The big news from the Hoosier state is pretty big, as Hoosier news goes: The Republican nominee for mayor of Fort Wayne was indicted yesterday. Nothing like a perp walk in handcuffs to cast a pall on a campaign, I always say. The nominee is a squeaky-clean kind of guy; when he was doing some last-minute primary campaigning at stoplights in the spring, he ran across none other than Alex, our regular commenter here at NN.C. The candidate, Matt Kelty, asked for his vote. Alex said he lived outside the city limits and couldn’t help.
“Pray for me, then,” he said, dashing off to the next potential voter. This is the sort of thing people say to one another in Fort Wayne, but not so much in political campaigns. But that’s Kelty. So to see him indicted on nine counts of various campaign-finance law violations, seven of them felonies and two for perjury (!?!), this picture of a nice young man — well, it’s a shock.
The primary battle was a two-man race, with most of the old GOP guard supporting Nelson Peters, a good ol’ boy county commissioner. He was set to win in a walk when Kelty upset him the old-fashioned way — by running harder and having the luck of a record low turnout. The finance-law violations came up pretty quickly, when Kelty amended his reports to say, Oh, that $158,000 loan I made to my own campaign? Turns out that money came from someone else. See, he loaned it to me to loan to the campaign, and I probably should have made that clearer. No biggie, right? Yes, a biggie. If campaign-finance law has one purpose above all, it’s to make financial issues transparent. Voters have a right to know who’s backing whom with cash. This looked like a pretty bold case of money laundering to conceal a major donor, and it went before the three-member election board, two Rs and one D, which split 2-1 in Kelty’s favor. The D on the board asked the county prosecutor for an investigation, and lo and behold, the investigation turned up the nine counts.
This is a blessing for journalists in a slow news month in an election year, but it was hard to watch the video of Kelty getting into the police car with his hands cuffed in front of him; the man is more to be pitied than reviled, perjury or no. One had the sense of a lamb being led to slaughter, of a guy who just looked up in the middle of the road and saw a bus coming down on him. He’s a political novice (obviously), and he’s in over his head. This is only his second campaign (I think); he gave a scare to a lazy incumbent a few years ago, and I think he spent election night having red-faced men with three bourbons under the belt tell him he has a future in this party. Son, you’ll be mayor one day. He got mixed up with the wrong crowd, i.e., Allen County Republicans. That’ll learn him. Unfortunately.
I have a barn to build and a day to do it, as the Amish say, so scant bloggage today:
Only in Indiana: Deep-fried Pepsi. (Note the picture.)
Isn’t it weird when you find a picture of yourself on Flickr that you didn’t know existed? (I added the notes.)
More maybe later, when I have some time to breathe. I know you folks can take care of yourselves in the comments anyway.