Sunday, April 22, 2007

Fort Wayne GOP Mayoral Primary Update

There has been quite a dramatic shift in this race over the last few months. Early on someone asked me what I thought about this race and I assumed County Commissioner Nelson Peters would beat local Architect Matt Kelty rather easily. I mean all one had to do was look at the Republican Party's support for Peters - nearly every major local and state elected official was lined up behind him - including our favorite, Mark Souder.

But as of today, the Peters camp has run a completely inept campaign while the Kelty campaign has been nothing short of brilliant. Kelty has been picking off different sub-groups of the Republican party every step of the way and has consistently beaten Peters in the media. Kelty's use of Harrison Square as a wedge issue has put the Peters campaign into such a frenzy that he recently proposed passing a state law to generate a referendum on the issue - something that has ZERO chance of happening. The fact that the Harrison Square project will be a done deal by the time the next mayor takes over doesn't seem to matter - Kelty is still picking off the anti-Harrison Square vote.

So here's a guy that had absolutely NO public support from party establishment yet the polls show him and Peters in a dead heat with two weeks to go. That is incredible. I don't have a dog in this fight but I know people-powered politics when I see it and that's what the Kelty campaign is:

"Well what changed is I understand that in order to change a community -- like in 1994, we send a cadre of Republicans to Congress, thinking we would change government from the top down. We found out we cannot change government from the top down. They lost their way for a variety of reasons, the Republican Revolution fell apart. And so what I am suggesting is now I understand that in order to change America you have to change it from the bottom up

And it's a great experience. It truly has to be viewed as a celebration of what it means to be American. To declare your candidacy, to outline your views, to organize a political machine if you will -- in our case, it's a mini-machine, it's a little campaign organization. And then to attack the grassroots and go out and ask folks to get involved, to help, to walk a neighborhood, to put a sign in the front yard, to help stuff envelopes, to make phone calls on the phone bank. It's humbling to ask for help and it's gratifying when people say, "Alright, I'll help you," and then it's even more satisfying when results come in and it shows that your hard work is paying off, slowly but surely."

A Kelty win in the primary will send a strong positive signal to EVERYONE involved in local politics here in Allen County. The message will be that the people of this county can still take over the party establishment if they see fit and they will not be ignored or pandered to. I'm certain it doesn't help, but this local Democrat is pulling for you Matt - but only until the general election...

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