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Don't call it a comeback

By PA

Fort Wayne Reader

2010-01-25


Those of you still sporting an “anti-John Crawford” sticker on your car’s back bumper from 2007 (you know the ones we’re talking about, where there’s a bold, red slash through the “W”) may not want to scrape those off yet. Or maybe you will, depending on how you feel about things now.

Dr. Crawford served three terms on city council as R-at large before losing a re-election bid in 2007 by a very slim margin. But just a few weeks ago, Crawford filed with the Allen County Election Board to form an exploratory committee and raise money for another bid for public office.

Crawford is, of course, most widely known as the champion of the city’s smoking ban that went into effect in mid 2007. Though Crawford attributed his loss in the elections that year to his support for Harrison Square (he was the last to cast his vote for the project after initially “skipping his turn” and letting everyone else vote first), the councilman was, at the time, signaled out for his role in the smoking ban. In addition to the bumper stickers, flyers were distributed at many local bars and restaurants not only encouraging patrons to vote against Crawford but offering specific suggestions on who to vote for instead.

Adding to Dr. Crawford’s re-election pressures were three Libertarian candidates for the At-Large seats on council — Doug Horner, Michael Brightbill, and William Larsen — which Allen County GOP chair Steve Shine speculated may have siphoned away some Republican votes.

But that was then, and now Dr. Crawford is looking to get back into political life — though in what capacity, he’s not saying yet. The obvious prediction would be city council, or even challenge county councilwoman Paula Hughes for the Republican nomination for Mayor… but here we are getting all excited about the 2011 elections, and it just turned 2010.

And speaking of Paula Hughes, someone needs to fill her seat on Allen County Council when she leaves to run for Mayor, and one interested party is Michael Conley. A well known musician and businessman, Conley announced on January 19 that he would run as a Democrat for the 2nd district county seat.

It could be something…

But Dr. Crawford isn’t the only Indiana politician hinting at making a move in the near future. Representative Mike Pence, who represents Indiana’s 6th district in the US House of Representatives (the 6th district is to the immediate south of Fort Wayne) has for the past several years been seen as a rising star in the national GOP, often listed as a presidential contender. He’s currently the Republican Conference Chairman, a very prominent position in the party. A few weeks ago, several media sources reported that Pence was… well, doing something, at least. As the political blog of The Atlantic put it: “…he's added some national-level talent to his political team: prominent Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway has joined his House reelection campaign as a strategist, and he's also announced that former Dan Quayle treasurer Bill Neale will serve as treasurer. Pence hasn't announced any plans for 2012, but it would seem unnecessary to get top GOP talent for a House reelection campaign, since Pence is relatively safe in his seat.”

So, there ya go. It could be something. Or it sounds like it could be something. Actually, if PA was the type who liked to gamble, we’d bet that Pence was gearing up to challenge Senator Evan Bayh.

Pence has been very active on the national political scene in recent years, but perhaps PA’s favorite Pence moment came during April 2007 while on a trip to Iraq with Senator John McCain. While escorted by soldiers in armored Humvees and with attack helicopters hovering overhead, Pence described a Baghdad market as being "like a normal outdoor market in Indiana in the summertime." Sounds like life in the 6th district is a little more exciting than we might assume.

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