Call me jaded about political endorsements, but I usually look for a reason behind all the hype and platitudes that go with the standard endorsement. So when Governor Kernan threw his support to Jim Schellinger I started thinking beyond the fuzzy-wuzzy statements that go with endorsements. I like Kernan and I like Schellinger, but I don’t think we need another CEO in the governor’s office.
At first I thought the endorsement might be because they were both from South Bend – ties to a common city can be pretty strong no matter how far in the past they might be. I thought about that for awhile, but that just didn’t seem to add up. Schellinger had moved from South Bend when he was in his mid-20s taking a job in Indianapolis where he has continued to live.
Then it dawned on me that maybe somehow money was involved. After all, money does seem to be a major factor in all campaigns. And the more donated, the more beholden the candidate is to the contributor. So I visited the Indiana campaign finance website and started looking for that green connection. Sure enough, it was there. Schellinger contributed a large sum of money – $37,250 – to the Kernan campaign from July 2004 to September 2004.
Here are the individual contributions to the tune of $37,250.00:
July 12, 2004 report – $12,000.00 (cumulative)
August 13, 2004 report – $5,000.00 ($17,000.00 cumulative)
August 31, 2004 report – $20,000.00 ($37,000.00 cumulative)
September 16, 2004 report – $250.00 ($37,250.00)
Now, there could have been more, but frankly I think $37,250.00 is an awful lot of money. Makes it pretty hard not to endorse the person who gave you that money.
And just to be fair, I checked to see how much Jill Long Thompson donated. She donated a mere $1,000.00 – at least that is the only figure I could find in 2004.
I am sure the Schellinger people are lauding Kernan’s endorsement as a wonderful testimony to Schellinger’s attributes as a candidate and potential governor. But when an endorsement is preceded by contributions to campaigns, voters have every right to question why that endorsement was made.
Think what you want, but this happened earlier with Mayor Henry’s endorsement. Schellinger donated $5,000 to the Henry campaign and, surprise, surprise, Schellinger ended up with Henry’s endorsement. Jill Long Thompson again failed to match the larger amount and donated only $250.00 to Tom Henry’s campaign. Call it what you will – ignore the connection.
I am sure my assumptions will draw fire from those who believe that money and endorsements do not go hand and hand, but it looks to me like Jill Long Thompson is still one of us. And that is who we need in the governor’s office – someone who isn’t part of the good ‘ole boy network trading endorsements for donations.