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May 18, 2021

6/29/2009
Oligarchies Rule!
There's abundant speculation that the crowded primary field challenging Dan Burton in Indiana's 5th District will probably result in "Cantaloupe Danny" retaining his congressional seat in 2010.

At least one of the four challengers, Brose McVey, recently tried to remedy the situation.

McVey, a former congressional candidate, called on the other three candidates, State Representative Mike Murphy, former State Representative Luke Messer and 2008 Burton challenger John McGoff, to join him in an agreement that would see all but the strongest candidate leave the race by February 1, 2010. Three months prior to the May primary.

"It's very certain we'll have a well-funded, quality candidate whether it's me or someone else," said McVey.

Unfortunately for McVey, his opponents, including McGoff, who held Burton to 52 percent of the vote last year, don't seem to be on board.

John McGoff rejected the idea, saying the voters should decide.

"I mean, I would certainly be happy to go to the forums but I will not take part in any backroom politics. I think that's what people are tired of is politics as usual," said McGoff.

Candidate Mike Murphy also rejected the idea.

Luke Messer didn't even offer a response. He declined comment through a spokesperson at the time.

However, Messer's campaign is currently distancing itself from a memo sent out by its campaign co-chairman, P.E. MacCallister.

MacCallister e-mailed a counter-proposal that called for a selection process designed to narrow the four-man field running against Burton. It's a plan similar to the one suggested by McVey.

"Let all four challengers do their best to line up support, but by the end of the year, say by Christmas time, allow a panel of 25 party elders, respected figures, influential people, major donors, judicious folks from the district, determine which of the four is the best candidate," the e-mail reads.

Now, a Messer spokesperson says the MacAllister e-mail was not authorized.

Of course, Messer is considered by many to be the ultimate party insider in the crowded Republican primary, so he would be the major beneficiary of such a plan.

For some reason, I'm reminded of a Michael Douglas movie from the mid-1980's called The Star Chamber. It's about a group of judges who decide cases (and mete out justice) in secrecy.

So, did Messer endorse the "Star Chamber" proposal?

Just asking.

Because if he did endorse the proposal, it means that Messer has clearly embraced Shelby County's doctrine of oligarchic government.





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