Tuesday, May 27, 2008

No Backstory to JLT Lease?

So, it turns out that political intrigue is not always intriguing. Either that, or people are adept at putting on the "happy face" when it's time to rally the troops.

Two weeks ago, Jim Shella noted that Jill Long-Thompson was opening a campaign headquarters in Indianapolis on Delaware Street. This struck me as very strange. Since I started paying attention to campaigns in 1988, there hasn't been a D gubernatorial candidate who didn't have operations at state party. Rightfully so. Why pay for space you should have for free as your party's standard bearer?

So why isn't Jill Long-Thompson "over there?" Did she get snubbed? Was she paranoid about bringing her people into an Indiana Democratic Party HQ that was so strongly pro-Schellinger before the primary?

Apparently, neither. Word is that state party offered space on a separate floor, but JLT anticipated needing more, and she got a good deal elsewhere. Unfortunately, IDP doesn't have the space it did in the Bayh-O'Bannon-Kernan glory days, so there was less to offer. Of course, one might wonder whether a stronger effort would have been made to "prioritize" space for the gubernatorial race if Schellinger prevailed.

Some may also wonder, "WAS Dan Parker playing favorites pre-primary?" The better question is how couldn't he? Look at these stats from the on-line campaign finance database:

- Individual contributions by Jill Long-Thompson to ANY D candidate or party committee - 13 total - $2,429

- Contributions from any Jill Long-Thompson committee to any D candidate or party committee - 8 total - $4,375.

- Individual contributions from Jim Schellinger to ANY D candidate or party committee - approximately 75 for $200,000. (That's right... 200 G's...this includes donations to the IDP of $10,500 in 2007, $20,800 in 2006, $11,100 in 2005, and $6,600 in 2004).

- Contributions from Jim Schellinger's gubernatorial committee to state party - 17 total for $432,000. (Of course, this last figure is misleading because that $400,000+ includes (but is not limited to) reimbursement for payroll paid out by state party).

It's not a stretch to think Schellinger is pissed. I say this because he was absent at the May 14, 2008, "unity" press conference that had JLT, a very cordial and supportive Dan Parker, Pat Bauer, and Richard Young (among other members of the Indiana General Assembly). Schellinger, however, did not attend.

AP reported he was "believed to be out of town." I might be more willing to buy that story if Schellinger had endorsed JLT since then. He still hasn't.

Also, when Jim Shella suggested Schellinger was a "sore loser," Schellinger's brother roasted Jimbo. Family is more protective than a candidate is, but I can't shake the feeling that brother was echoing Jim's own feelings.


Folks around Schellinger are pretty clear he thought he was "done dirty," and given how many Democrats he's helped get into office with his checkbook, he might feel like his defeat was an ultimate expression of ingratitude. That would certainly make any astute party chairman exceedingly conscious of playing too nice with the lady who stepped on the golden goose.

JLT and state party will probably both tell you that everything is kissy face now, but one can't help but wonders if there is still an elephant in the room that isn't the GOP.

Democrats can only hope that Jim Schellinger will add a layer of skin and come out swinging again instead of foresaking the party he's help build. Schellinger is too talented to sit on the sidelines.

If he's looking for a way to "re-engage," I know a D gubernatorial candidate who could probably benefit from his job creation expertise...if he's willing to share it.



Anonymous said...

Perahaps Dan Parker, Evan bayh and crowd were so busy trying to pump up the losing campaign of Hillary Clinton that they overlooked the governor's race.

Chris Worden said...

It would have been an easy mistake for Dan Parker to make to think Jim Schellinger was okay. He certainly had some of the party's best A-list fundraising talent in the early going, and it shows in Schellingger's reports. You really can't do better than Mike Edmondson and Linda Harris. Unfortunately for Jim, the money didn't translate into meaningful strategy and policy until it was too late (Jeffers and Wagner were the too-late additions) Also, I'd love to see some exit poll cross-tabs. I'm not sure being a white guy from South Bend played all that well in a "change" year. I'd love to see how much better Jill did with women voters.

Unknown said...

Schellinger had plenty of support - both monetarily and in name supporters.

I had met him many times as he campaigned here in the Fort Wayne area. He was articulate, friendly, and I thought reasonable.

I have been a JLT supporter from day one, and meeting Schellinger didn't change my mind in that area.

However, I will tell you I have lost all respect for the man since his defeat. He has acted like a spoiled child who didn't get his way.

I think he and the state party thought he (Schellinger) was a shoe-in. The nasty jokes and name-calling of JLT were ridiculous. Taking Down Words and Blue Indiana were on-board the Schellinger badn-wagon, and I really disliked the tone that their blogs took as they covered the gubernatorial primary.

JLT had less money and organizational members, and she still won. What she had is name recognition - at least here in the north part of the state.

Now she had to convert her win to another win in the fall.

Anonymous said...

If everyone has Charlotte's attitude, the party will NOT come together to elect JLT. She displays what is wrong with Indiana politics.

Anonymous said...


Just FYI, Jim was out of town for the unity event, and the Thompson campaign didn't call to let the campaign know about it until the day before.

It's my understanding that she has yet to reach out to him in the three weeks since the primary.

Chris Worden said...

Ummm, Anon 6:51, I just re-read Charlotte's post. She was complimentary of both candidates during the campaign, but she opted to back JLT. You can like two, but only vote for you, so she picked the one she knew better. As a JLT supporter, she disliked how certain bloggers covered the campaign. Now, like many, including myself, she thinks Schellinger could have handled his exit better. You must have history with Charlotte or something because I still can't figure out how she "displays what is wrong with Indiana politics."

What's wrong with Indiana politics are people who want to crush dissent and who have REAL hatred for anybody who disfavors their candidate of choice. At least Charlotte started out liking the guy. Schellinger's behavior changed that, not hers. If you think I'm wrong, see if Clinton endorses Obama to heal the party, even though we know deep down she doesn't even think he's as qualified as she is. Yet she will still endorse her bitter rival for the good of the party. Did Schellinger do that?

I donated to Schellinger, I voted for him, I'm impressed by him, and I KNOW he's a good man. And, as a periodic maverick who wants to clean up the process and interject truth for a change, part of me wants to "good for you, Jim!" Don't give faux praise just to "play the game."

But I'm practical as well, and unless JLT raises a boatload of money, she's going to have a hard time against Daniels. Having a prodigious fundraiser like Schellinger on board with enthusiastic supporters sure would help. Who knows how many of Schellinger's donors are going to take his cue and "stay angry."

Because of this possibility, I'd be lying if I didn't say I was a little disappointed with the manner of his exit.

Politics often makes you swallow hard to speak a positive message about someone right after they punch you in the throat. If you can't handle that duty, you might not be ready for prime time.

varangianguard said...

Hmmpf. Mr. Schellinger is probably still in shock that his destiny wasn't quite what he thought it was. The "50" might really have referred to his political IQ, and not that he was destined to be Indiana's 50th governor.

Signs and portents. Those can be pesky little things to decipher and interpret.