Parker out of mayor's race

Bob Parker
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Indianapolis - A Republican has decided against challenging Bart Peterson in the 2007 following controversial comments he made. Businessman Bob Parker did not make Friday's noon filing deadline.

A remark about Jewish people got Parker into trouble. He made the comments to an Indianapolis Star reporter during an interview last month about the Jewish community, and his words created a backlash.

"I personally see Israel going into Iran and Syria in the next couple of months. I'm sure you realize, most people don't, millionaire Democrats outnumber millionaire Republicans four-to-one. It's mainly because of the Jewish faction inside the Democratic Party. Most Jewish people are Democrats, and they bring that wealth. My opinion is, if Israel would go into Iran, Democrats will follow that cause. I really do believe that," he said.

The statement has since offended many members of the Jewish community here and abroad. Since then, Parker has not made any further comments, or offered any explanation.

"The Jewish community was very upset. The Republican party was upset and felt flabbergasted and kind of blind-sided because they were on the verge of backing this guy and having a press conference even to say that this is our candidate. He was going to file yesterday and this put everything on hold. This kind of shows the trouble the Marion County Republican party is having. They tried to find a candidate for months. They finally settled on a guy, and now they seal to be backing off," said Matt Tully, political columnist for Eyewitness News partner The Indianapolis Star.

Tully said Parker has financed some of his own campaigns in the past, a plus for the cash-strapped Marion County Republican party.

"He's a wealthy businessman, very successful. He spent $300,000 1999 on his own campaign. He was willing to spend more in 2003 but he couldn t get his party backing," said Tully.

"The party, in kind of dire financial straits, turned to him this year after every other option fell through, and thought sure, he probably couldn t win but he could spend enough to have Bart Peterson on the ropes for the summer."

Parker has run for office in the past. He ran for mayor in 1999 and 2004 and also ran for governor in 2004. All campaigns were unsuccessful.

Thursday, Democratic mayor Bart Peterson announced his run for re-election. Afterwards he shared his thoughts about Parker's comments.

"It's the kind of statement that's been used against Jewish people for centuries to justify discrimination, oppression, and even violence, and I am very sorry to see that kind of thing used in a, by a potential candidate for public office, by anyone frankly, in our city. We're a better city than that."