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Monday, September 29, 2014
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Monday, September 29, 2014 8:57 AM
WASHINGTON – Questions, questions, questions: Will Republicans take the Senate in November? Will there be a Republican wave? Who will be the presidential nominees in 2016?
These were the questions posed by J. Murray Clark to an Indiana Chamber of Commerce Fly-In panel last Thursday at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill that included HPI’s Brian A. Howey, U.S. Chamber national political director Rob Engstrom, former U.S. Rep. Mary Bono and Ted Bristol, both of FaegreBaker & Daniels Washington office, and Chris Sautter, a Democratic media consultant and recount expert who is also a contributing HPI columnist.
Will there be a 2014 wave?
Mary Bono: All indications are right now there’s going to be a small wave. It’s going to be a good Republican year. People are fed up with the status quo. Sadly, people are fed up with their own congressman. I think we’ll take back the Senate and pick up a few House seats.
Rob Engstrom: We invested in about 95 races in the 2010 cycle and redistricting cut that to 35 or 40 races. You all know about the experience in the Senate race. Now the battles are in primaries. Mary’s right there’s probably a net gain of somewhere between eight and 10 seats in the House and, though things can change and October surprises aren’t generally good for Republicans, that dictates the Republicans will get the Senate.
Brian Howey: From an Indiana perspective I call this the beige election. It’s going to be a status quo situation. My Democratic sources are telling me that it’s very unlikely the party will pick up seats in the Indiana House. That’s something Indiana Democrats absolutely have to do. They’ve got to start making inroads into the super majorities. Otherwise we risk Indiana turning into a one-party state when it comes to the Statehouse. On the Congressional level, we’re watching the 2nd CD. Jackie Walorski had a closer-than-expected race in a newly drawn district. Joe Bock has gone up on TV, but again the national dynamic is a headwind that’s going to be very, very tough.
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    INDIANAPOLIS – Nationally, Republicans are without a leader, without a message, and without a plan. The party is having a difficult time defining exactly what it stands for in the waning years of the Obama Era and seems intent on waiting until a presidential nominee emerges to figure it all out. Ironically enough, Indiana Democrats are in a similar position. In fact, both parties have the same 2014 strategy: We’re not the other guy. Republicans in targeted federal campaigns are focusing much of their attention on bashing President Obama and highlighting their opponents’ verbal missteps rather than on positive ideas for the future. Indiana Democrats are playing the same game. They are hoping voters default to them because Republicans already have supermajorities in the State House and Senate. But the parallels don’t end there. With Evan Bayh’s protracted flirtations with a third run for governor now (finally!) behind us, Democrats are without a leader to champion their cause.  
    BLOOMINGTON – Our Constitution makes the President the commander in chief, yet gives Congress the ability to declare war. By giving a role to each branch, it clearly considers the use of force to be a shared decision. In his speech last week outlining his plans to use military force against the jihadists of the Islamic State, President Obama gave Congress only passing mention. “I have the authority to address the threat from ISIL,” he said. “But I believe we are strongest as a nation when the president and Congress work together.” He’s right, of course. But that’s not the half of it. We live in troubled times, and over the last decade or two our military has been deeply involved somewhere in the world: Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Libya, Syria ... It’s a long list that will only grow longer as we’re called upon to use force in the future. Our process for deciding to use force, however, hasn’t caught up with these dangerous times.  
    MERRILLVILLE – Indiana Democrats need to pick up three seats in the House to break the Republican supermajority. They would need to gain four seats in the Senate to end the GOP supermajority there. Holding the supermajority means the party in power can do whatever it sees fit. The minority party, in essence, doesn’t have a voice to affect or stop legislation. If Democrats are to break the Republicans’ stranglehold of the Legislature, they will have to do it in the House. There is general agreement they can’t do it in the Senate. There also is general agreement among Democrats that one of the three seats they must win is the 15th House District where Rep. Hal Slager, a Schererville Republican, is the incumbent. Challenging Slager is Democrat Jim Wieser, a former Highland town councilman and Lake County councilman and longtime party advisor. 
    MUNCIE – The changing economic landscape makes attracting people, not business, the successful strategy. My employer requires from time to time that some professors give a public lecture. Last week was my first at Ball State and I offered a talk titled: “Why Tax Incentives Don’t Work.” This was an intentionally provocative title. Economic development is big business with Indiana communities spending perhaps a billion dollars more on operations, incentives, abatements and infrastructure spending. So a little eye-popping headline can be excused because anything this big needs serious research. 
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Obama says U.S. intel missed ISIS rise
President Obama says on CBS "Sixty Minutes" that U.S. intelligence missed the rise of ISIS.
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  • HPI Interview: Rokita talks ISIS, entitlements, debt
    INDIANAPOLIS – When we sat down with U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita Tuesday we expected most of our time to be dedicated to priorities he has long championed, entitlement reform and eliminating bureaucratic red tape. “We’ve been fighting it since day one,” Rokita explained of entitlement reform. “It’s the main reason I ran for Congress.” Sitting on the Budget Committee, Rokita has tackled these issues head on, touting the first cuts in spending since the end of the Korean War and his proposal to reform Medicaid. As well as touching on those efforts, Rokita wanted to emphasize work he was doing as chairman of the subcommittee on K-12 education. Asked by Speaker John Boehner to chair, in fact, his former committee, Rokita was quite surprised. However, he quickly appreciated the importance of its remit and accepted. “And, yes, I’m one who doesn’t think there is any federal role in education,” he added. But he acknowledges, he can lead reforms in the meantime, like the Student Success Act. “It’s the first time an education reauthorization bill has seen passage in 13 years,” he explained. “That was my signature bill; it came through my committee. It replaced No Child Left Behind (NCLB), which was Speaker Boehner’s signature bill and I got him to vote for it.”
  • Baron Hill could make for 3-way Democrat gubernatorial primary
    INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Democrats are facing a potential three-way gubernatorial primary for 2016 as former congressman Baron Hill told Howey Politics Indiana he is weighing a bid. “I’m looking at the governor’s race,” Hill said, after he was asked about that race and a possible challenge to U.S. Sen. Dan Coats. “I haven’t made any firm decisions but I’m taking a look at it. I don’t exclude the possibility of running for the Senate, but I don’t think that’s the place I want to go.” Former House Speaker John Gregg told HPI he will make a final decision on the race after the November election. Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. is sorting out a potential 2015 bid for a fourth term there as well as challenging Gov. Mike Pence. “I’m going through the mental gymnastics,” McDermott told HPI while he was in Indianapolis on Wednesday.
  • Rep. Turner to resign after election; joining Christian group

    INDIANAPOLIS - State Rep. Eric Turner announced on Friday he will seek reelection, resign in November and join the Atlanta-based Christian organization EQUIP. The move comes less than a month after Speaker Brian Bosma removed Turner from House leadership after ethics controversies. Turner issued the statement from his personal spokesman at Bose Public Affairs and not the House Majority media office. Turner has represented HD32 for 24 years after he was originally elected as a Democrat. He faces Democrat and former Statehouse journalist Bob Ashley in the November election. “It has been the honor of my life to represent constituents of my district in the Indiana House of Representatives,” said Turner. “I will forever treasure the opportunities I have had to make Indiana better. My wife, Cyndy, and I look forward to this new chapter in our lives, where we can share our skills and abilities with an outstanding Christian ministry, as well as enjoy time with our nine, soon-to-be 11 grandchildren,” said Turner. Bosma removed Turner from leadership after the Cicero Republican made more than a $1 million after his family sold a nursing home business to an Ohio company. Turner ran into ethics problems after he lobbied against legislation that would have impacted that business. Last Spring, the bipartisan House Ethics Committee cleared Turner of violations.


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  • Ballard hints he won't seek 3rd term
    "I'm thinking about what's best for me and Winnie, to be frank with you. I don't think like a normal guy in this office, I suppose. My motivation is probably a bit different, so I'm just trying to do what I can for the city right now. Winnie and I are a little older. We're not 40 years old anymore so we're gonna have to look at what to do." - Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, responding to questions from WTHR-TV on whether he will seek a third term or is discussing a job with Cathedral HS. There is speculation that if Ballard doesn’t seek reelection, former state senator and Indiana Republican Chairman J. Murray Clark will get into the race. 
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Obama ISIS

Did President Obama make the appropriate case for U.S. and coalition military action against ISIS?


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