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

No local talent?

Democratic mayoral candidate Tom Henry's campaign manager has been let go, and I'm not sure what his transgression was:

Knuth said Ascher lacked strengths the campaign needed, such as working with the media, and had a style that clashed with other campaign members. Still, Knuth said he would recommend Ascher to another campaign.

A style that "clashed with other campaign members"? What does that mean -- he doesn't play well with others? And how much skill does it take to "work with the media" in a mayoral campaign in which pretty much everything each candidate says and does is considered newsworthy? Ascher was brought in from New York via Kansas, and it sounds like the next person might not be from around here, either:

Knuth said he has people in mind for Ascher's job and several good applicants, but added that it is rare to find someone local with the necessary skill sets.

I'm looking at it from my side of the campaign-press divide, of course, but if those skill sets mostly involve working with the media, I'd say the most important attribute of a campaign manager is to be someone we already know and trust. If local campaigns have become so difficult and in need of specialized assistance that we have to bring in out-of-town talent, I'd say we've let things get away from us.

And before anybody else points it out, yes, Republican Matt Kelty bringing in an out-of-town lawyer to explain his campaign finances raises the same kinds of concerns.


Kevin Knuth
Fri, 06/08/2007 - 6:34am

Leo, unfair title- I never said there was no local talent.

However, finding someone to manage a campaign that will most likely involve over 1000 volunteers, a Million dollar budget, buying TV and Newspaper advertising, overseeing direct mail campaigns, AND talking to the media is a big job.

Add to that the fact that political campaigns are not like anything else- it calls for special skills.

Fri, 06/08/2007 - 11:36am

I don't know (or care) too much about the issues with the Henry campaign and its campaign manager. I would expect Tom Henry to go with the best, reasonably-priced talent he can find, local or otherwise. That doesn't raise any "concerns" for me and I don't know why it would for you.

As for Matt Kelty's out-of-town expertise, it was effective (and perhaps necessary) in cutting through the smoke that the media, your newspaper included, so readily spouted. Based only upon speculative accusations by two political partisans, your paper, and Mr. Caylor in particular, moved to the head of the lynch mob. You have been less judgmental of and more deferential to a man actually accused of kiliing his wife, three daughters, and a neighbor child, than you were to Mr. Kelty, who has not been accused of any wrongdoing and has no history of any felonious conduct.

Pardon me if I am not moved by your crocodile tears. Describe for me, in a few sentences and with reference to actual statutes, what required information Mr. Kelty supposedly failed to report, and I might reconsider. Otherwise, I think your only regret or concern is that Mr. Bopp stole some of the thunder from your efforts to smear an honorable man.

Dan Turkette
Sat, 06/09/2007 - 5:14am

1000 volunteers Kevin? You'll need to import democrats from Whitley county to get that number, maybe even DeKalb and Noble.

brian stouder
Sat, 06/09/2007 - 8:18pm

"Describe for me, in a few sentences and with reference to actual statutes, what required information Mr. Kelty supposedly failed to report, and I might reconsider"

I don't think you can 'reconsider' anything when you haven't bothered to 'consider' it to begin with.

If secretly accepting large sums of money (and $150,000 is LARGE, in my book!) from a single person is not against the campaign finance law - then nothing possibly can be. The whole point is so that voters can judge who a particular candidate might be indebted to (whether we mean literally, or ideologically).

I was a primary voter, and I was aware that Kelty had reported very large sums of his own personal money went into his campaign. The image I had was of a man so committed to attaining the office that he committed really serious amounts of his own wealth to the effort. I voted for Kelty for many reasons, including his obvious seriousness about the campaign, and that he apparently wasn't a machine Republican.

His ammended campaign finance report hit me like a bucket of cold water, especially when viewed in conjunction with his grudging admission that his campaign commissioned the opinion poll that got floated early in the campaign.

Kelty now looks very like a guy who doesn't trust the people he would govern enough to just deal the cards off the top of the deck. He doesn't look like a straight shooter - and I recall a mayor of Fort Wayne resigning the office (and then snagging it right back again!) over a campaign finance issue.

In short, I think Henry whacked his campaign manager because he doesn't need one anymore. The Henry campaign should just pay the Kelty campaign to keep operating the way they have been, and their election is in the bag! (as far as that goes, I'd bet you dollars to doughnuts that the Kelty people would mis-report those payments, too!)