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Fort Wayne Reader
“My endorsement of Matt Kelty does not stand.”
With those words, U.S. Congressman Mark Souder, the area’s highest ranking Republican elected official, effectively threw GOP mayoral hopeful Matt Kelty under the bus.
Souder, who initially endorsed the mayoral campaign of Allen County Commissioner Nelson Peters, publicly came out in favor of Kelty after Kelty defeated Peters in the GOP primary but before Kelty was indicted on campaign finance violations and perjury.
However in recent weeks, Souder made several comments in response to media inquiries appearing to back away from the Kelty camp - particularly following “Cake-gate,” a contoversy surrounding a cake made in honor of Kelty’s 43rd birthday. Not only was the cake decorated in a manner that mocked a number of prominent Republican Party faithful and elected officials, it was featured on Kelty’s official campaign website.
Finally, after even more questions from news reporters and Kelty supporters, Rep. Souder made it official: he no longer supports Matt Kelty for mayor. In a blow-by-blow, two page statement, Souder gives a detailed account of how he came to the decision to support Kelty and then back away. In a nutshell, the congressman cites the seriousnesss of the criminal charges Kelty faces along with the devisiveness of some of Kelty’s most ardent supporters. Souder claims some Kelty backers have threatened his political career, and the nasty tone of the cake incident didn’t help.
“...An increasing number of defectors from the Kelty campaign claimed that people within the campaign, and the candidate himself, continued to make disparaging remarks about me and attacked my friends,” Souder’s statement alledges. “Those active in the Kelty campaign had portrayed Cathy Hawks as a terrorist, Dr. John Crawford as a Nazi, smeared the character of Ken Neumeister, and portrayed Prosecutor Richards as a witch, just to name a few.”
While many political experts question the worth of political endorsements, almost no one doubts the damage that can be done by a dis-endorsement.
“That’s not something you want anybody saying about you, particularly somebody as well respected who has been in politics as long as Mark Souder has,” former Mayor Paul Hemke told NewsChannel 15.
Don’t miss the mayoral debates:
Tuesday, October 23
WPTA/WISE-TV - 7:00 PM
Tuesday, October 30
WANE-TV – 7:00 PM