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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Big, bad

The big, bad sheriff is going to clean up that nasty old Washington just like he did when he made Vanderburgh County safe for "Hoosier values."

It's been a while since Vanderburgh County voters saw Brad Ellsworth standing next to a sheriff's patrol car. But now that the hometown congressman is running for a U.S. Senate seat, he's doing it again.

Ellsworth's first piece of Senate campaign literature shows him leaning against a patrol car wearing a tie and rolled up shirt sleeves. The two-sided brochure features a brown bar with gold badge — similar to the Vanderburgh County Sheriff's Office colors — and text about Ellsworth's eight years as Vanderburgh County sheriff before his election to Congress in 2006.

The brochure does not mention the Democratic congressman's party affiliation

"In Congress, Brad is independent and always puts Indiana first," according to the campaign flier.

Other language in the brochure portrays Ellsworth as a tax-cutter and opponent of wasteful government spending who "will bring Hoosier values and common sense to the U.S. Senate."

It will be the neatest trick of the year if an incumbent congressman who voted for the biggest federal power grab in almost half a century can pull off running as an independent, tax-cutting outsider. One of the Republicans will undoubtedly top it any day now, but this is the most cynical use of the phrase "Hoosier values" so far in the election.