Howey Political Report
Urge Gov. Daniels to stump for government reform PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 14 December 2011 17:34

by Brian Howey
NASHVILLE, Ind. – In 2005, we witnessed the extraordinary powers of a governor willing to use his political capital.
I watched Mitch Daniels hold town halls in places like Shelbyville, Noblesville and Greenfield, selling a food and beverage tax increase in the suburbs to build an NFL stadium in downtown Indianapolis. Some thought he was crazy, but he succeeded in seven of the eight doughnut counties. This February, the Super Bowl will take place in Lucas Oil Stadium.
We are now in the twilight of the Daniels’ era. He has one last legislative session. My fears are that the emerging battle over Right to Work legislation will suck the oxygen away from just about every other issue. Recall this past session House Democrats walked out for five weeks over the issue and have vowed to do whatever it takes to fight the “tyranny of the majority.”
With Daniels, in conversations I’ve had with him dating back to 2002, one of his great promises has consistently been his intention to move Indiana’s 19th Century government structures into the 21st.
I believed he might follow in the footsteps of Gov. Thomas R. Marshall and Gov. Paul McNutt in reforming Indiana’s outdated government. Gov. Bob Orr (who late in life repeatedly encouraged me to pursue the reform issues) and Gov. Joe Kernan made glancing attempts or participated in studies on the subject. But it was Gov. Daniels who appointed Kernan and Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard to pursue modernization, just as every business has.
What became known as the Kernan-Shepard Commission came up with 27 recommendations. A handful of them (no more than two 911 call centers per county, eliminating all but 12 of the 1,008 township assessors) have passed into law and in the case of assessors, were approved overwhelmingly by voters.
Some of the recommendations, such as eliminating an elected county sheriff in favor of an appointed police chief, would never receive the popular support of the people and, subsequently, legislators.
When the topic came up before an Indiana Chamber of Commerce legislative preview session on Nov. 21, both Republican and Democratic legislative leaders indicated the most likely reforms to come up this session appear to be bills on anti-nepotism and conflict of interest (cops and firefighters serving on councils that set their own salaries). But a number of other issues have fallen by the wayside. They include establishing a single county executive to replace the three county commissioners; the transfer of county auditor, treasurer, recorder, assessor, surveyor and coroner to a county executive; the creation of a countywide body to oversee public safety; the establishment of countywide libraries; and eliminating townships.
In my review of township government, the impediment to total elimination there is that many stakeholders have little faith that the inefficiently structured counties can effectively handle township duties.
Without a governor – in this case one of the most politically popular ones in modern times – actively using his bully pulpit to create an environment for the reforms, they have little chance of passage.
I’m here to remind him that for the past decade, he has not only been an advocate of bringing Indiana government out of the 19th Century, he has done more to push it and he has articulated the logic for these changes in several State of the State addresses. He moved the portrait of Gov. Marshall over the conference table in his Statehouse office, something I took as a subtle reminder that perhaps a century after Marshall tried to move Indiana government into the 20th Century, Daniels might do it in the 21st.
Gov. Daniels was able to forge the property tax caps that are now crimping local governments and school districts. His hope was that the caps would prompt a wave of consolidations. And there have been some successes in places like Zionsville, a town that merged with two adjoining townships. Indianapolis Fire Department has merged with a handful of townships. Howard County is preparing to consolidate its 11 townships to five (one for each school corporation). This prompts the question: Why are taxpayers footing the bill for five superintendents and transportation directors in geographically small Howard County? Brownsburg is pondering consolidation with townships. Evansville and Vanderburgh County are ponderously preparing a merger referendum with passage very much in doubt. North Posey and New Harmony Schools are discussing a merger.
But what we’re seeing in the wake of the tax caps is turf and fiefdom defense. Dozens of library branches are closing as opposed to a countywide system. Franklin Township Schools have cut bus service. Brown County has been embroiled in a fire district dispute. Greenwood’s attempt at consolidating with White River Township helped end the career of Mayor Charlie Henderson.
There are signs of growing support. A majority of the Fort Wayne Council supports a single county executive. Allen County Recorder John McGauley - running for commissioner - is making that one of his top issues.
The scattered consolidation discussions hardly represent a groundswell of cap-induced reforms. The governor likes to talk about reforms emanating from the ground up. It’s not happening.
Write him, call him and tell him to rev up RV1 for a final tour to advocate modern Indiana government.
(The columnist publishes at www.howeypolitics.com. Contact him at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .)

by Brian Howey

NASHVILLE, Ind. – In 2005, we witnessed the extraordinary powers of a governor willing to use his political capital.

I watched Mitch Daniels hold town halls in places like Shelbyville, Noblesville and Greenfield, selling a food and beverage tax increase in the suburbs to build an NFL stadium in downtown Indianapolis. Some thought he was crazy, but he succeeded in seven of the eight doughnut counties. This February, the Super Bowl will take place in Lucas Oil Stadium.

We are now in the twilight of the Daniels’ era. He has one last legislative session. My fears are that the emerging battle over Right to Work legislation will suck the oxygen away from just about every other issue. Recall this past session House Democrats walked out for five weeks over the issue and have vowed to do whatever it takes to fight the “tyranny of the majority.”

 
As Cain implodes, she turned me into a Newt! PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 06 December 2011 22:06

As Cain implodes, she turned the GOP into a Newt
by Brian Howey
INDIANAPOLIS - She turned me into a Newt!
That’s a slightly altered Monty Python's Flying Circus quote, but it might as well be the state of American Republicans as they grapple with who will come forth to challenge the low-flying President Obama.
As the Herman Cain campaign – some believe it’s actually been Joaquin Phoenix-style performance art in disguise – continues to blow smoke and implode, it appears that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is poised to not only become the new anti-Mitt Romney candidate (and that’s a dangerous place to be), but he could be riding a new polling surge in Iowa and South Carolina. Mitt Romney still leads in New Hampshire with a Real Clear Politics composite average of 16.6 percent margin, but the Union-Leader endorsement of Gingrich has yet to register in the polls.
At this writing, and after a new “bimbo” eruption from an Atlanta woman named Ginger White who claims to have had a 13-year affair with Cain, it isn’t clear if the pizza man will survive. Cain said in New Hampshire Wednesday that he has yet to sit down with his wife Gloria to “walk through this” since the latest allegations surfaced. “I will do that when I get back home on Friday,” Cain said. Good luck with that.
Cain had been leading in polls earlier this fall, but support in places like Iowa appears to be faltering. And that could be Romney’s nightmare if Gingrich can coalesce the Tea Party wing and build momentum. GOP pollster Ed Goeas, in a battleground poll three weeks ago, asked Cain supporters for their second choice: seven percent said Romney, seven percent said Gingrich, five percent said Ron Paul and three percent went for Texas Gov. Rick Perry. And this is a race where Mitch Daniels or Mike Pence could be leading if they had entered.
The riveting question for Hoosier Republicans, many of whom have not taken sides in the race, is whether the new party primary rules and a roiled field will extend the primary season to the May 8 Indiana primary, giving the Grand Old Party a bookend to the historic 2008 Hillary Clinton/Obama showdown. Thus far only U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita has endorsed a presidential candidate (Romney) and Gov. Daniels is staying neutral.
Appearing on NBC’s Meet the Press earlier this month, former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie said: “This process is different for Republicans this time. We’re going to have proportion delegate allocation throughout a lot of our process, which we haven’t had. There’s not going to be much incentive to Michele Bachmann or Rick Santorum or Rick Perry or Ron Paul to drop because they’ll likely be accruing delegates along the way.”
The Indiana Republican Party observed that RNC rules call for subsequent primary and caucus states after the first wave of states to divide their delegates among the candidates instead of adopting the winner-take-all format that Republicans historically have favored. As a result, it is mathematically impossible for any candidate to accumulate the requisite 1,142 delegates for nomination before March 24, even if that candidate won every vote in every contest from Iowa moving forward. Unless one candidate emerges to score an early knockout, the earliest practical date anyone can reach the magic number is well into April and possibly later. By the time Indiana’s chance arrives, 1,587 delegates would be out, or 70 percent of the total.
As Cain fades and conservatives continue to question Romney’s core beliefs, the party’s turn to Gingrich is fascinating. He may be the GOP’s best ideas man. But his personal record is filled with potholes and pitfalls. He’s on his third marriage – divorcing his first wife while she was in cancer treatment – and had an affair with his current wife during the impeachment of President Clinton.
Curt Smith of the Indiana Family Institute observed, “Newt is brilliant, but he is a tough candidate for evangelicals to get behind. He’s probably the most pragmatic of the candidates, but they look for principled leaders. Newt’s world view is what works as opposed to what’s right and they aren’t always the same.”
Gingrich rose to power in Congress by taking out Speaker Jim Wright over a book deal, only to have his own book deal challenged several years later. Smith served as U.S. Rep. John Hostettler’s chief of staff when the congressman voted “present” in the 1997 vote for Speaker.
As to where Hoosier evangelicals will end up in the presidential race, Smith said, “There really isn’t someone in the race” for them to support. “They’ll get behind the eventual Republican nominee. I think you can stick a fork in Cain. It’s been a very odd race. It’s moving fast. I’m amazed how fast the information gets absorbed.”
Smith said he believes the presidential race will probably be resolved on Jan. 31 with the Florida primary, with Romney “slogging through.”  Chris Chocola of the Club for Growth also expects Romney to be nominated.
But Howard County Republican Chairman Craig Dunn said he believes there’s a good chance the GOP won’t have a nominee by the May 8 primary. “We will be running our Lincoln/Reagan Day late in April just to take advantage of a possible appearance by a presidential contender,” Dunn said.
By then, the GOP may have turned away from Newt, or as The Pythons would say, “I got better.”
(The columnist publishes at www.howeypolitics.com. Contact him at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .)

by Brian Howey

INDIANAPOLIS - She turned me into a Newt!

That’s a slightly altered Monty Python's Flying Circus quote, but it might as well be the state of American Republicans as they grapple with who will come forth to challenge the low-flying President Obama.

As the Herman Cain campaign – some believe it’s actually been Joaquin Phoenix-style performance art in disguise – continues to blow smoke and implode, it appears that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is poised to not only become the new anti-Mitt Romney candidate (and that’s a dangerous place to be), but he could be riding a new polling surge in Iowa and South Carolina. Mitt Romney still leads in New Hampshire with a Real Clear Politics composite average of 16.6 percent margin, but the Union-Leader endorsement of Gingrich has yet to register in the polls.

 
What does it mean to be a 'statesman'? PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 29 November 2011 15:48

by Brian Howey
BLOOMINGTON - A letter in the mail. A sugar packet. A briefcase. A subway. A salad bar.
Those who grew up during the Cold War were used to weapons of mass destruction as tips of intercontinental ballistic warheads, on Blackjack bombers or Typhoon submarines from rival superpowers. Today the tools for a terrorist assault could come in the aforementioned innocuous forms.
On the 20th anniversary of the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program that was born out of the collapse of the Soviet Union and victory in the Cold War, U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar and Kenneth Myers, director of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) came to Indiana University to relate not only the unprecedented successes of the program, but the disturbing threats that remain.
Nunn-Lugar has deactivated 7,601 strategic nuclear warheads in the former Soviet Union – more than the arsenals of France, Britain and China - destroyed 820,000 rounds and 2,247 metric tons of chemical munitions. In the history of nations, it is unprecedented that a rival assist in disarming a bitter foe in peaceful conditions, yet that has occurred among the United States, Russia and other spun off Soviet states.
But it is the WMD, including biological weapons, in the possession of terror groups that former Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates acknowledged on CBS’s 60 Minutes that “Keep me up at night.”
Myers not only has worked to implement Nunn-Lugar around the world, he is also a victim. In October 2001, Myers was in the Hart Senate Office Building when letters containing weaponized anthrax were mailed to U.S. Sens. Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy.
“I was in the building that day,” Myers told IU students at the School for Public and Environmental Affairs. “I was removed by a gentleman in bio-level safety gear, fully masked, pure oxygen. I was taken over, cotton swabbed. I was put on Cipro for five to seven days. I think we’re better prepared today than we were. But let us not forget we’ve already had a WMD attack in this country.”
The 1984 Rajneesh bioterror attack was the food poisoning of more than 750 individuals in The Dalles, Oregon, through the deliberate contamination with salmonella of salad bars at ten local restaurants. They had hoped to incapacitate the voting population of the city so that their own candidates would win the Wasco County elections.
And there are those who want history to repeat. “I don’t know how many of you are familiar with Inspire Magazine,” Myers said. “This is an al-Qaeda magazine to communicate with sympathizers and recruits around the world.” He then quoted the magazine: “For those brothers with degrees in microbiology and chemistry lies the greatest opportunity to build” weapons of mass destruction.
“Of all the WMD threats, perhaps the most underrated is the threat of biological weapons,” Lugar explained. “Deadly viruses exist in nature and are easier to handle than nuclear materials and harder to detect. Deadly agents can be weaponized through such means as an HVAC system or contamination at a salad bar. Self-infected suicidal bioterrorists could carry their deadly cargo anywhere in the world in just days.  Even crude bio-weapons could produce terror and chaos with random outbreaks of deadly diseases.”
Myers sees an evolving or “morphed” threat. As Nunn-Lugar has eliminated nukes in Belarus, Ukraine and Kazakhstan, and tightened security in Russia. “It’s changing because we’ve had success on the nuclear side of the equation. With the development of microbiology and life sciences, it does not take a nation state to develop weapons of mass destruction.”
Myers makes it clear that at this point of Lugar’s career, his ability to open doors around the world is one of the most important missions a member of Congress has. Lugar had many early conversations with Kazakhstan President Nazarbayev. “From that base of cooperation, Kazakhstan emerged as an important player in stopping the spread of weapons of mass destruction,” Lugar said.
Myers explained, “The lines of communications we have established, this really is about personal diplomacy. Every time we’ve called Sen. Lugar to help us, to help us break into a new region, to establish the first step, to establish relations with leaders, he’s always said yes.”
Myers continued. “He did that in Africa. When you are able to walk through a door trailing Sen. Lugar you have an entry that is second to none. Without this kind of leadership, we will not be able to have this kind of luck. I cannot prove a negative to you. I can’t prove to you that without the Nunn-Lugar program, something bad would have happened. But you know what? I’ll tell you one of the reasons this country has not had to deal with a nuclear weapon is because of programs such as this.”
At age 79, is there a successor to Lugar? Myers answered, “That’s a hard question to answer. My first instinct is you simply can’t replace that kind of experience in statesmanship. Quite frankly, I don’t believe there is anyone else who has shown the depth of interest and followed up on it with actions for as long as Sen. Lugar has.”
When faced with a tough problem, “We go to Sen. Lugar because he’s been doing it for a number of years. He has international credibility and is known internationally as a statesman.”
(The columnist publishes at www.howeypolitics.com. Contact him at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )

by Brian Howey

BLOOMINGTON - A letter in the mail. A sugar packet. A briefcase. A subway. A salad bar.

Those who grew up during the Cold War were used to weapons of mass destruction as tips of intercontinental ballistic warheads, on Blackjack bombers or Typhoon submarines from rival superpowers. Today the tools for a terrorist assault could come in the aforementioned innocuous forms.

On the 20th anniversary of the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program that was born out of the collapse of the Soviet Union and victory in the Cold War, U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar and Kenneth Myers, director of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) came to Indiana University to relate not only the unprecedented successes of the program, but the disturbing threats that remain.

 
John Gregg launches from his Sandborn roots PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 22 November 2011 13:56

John Gregg launches from his Sandborn roots
by Brian Howey
SANDBORN, Ind. - To be a governor requires a candidate to reveal his roots.
While recent Hoosier governors have come from the big cities of Indianapolis (Daniels), South Bend (Kernan), Lafayette (Branigin) and Evansville (Orr), there is that Mellencamp charm of coming from a small town – a Bremen (Bowen), a Vincennes (Welsh), a Seymour (Whitcomb), a Shirkieville (Bayh), and, of course, Corydon, where Frank O’Bannon worked a sentimental connection from the first state Capital to the current one.
Back in June, Mike Pence wanted to use the stately Breeding Farm between Edinburgh and Columbus to launch his Republican campaign for governor – where he could literally point to the “amber waves of grain” verse heard by thousands of the dedicated listeners of his radio show. The threat of severe thunderstorms forced the event into a downtown Columbus convention center.
Last Saturday, it was John Gregg’s turn and the Knox County hamlet of Sandborn was his stage. It was a bright, crisp November morning and the wind was picking up off the prairies. With about 200 friends, family and political associates milling around, eating glazed doughnuts and drinking coffee, Gregg finally pulled in about 20 minutes after 9.
Just before he reached the pavilion, the former Democratic House Speaker abruptly came to a halt and turned his back on the smiling throng. “I’ve got to stop ... I’m going to cry,” he admitted, and took about a half minute to regain his composure. Over the course of the next half hour, the tears would return as his sons described growing up in Sandborn. As Gregg stood at the podium, he remembered the old school house which had stood on the site.
John Blackwood and Hunter recalled their championship baseball team that Dad coached, how he ordered them to clean the gutters, cut their cable TV time, and taught them the art of shotguns and tree stands during deer hunting season, which had arrived that very day.
“You wonder if you do this, if anybody’ll show up,” Gregg began. “One of my standard lines is in our family we cry when we get new floor mats or we get the carpets cleaned. You’ll forgive me for that. It’s a day that a year ago I never would have planned on. I really thought I was done with politics and would never have my name on a ballot again. That’s going to be different.”
He paid homage to his hometown. “Sandborn was a wonderful place to grow up. We had grocery stores, we had a dentist, we had a doctor, we had churches, we had young and old and we had everything in between.”
Clearly, Sandborn has seen better days. Its tiny business district, other than a bank, a post office and a few small shops, is mostly dormant. There are jobs in the area, evidenced by the heavy dump truck traffic coming from Duke Energy’s Edwardsport coal gasification plant, tractor trailers bringing in the harvest, and, underfoot, the coal mines for which Gregg once lobbied. Crane Naval Depot and the new I-69 are just to the east.
“It seemed like years ago people always got along and worked together,” Gregg continued. “It wasn’t about who was a Democrat and who was a Republican. It was about the idea. Seems to me back then we used to look to Washington to lead our nation. It’s obvious to me that Washington is broken. I wouldn’t fit in there. I have never been in it for the sake of fighting. Besides, I’ve always been more interested in Washington, Indiana, than Washington, D.C.”
Thus, it becomes clear that Gregg will attempt to define Rep. Pence as a Washington beast, with congressional approval hovering about where the national and Indiana jobless rate, all at nine percent. “All that fussin’ and fightin, all that childish behavior. I wasn’t taught to act that way. We were taught to get along, taught to respect, we were taught to work together.”
Gregg pointed to another potential issue: education. “It was early in life I was taught if you wanted an opportunity, if you wanted to move ahead in life and you wanted to enjoy the American dream, education was key to that,” Gregg said, vowing to support public schools and increase funding.
Gregg talked about his 16-year career in the General Assembly, summing it up by saying, “We didn’t try to solve the problems of the universe. We just tried to get things done. Back then everybody had a seat at the table. It seems like today only a few voices are being heard. It comes from Indianapolis on down, it doesn’t come from the bottom up. That’s not the way things work in government, that’s not how things work in Sandborn, and it’s not how things will work in a Gregg administration.
“It’s jobs at the beginning of the campaign and it’s jobs at the end of the campaign,” he said. “I’m running for governor because of my sons. I’m not running because I need to be governor. I’m running because I want to be governor.”
(Columnist note: Read my analysis of Rep. Pence’s Congressional career and Speaker Gregg’s Indiana General Assembly career at www.howeypolitics.com. Contact Howey at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .)

by Brian Howey

SANDBORN, Ind. - To be a governor requires a candidate to reveal his roots.

While recent Hoosier governors have come from the big cities of Indianapolis (Daniels), South Bend (Kernan), Lafayette (Branigin) and Evansville (Orr), there is that Mellencamp charm of coming from a small town – a Bremen (Bowen), a Vincennes (Welsh), a Seymour (Whitcomb), a Shirkieville (Bayh), and, of course, Corydon, where Frank O’Bannon worked a sentimental connection from the first state Capital to the current one.

 
Pumping out that Hoosier political porn PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 16 November 2011 22:35

by Brian Howey
INDIANAPOLIS - Pssst. Wanna see some political porn? Looky here.
In Mishawaka, the Indiana Democratic Party sent out a mailer on behalf of State Rep. Craig Fry, the Democratic nominee for mayor, accusing Mayor Dave Wood of hiring a child molester. But there was a problem. It wasn't true. The guy had been hired by Wood's predecessor and once charges were filed, the perp was quickly fired.
Mishawaka voters are smart. In what was expected to be a competitive race, Wood defeated Fry 76-24 percent. It was an astonishingly epic rebuke. “A lot of people came to us and said, ‘That’s not right,’” Wood said of the IDP fliers. The Democrats’ 7-2 majority on the city council loosened to 5-4. The South Bend Tribune reported that Fry spoke to Democratic council candidates and said to those who lost, “If I contributed to this, I’ll forever feel bad.”
He did and he is sorry.
Would you like to see more political porn? I've used Merriam-Webster's definition: “The depiction of acts in a sensational manner so as to arouse a quick intense emotional reaction.”
There is Columbus Councilwoman Priscilla Scalf who alleged that Republican Kristen Brown was involved as an Oracle Corp. executive in a suit brought about by the federal government that resulted in a $199.5 million fine. But it wasn't true. The Columbus Republic, in a page one banner headline the Saturday before the election, called the allegation "bogus." It reported: Although … Brown worked as an Oracle executive at two different times in her career, she had no dealings with government contracts during her first stint, and her second job with the company came after the alleged fraud.
Columbus voters are smart. In 2007, Democratic Mayor Fred Armstrong won reelection with 74 percent, but Brown won Tuesday with 67 percent in what was expected to be a competitive race.
In Indianapolis, there was political porn everywhere. It began in August when Democrat mayoral nominee Melina Kennedy began a relentless assault on Mayor Greg Ballard. He was characterized as a crony, soft on crime, a tax and spender, and a bigot. Marion County Democrats sifted out of a debate between Kennedy and Ballard a quote where Ballard talked about unemployment in the African-American community as a "difficult population." Kennedy declined to pressure the party to pull the ad, which ran on radio stations that have a high number of African-American listeners.
It prompted Indianapolis Star columnist Matt Tully, an unabashed Kennedy supporter, to become “disheartened,” writing: "For weeks, she has pummeled incumbent Mayor Greg Ballard, by all accounts a decent and honest man, with phony and unfair attack ads portraying him as everything from a corrupt fat cat politician to a reckless big spender eager to raise taxes. Meanwhile, she has sat back while the nasty and bullying leaders in the Marion County Democratic Party air radio ads on African-American stations suggesting, at the very least, racial insensitivity on Ballard's part, invoking an unwelcome dose of racial politics into the campaign."
Indianapolis voters are smart. While the Democrats claimed control of the City-County Council, Kennedy lost to Ballard 51-47 percent in a city where the baseline suggests should be a Democratic stronghold. A number of African-American pastors came to Ballard's defense. African-American turnout was reported to be 22 percent, well below what Kennedy needed
Now to be fair, the Indiana Republican Party sent out a number of negative mailers saying that Kennedy had lost 15,353 jobs as deputy mayor, supported a 43 percent income tax increase while crime increased by 16 percent. So it's not as if all the angels had fled to the Republican Party.
Contrast ads are fair, as was the case in Evansville where Indiana Democrats ran TV ads saying that as a Vanderburgh County Commissioner, Lloyd Winnecke had joined Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel in secretly ending the county homestead tax credit. Democrat nominee Rick Davis's problem was the Democratic Party was fractured, and City Councilwoman Connie Robinson and Councilman Curt John endorsed the Republican, who won 54-46 percent. Joshua Claybourn told me, “Lloyd obtained 46 percent from the 4th ward, a predominantly black district - a shockingly high number for a Republican.”
Why do campaigns and political parties resort to political porn?
The campaign pros say it works. In Jeffersonville, Democratic Mayor Tom Galligan lost to Clark County Commissioner Mike Moore and he blamed his loss, in part, for refusing to go negative. But Galligan was a three-term mayor and officeholders with that kind of tenure pick up barnacles and enemies. Moore targeted him with supporting a $60 million canal project. Galligan was also hit with "Marshallgate," after campaign consultant Mike Marshall was indicted in Jennings County on vote fraud charges.
There were places where political porn won. Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry did so after a slugfest with Republican Paula Hughes, another purveyor in political porn.
To do so is no longer a slam dunk in Indiana politics. Our most successful politicians - Mitch Daniels, Dick Lugar, Lee Hamilton - never use it.
I like writing about political porn. It's going to be my annual fetish. Candidates of the future, you pump out the porn and I'll write it up!
(The columnist publishes at www.howeypolitics.com. Contact Howey at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .)

by Brian Howey

INDIANAPOLIS - Pssst. Wanna see some political porn? Looky here.

In Mishawaka, the Indiana Democratic Party sent out a mailer on behalf of State Rep. Craig Fry, the Democratic nominee for mayor, accusing Mayor Dave Wood of hiring a child molester. But there was a problem. It wasn't true. The guy had been hired by Wood's predecessor and once charges were filed, the perp was quickly fired.

Mishawaka voters are smart. In what was expected to be a competitive race, Wood defeated Fry 76-24 percent. It was an astonishingly epic rebuke. “A lot of people came to us and said, ‘That’s not right,’” Wood said of the IDP fliers. The Democrats’ 7-2 majority on the city council loosened to 5-4. The South Bend Tribune reported that Fry spoke to Democratic council candidates and said to those who lost, “If I contributed to this, I’ll forever feel bad.”

 
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