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Candidate for Allen County Council seat gave small donation to 2020 Democratic Presidential hopeful

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Elizabeth Underwood has the endorsement of Allen County GOP Chairman Steve Shine as she seeks to win a caucus and replace Larry Brown on county council after he resigned under pressure.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne's NBC) - Federal Election Commission records indicate 38-year old African American attorney Apryl Elizabeth Underwood-- favored by Allen County GOP Chairman Steve Shine to take over an open seat on county council-- donated $3.00 to the Bernie Sanders for President campaign in 2019.

We don't have an explanation behind the donation.

It may or may not be of interest to the 18 Republican precinct committee people from District 4 who will vote July 6th to fill a vacated seat on Allen County Council.

The 38-year old Underwood has a sterling resume.

She is a litigation attorney for the Barnes and Thornburg law office in Fort Wayne.

She touts a master's degree from Indiana University and work experience in the medical field.

Local GOP leader Steve Shine endorses her to replace Larry Brown on county council.

Brown resigned over remarks he made that were racially charged and were viewed by many as offensive.

Shine believes Underwood is not only qualified to do the job, but might be able to help smooth over hard feelings created by Brown's comments at a June 18th public meeting, when he referred to George Floyd protesters in the city as "uneducated voters" on local government issues, and went on to say, "Unfortunately, they also breed."

Underwood voted for Democrat Barack Obama for President and Shine says she has given money to other Democrats running for office.

Republican Joe Townsend was stripped of a state delegate position this month by representatives of the state Republican Party, he claims because he said publicly it was a coin flip whether he would support Republican Taylor Vanover or Democrat Geoff Paddock in a 2019 Fort Wayne city council race.

"After that situation, the party then came out in full support of somebody (Elizabeth Underwood) that within the last year and a half has donated to Democrats, voted for Obama twice and has never voted in a Republican Primary," said Townsend, who believes Shine's support of Underwood represents a double standard prompted by a desire to fix the GOP's image on the race issue.

"Sometimes we have to overlook things in order to be able to bring new people in, qualified people, people who are diverse in their culture, so I'm willing to overlook that, on the pledge from her that she will uphold our Republican conservative ideals," Shine said.

Bill Bean, a big donor to the Allen County Republican Party, says he is inspired by Underwood's intelligence and accomplishments and supports her caucus bid, but says he wishes she had been more active in the Republican Party in her past.

Shine has called Underwood a "deep seated conservative".

Businessman Chris Spurr says he will also run for Brown's seat in the July 6th caucus.

Jeff Neumeyer

Jeff Neumeyer is a reporter for WPTA.

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