The Journal Gazette
Sunday, March 28, 2021 1:00 am

Venture capitalist leads state Democrats

NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

Indiana Democrats have a new leader – 38-year-old venture capitalist Mike Schmuhl.

But you might say he has always had politics in his blood – his parents met on a congressional campaign in Bloomington in 1974.

Most recently he got rave reviews for running Pete Buttigieg's campaign for president – catapulting a little-known South Bend mayor to national prominence.

And now he's ready for an even bigger challenge – taking the Indiana Democratic Party to the next level.

“I think we've had a few tough cycles, tough years, but I am up to the challenge,” Schmuhl said. “I took this job because I think our state and our party are really at a crossroads. I don't think our government should be tilted so far to one side for so long.”

He compared it to rebuilding a team that hasn't made the NCAA tournament in years and taking it back to March Madness.

Schmuhl said the last two cycles have been impacted by a big Trump effect in Indiana, and “I think and hope that Trump fever is breaking.”

He said his job is to raise money, recruit good candidates and start winning.

Schmuhl said he learned a few things from the Buttigieg campaign that will help – don't take any people or places for granted; understand the media landscape has changed and you have to reach people digitally and through organizing and have a big message that is welcoming to all people.

He has been a South Bend resident for the last 15 years and was Buttigieg's first city chief of staff. Schmuhl also worked on U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly's congressional campaign. He has a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Notre Dame and a master's degree in International Affairs from Sciences Po in Paris.

In his spare time Schmuhl loves cycling and going to bike shops. He has three bicycles right now – a really old one, one he built himself and a long-distance road bike.

“I really am into bicycles. I guess that's quirky,” he said.

Schmuhl was officially elected March 20 though his race was uncontested.

Good to know

Marci McKinley, Grand Wayne Center's marketing manager, was giving a rundown of upcoming prospects during last week's meeting of the Allen County Fort Wayne Capital Improvement Board. She mentioned one group contemplating a return to the city was the North American Dart Organization.

“They're a fun group. Lots of playing, lots of drinking,” she said, drawing snickers from board members.

“Darts and drinking. What could go wrong?” said Jim Cook, CIB president, smiling.

To which Bart Shaw, Grand Wayne executive director, quickly replied he'd been to a past event, and the darts used were “soft-tipped.”

They “don't hurt anybody,” he said.

Whew. Good to know.

Interactive census map available

The U.S. Census Bureau launched a new online map ahead of the 2020 Census apportionment results release.

The Historical Apportionment Data Map currently displays apportionment results for each census from 1910 to 2010. Census apportionment results for 2020 will be added to the map as they become available.

Every 10 years, population counts from the decennial census determine how many seats each state gets in the U.S. House of Representatives. This process, called apportionment, is one of the most important uses of census results because it impacts your voice in Congress.

The interactive map includes the following types of data for each census from 1910 to 2010:

• Number of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

• Changes to each state's number of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

• Population per representative for each state.

• Resident population of each state.

• Percentage change in resident population for each state.

• Population density of each state.

Go to to see the map.

Rosa Salter Rodriguez of The Journal Gazette contributed to this column.

To reach Political Notebook by email, contact Niki Kelly at Political Notebook can be found at

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