Posts Tagged ‘Tony Zirkle’

Puckett wins; Zirkle gets thousands of votes

May 7, 2008

It will be interesting to see how many thousands of Democratic voters chose not to cast vote for incumbent Rep. Joe Donnelly who ran unopposed for the Democratic nomination. Certainly, some of this “under vote” can be attributed to Limbaugh’s “Operation:Chaos” that had Republicans voting in the Democratic Primary for Hillary Clinton in order to prolong the Dems’ nomination process and, at least theoretically, damage the party’s chances of winning the White House in November.

However, it is reasonable to consider the possibility that many Democratic voters just couldn’t bring themselves to vote for Donnelly who has disappointed so many with his voting record that has undermined his party’s ability to move forward with vital legislative action on issues ranging from the War in Iraq to comprehensive immigration reform.



(The following comes from the South Bend Tribune)

Puckett to face Donnelly in November
GOP nominee criticizes incumbent during acceptance speech

Tribune Staff Writer

This story was originally posted at 10:11 p.m. on May 6, 2008.
SOUTH BEND — Luke Puckett will try to unseat U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly in the fall after sailing to an easy victory in Tuesday’s Republican Congressional primary.

With 83 percent of precincts reporting, Puckett had secured 48 percent of the vote. Culver resident Joseph Roush earned 36 percent of the Republican vote, and South Bend attorney Tony Zirkle brought in 16 percent.

Puckett focused on Donnelly, D-Granger, during both his campaign and his acceptance speech Tuesday night, criticizing the first-term congressman and the Washington establishment.

“What our current leadership in Washington lacks is the vision, the courage and the leadership to demand common-sense solutions to the challenges facing us today,” said Puckett, a Goshen businessman.

He focused a large portion of his remarks on Donnelly’s efforts to lower the price of gasoline.

Donnelly has called on the Bush administration to release 20 million barrels of oil from the country’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

Puckett calls it “a one-day solution,” but Donnelly said Puckett isn’t focusing only on the release of 20 million barrels from the reserve.

Donnelly is co-sponsor of a bill that would stop the purchase of oil for the reserve, which would increase the supply on the market, he says. He’s also calling on the Federal Trade Commission to crack down on price gouging at gas stations.

“There’s short-term things we can work on and long-term things we can work on,” Donnelly said by phone from his Washington, D.C., office Tuesday night. “Apparently Mr. Puckett forgot to mention those things.”

South Bend attorney Tony Zirkle issued a concession statement on his Web site, saying he had trouble getting his message out but now he can enjoy his summer.

It included links to videos on the Web site YouTube, including one of Elvis Presley singing “The Impossible Dream” from the musical “Man of La Mancha.”

Joseph Roush could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday night.


It’s Primary Election Day!

May 6, 2008

Advance Indiana suggests Clinton will carry Indiana’s 2nd District.


The South Bend Tribune reports on 2nd District candidates’ fundraising status:

Donnelly has fundraising advantage
Puckett only Republican to receive contributions so far.

Tribune Staff Writer

U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly leads his Republican challengers in the fundraising game — something that will change soon, said a spokesman for Donnelly’s likely fall opponent.

Donnelly, D-Granger, had $849,812.30 on hand as of April 16, according to a report from the Federal Election Commission.

Luke Puckett, the party-backed Republican who is one of three people seeking that party’s nomination, had $155,266.65 on hand as of April 16.

But if you’re looking for a barometer of support (or a sign of momentum), check out the net contributions received by each since the beginning of the year.

Puckett, who didn’t start fundraising until mid-February, received $33,000 from about 20 donors.”It’s a little bit lower than what we hoped for,” said Kyle Bailey, Puckett’s campaign manager. “But not surprising, just because of, honestly, the lack of attention the congressional race is getting right now.”

Most of the campaign money comes from $150,000 Puckett loaned to his own campaign, said Kyle Bailey, Puckett’s campaign manager.

“This is nothing new,” Bailey said. “He felt he wanted to be more invested in his own campaign before he went out and asked anyone else to invest in it.”Donnelly, on the other hand, records $223,558.28 in donations from Jan. 1 to April 16, from hundreds of donors.

It’s a sign of the incumbent’s momentum, campaign manager Andrew Lattanner said.

“We’re going to have the resources we need, and more importantly, the record we need to run a strong campaign,” Lattanner said.Puckett’s numbers are lackluster despite the fact that he’s the party-backed candidate, Lattanner said.

“(Puckett’s) demonstrated that he’s not able to raise the kind of money it takes to compete in this district,” he said. “You combine that with the fact that he’s running against a moderate Democrat who has the resources and the record — it puts him in a tough position.”

But Bailey, of Puckett’s campaign, said the numbers will change soon. Puckett just started appearing on TV news broadcasts and has bought some television commercials.

“You would not believe the amount of calls our office is getting,” Bailey said. “Our fund-raising operation is really getting up and going now.”

On their ownBoth Tony Zirkle and Joe Roush, the two Republicans who will face Puckett for the GOP nomination for Congress, are self-funded and don’t have reports on file with the FEC.

Candidates are required to report contributions when their total receipts exceed $5,000.

“We haven’t broken the $200 limit,” Roush said.

Roush, who said he’s trying to put a poor man — himself — in Congress, hasn’t had a lot of expenses.

“Other than paying for a little bit of gasoline to run around, I’ve printed up 5,000 business cards that have information on both sides of them that cost about $157,” Roush said. “That’s it.”Zirkle just shelled out $14,701 of his own money for a television commercial airing on Fox News Channel, CNN and WNDU-TV.

“It wiped me out for a couple of days,” Zirkle said in a statement. “If I have a good work week, I’ll add channels 22 and 28; however, I’m a bit busy right now.”

Zirkle doesn’t accept contributions to his campaign. Without donors to please, he’s more free to speak his mind on controversial issues, he said.

“On the other hand, honestly, it’s probably better for me if I don’t accept them,” he said. “Because if I only raise $100 or $200, then the other guy gets $600,000, it looks like I don’t have any support. That’s really the honest answer.”

2nd District GOP challenger addresses Nazi gathering

April 21, 2008

From the South Bend Tribune:

SOUTH BEND – Tony Zirkle, Republican candidate for 2nd District congressman, said he is willing to talk to any group that invites him, and that’s why he addressed a weekend gathering in Chicago of the American National Socialist Workers Party.

The occasion was a celebration of the 119th anniversary of the birth of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.

Zirkle scheduled a news conference for this afternoon to discuss his appearance at the event. He said this morning he agreed to address the group because of its concern about the prostitution of young white women.

According to, an ANSWP Web site, “Zirkle spoke on his history as a state’s attorney in Indiana, prosecuting Jewish and Zionist criminal gangs involved in trafficking prostitutes and pornography from Russia and the Zionist entity.”

“I cannot believe that in 2008 anyone could think so backwards,” Luke Puckett, another GOP candidate for 2nd District congressman, said in reaction to Zirkle’s comment.

His latest comments are not the first time Zirkle has generated controversy on issues of race. In an interview in early March with the Kokomo Perspective, Zirkle suggested segregating African-Americans in separate states is an issue that deserves to be debated.

GOP admits lack of credible challenger to Donnelly

March 17, 2008

(from the Washington Post)

In the House, Republicans have largely failed to recruit credible candidates for the swing-district seat of retiring Rep. Jerry Weller (R-Ill.) or to challenge several Democratic freshmen who took GOP seats in 2006. They include Zack Space of Ohio, Joe Courtney of Connecticut, Chris Carney and Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania, John Hall of New York, Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Heath Shuler of North Carolina.

“We’ve had a difficult time with candidate recruitment this entire cycle,” said Neil Newhouse, a GOP pollster who works closely with congressional Republicans. discussion on 2nd District race

March 10, 2008

Puckett says no to debate suggestion

March 8, 2008

(Article published Mar 8, 2008 in the South Bend Tribune)

Luke Puckett has told Tony Zirkle he has no interest in debating.
Both men are Republican candidates in the 2nd Congressional District, currently represented by Democrat Joe Donnelly of Granger.Puckett, of Goshen, has the support of the local Republican Party, while party officials have tried to distance themselves from Zirkle, who has suggested segregation of the races needs to be discussed.

“What’s your campaign’s position on debates?” Zirkle, a South Bend attorney, asked in an e-mail to the Puckett campaign. “I can probably be available any night except Friday night for a debate in any of the 12” of the 2nd Congressional District.

Kyle Bailey, campaign manager for Puckett, responded, “Due to your outrageous and hurtful comments toward African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Americans of all cultures, we decline any debates.”

The Puckett campaign would prefer to concentrate on a positive vision for the future, Bailey said

More ridiculousness from Puckett and Zirkle

March 6, 2008

[Wow, what else is there to say but wow. – DW]

Article published Mar 6, 2008
Congressional contender critical of energy policy
Puckett chides Donnelly, supports drilling for oil in Arctic preserve.

Tribune Staff Writer

SOUTH BEND — Congressional candidate Luke Puckett says the United States needs to tap into domestic oil reserves, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, in order to reduce its dependence on foreign oil.

Puckett, a Republican from Goshen, had a news conference Wednesday at a South Bend filling station to respond to a radio address given Saturday by incumbent U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-2nd, of Granger.

During his five-minute address, Donnelly talked about the rising cost of fuel and energy and what can be done about it.

Donnelly mentioned that the House on Feb. 26 passed the Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act, which he said would repeal a number of tax subsidies for the big oil companies and “reinvest that $18 billion into providing incentives for the use and production of renewable energy.”

The problem, according to Puckett, is that the bill would not produce any energy, would not reduce the cost of a barrel of oil, and would not lower the cost of gasoline at the pump.Instead, Puckett said, it would provide tax credits for energy sources that do not exist, such as plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and production of cellulosic alcohol fuel.

Donnelly also talked about investing billions of dollars in clean renewable energy to produce electricity, including wind, solar, biomass and hydropower. Other financial incentives would be offered to help electric cooperatives use renewable fuels, and to help promote “green” industries.

Puckett agreed, but said the Democratic plan is flawed.

He called on Donnelly instead to support the bipartisan American Made Energy Act, which has provisions for nuclear and solar power, renewable energy and biofuels.

The act would “unlock billions of barrels of oil in Alaska,” Puckett said.He chided Donnelly and others in Congress for opposing oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

“We have not built a new oil refinery in the United States since the ’70s,” Puckett said. “We have oil just waiting to be refined in ANWR, but the Democrats and environmental alarmists will not let us touch it.”

Donnelly voted last June to prohibit energy exploration at various sites, but Puckett said he disagrees.

“I say, ‘Let’s go get it,'” he said.


Article published Mar 6, 2008
GOP head distances from Zirkle
Suggestion that U.S. should debate segregation by race termed ‘asinine.’

Tribune Staff Writer

The Republican Party chairman for St. Joseph County sharply denounced Tony Zirkle’s suggestion that the United States should debate segregating by race.

Zirkle is one of four people seeking the Republican nomination as the 2nd District U.S. representative. In a story in Tuesday’s edition of The Tribune, Zirkle said he wasn’t saying which side of the debate he’d take but that segregation might be a way to deal with the high rate of black men in prison and out-of-wedlock births among blacks.

“These comments are antiquated and asinine and are the childish machinations of a publicity hound,” said Chris Riley, St. Joseph County Republican chairman. “In no way does this notion of segregation reflect the views of the Republican Party. This is just taking publicity hunting to a whole new low.”

“I’m very upset that someone who carries the Republican shield has made these remarks,” Riley added.

Thus far, the Republican Party is embracing only one candidate for the congressional seat, Luke Puckett — the only guy, Riley said, who’s talked with him about running a campaign. Puckett also is dismayed with Zirkle’s comments. Joseph Roush of Culver, who also wants the party’s nomination, said of Zirkle: “I couldn’t believe anyone in this day and age would take this archaic approach.”

On the other hand, Roush said, “It makes me look about as normal as possible,” explaining that his own views don’t jibe with the national mainstream Republican Party.

Roush says he lines up more with Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul than with John McCain. For example, Roush feels the United States should pull out of the Iraq war immediately.

Will Zirkle’s comments hurt the Republican Party or help the Democratic Party? St. Joseph County Democratic Chairman Butch Morgan said it’s too soon to tell. Riley is certain: It won’t hurt Republicans, he said.

But what of the 30 percent of votes that Zirkle garnered in the 2006 Republican primary race for the congressional seat against incumbent Chris Chocola? Back then, Zirkle also made controversial proposals like using the guillotine to punish child pornography “pimps.”

Back then, at least, Zirkle touched on issues that people care about, like pornography and prostitution, Morgan said. Not now, he added.

“That was a different time,” Riley said, explaining that there was a backlash against Republicans in general and Zirkle seemed to voters an alternative.

The backlash is over, Riley said. Now voters hunger for debates on serious issues like the “war on terror,” the economy and jobs, he said.

Wow: Zirkle talks segregation

March 4, 2008

(as reported in today’s South Bend Tribune)

Tribune Staff Writer

Congressional hopeful Tony Zirkle is known for suggesting controversial ideas, as in 2006 when he said there should be a debate over using the guillotine to punish “porn pimps” who prey on children.

His latest idea is drawing sharp responses from his opponents. Zirkle suggests that Americans consider segregating the country by race.

Zirkle, who’s seeking the Republican nomination in Congress’ 2nd District, told a weekly newspaper, The Kokomo Perspective, that he questions whether desegregation has worked in the United States. He suggested that separating whites, blacks and other minorities by states could create a new sense of community and is an idea worth debating.

Zirkle confirmed those comments to The Tribune on Monday but said, “I’m not going to say which side of the debate I fall on.”

Both of Zirkle’s opponents denounced his statements.

Colwell illustrates ineptitude of 2nd district challengers

March 3, 2008

(Jack Colwell, columnist for the South Bend Tribune and former host of WNIT’s “Politically Speaking” weighed in on Rep. Donnelly’s Republican challengers in a column published March 2.)

When Tony Zirkle said my column inspired him to add an f-word in the acronym he wants for his middle name, I was a bit concerned. No worry. Zirkle reveals that the word is “fluke” and that he uses it in a description of himself as a “homeless vet fluke.”

However, the former U.S. Naval Academy student uses the naval definition of “fluke” as the pointed part of an anchor or a harpoon.

Zirkle initially filed as a candidate for the Republican nomination for Congress in Indiana’s 2nd District with “Hvfvgpd” as his middle name. He deleted it in a changed filing to avoid a challenge to his candidacy. But he plans to go ahead with court proceedings to add the acronym officially as a middle name describing his campaign effort.

The middle “v” stands for “versus.” Kokomo Tribune columnist Scott Smith figured out from a clue about a Bill O’Reilly TV tirade that “h” is for “homeless” and the first “v” is for “vet.”

Zirkle gave me a clue revealing that “f” is for “fluke,” a word I used in a December column saying Republicans should seek a credible nominee to challenge Democratic Congressman Joe Donnelly rather than risk nomination of some “fluke.”

In a certain way, Zirkle said, he could be described as a “homeless vet fluke,” with naval definition of the f-word, versus whatever the rest of the acronym stands for.


Luke Puckett, the candidate found by 2nd District Republican leaders as their credible challenger for Congress, joined in efforts to put Donnelly on the spot in the controversy over extension of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Efforts included TV ads by an organization called Defense of Democracies. Its listed directors and advisers include a preponderance of well-known Republicans and conservatives, including Newt Gingrich, Steve Forbes, Gary Bauer, Bill Kristol and Jack Kemp.

The group urged district residents to ask Donnelly to vote for the extension that President Bush seeks and the Senate has passed.

An ironic aspect is that Donnelly and some other members of the moderate House Democratic group known as the Blue Dogs have called for an extension with the immunity the president wants for telecommunications firms facing possible suits for illegal intercepts.

Donnelly was one of only seven Democrats to vote last week to consider the Senate version. The effort failed. Now a compromise is sought between those who claim the immunity goal is a cover-up of Bush administration wrongdoing and those who contend the objective instead is profits for trial lawyers.

The Defense of Democracies president, Clifford May, issued a statement praising Donnelly “for his principled stand — for resisting political pressures and supporting the much-needed terrorist surveillance bill.”

Puckett certainly wasn’t ready to join in praise of the man he hopes to defeat. He said Donnelly “must make it clear to the public that it is his Democratic Party that is making us less safe.”

Deadline draws near for candidates to file for primary

February 18, 2008

No candidates filed yet for some races; others are uncontested so far.

South Bend Tribune Staff Report

February 17, 2008

SOUTH BEND — The filing period for the May 6 primary election will end at noon Friday, and so far the enthusiasm for the contests seems to be lacking.

Several races in St. Joseph County have nobody running yet, and others have only one candidate.

One race already shaping up as a contest is on the Republican ballot for 2nd District congressman.

Two men — Joseph Roush and Tony Hvfvgpd Zirkle — have filed already with the Indiana secretary of state, and a third has said he intends to.

Luke Puckett, a Goshen businessman, is the candidate favored by Republican leaders. At least, that’s the way county GOP Chairman Chris Riley introduced Puckett last week at a South Bend press conference to announce his candidacy.

Roush is a Culver resident. He could not be reached by phone for comment Friday to talk about why he is running.

Zirkle is an attorney with an office in South Bend. His legal name is actually Frederick Anthony Zirkle, but he is listed under the name Tony Hvfvgpd Zirkle.

Zirkle said he has a petition pending in Circuit Court to change his name to include the unpronounceable string of consonants. He said he will reveal during his campaign what the letters stand for. The only one he would reveal so far is that the second “v” stands for the word “versus.”

According to the secretary of state’s office, incumbent U.S. Congressman Joe Donnelly, a Democrat, has filed for re-election in District 2.

Among the Friday filings was Brenda Seach, who filed for the Democratic nomination for county recorder. Seach, who has worked in the recorder’s office for 20 years, now is the chief deputy recorder.

The current recorder, Terri J. Rethlake, has served for 10 years and is prohibited from seeking another term. Rethlake was picked to replace a recorder who resigned, then was elected to two four-year terms.

On the county level, here are the offices that will be on the ballot, and who has filed so far (D indicates Democrat and R denotes Republican):

St. Joseph County Circuit Judge: Nobody.

County Recorder: Larry Kent Moody (D), Brenda Seach (D) and Phillip “Phil” Dotson (R).

County Treasurer: Incumbent Sean J. Coleman (D).

County Surveyor: Nobody.

County Coroner: Michael O’Connell (D).

County Commissioner District 2: Incumbent Steve Ross (D).

County Commissioner District 3: Incumbent Robert Kovach (D), and William “Bill” Davis (R).

County Council District D: Nobody.

County Council District F: Nobody.

County Council District G: Incumbent Mark Catanzarite (D), and Wayne Curry (R).

County Council District I: Incumbent Mark Root (R).

All of our area state representatives are up for re-election this year, and two of our state senators. They are required to file with the Indiana secretary of state.

The districts on the ballot in St. Joseph County, and who has filed so far, are:

State Senate District 5: Larry W. Balmer (D), and Ed Charbonneau (R).

State Senate District 8: Jim Arnold (D), and Allen L. Stevens Jr. (R).

State Senate District 9: Incumbent Ryan D. Mishler (R).

State Senate District 10. Incumbent John E. Broden (D).

State House District 5: Incumbent Craig R. Fry (D).

State House District 6: Incumbent B. Patrick Bauer (D).

State House District 7: Incumbent David L. Niezgodski (D).

State House District 8: Incumbent Ryan M. Dvorak (D).

State House District 21: Incumbent Jackie Walorski (R).

State House District 48: Incumbent Timothy Neese (R).

Only one candidate for president, Republican Mitt Romney, has entered the Indiana primary so far. Although his name remains on the Indiana candidate listing, he has already withdrawn from the race nationally.

Gov. Mitch Daniels, who is seeking a second term, is the only candidate to enter that race so far, although others have indicated they plan to.

Other statewide races on the ballot will be for attorney general and superintendent of public instruction. Nobody has yet filed for those races.