'Coming out of the convention is really key. And with the bus tour....' he said, 'it's turned out to be very good.'
It was Eller's second convention. He spent It with the delegates from Florida, since that's where he got his start in the Clinton campaign.|
How It stared
Eller's mother beamed as she talked about her oldest son's career. But not wanting to sound like a bragging mother, she talked casually about Jeff and how proud she was to hear he was featured In the Wallstreet Journal last week.
She admitted she's not a political person. 'I'm not Democrat or Republican.' she said. 'I'm for the man.'
Jeff Eller said he often jokes there are only four Democrats in Hamilton County - himself, Tim and Mike Craft, "and I think my Dad."
Jeff was always interested in politics, his mother said. He was involved In student government in high school and always wanted to be a reporter, she said.
Stanton Renner, Eller's government teacher, said he always enjoyed talking politics with Eller during the Watergate years when Eller was still in high school.
"He was a very interesting student to have in class," Renner said. "He is an intense person, someone who accepted a challenge and really stuck with it. He also is very empathetic and able to Put himself in other People's places."
Renner said he Is not surprised Eller has made a career of politics.
"I am surprised he went as deep into politics," Renner said. "On second thought, I should have guessed. He's really a people person and his family is active in politics at the county and local level."
Jeffs grandfather, the late Clifford Eller, was White River Township Trustee and his grandmother, Denzel Eller, is still interested in local Politics, Renner said. She works at the election Polls in Hamilton County.
This year Renner will probably use Eller as an example to his students during a session on the presidential election.
"It's one way to point out thar local people can make a difference," Renner said, "I'm very proud of him. That's one of the joys of teaching to see how they turn out. You can't always predict it; it's certainly fun to watch them. It's rewarding and I'm anxious to see Jeff at the inauguration."
After graduating at Heights,, Eller went to Purdue where he was studying communications; that's when he got his first taste of the electronic media. He worked at the Cary Quad radio station.
He dropped Out of Purdue and went to work on a Crawsfordsville radio station, first on the . overnight" spot and then as a reporter for stations in Crawfordsville and Terre Haute. In 1978, he moved to Chattanooga. Tenn. A few years later he moved to Nashville to work at a television station covering traffic accidents, crime and politics.
In 1984, he left television news to work for congressman Bill Boner in Washington, D.C.
And when Eller made that announcement, a Banner TV, Radio reporter wrote that Nashville had lost one of its finest "spot news"' reporters. Eller covered everything from trials to prison riots to feature stories and of course. politics.
"He dug and struggled until he had his story." the newspaper said.
And when that story was. printed, Eller sent it to his parents with a message at the top: Hey Mom & Dad: How about this!!!
His mother has that article and others about Jeff's career and family milestones, neatly tucked away in family albums.
"I was fascinated by it (politics) and wanted to see what it was like on-the other side," Eller said about the move from television to politics. "I got interested in radio at Purdue. I didn't take a look at politics."
Eller's first campaign was in 1986 in East Lansing, Mich. He was working for congressman Bob Carr's staff. Carr was re-elected and Eller went to work shortly after for Valparaiso University business professor Jill Long.
Long was never expected to win the election to fill Dan Coats' house seat after he was appointed to the U.S. Senate. But Long did win. And two days after the election, Eller was back in Washington and offered a job with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
He took a short departure from U.S. politics, though, and in 1989, found himself in Panama. He was hired as a consultant on the ill-fated campaign of Guillermo Endara.
Even though Endara won the election, Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega canceled the results.
"The one thing that happens all the time. He makes a strong impression on you. He's a good guy. And I started out not knowing him."
--- Jeff Eller