You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

Local

  • W. Jefferson lane restrictions tonight
    West Jefferson Boulveard will have lane restrictions tonight near the intersection of Hillegas Road and Ardmore Avenue.  The restrictions are expected to start at 8 p.m. and continue until 3 a.m. Wednesday.
  • Honor Flight helper, wife pick up $60,000 tab for trip
    Dennis Covert will be making his 10th trip aboard an Honor Flight next week. He goes as a companion for World War II veterans from northeast Indiana who visit the WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C.
  • Fort Wayne VA offers drive through flu clinic
    A drive though flu clinic is being offered by the VA Northern Indiana Health Care System for all Veterans registered at the Fort Wayne VA facility, said Mike Brady, VA Public Affairs Officer.
Advertisement
Associated Press
Gov. Mitch Daniels takes photos Wednesday in Indianapolis as he prepares to take his final trip on RV-1. Daniels’ signature-covered campaign RV will be on display at the RV Hall of Fame in Elkhart.

Daniels taking RV-1 on final ride

– When Gov. Mitch Daniels stepped onto his RV headquarters Wednesday for a final trip, he smiled and said “home sweet home.”

He and a small crew of staffers drove the vehicle to every corner of the state during his 2004 campaign. It was hauled out again in 2008, though to a lesser extent.

With more than 100,000 miles on it and a load of signatures from Hoosiers, Daniels said Wednesday it came to stand for something more than a means of travel.

“This is everybody’s government,” he said. “Everywhere matters.”

Daniels said he felt somebody ought to put the personal contact back into politics, which led to the stroke of genius that turned into RV-1. The travels of the RV even got its own campaign reality show.

The RV was brought out of retirement – it’s been sitting in a barn for four years – for a last voyage up U.S. 31 Wednesday as the governor’s term draws to a close in early January.

The vehicle has been donated to the Indiana State Museum but will be on display at the RV Hall of Fame in Elkhart.

The RV has a curious smell and is a bit threadbare, not to mention the various dings on the outside. It wasn’t used for weekend listening tours, Daniels said. It was a true mobile campaign headquarters nearly every day for 16 months.

The governor took along four important people for the final trip.

The first was the RV’s original driver, Fort Wayne native Ben Ledo, who has since moved to a career in business. Then there was Adam Horst, who largely drove the chase car back then and is now the state budget director.

He and Ledo slept on the RV from time to time while Daniels stayed in Hoosiers’ homes.

Next up was then-campaign manager Bill Oesterle, whom Daniels credited with being the brain behind the RV. And current Republican Party State Chairman Eric Holcomb back then was organizing people all over the state for “My Man Mitch.”

Daniels reminisced a bit, including the time the RV got stuck in the parking lot at the Montgomery County Courthouse until he and Horst had to move a dumpster to get it out.

Or there was the time Horst was allowed to drive, and he promptly took it under an overpass and tore off the air conditioner.

And when the awning was damaged, Daniels and Ledo tore it off and left it in a ditch and raced on. (A campaign volunteer later came to retrieve it.)

“We think it’s got a 100 miles or so left in it,” Daniels said. “We’re about to find out.”

nkelly@jg.net

Advertisement