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.


About Charlotte A. Weybright

I own a home in the historical West Central Neighborhood of Fort Wayne, Indiana. I have four grown sons and nine grandchildren - four grandsons and five granddaughters. I love to work on my home, and I enjoy crafts of all types. But, most of all, I enjoy being involved in political and community issues.
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  1. there's more... says:

    if you take into account money from previous elections he gave almost $71,000 to Kernan.

  2. spike says:

    I haven’t decided who I’m supporting in the Democratic primary, but I can tell you one thing: you definitely don’t know Joe Kernan if you think that his decision to endorse Schellinger was based on money. The fact is, Jim Schellinger had the money to donate to Joe Kernan, Jill Long Thompson did not. I’d like to think that she would have contributed more to Joe, if she had it then. Joe Kernan is a one-of-a-kind, stand-up guy. The state blew it four years ago, and now we’re paying the price.

  3. As I said, I am somewhat jaded when I see a large contribution to a politician followed by an endorsement – even if the endorsement is later in time.

    No one is saying Governor Kernan is not a “stand-up” guy. He is a good person, and he was a Vietnam War veteran who suffered through being held as a prisoner of war. He was a mayor, and I am sure he was much loved by his constitutents. That doesn’t change the face of politics.

    But he is also a politician who ran for office. He would have needed funding – that is how campaigns run. The fact that he received large sums of money from Schellinger I believe taints the endorsement. Color it however you will – either by protesting too much or trying to deflect the issue.

    The first commenter raises the point that Schellinger gave even more than I had researched and found.

  4. Bob Richardson says:

    Money and politics make strange bedfellows! Shellinger is a CEO of an Indianapolis company. Sound familiar? Don’t get me wrong, I’ll support Shellinger if he wins the primary. But, as a steelworker from northwest Indiana, I’ll am actively helping to get Jill Long-Thompson elected. It just seems to me she is for working people. I mean decent wages, low taxes, affordable healthcare and education are pretty important to hoosiers who get up everyday and put in long hours working hard to raise their families. Just my two cents. Go Jill!!

  5. Bob:

    I, too, will support Schellinger if he wins the primary. I have met him a number of times, and he is a pleasant person. I just don’t think we need another CEO-type in the Governor’s office.

    Jill Long Thompson has a much more expansive background than Schellinger, both in her official public life and her private life. While there will be those who consistently cut her down because of her losses in the House and Senate races, they need to keep in mind that this is a Republican state as far as voting preferences go. It is a wonder we ever get democrats elected.

    And, yes, GO JILL!

  6. Kevin Knuth says:


    I think you are making a bit much out of nothing.

    Schellinger and Kernan are friends. Friends help fund campaigns. It really is that simple.

  7. Kevin:

    Really? So you don’t think that politicians feel beholden to someone who has contributed a great deal of money to a campaign?

    Isn’t that exactly what we are concerned about when candidates get donations from companies and interest groups? Schellinger is a very well off CEO of an architectural firm. He donated a large sum of money to Kernan, and now he has Kernan’s backing.

    I am sure they are friends, so maybe it is a combination of friendship and the knowledge that Schellinger gave money.

    In your eyes and some others’eyes, it may not be linked. I simply found the campaign reports and published information that was public. People can make up their own minds. I doubt whether my opinion will sway anyone anyways.

  8. Kevin Knuth says:


    I think you can find conspiracy wherever you want to.

    Let’s reverse this for a minute- assume that Schellinger gave Tom Henry NOTHING- but Long Thompson gave him $250. If Tom endorsed her- was it for the money?

  9. Kevin:

    Your example is not what happened. If you want to make the example equal then the reversal would require Long Thompson to contribute $5,000 and Schellinger to contribute $250. I imagine if that had been the case, the same questions about connections would have been raised about Henry’s endorsement of Long Thompson.

    You can try to change the scenerio, but that doesn’t change the facts of what happened.

    I am not alleging a conspiracy. I am simply putting information out there that is public information and can be found by any one who wants to go to the campaign finance page.

    Readers can draw their own conclusions. I am getting the sense that suggesting there might be some connection isn’t popular with the Schellinger and Kernan crowd.

    Keep in mind – these are politicans. They make calculated decisions. The idea that they are nice guys so they can’t possibly think along those lines is naive.

  10. Kevin Knuth says:


    I like you. I really do. But I am going to have to take you to task on this one.

    You say you are not alleging a conspiracy, yet you wrote this: “Sure enough, it was there. Schellinger contributed a large sum of money – $37,250 – to the Kernan campaign from July 2004 to September 2004.”

    Sure looks like you are alleging a conspiracy in that statement.

    Following your logic, I will assume that Hillary Clinton gave money to Evan Bayh? Why else would he endorse her?

    Previously you were upset that Tom Henry endorsed Schellinger. I know you, like I, support Hillary. Are you upset that Evan Bayh supported her over Obama?

    The reality is that EVERYONE is free to support whomever they choose-for whatever reasons they choose. Trying to second guess the why’s is, at best, a guessing game.

  11. Kevin:

    Okay – so I am trying to be up to the task.

    It isn’t a conspiracy – it is expediency, and it is politics.

    Hillary wouldn’t have donated to Evan Bayh because he was also running for president. He dropped out in December 2006, so it wouldn’t have made any sense for Hillary to donate to Bayh since she was planning her own announcement in early 2007. Why would you donate to an opponent’s campaign.

    That would be like Hayhurst donating to Boyd’s campaign back in 2006 when they both were contenders.

    But hasn’t part of the speculation been that Bayh was positioning himself for a possible vice-presidential spot with his endorsement? Wouldn’t his endorsement of Hillary put him into the running more so than if he had not endorsed her? Isn’t that something like a “quid pro quo?”

    I realize everyone is free to support whomever he or she wants to support. All I am arguing is that sometimes there are connections that make it more likely than not why one person is supporting another.

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