By BRIAN A. HOWEY
Ind. - Fort Wayne City Councilman Mitch Harper commenced his Republican
mayoral campaign on Friday morning by literally running into the
clerk’s office to file. Harper began his challenge to two-term
Democratic Mayor Tom Henry by jogging and a few determined supporters
made the approximately 10-mile run from his home on the southwest side
to the Allen County Election Board to officially file his paperwork
early this morning in frigid temperatures.
“We thought is was a
great way to start the campaign with the energy that is going to carry
us through to May and beyond,” said Harper. Harper later held a
press conference at the Allen County Republican Headquarters to
officially announce his campaign for mayor in front of friends,
supporters and members of the media. “As our next mayor, I will
listen to citizens; leading is serving and serving is listening,” said
Harper, a former member of the Indiana House.
In Henry, the
councilman faces a popular mayor who has presided over an economic
uptick in the state’s second largest city, as well as a drop in the
homicide rate. Since
Republican Mayor Paul Helmke pushed through an extensive annexation
program in the early 1990s that was supposed to have made Fort Wayne a
Republican city, Henry and Democratic predecessor Graham Richard have
held the office for four terms.