Things Are Starting to Heat Up

By Max Resnik

August 31, 2011 Updated Aug 31, 2011 at 6:27 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – With two full months before the November election in the City of Fort Wayne, things are starting to heat up as the Henry For Mayor campaign releases an ad focused on Paula Hughes’ voting record.

The television advertisement begins with the phrase, “Every year for 10 years straight Paula Hughes wanted to do one thing: raise our taxes.” It is an ad that Allen County Republican Chair Steve Shine refers to as attack ad and also calls it one of desperation.

"Those kinds of ads indicate to me that Tom Henry is both concerned about his standing in the polls as well as running scared as to what may happen this November."

To Kevin Knuth, Allen County Democratic Party Spokesman, he says Hughes is familiar with attack ads. He points to when she mailed so called attack advertisements during the primary season about both Mayor Tom Henry and Republican Primary challenger Liz Brown. Knuth says the ad questioning Hughes’ voting record simply points out the truth.

“For 10 years, she tried to raise taxes, and in seven years, voted to raise taxes in Allen County. She’s not the person she pretends to be.”

Hughes signed a pledge to not raise taxes on Fort Wayne residents in January.

Andy Downs with the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics says Shine’s thinking might be right. Downs says it is peculiar as to why an incumbent would be the first to release an ad that attacks his opponent’s record. Downs says there is another possibility. He says the Henry camp could see an opportunity to take out Hughes’ foundation.

"She has been talking about her fiscal responsibility, her ability to manage things well and that is the pillar of her campaign. If they could cut that out now, she would then have to rework her campaign entirely.”

Another difference between the campaigns as of late is the presence of support from figures recognized both statewide and nationwide. This week, Hughes has already played host to Rep. Mike Pence and will play host to Lt. Governor Becky Skillman tomorrow. Shine says Pence and Skillman are excited for Hughes.

“I think it’s indicative when someone has a great chance of becoming a mayor or any elected office, that support comes from other elected officials. They want to show their support in what will be a winning campaign. It’s not unusual.”

Knuth does not agree. He says Hughes is hurting for cash.

“Paula does not have support. She’s trying to bring in the big wigs. She also cannot afford to be on air with commercials. This is a way for her to get free media.”

Both camps do agree that things are just starting to heat in the race for the mayor’s seat. They also both remain very confident that their candidate will win in November.

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