Political Notebook

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Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
County GOP Chairman Steve Shine, left, jokes with Coroner-elect Craig Nelson, right, at the post-election lunch party Wednesday.

Jokes all around at GOP party

The smell of … what?

Republicans may not have done well nationally Tuesday – they failed to capture the White House and lost two seats in the House and two more in the Senate – but they did extremely well locally.

So the mood at Allen County Republican Headquarters for the traditional post-election lunch of Coney dogs on Wednesday was light-hearted, and the jokes were flying:

U.S. Rep. Marlin Stutzman remarked, “When I walked in the room I thought that was the smell of victory, but it was actually just the hot dogs.”

Allen County GOP Chairman Steve Shine – who is height-challenged – noticed that when state Rep.-elect David Ober was standing on the floor, he was the same height as Shine standing on the stage.

“Thank you for not standing up on this next to me,” Shine said.

Ober responded by praising Martin Carbaugh’s win over incumbent Democrat Win Moses in the Indiana House, helping to deliver a Republican supermajority in the House. “I never knew Moses was going to lead the Indiana House Republicans to the Promised Land,” he said.

When state Rep.-elect Dennis Zent took the stage, Shine said he was glad not to see him in his usual role as a dentist. “It’s nice to see you in this position,” Shine said. “Usually, I’m laying down for a root canal.”

Before Shine kidded Coroner-elect Craig Nelson about being “a real cut-up,” he joked about his yard signs. While most political signs have just four or five words, Nelson’s had an astounding 27 words, including his campaign slogan, his campaign’s street address and that it was “Paid for by the Committee to Elect Nelson for Coroner.”

It may be hard to argue with success, but it can still be mocked: “They’re the only ones I’ve gotten confused with a Board of Zoning Appeals notice,” Shine said.

Not that super

Just how big is the Republican supermajority in the Indiana House? The size of a professional football team. And more.

The 69 members of the caucus stood together for a news conference Wednesday in the Indiana Statehouse – complete with name tags for 19 new members.

House Speaker Brian Bosma noted that it isn’t the largest majority in Indiana legislative history, though. He said that 72 Republicans were elected to the Indiana House in 1972.

Going back further, 83 Republicans controlled the chamber in 1923. Then that switched to 90 Democrats in 1933.

“The message is, ‘Don’t take much for granted,’ ” Bosma said. “Nothing is permanent. Do what’s right for the state.”

Bill called

Sen.-elect Joe Donnelly said former President Bill Clinton called to congratulate him Tuesday night after his victory.

“He was kind enough to call. He has been a dear friend through this whole process,” Donnelly said the day after he defeated Republican Richard Mourdock.

Clinton appeared at an Oct. 12 campaign rally in Indianapolis for Rep. Donnelly, D-2nd, and other Indiana Democrats.

“He called me up completely out of the blue about a month after the (primary) election on my cellphone,” Donnelly recalled Wednesday at a news conference in Fishers.

“He just said, ‘Look, I love Indiana. I love the people there. I want to help if I can,’ ” Donnelly said.

Donnelly said he had known Clinton since 2008, when his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, ran for the Democratic presidential nomination against eventual winner Barack Obama. Donnelly had told Bill Clinton he was not taking sides in the primary battle.

“I’ve been very lucky to have a good relationship with him,” Donnelly said.

Obama called Donnelly later Wednesday to congratulate him on his election, a Donnelly campaign official said.

Dan Stockman of The Journal Gazette contributed to this column.

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