RAINING ON SHINE’S PARADE

Last week had to be a little traumatic for poor Steve Shine and the Republicans.  After all, he and his buddies felt so threatened by our Democratic convention that they sprang for $10,000 worth of air time to try to remind someone – not sure who – how awful the years of Democratic leadership had been.

The weak effort was cobbled together from news paper headlines, a few head shots, and funeral music.  Of course, we had a good laugh at the hypocrisy of the entire situation – especially since the FSSA is still riddled with issues, Charlie White was convicted and removed from office, the Duke Energy scandal popped up, the Republicans “lost” a half billion dollars which had apparently decided to take a hiatus into cyberspace, and the Republicans couldn’t even figure out how to “figure out” what the counties had coming back to them.

But, the commercial wasn’t the only form of sour grapes spit out by the Republicans.  A truck with a large sign paraded through the streets to remind everyone that this was “Republican Country.”   The really sad thing is that Shine and his followers are so shallow that they just had to figure out some way to demonize this convention.  Never mind that this convention was extremely good for Fort Wayne and brought in around $500,000 to our economy and led to greater exposure of northeastern Indiana, which often gets left sitting on the sidelines.  Democrat,  Republican, or independent, this is our City.  Our visitors were very impressed with all the attractions and the amenities we have.

I suspect some of the sour grapes and childish activity was triggered by the impotency of Steve Shine and the Republicans to accomplish what was a major feat – bringing a state party convention to Fort Wayne for the first time in its history.  After all, does anyone remember when the Republican convention was here.  Anyone??

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PRE-PRIMARY ENDORSEMENTS POSE PROBLEMS

Primary elections are one means by which a political party nominates candidates for the next general election. They are common in the United States, where their origins are traced to the progressive movement with its emphasis on ridding the political process of corruption.  Party primaries may have only one candidate per party, or a number of candidates may enter the fray, setting up a contested primary election, which, in turn, may raise the issue of maintaining party neutrality.  That neutrality can be breached when a party moves to make a pre-primary endorsement.

Pre-primary endorsements can be one of two types: an endorsement of a candidate by an individual or an endorsement of a candidate by a political party.  When we throw out the phrase “all politics is local”, nowhere is that more true than in the area of candidate endorsements by a political party before a primary.  The closer the race and the candidates are to the locality in which the election has a direct impact, the more volatile an endorsement can be.

All political endorsements come with baggage, but none more so than a pre-primary endorsement at the local level. We generally expect pre-primary endorsements at the national level – witness those lining up behind their respective candidates in the Republican primary – and even at the state level, although that can have its perils as well.  But taking a pre-primary position at the local level where candidates are personally known can divide party members, trigger issues of favoritism, and lead to a bad taste about politics, in general.

If a primary has more than one contender, then an endorsement is not wise.  While the selected candidate may disagree with that position,  those on the outside – not endorsed – will feel shut out and disenchanted with the political process.  A pre-primary endorsement sets the stage for a division in the party – perhaps not as  to whom should be selected but as to the very core of the party’s philosophy of fairness and inclusiveness.

Since I am a Democrat and darned proud of it, I will state I am speaking about my party.  We have several contested races, and, it may be that discussions arise as to the feasibility of an endorsement in one or more races.

I am a firm believer in the democratic process and consider myself a Jeffersonian Democrat although President Jefferson and I do part ways on a few points in our philosophical bents.  I favor the open and fair process of a primary with no interference by political parties – especially mine.  While individual members may contribute in any manner of ways to a candidate, I feel a party endorsement places the weight of the party behind a selected candidate and detracts from our overall democratic philosophy.

In addition, an endorsement relegates those not endorsed into a position of weakness, making their ability to attract donors and attention more difficult.  Feelings of exclusion may be felt, and, overall a disenchantment with the party and the political process itself.  I have always seen the Democrat party as inclusive, and, in the pre-primary endorsement process that inclusiveness is unceremoniously dispatched.

Our party approach to the primary should reflect our dedication to the principles of the Democrat party by trusting the Democrat voters to select a candidate; that can be done by avoiding a pre-primary endorsement.

 

BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK – BUT THERE’S GOT TO BE A MORNING AFTER

Need I say anything about yesterday’s election results?  Probably not, but I will anyways!  The morning after elections is always full of disappointments for the losing party and candidates, but it is also a time to regroup and understand that there is hope.  So here is my assessment – purely personal of course – on the Indiana races:

Senate – Sheriff Ellsworth vs. Carpetbagger Coats:

Coats was hand-picked to drop back into Indiana after Evan Bayh decided to self-limit his senate terms.  Coats and his wife were all set to retire in North Carolina – review the clip where he stated “if you don’t tell the good people of Indiana” referring to his plans to get out of Dodge permanently (although he hadn’t lived in Indiana for over a decade) and make his retirement home in North Carolina.  He even noted how excited he was at the prospect of registering and voting in North Carolina.

Of course, the issue of residency reared its ugly head, so he followed what is becoming an all-too-common path to running for office – he rented a space in the appropriate jurisdiction –  in this case, Indiana – to establish residency.  I would imagine it is a studio or something not too expensive since he likely will not be here much, if at all.

Odds are Coats has not sold his home in North Carolina – heck – I would bet the farm he hasn’t sold his home.  He will be an absentee Indiana senator, commuting to North Carolina during his term where his real home is located.  Any bets on how often he will actually step foot back in Indiana – the state he abandoned years ago?

This race is one of the most puzzling, but it shows that Hoosier values is an empty phrase to all those who voted for Coats.  I mean how is it he runs on Hoosier values when he hasn’t been a Hoosier for 12 years?  Shouldn’t he have been espousing North Carolinian values or lobbyist values or Washington, D.C. values?  Any values but Hoosier values.

At any rate, look for Coats, now 67, to run one term and then get back to his original retirement plans away from the “good people of Indiana”, which makes it almost certain he won’t spend much time in Indiana during his senate term.  Why would he?  He will mosey back to North Carolina, live in his $2 million dollar home, more than likely return to lobbying, and never give the “good people of Indiana” a second thought.

Both parties have probably already started thinking ahead to 2016.

House of Representatives – Hayhurst vs. Stutzman:

No surprise that this is the most disappointing of the races for me.  After beginning on Tom’s campaign in September 2009, the loss is extremely discouraging.  I watched Dr. Hayhurst traverse this district, walking door-to-door, speaking at events, participating in parades, and running a heart-felt campaign to be this district’s representative in Congress.  Hayhurst did not jump from one race to another – he focused on the congressional seat for Indiana’s Third District and would have made a great representative for the Third District.

Stutzman was selected in June, did very little campaigning, and probably looked at the race as an “entitlement” and pretty much a given.

I have to wonder whether Stutzman’s desire for the congressional representative’s seat was sincere or simply opportunistic. Since the age of 26, Stutzman has run for or held one office after another:  Indiana House of Representatives, Indiana Senate,  U.S. Senate, and now U.S. House of Representatives.  One gets the sense that “any old office will do.”

All the while, Stutzman continues to allege he is a “fourth-generation” farmer – but  more likely he is  a “FINO” – a “farmer in name only.”  I mean, how do you run for four offices in eight years, participate in legislative sessions, and farm full-time? And, now as a full-time legislator, how will he keep claiming he is a farmer?

Anyone who has been involved in farming knows that you don’t climb down off a combine for a photo shoot,  go back to campaigning, and then call yourself a full-time farmer.  Farming is hard work and requires long hours – even with the advent of technology those agricultural products don’t magically appear on your table or the store shelves.

My guess for Stutzman’s future?  He will attempt to stay in the House of Representatives until the opportunity for the 2016 senate race raises its head.  He will then switch gears again and go for the open senate seat which I predict Coats will vacate to return to North Carolina.  Opportunism at its height!

Local Races:

Morris vs. Wyss

What a disappointment – citizens complain and complain about career politicians yet continue to send the same politicians back year after year in a self-fulfilling cycle.  While Wyss may be a likable guy – he is a career politician with 25 years under his belt. Maybe the voters see part-time politicians differently than full-time politicians.  I have to wonder if all those voters who whine about career politicians have taken a look in the mirror and understand they are the very reason these politicians have careers in politics.

In the Indiana Senate race for District 15, the voters had an opportunity to send new blood to the state senate.  Jack Morris was well-informed on the issues confronting our state while Wyss tends to author or sponsor laws that are pretty much negligible and may be difficult to enforce.  Many of his efforts have been referred to as “nanny-state” legislation.

On the bright side, this race did force Wyss to campaign and remind voters who he was and what he looked like – something he hasn’t had to do much of with little competition in the past.

Ross vs. Dodge

This one was a real shocker – Codie was an excellent candidate following the path of Ed Roush’s campaign style and was well-informed on issues, especially those involving education.  As a previous teacher, his background would have been valuable in the area of education and its trials and tribulations.  With Daniels now poised to privatize our public schools, we need representatives who understand just what is at stake in this arena.

Dodge was also forced to campaign to keep his seat.  A small business owner who is now retired, Dodge has had very little impact in the Indiana House and prefers to maintain a low profile.

Indiana General Assembly:

Daniels’ Dangerous Tri-Fecta:

With the Indiana House of Representatives a 58 to 42 majority for Republicans, Daniels will now have the trifecta of power.  Republicans have whined about Obama’s trifecta for the past two years, so now let’s see if they acknowledge the danger in the trifecta they now will possess.  Bet you won’t hear a peep out of them.

With Daniels’ Republican minions now in control of both House and Senate, you can kiss goodbye any hope for Indiana’s environment, education, and social services.  With Daniels now in charge of two kowtowing legislative bodies, his privatization plans – even though terribly flawed in some cases – will kick into high gear.  Remember Daniels’ earlier reactions when he didn’t get his way on what he wanted;  he sometimes acted like a spoiled child and often was not involved in the legislative process.

In the area of environment, he has already diminished IDEM’s enforcement powers to the point of extinction along with attempting to do away with environmental regulations that protect our Hoosier air, waters, and lands.  Daniels sees Indiana as one big factory farming lot and will continue his efforts to increase the number of Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) regardless  of the detrimental impact on air, soil, and water.  But that is of no import to the pro-big business minded Daniels.

Daniels contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to candidates through his “Aiming Higher” PAC, so look for a number of representatives to be in Daniels’ pockets when it comes to key votes. Look for a new and energized Daniels to steamroller through his destructive privatization plans for our state during his remaining two years.

Sarah Palin may have considered herself a lame-duck in her first term, but you can bet Daniels will go with the label “game-duck” as in ” I am game to destroy Indiana’s environment, education, and social programs.”

Redistricting:

The issue of partisan redistricting now leaps to the front and center.  The redistricting will occur in 2011 based on the 2010 census.  Todd Rokita, the soon-to-be ex-Secretary of State, has put forth a plan called “Rethinking Redistricting” under the guise of helping us poor, uniformed Hoosiers better understand the redistricting process.

I understand it quite well, thank you – redistricting is political – always has been and always will be.  The party in power in the Indiana House of Representatives attempts to draw and re-draw lines to better enhance its chances of retaining control of the federal congressional legislature.

If the Republicans decide they would rather oust Joe Donnelly in the 2nd congressional district and not worry about keeping Marlin Stutzman in the 3rd congressional district, then a map will be designed to shift either all or part of the red county of Kosciusko into the 2nd district thus creating  a larger Republican voter base.

Since Donnelly barely hung on in this race, a shift could cause major problems for his re-election in 2012.  But what may be bad for Donnelly could be good for Third District Democrats.  Removing Kosciusko County means that the Third District will need to pull in voters – most likely from the south in what is now Pence’s 6th district – as it was in the days of the old 4th district, which was somewhat more Democrat-friendly than the current 3rd district.

Indiana State Elected Officials:

Secretary of State:  Vop Osili vs. Charlie “I don’t know where I live or vote” White

Who’d have thunk Hoosier Republicans would vote in a guy who is under investigation for voter fraud, and who, if convicted, probably will be removed from office?  Obviously, either Republicans have again abandoned those “Hoosier” values which so often drip from their lips, or they just don’t get it.

Sure, he is innocent until proven guilty, but he has already acknowledged his “error” by resigning from the Fishers’ town council he represented.  He was involved in drawing the council’s boundary lines, so his “oops, I didn’t know” act has little credibility.  His resignation is one of those “I got caught” moments requiring action.

Vop was a great candidate.  I got to know him back in the late winter when I asked him to speak at our Third District Breakfast Club.  A graduate of Carnegie-Mellon and Columbia University, he is a small business owner.  He is thoughtful, well-informed, articulate, and energetic.  My prediction?  Watch for Vop to continue to be a rising star in the Indiana Democratic Party, and, perhaps at the national level.

Treasurer:

Pete Buttigieg vs. Richard “I like wasting taxpayer money” Mourdock

Another rising star in our party, Pete Buttigieg, is the son of educators and grew up in South Bend.  He was valedictorian of his high school class and went on to earn a degree from Harvard before studying economics at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar.

Before leaving his job to campaign full-time, Pete’s career as a businessman took him across the country and around the world. Providing analysis and insight to key decision-makers, he has worked in a variety of areas including economic development, retail strategy, energy and logistics.

Sam Locke vs. Tim “I like campaigning on the taxpayer’s dime” Berry

Sam was born and raised in Connersville, Indiana, and graduated from Connersville Senior High School.  He went on to attend Indiana University – Bloomington on a ROTC scholarship and graduated with a BS in Secondary Education and BA in Political Science before being commissioned an officer in the Air Force.   He earned his Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Wyoming while serving in the Air Force at Francis E. Warren Air Force Base.

Sam is another young and rising star in our party.  We are truly fortunate to have had three great candidates for our state offices, and who I hope will continue to grace the Democratic party with their achievements and efforts.

Some Final Thoughts

While yesterday was a tremendous defeat for Democrats here at home and nationally, I have been around long enough to know that this is not the demise of the Democratic party.  This is a cycle in our country’s political process.  We watched the huge democratic victories in 2006 and in 2008, and now the victories – at least some of them – have swung back to the Republican column.

The Republicans will be no more successful at pleasing the American voter than the Democrats.  And, the Tea Partiers will find they are such a small number that they will really have no impact on policies or the direction of our country.  I can’t wait to hear the bellow of Rand Paul in the Senate that “we have come to take back our country” only to realize that his voice is a mere mouse squeak in the scheme of things.

Voters are becoming ever more a crowd that wants something done immediately despite the fact that most issues require time – and sometimes a lot of it.  They refuse to understand that our system was created with a check and balance factor that makes the wheels turn slowly.

Americans have become conditioned to instantaneous gratification – partly as a result of technology and the fast pace of our lifestyles.  When I was offline with no internet for five days this past week, I had to talk myself down from the ledge.  Just kidding, of course.  But think about how we all demand everything immediately.  What is fast today will be slow tomorrow and on and on.

As we ramp up our expectations for speed, speed, and more speed, we are not willing to accept the notion that our Founding Fathers created a political system meant to crawl toward resolution of a myriad of issues – and those issues were not the same increasingly complicated issues we face today.

While yesterday was, indeed, a bad day for Democrats, I think of the song from the Poseidon Adventure “There’s Got to be a Morning After.”  Democrats will reinvigorate themselves as in the past, and the cycle will begin anew. With the outstanding slate of candidates we fielded this election, I have tremendous hope for upcoming elections.

And, indeed, today is that morning after, and I am already looking forward to upcoming campaigns!

 

 

 

 

DOWNS CENTER RELEASES FLAWED POLL

Elections have become a battle of the “polls.”  A recent poll released by the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics would lead a reader to surmise that the election for the Third District Congressional race is all but over with Stutzman leading by a whopping 25%.

However, that supposition would be entirely inaccurate – just as the Downs Center poll is inaccurate.  The following is the methodology that was used:

Statement of Methodology for U.S. House 3rd District of Indiana: SurveyUSA interviewed 565 registered voters from Indiana’s 3rd Congressional District 10/21/10 through 10/25/10, using Registration Based Sample (RBS) from Aristotle in Washington DC. Of the registered voters, 400 were determined by SurveyUSA to have already voted, or to be likely to vote in the 11/02/10 midterm election. Where necessary, responses were weighted according to the voter registration database. In theory, with the stated sample size, one can say with 95% certainty that the results would not vary by more than the stated margin of sampling error, in one direction or the other, had the entire universe of respondents been interviewed with complete accuracy. There are other possible sources of error in all surveys that may be more serious than theoretical calculations of sampling error. These include refusals to be interviewed, question wording and question order, weighting by demographic control data and the manner in which respondents are filtered (such as, determining who is a likely voter). It is difficult to quantify the errors that may result from these factors. Fieldwork for this survey was done by SurveyUSA of Clifton, NJ.

Note the bold and underlined portion of the statement.  In actuality, the responses were incorrectly weighted with Allen County receiving an inaccurate percentage.  The following are the Third District registered voter totals from the Indiana Government website:

Allen  –      230,789
DeKalb  –     28,999
Elkhart –      58,944
Kosciusko – 52, 328
LaGrange –   15,319
Steuben –      23,125
Whitley –      20,518

Total Third District voters –        456,677

I don’t claim to be a statistician; however, if Allen County has over 50% of the Third District voters, then a sampling should include at least 50% from Allen County.  This was not the case with the recent poll.  My understanding it that Elkhart County was attributed a 25% share of the total even though it is just shy of 13% of total Third District voter registration while Allen County’s percentage was nowhere near the actual 50% + of the Third District sample.

This inaccurate percentage could have been the result of looking at the entire county of Elkhart, not just the portion located within the Third District.  The bump to 25% is twice what should have been attributed to Elkhart County and skews the poll results.

In defending its poll, the Downs Center through Andy Downs stated that he believes his data is more accurate because he surveyed those likely to vote, not just those who are registered to vote.  So, just what is the likely voter vs. the registered voter distinction upon which the Downs Center considers its poll to be more accurate?

A registered voter is just that – someone who is registered but may or may not vote.  A registered voter could skip any number of elections and vote sporadically depending on issues or candidates that are important to that voter.  On the other hand, a likely voter is one who has “more than likely” voted in the last two or three elections and may very well continue that trend. A series of questions asked by the polling firm is used to establish whether or not the contacted, registered voter will vote in the current election and what that voter’s preference is at that point in time.

But how large a gap exists between the actual percentages between registered voters and likely voters?  In a recent article, the author noted that from 1950 to 2006 – where relevant Gallup poll data was available for 13 midterm elections – the average gap between the preferences of registered and likely voters was only 5 points. Only once, in 2002, did the gap reach double digits.

The newly released poll by the Hayhurst campaign more accurately reflects the actual differences noted by the author of the above article.   The Hayhurst poll shows a 4% lead by Dr. Hayhurst with a plus or minus deviation which indicates a possible dead heat in the race for the Third District congressional seat.

The Downs poll is flawed for two reasons:  1) the polling data was not accurately distributed within the district; and, 2) the research does not support the proposition that likely voters vs. registered voters provides a more accurate picture of just who will win this election.   If history serves, the difference is a 5-point margin – but that margin in this race leads not to the conclusion that the race is over but that it will be a tight race on election night.

Flawed polls do a great disservice to the voting public.  And, is so often stated, the only poll that matters is the one on election day.

STUTZMAN MAKES HAY WITH SPECIAL INTEREST MONEY

The quarterly candidate financial reports are out, and, according to the FEC reports, Marlin has had no trouble raking in money from PACs and other special interests.  As of September 30, 2010, Stutzman’s fund raising looks like this:

Total Receipts: $354,455
Transfers From Authorized Committees: $0
Individual Contributions: $196,313
Non-Party (e.g. PACs) or Other Committees: $153,142
Contributions from Party Committees $5,000
Candidate Contribution: $0
Candidate Loans: $0
Other Loans: $0
Total Disbursements: $225,347
Transfers to Authorized Committees: $0
Individual Refunds: $650
Non-Party (e.g. PACs) or Other Refunds: $0
Candidate Loan Repayments: $0
Other Loan Repayments: $0
Beginning Cash: $0
Latest Cash On Hand: $129,106
Debts Owed By: $10,101

Stutzman has received almost 45% of his funding from special interest groups – that leaves 55% attributable to individual contributions.

On the other hand, Dr. Hayhurst’s September 30th report reflects that 93% came from individual contributions and only 7% from special interest groups.  Here are his numbers:

Total Receipts: $692,553
Transfers From Authorized Committees: $0
Individual Contributions: $631,004
Non-Party (e.g. PACs) or Other Committees: $48,189
Contributions from Party Committees $5,000
Candidate Contribution: $7,570
Candidate Loans: $0
Other Loans: $0
Total Disbursements: $576,748
Transfers to Authorized Committees: $0
Individual Refunds: $0
Non-Party (e.g. PACs) or Other Refunds: $0
Candidate Loan Repayments: $0
Other Loan Repayments: $0
Beginning Cash: $0
Latest Cash On Hand: $115,804
Debts Owed By: $0

The disparity in accepting special interest money is staggering:  45% for Stutzman – 7% for Hayhurst.

So, as you go to the polls on November 2nd, ask yourself – who do you think is bought and paid for by the special interests?  Someone who receives 7% – or someone who receives a whopping 45% from special interests.  Doesn’t take a math wiz to calculate the numbers.

And, your next observation?  Stutzman is not his own man.  Dr. Hayhurst assured the debate viewers and the public that he is independent – and his special interest contributions back him up.  On November 2nd, you have a choice to send a “bought and paid for” special interest candidate – Marlin Stutzman to Congress .  Or you can vote for  an independent, fair-minded, and dedicated candidate – Dr. Tom Hayhurst.

WHERE IN THE WORLD IS MARLIN (AND HIS MONEY)?

Rumor has it that the powers that be have advised Stutzman to lay low because he has the election “in the bag.”  Maybe that’s why Stutzman makes half-hearted appearances at functions and leaves before they conclude.   Or why he has yet to make his positions public after indicating that things were “coming together.”

Stutzman has made few appearances throughout the district – could it be because the Republican higher-ups have told him to keep his mouth shut lest he put his foot in it?   And where is his money?  Of course, the old standbys are evident – Popp and Freeland.   But little else is showing up as of today’s date.  The filing deadline was September 30th, so maybe we will see some donations somewhere.

His little “please choose me” caucus party at the Tin Caps cost $1944.00, but other than that there has been little action to date on expenditures.   Now, do I believe for one second that his money sources are not there?  Absolutely not.  What is interesting – and I am not an expert at reading these FEC reports – is that Stutzman is still showing as receiving money through his expired Senate campaign committee.

I was under the impression that the Senate primary determined that Mr. Stutzman was no longer in the Senate race since he had been upended by the carpetbagger from North Carolina, Dan Coats.  Yet, a 115-page report was filed on July 15, 2010, under the reference  SOIN00095, which appears to be a Senate designation.

The voters are being deprived of a real house race by Stutzman’s absence.  He mostly appears at functions where he is well insulated by supportive crowds.  He continues to mislead in his responses to legitimate questions – for example, how was he forced to take the farm subsidies when intentional applications must be made to receive them?

Of course, the traditionally red-dominated Third District certainly enables him to assume a “tsk, tsk, I have it made” attitude followed by his decision to conduct his campaign in abstentia.

On the other hand, Dr. Hayhurst has consistently been touring the Third District, answering questions and facing full-on the residents of this district.  Why?  One simple distinction.  Dr. Hayhurst and his wife believe in this district and want the best for its residents.  Stutzman grew up in Michigan, and he lives in Howe with most of his farming operation located in Michigan – not Indiana.

And, as to Stutzman’s  latest endorsement from the NRA?  Apparently, the NRA believes it is more acceptable to pay lip service to the protection of our rights and to sit back and vote for gun rights secured by the Second Amendment rather than actually serve your country and understand what it means to help serve and protect.

Dr. Hayhurst voluntarily served during the Vietnam War era as a Major in the Air Force  – certainly distinguishes him from Stutzman’s non-service even though Stutzman certainly could have chosen to volunteer as Dr. Hayhurst chose to do to protect this country.

So, I guess I will ask again – where is Marlin and his money, and what is he up to?  The  old saying has it that hiding is the coward’s way out.

STUTZMAN SLIP-SLIDES AWAY FROM SNYDER SHOW

Marlin went missing.  He was to appear by phone on the Gary Snyder show but failed to do so.  His appearance was touted on the blogs and on the Gary Snyder show line up; however, Mr. Stutzman simply was no where to be found.  After a few  minutes, the two hosts started chatting about “dead air” space.  And, as time drug on, they began tossing out invitations to various and sundry politicians to call in.  One of those invited to call in was Dr. Tom Hayhurst, the Democratic candidate for the Third District Congressional seat.

Dr. Hayhurst was listening, and opportunity knocked.  He responded to the invite and was provided with about 10 minutes of air time in which to express his opinions and answer questions from the hosts.  I can’t say I am surprised by Stutzman’s failure to appear (of course there could have been an emergency – in which case he would surely have called to explain to Mr. Snyder).  He seems to be in hiding these days and only attending functions where he is certain to receive strong support.

Perhaps he just wasn’t prepared to answer random questions from the listening audience.  Kind of makes you wonder if he is prepared to be our Third District Representative.  On the other hand, Dr. Hayhurst was prepared and stepped up to help the hosts out by chatting with them on a number of issues.

As Stutzman did his disappearing act, Dr. Hayhurst accepted the opportunity to again talk to the constituents of the Third District –  something he has done on a consistent basis throughout his lengthy career as a Third District resident.  And for one overriding reason – he truly cares about this district and what happens to its citizens and residents.

Dr. Hayhurst visiting AWS during its Open House

WHAT A SHOCKER – REPUBLICAN POLLING FIRM FINDS REPUBLICAN AHEAD

A recently released poll by American Republican Viewpoint, a firm that touts itself as a “leading Republican polling firm”, came up with what could be seen as an expected result – Stutzman – gasp, gasp – is ahead in the race for the Third Congressional seat.  For those unfamiliar with the polling firm, here is some background on a few of its top members:

  • Linda DiVall, Founder, President and CEO – part of the McCain ’08 polling team and has conducted survey research for Gov. Matt Blunt, Bush-Cheney ’00 and ’04, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, GOP Whip Roy Blunt, Senators Johnny Isakson, Jim Talent, Richard Lugar, Fred Thompson, Kay Bailey Hutchison and Phil Gramm; Congresswomen Mary Bono, Jo Ann Emerson and Judy Biggert; Congressmen Ed Whitfield, and others. She served as the pollster for Senator Phil Gramm’s Presidential campaign, Elizabeth Dole’s 2000 campaign, and was a senior advisor to the Bob Dole for President Campaign.
  • Gary Ferguson, Senior Vice Presidenthas conducted polling for numerous Republican congressional and statewide campaigns
  • Bob Carpenter, Vice President Bob has worked for the California Legislature; the California Republican Party both as Political Director and Executive Director; the Republican Party of Alaska as both Political and Executive Director; the Republican National Committee as Deputy Regional Political Director for the Great Lakes region and as National Field Director; and Executive Director of Victory ‘92-New York.
  • Randall Gutermuth, Vice President – Randall’s political clients have included the RNC, the NRCC, former Missouri Senator Jim Talent, Missouri Governor Matt Blunt, Missouri Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder, Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson, Congressional members Judy Biggert, Roy Blunt, Jo Ann Emerson, Nancy Johnson, Blaine Luetkemeyer, Mike Oxley and Ed Whitfield among others, as well as the Missouri and Georgia Republican parties.

Call me skeptical, but a Republican polling firm populated by Republican toadies, finding a Republican candidate ahead – really?  As the democratic candidate, Dr. Thomas Hayhurst stated, the only poll that counts is the one on election day.

HAYHURST FOCUSES WHILE SOUDER SPUTTERS

Mark Souder has decided the best way to deal with the issues of the Third District is, well, to just ignore them for what he mistakenly believes are better pickins.  Souder, with his little pea-pickin’ right-wing conservative heart, is dodging and weaving like a boxer trying to avoid punches and would rather attack President Obama than deal with the high unemployment rate in the Third District.

Indiana’s Third District is suffering – and suffering greatly.  The eight counties that comprise the district include most of Allen, most of Elkhart, and all of DeKalb, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, and Whitley.  The Third District is heavily over-represented in the infamous Top Ten of unemployment statistics in the September report prepared October 14, 2009.

The following unemployment statistics show a discouraging and disturbing picture – a picture that Souder seems content to ignore in favor of attacking President Obama:

IDWD Research and Analysis
Labor Area Unemployment Statistics

September 2009 Statistics

Top Ten Stressed Counties

Elkhart County          15.0
Noble County             14.5
Lagrange County      14.0

Adams County               13.4
Fayette County              13.4
Blackford County          13.3
Steuben County         12.9
Starke County                 12.6
DeKalb County            12.4

An astounding 50% of the Top Ten are in the Third District.  Add to that Whitley County – 11.6% – in the second tier of ten counties and Kosciusko County – 11.0% – in the third tier, and the only county in the Third District that has not broken the infamous 10.0% unemployment figure is Allen County, holding at 9.0%.

Tom Hayhurst has been out in the counties listening to the people and communicating with them.  Since he announced in August that he would again challenge Souder, Hayhurst has traveled from one end of the Third District to the other.  His main concern?  The people of the Third District.

Souder’s main concern?  Holding onto that congressional seat which he said in 1994 that he would vacate in 6 terms.  He has become adept at holding town hall meetings and call-ins slanted to his view point of the present government, thereby feeding his attacks on Obama.

Rather than take a cold, hard look at the high unemployment rate that exists in his own district which he is supposed to be representing, Souder focuses on attacking President Obama.  Souder would rather join a battle over gun rights in someone else’s state than address the needs of his own constituency.

Fine with me – Souder can sputter and fume about Obama, but Hayhurst is doing the work that needs to be done for our Third District – focusing on those who will be his constituency.