The Right to Life movement has been involved with Kelty's mayoral campaign from its earliest moments. Sources tell me there is a concerted effort by Right to Life and other family organizations to recruit and run candidates of that stripe for city and county offices. These subsequent officeholders will then be poised to move into legislative, congressional and, yes, perhaps even the governor's office after the Daniels era passes. These groups bristled at Gov. Daniels when he suggested just prior to his re-election kickoff that he had little stomach for some of the wedge issues such as the anti-gay marriage amendment (Indiana already has such a law on its books).
If there was ever a poster boy for this ingenious strategy, it was Matt Kelty. Eyebrows were lifting when Right to Life and the Indiana Family Institute became so involved in the Kelty campaign, given the fact that abortion is not a municipal issue. Pornography, massage parlors and violent video games are local issues and, thus, relevant. This turned off some of the "economic" Republicans who defected to Mayor Graham Richard over the past two elections.
But it was the pro-life wing that propelled Kelty to a stunning upset victory last May by a narrow margin when just about every establishment Republican from Senate President Pro Temp David Long, to city councilmen, to U.S. Rep, Mark Souder backed Allen County Commissioner Nelson Peters. Kelty's grassroots organization was energized and effective. And, well, they cheated.
As we now know, it was a loan from the leader of the Right to Life movement in Allen Co., Fred Rost, and a Zogby poll he helped finance, which ultimately led to Kelty's 9-count indictment this week by an Allen Co. grand jury. "Those in the family advocacy circles who protest what they call a vendetta may find themselves walking the fine line between having the credibility of true believers and wanting something so badly they will sell their own political souls," Howey astutely observes.
Ironically, a new poll by that same firm whose earlier poll has gotten Kelty in so much hot water suggests the race for Fort Wayne mayor was a dead heat prior to this week's indictment. "Even with a grand jury investigation and potential indictment, Fort Wayne Republican mayoral nominee Matt Kelty was in a dead heat with Democrat Tom Henry, according to a Zogby Poll taken on July 26. Henry had a 39-38 percent lead with 21 percent undecided." Want to wager a bet those poll results would show a much wider Henry lead if the poll had been taken after Kelty's indictment?