Trying to attend a presidential campaign rally often comes with a great sense of uncertainty. Will you get into the event? How long will you have to wait? Is there seating? If not, will the audience be packed in like sardines? Will you have a good view?
For K-County Dem Chair Brian Smith, an attempt to attend two events in one day featuring U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren saw both the good and the ugly.
Smith ventured up to the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart Wednesday morning for a Warren rally and said he enjoyed ideal seating and access. Warren, he said, “blew away all expectations,” adding that he was especially impressed with the fact she took time to do photos with hundreds of supporters and stuck around long enough to talk with everyone.
His following trip to Fort Wayne that afternoon for a primetime MSNBC town hall event at Ceruti’s was not so delightful. Despite signing up ahead of time for VIP tickets, he and a friend, Tim Keyes, were among dozens who stood in line for more than an hour and were then turned away by MSNBC staffers. The event had apparently been overbooked. Smith said he believes the blame falls squarely on MSNBC and not the Warren camp.
He said he thought a woman for the TV network who told them they would not get inside seemed especially “rude and unsympathetic.” Smith was so bothered by the handling of the situation that he began videotaping the exchange with his phone. That didn’t sit well with MSNBC security, who tried to grab his phone. Smith said he was then chased across a parking lot to where two Fort Wayne police officers were located. “If the Fort Wayne police weren’t there, I don’t know what would have happened to me,” Smith said.
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BANKS AT NORMANDY — U.S. Rep. Jim Banks, of Columbia City, was among the members of Congress invited to attend the 75th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy on Thursday. “It was a tremendous honor to be on hand as President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron commemorated the 75th Anniversary of D-Day just yards away from the beaches of Normandy. Today was a day to set aside politics and remember the incredible courage and sacrifices of the “greatest generation” and President Trump’s speech did just that,” Banks said.
He added, “On a personal level, I appreciate Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi inviting me and all other veterans in Congress to join her for this historic event. It was a moving ceremony and tribute that reminds us of America’s historic role in the world and that our freedoms are never free.”
On a related note, Hoosier Carl Mann, who participated in and survived the historic battle, was buried on Thursday in Arlington Cemetery. U.S. Sen. Todd Young talked briefly about Mann’s service in a video posted earlier this week.
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TWO CANDIDATES? — State Sen. Eddie Melton, a Democrat from Gary, is exploring a run for Indiana governor in 2020, and is expected to make his intentions more formally known next week. At the same time, State Rep. Karlee Macer, a fellow Democrat from Indianapolis, is also apparently eyeing a run for governor. Macer will be the featuring guest when Kosciusko County Democrats gather June 23 for their third annual Wawasee boat ride. Smith said he’s reached out to Melton with an invite for the same event. Tickets to the event are still available.
EMINENT DEFENDER — State Rep. Dave Wolkins, who has stood up for property owners in eminent domain battles, has been invited to attend the screening of Little Pink House in Yorktown on June 20. The movie tells the story of a woman’s fight to save her home and her neighbors’ homes from being seized through eminent domain, a case that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Wolkins has a history of working to limit the government’s ability to seize property. In this year’s General Assembly, he led an effort to close a loophole that allowed the government to pay only 100 percent of the property’s value if the land was not the owner’s primary residence. Folks in those circumstances will now receive 150 percent of the value.
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TOGETHER, BUT AT ODDS — Presidential campaigns tend to attract people with strong opinions, but rarely do they stand side-by-side and get along. That was the case momentarily outside of US Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s rally Wednesday morning in Elkhart.
Standing alongside each other, Louise Claasen held anti-war signs while Bob Massing, a military veteran wearing a Trump hat, made it clear he was a little more militaristic The two Elkhart residents seemed to get along even though they didn’t know each other prior to Wednesday.
Claasen described herself as a World War II refugee whose father fought in Hilter’s army. This left her with a lot of guilt, she said. She opposes the prospects of war with Iran. And Massing? “I’ve been to war,” he said, adding he also opposes war with Iran.
Massing said he did not intend to go inside the RV/MH Hall of Fame to listen to Warren, and instead was just checking out the environment.
Dan Spalding covers city government and politics for InkFreeNews.
He can be reached at [email protected] or at (574) 855-7612.