Learning From Past Mistakes: Local GOP Leader Calls For Unity To Help Win Back Mayor's Office

By Scott Sarvay
By Jeff Neumeyer

January 10, 2011 Updated Jan 10, 2011 at 6:51 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, IN (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- Work hard, but play nice.

Those marching orders were delivered to the three republican candidates running for Mayor of Fort Wayne.

Those orders came in a letter sent by the party's boss.

Allen County Republican Party Chairman Steve Shine has tasted defeat three times in a row in the Fort Wayne Mayor's race, and he thinks republicans in each case were their own worst enemy.

Last week, Shine took steps to try and make sure history doesn't repeat itself.

He sent out a letter to the three announced GOP mayoral candidates, calling for the losers in the primary to support whomever emerges as the winner come November.

In 2007, Republican Mayoral nominee Matt Kelty was hit with felony indictments after the primary, prompting several key republicans to publicly back Democrat Tom Henry in the general election that fall.

Shine is convinced republicans are primed to take back the mayor's office this time.

Steve Shine/Allen County Republican Chairman: " Perhaps one of the few obstacles in the way of that path would be discord, disrespect and disunity among the nominees, potential nominees, for the mayor's race and I wanted to do everything possible to avoid the mistakes that we have made in the past."

Shine says former Allen County Councilwoman Paula Hughes, City Councilwoman At-Large Liz Brown, and political newcomer Eric Doden each agreed to do what Shine has asked.

Linda Buskirk topped Joe Squadrito in a divisive GOP mayoral primary back in 1999, and Buskirk lost in the fall to Graham Richard, so this year is about wiping out the ghosts of elections past.

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