Car Dealer Set To Give Souder Run For His Money In 3rd District Race

By Jeff Neumeyer

June 18, 2010 Updated Feb 17, 2010 at 6:57 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, IN (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- Successful car dealer Bob Thomas is set on making a career change; evident by the fact he has officially challenged Mark Souder for his seat in Congress in the GOP Primary.

Thomas has no real background in politics, but he has connections and lots of money to spend leading up to May 4th.

Thomas owns Dimension Ford and Lincoln-Mercury dealerships in Fort Wayne, a total of three businesses.

His is a face that television viewers in this area will recognize, since for years he has appeared in ads for the dealerships.

Thomas says Souder has overstayed his welcome in Washington, referring to his original promise to serve a maximum of six two-year terms.

Souder is seeking re-election to a ninth term.

Thomas says it's time we threw out career politicians.

Bob Thomas/(R) 3rd District Congressional Candidate: " It’s time we got some business people and ordinary citizens in there, who understand what's going on out here, and how to make a payroll and what it means when your employees have a hard time getting health insurance or get sick. It's just that simple."

Steve Shine/Allen GOP Chairman: " His own money, coupled with his network of associations with car dealers across the state add a different dynamic to this race. He has the ability to raise much greater funds than those lesser known candidates."

Phil Troyer and Chuck Newman are also running in the republican primary.

Thomas, who has a degree from Princeton and an MBA from Harvard, claims he has paid several hundred million dollars in wages in support of his Fort Wayne dealerships.

He says he will spend whatever it takes to try and defeat Souder.

His residency is sure to become an issue in the campaign.

Thomas also owns a Ford dealership in Indianapolis.

He lives in Indy and has since the mid-1980’s.

Thomas says he will be taking up residence in the 3rd Congressional District in the next week or so.

Last week, WTHR-TV in Indianapolis reported that Thomas was set to make a run at Evan Bayh’s U.S. Senate seat.

In that article, Thomas took a shot at GOP front-runner Dan Coats’ long-time residency on the east coast, saying he thinks it’s important someone who lives in the state represents Indiana.

Expect Souder to raise questions about the place Thomas has called home as the primary contest heats up.

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