CROWN POINT | Can a U.S. senator admire, revel in, have a soft spot for, get a kick out of or even groove on a candidate for Lake County Republican chairman, without officially endorsing him?
Yes, says Allan Katz, one of two Republicans running for the job of GOP party boss next month.
Earlier this week, Katz mailed a flier with the bold message, "'Allan Katz would make an excellent Chairman of the Lake County Republican Party' — United States Senator Dan Coats."
That prompted Tara DiJulio, communications director for Coats, to say Wednesday, "Sen. Coats does not endorse in state primary races, including candidates for GOP county chair, and believes that decision should be left to the voters of Indiana."
Katz said Wednesday he never meant to imply Sen. Coats was endorsing him.
"I know, have introduced and dined with Sen. Coats on more than one occasion," Katz said. "Sen. Coats does believe I would do an excellent job as Lake County GOP chairman, so it's a reference, not an endorsement.
"To me, an endorsement is saying that you think this person would do a better job than the other. There would be no conflict if Sen. Coats said my opponent would also do an excellent job."
Katz's opponent for chairman, Lake County Councilman Dan Dernulc, R-Highland, said, "I believe endorsements are sacred. I've been warned to be very sure about these things because if it isn't true, this is the stuff that happens," Dernulc said.