy and proud to do so.”

Hupfer said in a statement that her “insight, candor and always positive demeanor have made her extremely well respected here at home in Indiana and across the nation.” Hupfer thanked Coats “for her decades of dedication to our candidates and our cause.”

After Donald Trump won the Indiana Republican primary election in May 2016, virtually securing the party's presidential nomination, Coats called for the GOP to unite around the unconventional candidate.

She said in a statement at the time that Trump “is not a humble man” and had not been among her top two choices for the nomination. But she also said: “I truly believe the office will change Donald Trump. I believe it will humble him.” Nearly eight months into Trump's presidency, “humble” has not been a word his critics or supporters have used to describe him except when aide Kellyanne Conway said recently that his standout characteristic was “humility.”

A former school teacher and family counselor, Coats was nominated to the RNC by then-Gov. Mike Pence in 2013 and confirmed by the Indiana GOP's state committee.

Women interested in being considered to fill Coats' vacant term on the NRC should email Hupfer at Each state is represented on the RNC by its state chairman, a committeeman and a committeewoman. John Hammond III of Indianapolis is Indiana's committeeman.

Repeating himself

U.S. Rep. Luke Messer, who seeks the Republican nomination for a U.S. Senate seat representing Indiana, is trying to get more mileage out of old endorsements.

Messer, R-6th, announced Thursday that he has been endorsed by six former chairmen of the Indiana Republican Party. But three of them had been announced as members of Messer's campaign finance committee in April, more than three months before Messer declared his candidacy. And one of those was announced as a co-chairman of Messer's campaign in August.

Agreeing to lend one's name, time and energy to a candidate's campaign amounts to an endorsement, so last week's announcement seems like overkill. So we will name only Messer's new endorsers: former state GOP chairmen Gordon Durnil, Bruce Melchert and Tim Berry, a former Fort Wayne resident who has been state treasurer and state auditor.

Messer, R-6th, is among six announced GOP candidates for the seat held by Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly. The others are Rep. Todd Rokita, R-4th; state Rep. Mike Braun of Jasper; Hamilton County businessman Terry Henderson; Kokomo attorney Mark Hurt; and Jeffersonville college administrator Andrew Takami.

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