Thursday, July 12, 2007

It's Time for Henry to Make His Move

There have been recent grumblings about the blogosphere and the Journal Gazette concerning the lack of issues coming from the Henry campaign. This has also been disturbing to me for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, with Kelty taking so much heat over the campaign finance issue Henry should be dictating the race - he's not. It is unnecessary to sit back and wait for Kelty-gate to blow over. Of course the media is going to want to ask about campaign finances but they are going to do that no matter how long the campaign waits. And who cares if they do ask? It simply gives the Henry campaign an opportunity to remind voters that if they want an open and transparent administration then they should vote for Tom Henry. It's not as if that's an unpopular position.

I also found it interesting that Jason Ascher was let go because he "didn't have the necessary experience working with the the media to the level necessary for this year’s mayoral race". Well to be effective, the campaign must actually engage the media and frankly I haven't seen it. For example, the issue that Kelty was most vulnerable on was the FWCS facilities project. It was wildly unpopular and Kelty was hypocritically-mum on the subject. I informed people months ago that Kelty would shy away from this issue and it was going to be a genuine opportunity for Henry to gain ground. The reason was obvious - Kelty is an architect and if he loses the mayoral race he doesn't want to burn bridges to his business.

That opportunity is now gone. There are certainly more on the horizon but to take advantage the Henry campaign must come out of its shell and start a discussion with the voters of this community. The issues voters care most about in this campaign are quite obvious - it's taxes and government's disdain for the voice of the people.

I agreed with Charlotte Weybright 2 months ago when she said:
The Tom Henry for Mayor website is now up and running. It is fairly simple at this time, but I hope (and assume) it will be fleshed out in the next few weeks. And, I mean the next few weeks - the earlier the better. The Tom Henry for Mayor website has a link that states, “Watch this space for Tom’s statements on the issues. They will be posted here as his ideas for the future of Fort Wayne are unveiled.” I absolutely support Tom Henry, and I believe he is, by far and away, the best qualified candidate. However, many voters only have a vague idea of the qualifications and positions of the mayoral candidates.

Last year, Tom Hayhurst’s campaign manager made the decision to slowly release Dr. Hayhurst’s positions beginning late in the summer. Despite several of us who urged early release, Dr. Hayhurst’s positions were held until late in the season. This left too little time for the voter to get a sense of who Tom was and his qualifications for the office of Third District Representative.

What we're seeing is a repeat of that campaign strategy. It was a bad strategy then and it's a bad strategy now. It's still somewhat early, but the Henry campaign should listen to the people - and the people want to discuss the issues...


Karen Goldner said...

You will start seeing that this afternoon, Jeff.

This election effectively started early given the highly contested Republican mayoral primary. The fact that presidential elections seem to be 3-year events now also contributes to the sense among political dweebs (no offense meant, I am one myself) that the campaign season is full underway. But the fact is that it is only July 12, and the vast majority of voters are not yet focused on local elections.

Of course, getting a significantly higher property tax bill will undoubtedly get people more focused.

I am confident that as voters get to know Tom Henry they will agree that he is a wonderful public servant and would be an excellent mayor.

Jeff Pruitt said...

I hope you're right about this afternoon Karen.

The times are a changin and with the growth of political coverage on the internet people are getting engaged earlier than ever. The idea that major races don't start until Labor Day is becoming more and more incorrect every year.

This isn't an anomoly, it's going to be the norm and the candidates that fail to realize this will be at a major disadvantage...

Karen Goldner said...

Try this.

Karen Goldner said...

That didn't seem to work so well, so if you have trouble reading the news release from the above link, just go to and you'll see the link to the news release.