Members of Carmel’s two mayoral campaigns have accused each other of bribery to keep Fred Glynn, who is challenging incumbent mayor Jim Brainard, from seeking office.
Glynn, a Hamilton County councilor and first-time mayoral candidate, said that his then-campaign manager Dan Hennessey had a Feb. 3 meeting with a member of Mayor Jim Brainard’s campaign and the county Republican party chair. Glynn said Hennessey – who has since gone to work for Brainard’s campaign – reported back that Brainard’s campaign was offering Glynn $140,000 not to run against the mayor in the May 7 municipal primary election.
Allan Sutherlin, Brainard’s campaign manager in previous elections who now serves as a consultant, said he represented the Brainard campaign at the meeting. He denied that the Brainard campaign offered Glynn money and that the request for payment not to run came from Hennessey.
Brainard campaign manager Laken Sisko also denied the allegations.
“Under no circumstance would our campaign ever offer $140,000 to Fred Glynn,” she said. “We are judicious in how we invest our supporters’ funds.”
Glynn said after he rejected the offer of $140,000 not to run, Hennessey notified him approximately a week later that he would be joining Brainard’s campaign.
“He went on to say that the Brainard campaign offered him $40,000 to leave my campaign and come work for them,” Glynn said.
When reached by phone, Hennessey declined to comment for this story.
Sutherlin said he and Hamilton County Republican Party Chairwoman Laura Campbell met with Hennessey at the Feb. 3 meeting before Glynn filed for office to show him polling numbers that they believed indicated strong support for Brainard and that Glynn would have a tough time winning the election.
Campbell said it’s not unusual for her to meet with potential candidates before they file for office to discuss their campaigns and what is best for the party.
“I was looking to avoid a big costly primary, especially heading into next year’s presidential elections,” she said, and confirmed that the request for $140,000 came from Hennessey.
Sutherlin said the purpose of the meeting contradicted the notion that Brainard’s campaign is worried about the impact of Glynn’s candidacy and would therefore offer him money not to run.
“Why in the world would I offer a candidate that I consider a distraction anything other than (the question), ‘Why are you doing this to the party?’” Sutherlin said.
He said Hennessey’s asking for funds to pay Glynn not to run was the first time he’d heard such a request in his decades of running campaigns.
“It’s the most absurd thing I’ve ever experienced,” he said.
Glynn said that Hennessey’s departure has not negatively impacted his campaign.
“I’m not sure what they think they accomplished by bribing Dan, since he was not doing much at that time,” Glynn said. “My campaign team is still intact, and we have since hired another campaign manager. We are moving forward even stronger at this point.”
Brainard, who said he was not at the meeting and does not know the details of what was discussed at it, said that Hennessey has been working on voter registration, yard signs, marketing and other tasks for his campaign.
“He saw the difference in our campaigns and chose to work on (my) campaign,” he said.
According to his LinkedIN profile, Hennessey previously worked for the Office of the Indiana Attorney General, as campaign manager for Greg Pence for Congress and as a statewide field director for Mike Pence for Indiana. He’s also worked with campaigns in Kentucky, Ohio and Michigan.