Does Stutzman Campaign Event At TinCaps Game Cross Line To "Buying" Votes?

By Scott Sarvay
By Jeff Neumeyer

June 18, 2010 Updated May 28, 2010 at 5:42 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, IN (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- The 12 republican candidates seeking to be nominated for Mark Souder's vacated seat in Congress are fighting for supporters in an upcoming caucus.

State Senator Marlin Stutzman hopes a mix of baseball and politics will win him votes with precinct committeemen and women making the decision.

Stutzman has mailed out copies of a flyer, inviting precinct committee people from the Third Congressional District and their families to a TinCaps game next week, hoping his generosity will translate into influence.

It’s not clear if the mailing was sent to some or all of the roughly 520-precinct committee people from the district.

Stutzman says he will pick up the tab to a special pre-game cookout and to the TinCaps home game on June 4th.

The message reads, “ Come out and meet Marlin and share your thoughts, but most importantly, have a free night of fun with your family and fellow Republican Committeemen!”

One precinct committeeman we talked to shared his reaction to the mailing.

John McGauley/Republican Precinct Committeeman: " Wow, you know, that was my initial reaction to it. This is somebody who's definitely going all "in", you only get so many shots at elected office."

Andy Downs/Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics: " Unfortunately, we're talking about a really small number of voters here, 520 total voters, so you know, if you upset three or four voters, who feel it’s an attempt to ‘buy’ their vote, those three or four could make a big difference."

Downs emphasizes he checked with representatives of the Federal Election Commission, and was told that the offer is not illegal.

Phone calls left with the “Stutzman for Congress” campaign were not returned on Friday.

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