Saturday, October 18, 2008

Are Marion County Democrats Pulling Another Carson?

In the 2006 elections, some of us raised the obvious questions about the obviously deteriorating condition of U.S. Rep. Julia Carson. Those concerns were brushed aside and those who raised the questions were declared "haters" and "bigots" by Carson's local supporters. We now know that Carson and her closest friends knew at the time she was dying of terminal cancer and would likely be unable to live out her term. Also, constituents of Sen. Glenn Howard have been without a legislator for more than a year as his health declined and he missed this year's entire legislative session. His family has shared little information with the public and no resignation was pressured despite his inability to perform his elected office. Some people are beginning to ask similar questions about the health of Democrat Todd DeGroff, who is seeking to unseat Sen. Teresa Lubbers, along with Libertarian Steve Keltner, in Indianapolis' Senate District 30 on the City's northside. DeGroff has been unable to attend recent candidate events due to health problems. According to one source, DeGroff has been hospitalized with an infection. His wife has been filling in for him at campaign events. DeGroff is also said to be on a waiting list for a heart transplant as well. Perhaps our local news media should do its job and ask the tough questions they never asked of U.S. Rep. Julia Carson or Sen. Glenn Howard. Or even better, the Marion County Democrats should level with the voters of District 30.


Vox Populi said...

Does it really matter? He has no chance of winning, even if he were entirely healthy. Now if it were a close race, I might agree with you, but not in this case.

Indy4U2C said...

Think the Dems will appoint Doris Minton-McNeil to Howard's vacated position to get her off the city-county council?

Concerned Taxpayer said...

Obviously you don't understand the program...

The democrats ARE doing their job. Their job is to lie, cheat, steal, whatever it takes to win an election.

They do it for the children.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Perhaps in an ordinary election I would agree with you vox, but this isn't a usual election. Anything is possible in these volatile times.

Russell said...

If Lubbers is such a bad legislator that she gets beaten by a guy who is waiting for a heart transplant, then she must be really really bad.

Sean Shepard said...

There has been some speculation that DeGroff was asked by the Republicans (or representatives of the Lubbers camp) to run and/or stay in the race despite the health issue over fear of Keltner. My understanding is that Todd is very, very ill and possibly in need a heart transplant or something??

This is very, very fishy.

There are lots of Daniels/Keltner yards and Obama/Keltner yards. He seems to be mixing well with others.

She didn't help herself by not backing property tax repeal or by not taking a leadership role on that issue when her area was hard hit. When recently pressed about progress in the summer study group, she indicated she hadn't been paying attention or otherwise didn't have anything.

M Theory said...

Let us share some more light on the Senate District 30 Race:

Russell said...

As the campaign director for the Senate Democrats, let me set the record straight:

Yes, Todd DeGroff is currently in the hospital. I don't know why, and even if I did, it's not my place to disclose any health issues, that is the decision of him and his family.

I will tell you that the Republicans did not ask Todd to run for Senate, I personally asked him to run back in February during the candidate filing period. I thought, and still do believe, that Todd is an extremely intelligent individual who would make a great Senator.

Unfortunately, since February Todd has developed some health problems, the extent of which I do not know. All I know is that if Todd is elected on November 4th, these health conditions will not effect his ability to be in the Senate.

The Lubbers campaign has been FRANTIC all year about her having a challenger, and rightfully so. Lubbers district is not gerrymandered as much as most of the seats are, so she is vulnerable, especially considering the large Obama presence in Indiana and especially the Indianapolis area, and also considering her inaction on property taxes and that her district was ground zero for the property tax revolt. Lubbers is so worried that this summer her campaign approached DeGroff (through an intermediary) and threatened to tell everyone about his medical condition if he did any campaigning. Knowing that she was going to have a hard time villifying him for having a health problem, he told her where to stick it (more or less), and campaigned as his health allowed.

In my experience running campaigns, I can guarantee that Lubbers has done polling to see where she stands in her district. The fact that she has been campaigning so much and doing everything she can to slander both of her opponents, I think it's a very good indication of how badly her polling came back for her.

The voters will speak on November 4th and I know we all look forward to seeing the results. I hope that this clears up any confusions.

M Theory said...

Russell...please explain how DeGroff is well enough to serve in the Senate if he is not well enough to attend public forums and sends his wife in his place?

And how do you KNOW that he is healthy enough to serve in the Senate when you admitted you don't know the details about his illness.

Why would DeGroff not disclose his health condition to the electorate he asks to serve?

Don't we the voters have a right to know about the physical fitness of a candidate?

This is extremely troubling.

Russell said...

Let's boil it down to this:

The HFFT people all think that if DeGroff were out of the race then Keltner would win the seat, which is why all of you are so frantic about DeGroff's condition.


Yell and Scream all you want but all that having Keltner in the race does is guarantee Lubbers an easy victory by splitting the anti-Lubbers vote. It's the same thing I told one of Keltner's people this summer when they wanted me to convince Todd to drop out. A third party isn't going to benefit from an anti-incumbent vote.

M Theory said...


It is troubling that the campaign director of the democrat senate would ATTACK voters instead of answering important questions raised by them regarding the health of a candidate seeking to hold elected office, especially when that candidate is not well enough just days before the election to speak at public appearances.

I'll repeat the questions I previously asked about the candidacy of Todd DeGroff:

Please explain how DeGroff is well enough to serve in the Senate if he is not well enough to attend public forums and sends his wife in his place?

How do you KNOW that he is healthy enough to serve in the Senate when you admitted you don't know the details about his illness.

Why would DeGroff not disclose his health condition to the electorate he asks to serve?

Do not we voters have a right to know about the physical fitness of a candidate?

Since you direct the candidacies of the democrats seeking state senate seats, and the candidate in district 30 is too ill to speak to the public, you do owe it to the public to answer these questions and not attack us for asking.

Russell said...

Well, the answer is this: I don't know why Todd is in the hospital right now, we've heard different stories ranging from an infection to a transplant. However, I do know what his overall health condition is and I have every confidence that it would not stop him from being able to serve in the Senate if elected.

If Todd had a health condition that would prevent him from holding office if elected, then I would strongly encourage him to let the electorate know about it. However, even with my encouragement it would remain a suggestion as it is his health and therefore no ones business but his.

Todd's physical wellbeing has absolutely nothing to do with him being elected, his mental capacity does. We hire leaders for their intellectual capacities, not their physical capacaties, and since his mental state isn't at question here, then there is nothing to answer.

Finally, the short answer is no, the public doesn't have a right to know about a candidate's health. Each person has one vote. If you worry about someone's health and think it could keep them from serving effectively, then don't vote for them. The idea that you will always know every single item of each candidates life is laughable, and each of us has to vote based on what we know, whether we know everything or not. If it were our prerogative, then I'd have plenty of questions for both Lubbers and Keltner before I decided who I was voting for. They would not be pleasant questions and they would border on TMI, but it's something I'd like to know. I don't get to know though, so I go to the voting booth with what I do know.

HFFT, don't become a pawn in this game. A fellow gay Republican of Gary's acquaintance on Lubbers campaign undoubtedly fed this info to Gary because they haven't been able to find a way to slander DeGroff with this info without looking like the bad guy. In your zeal to have some hope of getting Keltner elected you took the bait and played right into it. Instead of focusing on DeGroff, keep telling the voters of SD 30 why Lubbers has done such a horrible job.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Russell, "no gay Republican" working for Lubbers, as you suggest, has contacted me. Are there any gay Republicans working for her? I can assure you that nobody working on behalf of Lubbers has brought this issue to my attention. You know as well as I do that the average voter knows very little about the state legislative candidates on the ballot in urban areas. If DeGroff's health issues will prevent him from performing the duties of the office if he is elected, then the voters are entitled to full disclosure. This post is about that and nothing more.

M Theory said...

Russell...since you publicly indicated in this forum that you indeed serve in a public capacity as "director" of the democrats' senate candidates, please disclose your first and last name.

And while I do wish Todd DeGroff the best with his recovery, this IS very much an issue that the electorate has the right to know about.

If I were running for office and in the hospital, you don't think for a second that people would be asking questions? We have every right to know everything about the candidates that are running for public office.

If he is not well enough to talk directly with the electorate, we have every reason to believe he likely is not well enough to serve us in the general assembly, just as he is not well enough to serve us by answering questions BEFORE the election.

And that you state that you have every confidence he will be able to serve the electorate, while knowing nothing of the details of his illness, doesn't add up.

The very best response you could give to the public is to acknowledge our concerns and then indicate that you are going to find out more and follow up with us. Your attitude leads me to believe that your interest lies in serving party before country. And THAT is quite troubling.

The worst response you could give is to attack the voters for posing valid questions.

Russell said...


Seeing as how I have given you my title, employer, and first name, if you aren't able to find out my first and last name on your own, then you need lots of help.

Regardless of what you feel you have a "right" to know about Mr. DeGroff, it is still not my place to give you the details of his condition.

Knowing what I do know about his condition, I am confident that he would be a tremendous asset to the Indiana Senate if he were elected and would be able to serve as a Senator. I don't really care if you like that answer or not. It is based on my opinion of what I know about the situation. If you take what you know about the situation and form a different opinion, then you are certainly entitled to.

The fact of the matter is that you are not and were not going to vote for DeGroff regardless. You aren't seeking the information on Mr. DeGroff because you would like to vote for him, you are seeking the information on Mr. DeGroff so that you can convince others not to vote for him.

If you want an answer to Mr. DeGroff's condition, you must receive it from him. If you are unable to contact him, then you must go into the voting booth with the information that you have on all three of the candidates and make your decision based on that. If I were Mr. DeGroff and having health issues, my first concern would be making sure that I get better so that I can return to being a loving husband and father. The last thing on my mind would be making sure that you knew what was going on in my life.

M Theory said...

Over on HFFT, your responses here were covered as well as a link to the condescending comments you made to me, a citizen and taxpayer seeking information.

And you are right about the fact that I am never going to vote for Todd DeGroff. I am also not going to vote for Steve Keltner either. And there is zero chance I will be voting for Teresa Lubbers. You see, I don't live in District 30.

My Senator is one I cannot contact to air my concerns because he is another democrat that is too ill to serve. My Senator is Glen Howard.

Many HFFT readers do live in District 30. And since I led the property tax protests in Meridian Kessler in 2007, I feel a special duty to my neighbors to keep them informed. And when a candidates who could potentially be legislating their taxation is too ill to talk with them, I feel a big responsibility to document it.

I'm in this for no other reason than I want accountable, efficient government that abides by the Constitution. HFFT has endorsed democrats, republicans, and libertarians.

And your assumption about this story being leaked to Gary by a "gay republican" was also wrong.

You see, I called Gary last week and asked him if he was hearing what I was hearing about Todd DeGroff and asked if he would look into it further for the people in district 30.

Gary confirmed what I was hearing and you were helpful in that you confirmed that Mr. DeGroff is indeed likely awaiting an organ transplant.

Thank you.

And here's the link on HFFT that I wrote late last night confirming all you said to me, Mr. Russell Bennett