Thursday, July 30, 2015

Schellinger Named Head of IEDC by Pence

Jim Schellinger
Wednesday was a very good day for former Democratic candidate for Governor, Jim Schellinger, and some would argue a very bad day for John Gregg and the Indiana Democratic Party.  

Schellinger, an Indianapolis-based architect and successful CEO, was named President of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation.  He will start in September.

The kicker on all of this was that it wasn't some quirk in state government that allowed a Democrat to appoint Schellinger, it was Republican Governor Mike Pence that named the 2008 gubernatorial candidate to the position at the IEDC.

Schellinger raised a lot of money for the 2008 run against then-Governor Mitch Daniels and was seen for a long time as the shoo-in front runner.  The polls tightened, and, when the votes were counted, Schellinger had lost to former U.S. Congresswoman Jill Long Thompson.  

While Schellinger later endorsed Long Thompson, he did not quickly embrace her as the Democratic nominee after the bitter primary fight.  Long Thompson's campaign never recovered from the battle, and, fighting financial woes, it limped a landslide loss to Daniels despite Barack Obama having won the state by a couple thousand votes over John McCain.

Schellinger returned to his job in the business world at CSO Architects and in 2012 donated some $75K to Gregg's efforts to keep Pence out of the Statehouse.  Schellinger's move, according to the Star, has some Democrats thinking that this will keep him out of the 2016 race between Pence and likely John Gregg for Governor as a fundraiser.  

That's key for Pence.

This likely also ends any future runs for Schellinger for statewide public office.  Democrats will see him as Mike Pence's guy. 

It's a win for Mike Pence, though.  By nominating a prominent Democrat, it means he can argue that he's reached across the aisle to appoint a guy that's spent a ton of money against him to such an important position for the State of Indiana.

We'll see how this all works out.


Anonymous said...

This is a stupid idea on Pence's part. Schellinger will use his position to undermine Pence. Also this move will undermine Pence's support among many Hoosier Republicans. Plus there is still nothing to stop Schellinger from funneling money to Gregg!

Anonymous said...

Smart choice. The Tea Party base hates economic development. If Jim screws up (and to the base, just showing up for work is a screw up) it's a Democratic problem. If wonderful things happen, it's Mike's wonderful thing...

Anonymous said...

Worth noting Schellinger gave Pence $15,000 last year ($10k from him, $5k from his wife)

Anonymous said...

Schellinger also contributed $15,000 to Mike Pence's campaign last year. Why would the head of the Democratic Party's Victory Fund, ostensibly among the Party's loyal AND leadership (given the position), make such a contribution in the first place? And why would someone in such a leadership position accept an offer to serve in the cabinet of a Republican governor, particularly one who has shown himself to be clearly in opposition to Democratic Party values. As a Democrat, I'm more interested in understanding or getting an explanation about who's managing the Indiana Democratic Party (and money) than what this strategic move does for Mike Pence. I think this speaks volumes about state party leadership. It's very suspect to me.