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Friday, October 28, 2016
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Friday, October 28, 2016 7:22 AM
EVANSVILLE – With his own political future at stake, Gov. Mike Pence stood before a crowd in Salisbury, N.C., on Monday with a simple message: “It’s time to come home.”
It was a message to Republicans, but it also could be a memo to self. Since the Oct. 3-5 WTHR/Howey Politics Indiana Poll was released, showing Donald Trump with a mere 43-38% lead over Hillary Clinton, with Libertarian Gary Johnson holding steady at 11%, the notion, the idea that Clinton could become the second Democrat in eight years to carry Indiana’s 11 Electoral College votes became plausible, if not unlikely. Not with Gov. Pence on the ticket. Not with Indiana as that conspicuous red “middle finger of the south” repute.
Since our poll, Monmouth found Trump ahead by just 4%, and then the Ball State/WISH Indiana Survey had Trump up by 6%. All of these data sets hovered nervously around the upper reaches of the margin of error, if you’re a Republican. Reporters and editors at WTHR and HPI asked Public Opinion Strategies Pollster Gene Ulm if Clinton could actually carry Indiana. Ulm responded that if Trump “replicated” his disastrous performance in the second debate, Clinton could actually win the state. “If she wins the Indiana, it’s over.”

But a telltale sign of what’s really happening would be if Pence schedules late campaign stops here, like the one coming on Sunday in Jeffersonville where he appears at a rally with Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb between 5:30 and 7 p.m. If others pop up in places Fort Wayne (where he drew a mere 300 supporters on Sept. 30) or in a place like Lawrenceburg or Richmond, where a campaign stop would spill over into swing state Ohio media markets like Dayton and Cincinnati, it’s a sure sign that he’s trying to keep Indiana out of the blue column for the second time in eight years.
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    MERRILLVILLE – If the voters reject Donald Trump and Mike Pence on Nov. 8 – and it appears that they will – is there a political future for either man? I can’t imagine that there will be for Trump, who has been an embarrassment for the Republican Party. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean that there will even be a place for Trump in the Republican Party of the future. Pence is another matter. There are political commentators across the country who have speculated that Pence would go after the GOP presidential nomination in 2020. After all, Pence has looked presidential during this campaign. It doesn’t too much matter that he hasn’t sounded presidential. If Pence wanted a future in presidential politics, he should have distanced himself from Trump. Pence would have done well to reject Trump’s notion that the election was being stolen from him. Pence should have rejected the notion that the media had the ability to steal an election, as Trump claimed. And, Pence should have rejected Trump’s claim that America no longer is prepared militarily.
    SOUTH BEND – Two things seemed certain last summer as folks around South Bend looked ahead to the fall sports of football and politics: Notre Dame would beat underdog Duke easily in football and Jackie Walorski would beat some guy named Coleman easily for Congress. You could bet on it. Some did, on the football game. What though the odds, Duke won over defenseless Notre Dame. Now, how about that political certainty? That certainty of reelection of Congresswoman Walorski, much better funded, much better known and much better situated in a Republican-flavored district in which she carried nine of the 10 counties last time? Walorski isn’t defenseless, not with all the money she has for TV. She has begun hitting Democratic challenger Lynn Coleman with negative TV ads, no longer acting as though he isn’t there. Coleman, a former South Bend police officer and mayoral assistant, has gained name recognition and more support than might have been expected last summer. But Coleman can’t win. Not on his own. Just as Duke needed help from a bizarre Notre Dame defense, Coleman needs help from a bizarre Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump. And Trump is helping. Enough?

    INDIANAPOLIS – It was disappointing, but not surprising, to learn from the Indianapolis Business Journal (Oct. 10-16) that both John Gregg and Eric Holcomb endorse public-private partnerships (P3s). These candidates for governor are experienced in the ways of our Indiana government. Mr. Gregg has served at the highest level of the legislature while Mr. Holcomb is our lieutenant governor. P3s are agreements between governments (national, state, or local) with private companies to assume control, but not ownership, of public assets. Hoosiers know them in the form of the new bridge over the Ohio River, connecting the east end of Louisville with Clark County. I-69 moving north from Evansville and Bloomington toward Indianapolis is a P3. The Indiana Toll Road, extending from Ohio to the Illinois state line, is a successful P3. The Chicago Skyway, used by thousands of Hoosiers traveling to the home of the Cubs, is a P3.

    NASHVILLE, Ind. - Hoosier voters face not only a compelling vote for president that will have a national impact, but their decision on who becomes the next U.S. senator could determine which party controls that chamber. The choice between Democrat Evan Bayh and Republican U.S. Rep. Todd Young merits considerable thought. Bayh is the former two-term governor and senator who, along with Mitch Daniels, has done more than just about anyone else to shape the modern political contours of our state. He opened his political career in Indiana with the sting of defeat, managing his father’s last Senate campaign for this very seat. It was a two-term congressman, Dan Quayle, who ended Birch Bayh’s political career in the Reagan revolution year of 1980. Evan Bayh emerged four years later as secretary of state, then commenced a 16-year Democratic dominance in the governor’s office by defeating Lt. Gov. John Mutz in 1988.

    INDIANAPOLIS – U.S. Senate candidate Evan Bayh stood on a debate stage Tuesday night, facing accusations from his opponent that he’s a Washington insider who has lost his status as a Hoosier. It was familiar territory for him. In 1988, when running for governor, the Democrat Bayh defended himself against a Republican lawsuit that claimed the year-and-half he spent working in the nation’s capital disqualified him from seeking Indiana’s top office. Bayh weathered the storm, handily winning the race to end the GOP’s 20-year hold on the governor’s office. Now he’s hoping to retire the residency question again. A poll released just before Tuesday’s only debate among the Senate candidates shows voters may not care that Bayh has been living in Washington for the last six years. The Hoosier Survey found 71 percent of voters did not see Bayh’s residency as an issue. Only 21 percent said it would affect their decision of who should represent the state in the Senate. “It’s hard to say he’s not a Hoosier. He’s got the pedigree,” said political science professor Joe Losco, of Ball State University, which commissioned the poll with WISH-TV.
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  • Sen. Cotton appears with Young, assails Bayh attendance


    INDIANAPOLIS - In a joint appearance with U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, Republican U.S. Senate nominee Todd Young called out his opponent Evan Bayh for missing 75% of Senate Armed Services Committee meetings during the height of the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. The criticism originates from a recent BuzzFeed article which acquired Bayh’s schedule and committee attendance records from his time in the Senate to find that Bayh was meeting with bankers and taking personal vacations instead of attending committee meetings. Sen. Cotton, R-Ark., who is a veteran and a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee himself, said, “What goes on in those meetings isn't assigning parking spots and office space. It's providing equipment that troops on the ground need.” Young continued that Bayh’s schedule showed “He cares more about personal gain than working for our troops. Bayh was meeting with bankers, D.C. special interest and was on a ski vacation instead of attending meetings.”

  • Booker stumps for Bayh as more money spills in for Young

    BLOOMINGTON - The Senate Leadership Fund is pumping another $4 million into Republican Todd Young’s battle against Democrat Evan Bayh. It is part of a staggering $25 million buy in five states to counter what allies of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell see as a potential tidal wave. It comes after the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign announced it was spending $1 million in both Indiana and Missouri to bolster Senate and gubernatorial candidates. “Over the last two weeks, we’ve seen every liberal Democratic group descend on these races,” said Steven Law, president of the Senate Leadership Fund. “Democrats feel like the presidential race is in the bag for them and are looking for fresh game in the Senate.” Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, seen by many as a rising star in the national Democratic Party, visited a crowded union hall in Indianapolis Tuesday night to urge phone-bank volunteers wearing “Bayh for Senate” stickers to press a little harder.
  • HPI Analysis: 20 minutes that defined Gregg/Holcomb contrast
    EVANSVILLE – “Ha!” This was a deep-throated staccato mono-syllable projected from the diaphragm of Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb Tuesday night at the University of Southern Indiana. I had heard it before, uttered by Holcomb’s mentor, Purdue President Mitch Daniels. It signals either exceptional glee that the listener had registered a deep concept. Or it signifies contempt. “How do you spell ‘ha’?” Holcomb asked after his third debate with Democrat John Gregg, who prompted this particular blurt. This all came down during the following press conferences. Just minutes before, Howey Politics Indiana asked Gregg where he thought his campaign stood heading into the final two weeks of this unprecedented gubernatorial race. “In Evansville,” Gregg joked. C’mon, man.  Gregg pointed to the Gregg/Hale pamphlets that communications aide Jeff Harris had handed to the gathered press. “We have been what I feel has been the only campaign that has put out a substantive list of plans and details."
  • Final gov debate focuses on drug epidemic, med pot

    EVANSVILLE - Indiana’s three gubernatorial candidates addressed the drug addiction epidemic rapidly spreading across the state, filling emergency rooms with people overdosing on heroin, fentanyl and carfentanil. In the city that hosted the debate, 20 people had already died of some combination of heroin, according to the Evansville Courier & Press earlier this week. During the third debate at the University of Southern Indiana Tuesday night, the trio was asked about expanding the state’s needle exchange program that was used to halt the spread of an HIV epidemic in Scott County last year. “This is an issue that is strangling our families,” said Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb. “We need to continue to explore every way.” He said that the state should concentrate on “preventing, enforcing and treating families caught up in this surge.”
  • Yoder seeks to sway 9th CD voters in Trump/Pence country


    SEYMOUR – After raising $439,000 in the last quarter and with an October Garin-Hart-Young poll showing her race to be a tossup, Democrat Shelli Yoder is confident with less than 20 days left in her 9th CD campaign for Congress. The Monroe County councilwoman's race vs. Republican Trey Hollingsworth has attracted national attention from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in the form of a recently released ad partially funded by the DCCC. The 9th CD, which had been considered safe Republican since 2010, has come into play due to claims that Hollingsworth moved to Indiana from Tennessee for the purpose of buying the Congressional seat and was therefore labeled a carpetbagger by his Republican primary opponents. Hollingsworth's campaign has been heavily financed by a Super Pac created by his father and spent nearly $2 million in the primary alone.

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  • Comey announces FBI to reopen Clinton email probe
    “I agreed that the FBI should take appropriate investigative steps designed to allow investigators to review these emails to determine whether they contain classified information, as well as to assess their importance to our investigation.” - FBI Director James Comey, in a letter to congressional leaders announcing that the FBI will restart an investigation on Hillary Clinton’s email server controversy. Comey announced in July that Clinton would not be charged, until he learned of additional Clinton emails. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump reacted, saying, “Hillary Clinton's corruption is on a scale that we have never seen before. We must not let her take her are criminal scheme into the Oval Office. I have great respect for the fact that the FBI and the Department of Justice are now willing to have the courage to right the horrible mistake that they made."
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HPI Video Feed
Senate Leadership Fund targets Bayh memory
The GOP Senate Leadership Fund is targeting INSen Democrat Evan Bayh with this "Can't remember" ad.

Obama chides Republicans for Trump support
President Obama chides Republicans for backing Donald Trump for President in this NBC video.

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HPI Horse Race
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Trump taxes

Should Donald Trump release recent tax returns, like every major party nominee has done over the past 40 years?


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