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Thursday, July 30, 2015
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Thursday, July 30, 2015 9:57 AM
By BRIAN A. HOWEY
and MATTHEW BUTLER

    
INDIANAPOLIS – The concept of stewardship means leaving things in better shape than you found them. For many in the current generation of political and policy leadership in Indiana, they’ve witnessed a steep decline in voter participation. Over the past generation, voter turnout has plummeted to the point where the state has one of the worst rates in the United States. Hoosier policy makers need to explore and implement reforms.
    
When it comes to voter turnout, Indiana ranked 43rd according to the Election Assistance Commission in the 2014 elections with 27.7% of people in the state over age 18. The New York Times ranked Indiana 50th in voter turnout using a different criterion. This compares to 79.8% who voted in Alabama, 57.6% in Maine, 54.3% in Wisconsin and 49.5% in Oregon. In 2010, Indiana ranked 38th with 36.8% voting. “The last time voter turnout dipped below 36.4% in a U.S. general election was 1942, when 33.9% hit the polls,” observed Terre Haute Tribune-Star columnist Mark Bennett.
    
Of the 435 U.S. House seats, 56 are considered competitive, but none is in Indiana. There were 54 seats in the Indiana General Assembly that were unopposed in 2014. And in 2012, while President Obama received 44% of the vote in Indiana, Hoosiers elected seven Republicans and two Democrats to the U.S. House, 40 Republicans to the Indiana Senate compared to 10 Democrats, and 71 Republicans to the Indiana House, compared to 29 Democrats.
     
From the perspective of Tom Sugar, a former campaign manager, communications director and chief of staff to Gov./Sen. Evan Bayh, the percentage of Republican holding of various congressional and General Assembly seats is distorted from the number of voters who regularly identify as Democrats.
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  • By MAUREEN HAYDEN
    INDIANAPOLIS -- Democrats aren’t the only ones who’ve been giving Gov. Mike Pence a hard time lately. For the past month, Pence and Hoosiers at large have been taking grief from a 200-pound black bear that ambled over the border from Michigan then somehow figured out social media. Well, maybe not the bear, itself. Someone launched a Twitter account giving voice to the wandering bear that’s otherwise raided bee hives, upset bird feeders and mined backyard garbage cans for beer bottles and leftover food near beachfront communities in northwest Indiana. The self-dubbed Hoosier Bear - with the Twitter handle @bearindiana - is a rare beast. Having meandered down the Lake Michigan shoreline from our neighbor to the north, it crossed into Indiana and announced its presence by depositing scat in someone’s driveway. That marked, if you will, the first verified siting of an American black bear in Indiana since the 1870s. 
  • By MORTON J. MARCUS
    INDIANAPOLIS - Washington (Daviess County) and Princeton (Gibson County) in Southwestern Indiana are both county seats and the largest cities in their respective counties. The two counties have similar numbers of people (33,750 for Gibson and 32,750 for Daviess). However, Princeton has 25 percent of Gibson’s population while 37 percent of Daviess’ residents live in Washington. Both counties have distinctive features. Daviess County hosts a substantial Amish population while Gibson is known as the Hoosier home of Toyota’s massive, modern manufacturing facility. Both also are home to significant economic development programs with similar and different components. Princeton enjoys approximately $20 million dollars granted by the State of Indiana through the Stellar City program. Mayor Robert Hurst has channeled these funds to improving the facades of fading downtown buildings, adding to the availability of improved housing, rationalizing parking downtown, establishing round-abouts and pocket parks, plus building a contemporary community pool. 
  • By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS – Raise your hand if you were forecasting that John Gregg would pull in more campaign funds Gov. Mike Pence in the first half of the year. No one was anticipating that when the mid-year financial reports were filed earlier this month, Gregg would report $1.76 million compared to Gov. Pence’s take of $1.63 million for the first six months of 2015. This development is an important turn of events. Going into this cycle, Gregg had a reputation as a poor fundraiser. So anemic, in fact, that his first quarter 2012 report of $580,000 prompted many observers and fellow Democrats to believe he had no chance. When the dust settled after Pence eked out a 2.7 percent victory over Gregg, Pence out-raised the Democrat $14.8 million to $6.4 million.

     
  • Brian Howey: Todd Young's Senate run about security
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    For Todd Young, his race for the U.S. Senate is all about protecting Americans. “That’s why I’m running,” he said in his bare-bones campaign headquarters just south of downtown here. “I want to keep Americans safe and secure. That’s the most sacred mission of government.”

    He enters the Republican Senate race with much peril facing his potential constituents. A week before, the FBI staved off several ISIS-conspired terror attacks on the homeland over the Fourth of July weekend. Twenty million people had their files hacked by Chinese operatives in the Department of Personnel Management, opening them to blackmail. And he became a Senate candidate less than a month after nine people were massacred at a South Carolina church.

    What Rep. Young hopes sets him apart from the Senate field that includes U.S. Rep. Marlin Stutzman, Eric Holcomb and possibly State Sen. Mike Delph is his brand of “responsible” conservatism. To some, that’s code after Stutzman attempted to shut down the U.S. government a couple of years ago, and Delph has had several controversial episodes on Twitter.

     
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Young enters U.S. Senate race
U.S. Rep. Todd Young officially enters the Republican U.S. Senate race.
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  • INSen: Club For Growth PAC endorses Stutzman
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS - The Club for Growth PAC announced its endorsement of U.S. Rep. Marlin Stutzman (IN-3) for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination in Indiana. “The Club for Growth PAC strongly endorses Marlin Stutzman for U.S. Senate,” said the organization's President David McIntosh. “Marlin has fought for economic liberty since he was elected to Congress in 2010. He has repeatedly voted to cut bloated federal programs and has voted for conservative budgets that would cut taxes and reduce the size of the federal government. He voted to block a half-trillion-dollar debt ceiling increase in 2013, and just this year, Rep. Stutzman opposed creating a new line of more than $9 billion in mandatory spending. Marlin Stutzman has a proven record of opposition to wasteful Washington spending, and the Club for Growth PAC is proud to give him our full support.”
        
     
  • 9th CD at least a three-way race with Houchin, Waltz, Zoeller
    By MATTHEW BUTLER

    INDIANAPOLIS—After Wednesday, State Senator Erin Houchin was the first candidate to formally announce a bid for Indiana’s 9th Congressional District. She was joined by colleague and fellow caucus member State Senator Brent Waltz on Thursday afternoon. Houchin, a first-term Republican from Salem, had been giving strong signals since June she was considering a run as speculation gave way to certainty that the seat’s current occupant, U.S. Rep. Todd Young, was going to run for higher office. He threw his hat in the ring to replace the retiring U.S. Sen. Dan Coats, announcing via an internet video on Sunday and during an exclusive sit-down with HPI that same day. He joins former Indiana Republican Party Chairman and Mitch Daniels Chief-of-Staff Eric Holcomb and delegation colleague U.S. Rep. Marlin Stutzman in seeking the open seat.

     
  • Zoeller formally announces 9th CD bid

    By MATTHEW BUTLER

    INDIANAPOLIS--Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller formally announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for the 9th Congressional District at the Jeffersonville Overlook alongside the Ohio River Monday morning. The two-term officeholder and former Dan Quayle staffer is a native of New Albany and filed formal paperwork with the Federal Election Commission last week. He joins the already announced candidacies of State Sens. Erin Houchin, of Salem, and Brent Waltz, of Greenwood. Zoeller delayed entering the race until current seat holder, Todd Young, had kicked off his U.S. Senate campaign on Saturday.

     
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  • Pence hints strong economy may preclude civil rights code expansion
    "I think our economy speaks for itself. Our economy is strong and growing stronger, and that's a testament to the resilience of the people of Indiana and to the great reputation our state enjoys. We're going to move forward on the policies that are making that a reality, and we'll leave debates about the future for the future. I really do believe that we found a way through that difficult period last spring to calm the waters, and the facts speak for themselves: Indiana's economy is strong and growing stronger." - Gov. Mike Pence, hinting to the NWI Times that the state may not need to add sexual orientation to its civil rights code because the economy is growing. Indiana's unemployment rate dipped to 4.9 percent in June, the first time since February 2008 that the rate has come in below 5 percent.
     



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