ROANOKE, Ind. (WANE) — Rex Ottinger has cut hair for 61 years, most of them in his shop on Main Street in Roanoke. Most of the 500,000 or so cuts have not been for politicians.
Yet the folks running for office seem to seek him out.
“It seems like it’s become the rite of passage if you want to get elected in Indiana, you got to go to Rex’s Barbershop,” says the 81 year old.
The four state and national politicians who have stopped at Rex’s during campaign seasons haven’t lost their subsequent races.
Among the pictures in the shop is a frame showing visits by Dan Coats, Mike Pence, and Jim Banks. An identical set adorns Banks’s D.C. office.
“He’s the best,” Banks says.
Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb agrees, saying it’s like going to a barber in a Norman Rockwall painting.
“Roanoke… is almost like visual overload,” says Holcomb. “And then to get a great haircut… it just takes you to a better place.”
Governor Holcomb visited the barber shop on Friday morning to get a hair cut the day after attending a Vice President Mike Pence campaign rally in Fort Wayne.
Another sign at Rex’s is “Bipartisan Barber.” Ottinger tries to be politically neutral, if that’s possible in 2020.
“I tell all my Democrat friends they’re welcome to come in,” he says.
While Holcomb got cleaned up by Ottinger Friday morning (watch above) , neither Banks nor Pence has stopped by during this election cycle. A Pence visit seems unlikely, even though he stumped in Fort Wayne Thursday and voted in Indianapolis Friday.
If they want to visit between now and Election Day, it might take some legwork.
Appointments take more than a click or call. Customers need to stop in to book their haircuts in person, since Rex, in true throwback fashion, has no phone in the shop.