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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Stewart stumps while Harper's hush hush

On October 12, I posed the question "Who's Your Man, Mitch?", in reference to Mitch Harper's exceedingly quiet position on which mayoral candidate he supports. It turns out that Chris Stewart also would like to have that question answered:

From today's Political Notebook:

Chris Stewart, the Democrat seeking the 4th District Fort Wayne City Council seat, last week sent out a statement touting the fact Democratic mayoral candidate Tom Henry and sitting Councilman Tom Hayhurst, D-4th, are endorsing his candidacy.

A Democrat getting endorsements from other Democrats in a general election is almost never a big deal, but what was more interesting was that Stewart questions where his opponent stands in the mayor’s race. While Stewart says he supports Henry – again, no surprise – he said Republican Mitch Harper has been exceedingly quiet when it comes to which mayoral candidate he supports.

“Right now it’s unclear where Mitch stands, and that calls into question his willingness to work with the next mayor,” Stewart said in a statement.

Only in this year’s election would this become an issue. With the local Republican Party split over whether to support embattled nominee Matt Kelty, it is apparently a campaign issue whether Republican council candidates support their mayoral nominee.

Harper could not be reached for comment, but when addressing the Republican Lunch Club this month, the slate of council candidates spoke about the importance to work for the party and to elect a strong council majority. What wasn’t mentioned by any candidate? The need to elect Kelty.

Chris Stewart and Karen Goldner have both run strong grass roots campaigns that have involved lots of time and shoe leather. Neither one of them needs to hope for a ride on Tom Henry's coat-tails. But, with Republican opponents who are afraid to even announce their support for Matt Kelty, they may get that added boost anyway.

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