Buyer Exit Opens Skillman Exit Strategy and Roswarski Opportunity

In a season that makes you think that just about every Republican is gonna run for everything, the departure of Fourth District Republican Congressman Steve Buyer from the ballot both surprises and soon will likely support that notion.


Lafayette’s WLFI Channel 18 reports:

Indiana Congressman Steve Buyer (R-4th District) announced he will not seek reelection during a news conference Friday morning.

The news conference began at 11:00 a.m. at the IU Medical Center in Indianpolis. Buyer was joined by several family members, including his wife, Joni.

Buyer appeared emotional at the conference, wiping tears from his eyes and speaking with a voice that frequently shook. He announced his retirement from the army reserves and said he would not seek reelection after the conclusion of his term.

Buyer said that his motivation for these decisions was his wife’s health. He said doctors said his wife was suffering from an incurable autoimmune disease.

Buyer has represented Lafayette in the US House since 1992, when he upset Democrat Jim Jontz. He represents the court district, which stretches through a line of counties from Monticello through Lafayette to Bedford. It skirts the west side of Indianapolis.

In 1998, Buyer served as a prosecutor in President Clinton’s impeachment hearings. He serves on the committee on Veterans Affairs, and the committee on Energy and Commerce.

Buyer’s scholarship foundation, the Frontier Foundation, recently became the focus of a CBS investigation . He did not mention the Frontier Foundation during his Friday announcement.

Buyer made changes to they way the foundation ran in August when questions were first raised about the fund, moving it out of his campaign offices in Monticello.

Buyer’s announcement comes as the deadline for other candidates to file draws near.

Tippecanoe County Republican Mark Davis said he believes it is likely that State Senator Brandt Hershman will run for the office. Davis said it would be good to have someone from Tippecanoe County, who is familiar with Purdue, in the position.

We won’t question Buyer’s reasons even coming on the tail end of what was likely a not quite over Front Foundation scandal. Rather we will wish his wife Joni the best of health and turn our sites (grammatical blogger joke) to what happens now.

While the name most spoken of on the Republican side for taking up the Republican banner is State Senator Brandt Hershman it has been speculated that Lieutenant Governor Becky Skillman may well push her way in.

"So you're on TV?"

Skillman is to some keen observers in a bit of a pickle. Most believe she has readied herself since even before her ascension to the LG post for a run for Governor post Daniels. But the overwhelming support for her as that logical next step has never made itself apparent.

Tepid support has Republican speculation including SOS Todd Rokita, who lives in Buyer’s district and is likewise stepping up his efforts to speculate himself into the fourth district seat, State Republican Chairman Murray Clark and most recently Sixth District District Congressman Mike Pence considering stepping into the gubernatorial arena, when they aren’t dabbling with the difficult prospect of challenging Senator Evan Bayh.

"What am I running for? What have you got?"

So, as a savvy political friend of ALO put it this morning, “Maybe this is Becky’s exit strategy?” Her hometown is Bedford, so key to the district that Buyer has a satellite office there. Though her power as a statewide candidate is in question, a sitting Lieutenant Governor with $135,000 in her committee may not be distinguishing herself as a gubernatorial candidate, but those funds make a decent starter fund for a congressional bid, even if using them for a federal run is tricky.

All we are saying is that she’d be kind of silly to not look at it if she aspires to a career after her LG stint.

Among Dems certainly one has to wonder about Nels Ackerson who ran against Buyer in 2008. ALO spoke with Ackerson today to ask his thoughts and would he consider another run.

“I’ve said before that I won’t be a candidate,” and he went on to reaffirm that citing personal family and professional obligations that preclude such a run now. But he offers these thoughts:

It was recently ranked the 25th most Republican district but I don’t think that makes it unwinnable, but there are some difficulties. It sits amid multiple media markets and the predominate one, the Indianapolis market, virtually ignores the race, making it difficult. I have prior to this been contacted by several people who were looking at the race, including the one declared candidate David Sanders (2006 Democratic nominee).

Some active Democrats have thrown out the name of the very popular Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski. No word from Roswarski, but he is certainly an attractive candidate for several reasons. His 20-plus-year law enforcement career and impeccably run campaigns make him interesting for those who are looking for a Democrat with crossover appeal.

His tenure in Lafayette city council and as a two-term mayor have been marked by the ability to work with both sides of the aisle amicably, again appealing for crossover but also creating an immediate campaign slogan: experience in overcoming gridlock to do what’s right.

An additional plus to a Roswarski candidacy, he sits on a pretty healthy war chest right now too. Speaking of healthy, when asked to participate in a wellness program for the city, the mayor felt it was his duty to drop some weight and has lost at least fifty pounds. The man is a lean mean winning machine!

All this is the immediate discussion and we are certain that our fellow bloggers are picking it apart to finer details, but we feel that the most important folks to watch right now are those who, thanks to the late date of Buyer’s announcement, even later than Brizzi’s, are up against it to launch fast and win what at least on the Republican side, is likely to be a multi-headed hydra of a primary fight.


One response to “Buyer Exit Opens Skillman Exit Strategy and Roswarski Opportunity

  1. As always, a very interesting article.

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