Sunday, November 04, 2007

Keller-Mahern Race Takes Ugly Turn

Councilor Scott Keller (R) is crying foul over negative direct mail fliers arriving in District 16 voters' mailboxes, which were sent out by his Democratic opponent, Brian Mahern. The fliers accuse Keller of converting thousands of dollars of campaign funds to personal use and staging a campaign photo event at a memorial service for the Hamilton Street family members who were killed execution style last year.

“My opponent, Brian Mahern, refused to pledge a clean campaign earlier this year. Now I see why,” Councilor Keller said. “While I was willing to overlook his attack on my physical appearance in one mailing, I will not stand idly by as he deliberately lies to the voters.” One of three recent negative attack pieces mailed to the district's voters accuses Keller of bringing a campaign photographer to the Hamilton Street murders memorial service for a photo opportunity with Sheriff Frank Anderson and then using the photo as an endorsement by the Sheriff. “I did not bring a campaign photographer. I do not have a campaign photographer now, and have never had one. In fact, the photographer was with Sheriff Anderson, and was taking lots of photos,” said Councilor Keller. “I asked Sheriff Anderson if I could have my photo taken with him and use it in a mailing on my record of bipartisanship. He said yes and I used it and a photo taken with Mayor Bart Peterson in the piece."

The mailer implied Keller, a Republican, falsely claimed endorsements from Mayor Peterson and Sheriff Frank Anderson, both Democrats. "I certainly do not think that such a photo could be construed as an endorsement by either Sheriff Anderson or Mayor Peterson as they are members of another political party.” A press release from Keller's campaign noted a bit of irony in Mahern's claim. "Oddly enough, while Brian Mahern is claiming the Sheriff’s endorsement, at a recent debate in the District Mahern attacked the Sheriff for 'poorly implementing' the merger of the Marion County Sheriff’s Department and the Indianapolis Police Department," the press release reads. "At the same debate Mahern attacked Mayor Bart Peterson and the Democratic City-County Council majority by repeatedly saying, 'The last four years have been a disaster for Indianapolis,' and 'We can’t afford another four years of poor leadership like the last four.'"

As to the charge in one mailer that Keller diverted campaign funds to his own personal use, Keller insists it was simply the repayment of a loan he had earlier made to his campaign. Keller countered a criticism contained in of mailer that he had been endorsed by the Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce. Keller said he had been "proudly been endorsed by all 15 neighborhood association leaders, the Chamber of Commerce, Firefighters Local 416, Tobacco-Free Kids Indiana Action Fund, the Hoosier Environmental Council and the Indianapolis Star – all entities that have issued bipartisan endorsements this election season." "Brian Mahern’s campaign has not been endorsed by any organization," he added.

Keller is demanding that Mahern apologize to the 16th District voters for "distributing false and defamatory information." “One reason many good people will not go into politics is because at campaign time, it becomes dirty,” commented Councilor Keller. “I have not done that; I have stuck to the issues and I will continue to do so. My opponent has refused to discuss specific plans of action for the District while instead making wild and defamatory claims in a desperate attempt to win the election. I am confident the voters in the 16th District will support me in spite of his negative mailing pieces!”

When a candidate gets hit with these killer mailers just days before an election, there is little he can do to counter them, particularly in a district council race to which the media provides scant coverage. Sometimes these mailers can backfire on the candidate who mails them, unless it fits a pattern of preconceived notions the voters may have already formed about the candidate. I'm surprised Mahern didn't hit Keller on tax increase votes instead of these "sideshow" issues. His c;ousin, Dane, who represents a neighboring council district, is running TV ads criticizing Mayor Peterson for providing big subsidies to downtown hotels which pay low wages. The TV ads are being paid for by an out-of-state union that represents hotel workers.


Anonymous said...

I'm no fan of the Dems but Keller has got to go. I hope the voters in his district wise up

Anonymous said...

Keller votes with the Dems most of the time......I am surprised that the repubs let him run this is a 60%+ Demo district and it would take a miracle for him to win....but it could happen

Anonymous said...

Well, Gary, methinks he doth proteseth too much. I'd likely vote for him if he wer ein my district for one reason only: there are too many Maherns in public service now.

But Mr. Keller once ran an apartment company. He stiffed lots of contractors and vendors when he went under. He was accused of mingling funds then.

Couldn't he repay the loan Wednesday? That would've eliminated any appearance of nonsense.

And don't forget who's running his campaign.

Anonymous said...

Scott came over to the Ballard supports on Saturday morning across from Dem HQ, I wanted to ask him if made a mistake, wasn't he supposed to be on the other side?

Anonymous said...

Who is his campaign manager??? Didn't he leave the country for several years until the heat was off of his business deals??

Anonymous said...

really doesn't matter who wins this one. a RINO versus yet another mahern. lose lose proposition.

can anyone confirm the blog universe rumor that keller is switching parties if he wins anyway?

Gary R. Welsh said...

anon 7:26, Keller denied the party-switching rumor when I asked him about it earlier this year.

Anonymous said...

Keller has nobody to blame for this mess other than himself. He let Peterson and the Democrats play him like a fiddle and now they're repaying him with a drive-by shooting.

Anonymous said...

Dane and Brian are cousins, not brothers...

Gary R. Welsh said...

Thanks, 7:39. There are so many of them it's hard to keep them all straight (no pun intended).

Anonymous said...

Sounds like Keller is starting to reap what he has been sowing. Too bad there's not a better choice on either side in that race.

Anonymous said...

There currently is only one Mahern holding make it sound like the entire family holds some elective office

Anonymous said...

Well Scott, looks like the worm's turned.
Play with fire and you get burned sooner or later.
I'm sure losing that $16 grand a year salary from being a CCC member will hit your wallet real hard. Good! You've cause my wallet to get hit too!
Good riddance

Anonymous said...

There was a Mahern in the state legislature. And he's a lobbyist still lurking in the shadows at the Statehouse.

Another Mahern is chairman of the library board.

Another Mahern, by all accounts the least-intellegent, is a city employee and on the council.

Yet another is running for another seat on the council.

You can't tell your Maherns without a program.

And here's the common thread: they're out for themselves. Except maybe Dane--becaus,e hoenstly, he can't find the City-County Building mensroom without assistance. Don't believe me? Watch Ch. 16.

He and Giny Cain and Lincoln Plowman are intellectual equals.


Sir Hailstone said...

"There currently is only one Mahern holding make it sound like the entire family holds some elective office"

Dane - CCC District 19
Louie - Former State Senator now on IMCPL Board
Brian - Candidate for District 16

Ed - Former House 97 Rep turned Lobbyist

That's what I call a VERY active political family.

Gary R. Welsh said...

"Except maybe Dane--becaus,e hoenstly, he can't find the City-County Building mensroom without assistance. Don't believe me? Watch Ch. 16."

That's an unfair criticism of Dane. I've met him and had a lengthy conversation with him. I found him to be very well-informed and thoughtful regardless of whether you agree with his politics.

Anonymous said...

There is nothing wrong with having a politically active family but my original statement stands...There is only one Mahern holding elective office now. After the election it may be that there is still only one Mahern...just a different one........