Political Notebook

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    The Indiana Right to Life Political Action Committee has endorsed six area Republicans seeking Statehouse office.
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GOP too sensitive regarding Lugar

Lugar

Former Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar has attracted attention and criticism after his political action committee contributed $5,000 to the campaign of a Democratic candidate for Senate.

Lugar’s 19th Star PAC gave the money to the campaign of Mary Michelle Nunn, who seeks the Democratic nomination for an open Senate seat from Georgia.

The Hill, Huffington Post, USA Today and other media took notice of the PAC’s latest campaign finance report filed with the Federal Election Commission. They pointed out that Nunn is the daughter of former Democratic Sen. Sam Nunn of Georgia, who teamed with Lugar, R-Ind., in the 1990s to author legislation that has dismantled thousands of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons in the former Soviet Union.

But a blog for RedState.com called Lugar an “undocumented Democrat” and claimed he is among Republicans who have “officially become Democrats.”

The conservative RiehlWorldView.com said Lugar was vindictive after his 2012 loss in Indiana’s Republican primary election and was giving money “to a Democrat to use against what was his party.”

A closer look at the 19th Star PAC finance reports for 2013 shows that the committee gave money to Nunn for only her Democratic primary-election campaign and not her general-election campaign. Nunn is the Democratic front-runner, while the crowded Republican field includes U.S. Reps. Paul Broun, Phil Gingrey and Jack Kingston.

Meanwhile, Lugar’s PAC donated $5,000 to each of seven incumbent Republican senators for their primary campaigns and $5,000 more for their general-election campaigns. Those Republicans are Sens. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Thad Cochran of Mississippi, Susan Collins of Maine, John Cornyn of Texas, Mike Enzi of Wyoming, Pat Roberts of Kansas and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

In all, Lugar’s PAC contributed $70,000 last year to Republican candidates for the Senate and $5,000 to a Democratic candidate whose father was Lugar’s partner on arms-control legislation.

By the way, Political Notebook would like to note that Lugar’s PAC, which is based in Indianapolis, takes its name from the fact that Indiana was the 19th state to be admitted to the nation.

Targeted seats

Northeast Indiana just didn’t make the cut.

Last week, the Libertarian Party of Indiana released a list of targeted Indiana House seats to challenge in 2014. The list contains a mix of 20 Republican- and Democritic-held seats all over the state.

Well, except in our corner of the world. None of the lawmakers serving northeast Indiana will get a challenge.

“We have not specifically targeted vulnerable seats in the past. We are now,” LPIN state Chairman Dan Drexler said. “As a growing party, it is important we show our presence matters. It’s important voters and the media begin seeing we are serious about changing policy, running candidates to challenge races and moving a libertarian philosophy forward through real policy.”

He said the party can reassess the list in the future depending on how the current legislative session goes.

“We don’t want to see increased taxes. We don’t want to see the state push down unfunded mandates to local government. We don’t want to see discrimination written into our Indiana Constitution. And, we’d like to see Common Core in Indiana die a swift legislative death,” Drexler said. “Clearly, we don’t think this is asking too much."

The party will nominate federal, statewide and state legislative candidates at convention in Indianapolis in late April.

Same, but different

Steuben and LaGrange counties are not the same place, although Political Notebook briefly wondered whether they were Monday.

At 7:54 a.m., Steuben County Sheriff Tim Troyer issued a five-paragraph advisory that the county’s emergency snow warning was extended indefinitely.

At 9:51 a.m., LaGrange County Sheriff Terry Martin issued a six-paragraph alert that its emergency travel warning was extended.

The headings might have been different, but the texts of the warnings were identical save for the name LaGrange in one and Steuben in the other. And LaGrange did split Steuben’s first paragraph into two paragraphs.

For instance, each county’s highway department “has reported difficulty with heavily drifted snow and visibility due to blowing snow in their attempts to remove from roadways,” according to the separate warnings.

Each missive even contained the same grammatical error: “We are also asking that if you are removing snow from your driveway to NOT place the shoveled/plowed or blowed snow in the roadway.”

That should be blown snow.

LaGrange’s Martin did add an instruction to the end of his warning: Please refrain from driving.

The warnings were emailed by nixle.com, which transmits text messages and email for public safety agencies.

We assume there is a something of a boilerplate form for such communications, allowing county governments to worry about plowing snow and responding to emergencies rather than fretting over the wording of a news release.

To reach Political Notebook by email, contact Brian Francisco at bfrancisco@jg.net or Niki Kelly at nkelly@jg.net. An expanded Political Notebook can also be found as a daily blog at www.journalgazette.net/political notebook.

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