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Local politics

Convention Notebook

Delegates holding the keys

Campaigning starts early at GOP gathering

Wayne Seybold tried to lock up the Republican nomination for state treasurer on Friday, a day before GOP delegates will vote in the three-candidate race.

Seybold’s campaign hired a vendor to put his name on 500 keys for hotel rooms at the Courtyard by Marriott in downtown Fort Wayne.

The Indiana Republican Party’s two-day state convention began Friday afternoon at the nearby Grand Wayne Center.

“The convention battle is won long before the convention,” said Allen County delegate Kyle Babcock, a volunteer for the Seybold campaign.

“You have to be able to put on a show,” Babcock said about the keys and other Seybold campaign efforts, including a convention center phone-charging station with the banner “Get Charged Up for Seybold.”

Babcock said the keys cost the Seybold campaign $2 each. The keys say “Wayne Seybold for Indiana Treasurer” in large letters and “Paid for by Hoosiers for Seybold” in smaller letters, with an image of the state flag inside the outline of Indiana’s borders.

Seybold, the mayor of Marion, is running for the treasurer nomination against Richmond financial adviser Don Bates and Kelly Mitchell of Indianapolis. Mitchell is an aide to term-limited Treasurer Richard Mourdock.

The winner will face Democratic nominee Mike Boland of Fishers in the November general election.

Shades of ‘Danger Zone’

State Republican Party Chairman Tim Berry was among a parade of speakers Friday evening during the opening session of the GOP state convention.

The Fort Wayne native walked to center stage wearing sunglasses while a recording of the Kenny Loggins song “Danger Zone” played to the 1,600-plus delegates at Grand Wayne Center.

Allen County GOP Chairman Steve Shine wondered aloud whether Berry was trying to be “Joe Camel or Joe Cool.”

OK, so nobody would mistake Berry for a young Tom Cruise or other stars of “Top Gun,” the 1986 film about the training of Navy fighter pilots with an affection for aviator shades.

But convention delegates will have appreciated the reference if they recognized it – “Danger Zone” was a song in the popular movie, and Loggins will perform tonight for GOP delegates at Embassy Theatre.