WARSAW — Indiana State Republican Chairman Kyle Hupfer was the keynote speaker for the annual Kosciusko County Republican Lincoln Day Dinner Thursday evening, April 27. But he was not the only speaker.
Former President Abraham Lincoln appeared to speak to the approximately 80 individuals in attendance. Lincoln (portrayed by James R. Walker) shared samplings of his experience in a time when the country was deeply divided.
Lincoln stated “I am doing so in hopes somehow you will all find the strength and divine wisdom to repair any divide our country is now facing. We must not allow it to grow. A country divided has an ugly face … you cannot say you had nothing to do with it. We all had something to do with it. Now there is something we can all do about it. It is more than simply saying words. Words mean nothing without action … we must restore the public confidence of this government of the people, by the people, for the people … if we follow our principles with a strong reliance upon God, the Republican cause is safe and we can achieve victory for all Americans .. that we are a true, United States of America.”
Hupfer’s keynote address focused on an inside baseball discussion, his perspective and view of the 2016 election. He provided an insight into his political background, his first connection with former Gov. Mitch Daniels, who became his political and business mentor. His time of running the Department of Natural Resources and the transformation that took place. He also spoke of his time with Gov. Eric Holcomb in the early years and inside view of Pence’s run for Senate, the naming of Holcomb as lieutenant governor, Pence’s acceptance to run as vice president of the United States and Holcomb’s bid for governor.
He spoke of the transition process of the state party, which included technology changes and the important use of data that is critical going forward. Communication and grassroots approaches were additionally noted.
Hupfer addressed the 2018 election noting it will be a huge one but a struggle for the party to keep the seats currently held. But “most importantly sending someone to help Todd Young. We’ve got to beat Joe Donnelly in 2018.” Hupfer stated the seat is easily winnable but will take a lot of work. But until a candidate is chosen at the primary it will be up to state party to be the voice. “We have taken the gloves off slightly for Hoosiers to understand what Donnelly stands for, what he is doing in D.C. … be fair but firm to let Hoosiers know Donnelly in Indiana is not Donnelly in Washington.”
Hupfer was introduced by Pete Seat, former White House Deputy Assistant Press Secretary for President George W. Bush, and current state party executive director of strategic communications and talent development. Prior to introducing Hupfer, Seat shared a hallmark memory of his four years at the White House. That was the opportunity for his parents, both immigrants, to meet the president.
The evening also included brief remarks from two candidates seeking the nomination for U.S. Senate to oppose Sen. Donnelly. Mark Hurt and Terry Henderson presented comments. Recognition was also given to the number of special guests in attendance: elected officials, district party officers, party chairmen from other counties, aids to state and national elected officials and past county officials.
Apparent during the evening were a number of new faces who may have upcoming political interests. No candidacy announcements were made.