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State Rep. Moses' turbulent political career likely over

Thursday, November 8, 2012 - 6:39 am

The surprising upset of state Rep. Win Moses, D-Fort Wayne, in Tuesday's election likely marks the end of a long – and sometimes turbulent – career in local and state politics.

In an interview Wednesday, the 69-year-old Moses said he would step aside from his career in public office – which included terms on Fort Wayne City Council in the 70s and as mayor in the 80s – to spend time with his family and run his business.

“I worked hard to do my job well, and now I'm relieved of it,” Moses said. “I still have time to get some other things accomplished, but it will probably not be in politics.”

Republican Martin Carbaugh defeated Moses by a decisive margin, scoring 52 percent of the vote to 44 percent for Moses in Indiana House District 81 – an outcome that came as a surprise even though last year's redistricting made the district friendlier to the GOP.

In many cases, former state lawmakers parlay their influence at the Statehouse into jobs with lobbying firms after they leave public office. For example, former state Rep. Randy Borror, who represented northeast Fort Wayne, resigned in 2010 to join Indianapolis-based Bose Public Affairs Group.

That scenario could be among the possibilities for Moses, said Andy Downs, director of the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne.

“I wouldn't be surprised if a lobbying firm or two called him to see if he was looking for work,” Downs said.

But Moses, who has made a living as owner of several apartment complexes and mobile-home parks, ruled out lobbying, insisting that he would spend his time outside the political sphere.

“I can probably get more done outside the system,” Moses said. “In the sense of being a lobbyist, no, never.”

Downs said people would likely remember Moses differently depending on whether they identified him more with his days in Fort Wayne politics or as a state lawmaker. At the Statehouse, Moses gained a reputation as a competent legislator, but he became a polarizing figure during his years as mayor from 1980 through 1987.

In 1983, Moses won his second term as mayor in a landslide, scoring 70 percent of the vote. He then faced criminal charges and resigned amid a campaign-finance scandal in 1985, but a Democratic caucus reinstated him as mayor just a few days later.

No matter what views people hold about Moses, his career has never been dull – but that career is likely at an end.

“I think there's a real possibility that this is his last public moment,” Downs said. “He is somebody who will not be remembered as someone who could not inspire passions one way or the other.”