In an interview with a political columnist Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Mark Souder seemed to say he wouldn't run again in 2012.
The most visible of Souder's three opponents in the Republican primary emphasized the story Thursday, warning 3rd District voters not to believe that Souder would quit.
On Friday, Souder's staff worked to quash what they described as an apparent misunderstanding or misinterpretation on the part of political commentator Brian Howey, who publishes Howey Politics Indiana.
“There's obviously no truth to this at all,” said Souder spokeswoman Mindi Wood.
In Howey's column published Thursday, describing an interview Wednesday with Souder, he wrote in part:
“A few minutes later, he was talking about this likely being his last hurrah, depending on potential committee chairmanships. ‘I was thinking this was going to be my last term,' he said as he described his opponent's relentless attacks over bailouts and cash for clunkers. ‘This just sealed it.'”
There is considerable wiggle room for Souder in that paragraph – Howey's observation “this likely being his last hurrah, depending on potential committee chairmanships.”
But the Bob Thomas campaign is standing by its warning to voters, according to Thomas spokesman Nate Bullock.
Thursday evening, Bullock issued a statement that said, in part: “This is just a cynical attempt on the part of Mark Souder to trick the voters into re-electing him for another term. We have heard these promises before and he has reneged on them every time. If Mr. Souder truly intends to step down, then he should step down now, when there is a person with 30 years of business experience in this district and the right qualifications to address the issues facing the United States, who is willing to replace him.”
A poll released by the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics at IPFW showed Souder leading in the primary race, but by a perilously narrow margin.
That survey, which has a 5-point margin of error, showed 36 percent support for Souder, 29 percent for Thomas, 19 percent for Phil Troyer and 2 percent for Greg Dickman.