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Monday, September 26, 2016
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Thursday, October 15, 2015 9:20 AM
By BRIAN A. HOWEY
    
INDIANAPOLIS – Gov. Mike Pence kicked off the infrastructure debate with a $1 billion proposal to repair state highways, interstates and bridges. Local government officials want the governor and General Assembly to take it several steps further, and provide what the Indiana Association of Cities & Towns calls a “sustainable” funding source. IACT President Matthew Greller told Howey Politics Indiana on Wednesday that the Pence plan is a good start. “The big thing is it’s good the administration is addressing infrastructure in a very serious way with a very serious proposal and a lot of money. But it includes no money for city and town streets and county roads. I’m disappointed because the vast majority of road miles in Indiana are maintained by local governments.”
  • Holcomb releases his education, workforce plan
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS - Republican gubernatorial nominee Eric Holcomb continued to flesh out his policy agenda, announcing his “Excellence in Education & Workforce Development Plan” before 900 school board members and superintendents. “Whether a superintendent, a school board member, or the state’s Lt. Governor,” Lt. Gov. Holcomb said Monday morning as he appeared before the 67th Annual Indiana School Boards Association/Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents Fall Conference. “We all have an obligation to future generations to prepare them for life in a global economy that gets more and more competitive and interconnected by the day.” Holcomb said the aim of his plan would be to endure every Hoosier child “has access to exceptional early education and a safe, student-driven learning environment, is ready to enter the workforce or pursue higher education; and every out-of-work adult can retrain and develop the skills necessary in our 21st Century economy.


  • Gregg picks up State Police Alliance nod
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS - In a state facing a spreading heroin/carfentanil epidemic, gubernatorial nominee John Gregg became the first Democrat to pick up the endorsement of the Indiana State Police Alliance on Friday. It comes on the heels of the Fraternal Order of Police nod in August. The Indiana State Police Alliance Political Action Committee, which represents 1,100 active and more than 700 retired members, focuses on promoting better law enforcement and support for Indiana state troopers. Following a candidate forum earlier this summer, the membership voted to endorse the Gregg/Hale ticket. “In John Gregg and Christina Hale, we will have true partners in the Statehouse once again,” said Wayne Flick, ISPA PAC member. “They have demonstrated their understanding of the issues we face and have detailed, well-thought out plans to improve public safety across the state. ISPA PAC looks forward to working with them to make Indiana an even better place.” Flick said at a Statehouse press conference “that it was apparent our Indiana State troopers” believe Gregg “will work endlessly to improve our equipment, work conditions and compensation.”
  • INGov: Holcomb calls LGBT 'old news' as civil rights passes in Tippecanoe
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY
        
    NASHVILLE, Ind. – As this week unfolded, Republican gubernatorial nominee Eric Holcomb issued his first white paper plan titled, “Taking Indiana to the Next Level,” a four-pronged approach focused on keeping and training talent, infrastructure investment and innovation, keeping energy costs low, and maintaining fiscal discipline. But the parallel news coverage diverged into the LGBT civil rights expansion, which Holcomb described as “old news,” and the I-69 construction work stoppage. While Section 5 work between Bloomington and Martinsville resumed on Monday, Fitch downgraded the projects bonds to “junk” status. And complicating the “old news” equation, in the same news cycle, the Republican Tippecanoe County commissioners unanimously approved LGBT protections, joining the cities of Lafayette and West Lafayette. The Lafayette Journal & Courier reported the passage occurred after “heated” discussion centering on the so-called “bathroom issues” involving transgender Hoosiers. Just before the vote, Commissioners Tom Murtaugh and Tracy Brown explained why they would not change their vote. “This ordinance focuses on employment, housing and public accommodations,” Brown said. “Again, public accommodations most likely means restrooms, but I don’t think that should be our sole focus.”
  • HPI Analysis: Tsunami unlikley to impact down ballot races
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY   
        
    NASHVILLE, Ind. – Any notion of a Barry Goldwater or George McGovern style electoral fiasco swamping congressional and Indiana General Assembly races here on the eve of the first Donald Trump/Hillary Clinton debate now seems far-fetched, as polls show a partisan and polarized race tightening up nationally. A wide sweeping tsunami is now unlikely, though not completely out of the question. As the WTHR-Howey Politics Indiana Poll revealed earlier this month, many Republicans have come home to the Trump/Pence ticket, and that is good news for U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski and 9th CD nominee Trey Hollingsworth. With little less than two months to go, such an electoral tidal wave is still possible, particularly if Trump or Clinton stumbles in emphatic fashion, setting off a ripple that turns into a wave.
        
  • Roving Pence begins to address festering Indiana problems

    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    NASHVILLE, Ind. – It rained on Gov. Mike Pence in Williamsburg, Va., Tuesday as he continued his historic vice presidential candidacy. Back home in Indiana, the issues continue to drip, drip, drip, finally gathering the roving governor’s attention. After weeks of silence on the lead contamination crisis that forced 1,000 East Chicago residents out of their homes, Gov. Pence had a phone conversation with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro Tuesday morning, then fired off a letter with a number of questions. While work on I-69 resumed on Monday after weeks on no progress, Indiana Finance Authority Finance Director Dan Huge testified before the Interim Roads and Transportation Committee and said the project between Bloomington and Martinsville won’t be completed for another year. It came as Fitch Ratings downgraded the I-69 bonds to junk status. It all prompted Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton to say that the delay is “a major cost to us from what the road should have been and more danger for drivers.” And on the heroin front, the carfentanil-spiked opioid being pushed by an Ohio-based drug cartel, has made its way into Muncie after leaving its deadly carnage in Shoals, Martinsville and LaPorte over the past week, pushing its way into Indiana from Dayton and Cincinnati where there have been dozens over overdoses.

  • 9th CD: Hollingsworth, Yoder spar over tax return release
    By THOMAS CURRY

    GREENWOOD -  Candidates seeking to represent the 9th district in the U.S. House of Representatives participated in their first, and possibly only debate yesterday, trading barbs over taxes, the health care mandate, I-69 and other issues. Democrat Shelli Yoder and Republican Trey Hollingsworth met at the Vallae Vista Conference Center in Greenwood during an event hosted by the local Chamber of Commerce and attended by members and business owners.  The most interesting and loaded question of the debate came at the close of the event when an audience member asked Hollingsworth if he would release his tax returns to promote transparency. Hollingsworth answered, "My opponent is obsessed with my taxes. I am obsessed with your taxes."
  • HPI Analysis: Violence continues to stalk presidential race
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    OLDENBURG, Ind. – As the U.S. presidential election veers into its homestretch with dangers both foreign and domestic lurking out in the ether, the Putin wing of the Republican Party found itself once again enjoined in hair-trigger rhetoric. On Friday night in Miami, presidential nominee Donald Trump pushed the notion that Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton seeks to abolish the 2nd Amendment. “I think that her bodyguards should drop all weapons,” Trump said at a rally as the crowd cheered. “I think they should disarm. Immediately. Let’s see what happens to her. Take their guns away, OK? It’ll be very dangerous.”  The reason? Clinton is seeking to “destroy your 2nd Amendment,” a reference to his take on her gun control policies.
     
  • HPI Analysis: A tough week for Pence on the Hill and at home
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY
        
    WEST LAFAYETTE – The Trumpian march through the swing states polling tossups this past week has Democrats on edge and the fact is, Donald Trump can win the general election. It is being aided and abetted by the shoddy campaign tactics of Hillary Clinton, whose “basket of deplorables” remark last Friday was a Trump style gift. Throw in Clinton’s 9/11 fainting episode, her diagnosed pneumonia revealed through a shroud of Clintonian secrecy, and this presidential race to the bottom continues like none other. So this should have been a buoyant week for Gov. Mike Pence. Not! Pence is being pilloried not only by Mika Brezinski on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” for “Pencing the issues” (always a bad sign when your name becomes a verb), but his failure to get into the deplorable game has produced bad reviews from Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway and U.S. Sen. Mike Lee. There was his homecoming back to Capitol Hill where he found congressional Republicans skeptical of Trump and Pence now heading the Putin wing of the GOP, and Trump’s treatment of women.
  • HPI Analysis: The Gary Johnson option to Clinton and Trump
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY
        
    WEST LAFAYETTE – When Hillary Clinton’s unfavorables are 62%, Donald Trump’s are 54% and Gov. Mike Pence stands at 45%, as they were in the WTHR/Howey Politics Indiana Poll released last Friday, the obvious question in this strange, strange election cycle is whether Hoosier voters are open to exploring an alternative. Such an option showed up at Purdue University on Tuesday when Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson had a “conversation” with President Mitch Daniels, students, the public and press. The two walked through the issues for about 20 minutes and then fielded well over a dozen questions from students. The same invitation has been extended to both Clinton and Trump. Daniels ended the public proceedings by saying, “I want to thank our guest. You just gave a string of intelligent, candid, politically risky, unpredictable answers all apparently grounded in an apparent philosophy. What are you doing in this election?”
        
  • WTHR/Howey Politics Poll: Senate race tossup, Gregg up 5%
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY
        
    INDIANAPOLIS – The revamped Indiana gubernatorial and U.S. Senate races are up for grabs in the latest WTHR/Howey Politics Indiana Poll. Democrat John Gregg maintains a 40-35% lead over Republican Eric Holcomb in the race for governor, with Libertarian Rex Bell at 6%, while Democrat Evan Bayh’s lead over Republican Todd Young in the U.S. Senate race has dwindled to 44-40%. For Gregg, the new numbers actually show a decline from the initial April WTHR/Howey Poll that showed him trailing Gov. Mike Pence 49-45%. Pollster Gene Ulm of Public Opinion attributed Gregg’s decline to the unpopularity of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who trails Republican Donald Trump 43-36%, with Libertarian Gary Johnson coming in a 11%. Another 20% in that race are either voting for someone else, not voting or undecided. Pence is a fascinating element in both the presidential and gubernatorial races. He hasn’t helped Trump in Indiana; in fact the presidential nominee’s numbers have declined since the April WTHR/Howey poll. And because he is so polarizing, with a fav/unfav of 47/45%, Pence is of little help to Lt. Gov. Holcomb, whom he elevated to the post last March, then endorsed during the 12-day nomination sprint in July. Only $1.2 million of Pence’s war chest ended up with Holcomb.
  • HPI Analysis: Putin 'strong,' Russia united, journalists murdered
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS – The Republican presidential ticket of Donald Trump and Mike Pence has offered up criticism of President Obama through the prism of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who, they say, is a “strong leader” in a united country. It’s an unexpected turn when national Republican nominees laud a strongman who has been implicated in hacking the Democratic Party and intelligence officials believe he is covertly seeking to influence the U.S. election. Trump’s bromance with Putin goes back several years, surfacing in the context of the 2016 presidential race in December 2015 when Putin was quoted calling Trump "bright and talented" and "the absolute leader of the presidential race.” Trump responded by saying it was a “great honor. He's running his country and at least he's a leader, unlike what we have in this country.” It resurfaced this past week during NBC’s Commander in Chief Forum when Trump said, “Certainly, in that system, he’s been a leader, far more than our president has been a leader. We have a divided country.” Pence chimed in on Thursday, telling CNN, “I think it’s inarguable that Vladimir Putin has been a strong leader in his country than Barack Obama has been in this country. And that’s going to change the day Donald Trump becomes president of the United States of America.” The reason Putin is such a “strong leader” is simple: He and his allies murder his political opponents and journalists. They’ve taken over independent media.
  • WTHR/Howey Poll: Trump has 7% Indiana lead over Clinton
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS - The Donald Trump/Mike Pence presidential ticket has a 43 to 36% lead over Hillary Clinton in the latest WTHR/Howey Politics Indiana Poll. Libertarian Gary Johnson comes in at 11%. “Why is he winning?” asked Public Opinion Strategies pollster Gene Ulm. “Hillary Clinton. That’s the only thing. Voters are saying, ‘I don’t like that guy, but I hate the other one.’” The April WTHR/Howey Politics Poll conducted before the May 3 primary had Trump leading Clinton Trump 47 to 39%. That survey did not include Johnson, who had not yet been nominated. But the fascinating statistic is that Trump’s Indiana numbers have actually declined since Gov. Pence joined the ticket in mid-July.

  • Daniels praises Pence, wants Johnson included in debates
    By MARK SCHOEFF JR.

    WASHINGTON - Despite having a volatile presidential candidate with low approval ratings at the top of the Republican ticket, the party will likely avoid steep losses down ballot in November because the Democratic presidential standard bearer has her own popularity problems. That sums up a brief foray into political analysis by Purdue President Mitch Daniels during a Sept. 7 appearance in Washington. “It’s hard to imagine the election going real badly [for the GOP] not because, up to this point anyway, Mr. Trump has done things so well but because there appears to be a ceiling on Secretary Clinton that precludes a blowout,” Daniels said at a Purdue Presidential Lecture Series session featuring Michael McCurry, former Clinton administration spokesman and co-chair of the presidential debate commission.  

  • HPI Analysis: 'You ain't seen nuthin' yet' for Indiana election cycle
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    CRAWFORDSVILLE, Ind. – In an unprecedented and tumultuous election cycle in the midst of their bicentennial celebration, Hoosier voters have witnessed a lieutenant governor resignation, a presidential candidate clinch a nomination with the embrace of Bobby Knight, a vice presidential nominee, a Democratic U.S. Senate nominee swap out, and 22 obscure committee members choosing a new Republican gubernatorial ticket that largely played out in Ohio. Heading into a nine-week homestretch, President Reagan might have coined the apt phrase: “You ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.” In the next several days, Howey Politics Indiana in tandem with WTHR-TV will begin to set new trend lines in an epic election that will determine a new governor and, perhaps, control of the U.S. Senate. The coming WTHR/Howey Politics Indiana Poll will recalibrate the John Gregg/Eric Holcomb showdown, as well as whether Evan Bayh’s out-of-left-field power grab will be enough to outlast Republican Todd Young. Since the 2008 cycle, HPI has been a consistent source of credible, independent media polling in Indiana gubernatorial, presidential and U.S. Senate races.

  • Gregg, Holcomb eye universal broadband, but funding elusive
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS - Gubernatorial candidates John Gregg and Eric Holcomb, appearing at the Indiana University Public Policy Institute’s Thriving Communities Forum, both said that expanding broadband capabilities and high-speed Internet throughout the state should be a priority.  But as more and more rural counties and towns seek the Indiana Economic Development Corporation’s “Broadband Ready” designation and strive to become “Google cities,” unknown is how municipalities and providers will afford what is essentially the 21st Century version of rural electrifcation. Just this week, the IEDC gave the “Broadband Ready” designation to Merrillville, Decatur County received a $98,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture grant to connect nine agribusinesses with more than 200 employees, and the Brown County Broadband Task Force was working on utility easement issues. What is unmistakable is that counties without high speed Internet stand to fall further behind.

  • Horse Race: Gregg seeks solutions to drug, mental health crisis
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY
        
    WEST BADEN, Ind. – It’s a story John Gregg has heard over and over and over again: Employers have job openings. They just can’t find enough applicants who can pass a drug test. When he broached the topic at a speech before the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns last winter, some 20 local officials, “mayors, clerk-treasurers, city councilmen followed me out the door to talk about it.” Another time it was a group of executives he met with in Indianapolis. It isn’t just those who can’t pass a marijuana screening, Gregg said in a sit-down interview with Howey Politics Indiana here at the Indiana Democratic Editorial Association convention. Cheap heroin is now available in rural areas across the state as well as cities and suburbs. “We’re dealing with heroin addiction,” Gregg said. “It’s a mental health issue. There’s such a stigma attached to drug addiction. If someone has a mental health problem, people will say, ‘How can we help you?’ If it’s a drug addiction, they don’t know what to say. We’ve got to lose the stigma. These are our brothers and sisters, our co-workers, our neighbors and members in our church congregation. It grew out of listening to people for four years talking about drug problems.
  • Horse Race: Drake starts 8th CD campaign 3 months late
    By THOMAS CURRY
        
    INDIANAPOLIS – The Democratic candidate for U.S. representative in Indiana’s 8th CD is 78 years old and last held public office when Lyndon Johnson was president. Ron Drake is three months behind in the fall campaign due to a lengthy recount process resulting in his May 3 primary defeat by four votes of David Orentlicher, physician, attorney and college professor. He is pitted against incumbent Larry Bucshon. It is an election year when Democrats’ wallets are already stretched thin supporting key races around the state. But the nail in the coffin might be that he has only $3,550 in his political warchest. Ron Drake has a tough road ahead. “I’ve lost half of the campaign time, time that can’t be made up. To deny I am the underdog would not be facing the truth,” Drake told HPI. Meanwhile, Bucshon has accumulated some $800,000, a money advantage on top of winning the district twice already. Bucshon is sitting pretty with two months to go.

       
  • HPI Analysis: Holcomb navigates a stormy sprint
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY
        
    LaPORTE, Ind. – The day began as many others over the past month for Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb. There were a fundraiser, a staff meeting and a departure to The Region. He is a man who wears many hats these days: State executive, gubernatorial nominee, fundraiser, cheerleader, student. The days are long, sometimes 18 hours or more. The task at hand is huge. Holcomb must raise somewhere north of $5 million over the next 30 to 45 days. He must gin up his low name ID. His boss, Gov. Mike Pence, is mostly out of the state physically, and checked out mentally, so Holcomb finds himself as the governor fill-in. And he must brand himself while attempting to recover from a polling deficit left over from Pence, arguably the most polarizing political figure in modern Hoosier history. A day like last Wednesday was instructive. After dialing for dollars, talking with producers about his first TV ad, running the traps with his staff, he climbs into the black Chevy Tahoe to Merrillville, where he’ll attend a jobs announcement with the Indiana Economic Development Corporation at Polycon. There will be a briefing at the Purdue Technology Center with IEDC’s Victor Smith and the Northwest Regional Development Authority’s Bill Hanna over a light lunch.
  • Pence opens Trump campaign office in Carmel
    By THOMAS CURRY

    CARMEL - Gov. Mike Pence called on his fellow Hoosiers to push the Trump/Pence ticket to a nationwide victory. Addressing his supporters in a packed and newly opened Indiana campaign office in Carmel, Pence declared that “Indiana will be the first state to elect Donald Trump to the White House.” Pence thanked volunteers and campaign staff while urging them to talk to their neighbors, friends and coworkers about voting Trump come November. With national polling showing the Republican presidential bid in trouble, working to establish a strong ground game will be an integral part of the campaign. Pence also spoke on his family story and how he thought that his life was the “footstool of the American dream.” Mentioning his Irish immigrant grandfather, Pence said that “he never thought” that he would be running for vice president. The one-term Indiana governor said that Pence wants to spread that same belief in the American dream to every corner of the country.
  • Holcomb delivers $1 million in road funds to 'hub of awesome'
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    LaPORTE, Ind. - Tall and lean Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb cuts a far different profile from pudgy ol’ Santa Claus, but when he shows up in an Indiana city or town these days the reaction might be similar. Holcomb is in the process of handing out around $100 million in Community Crossings, the state’s local road and bridge matching grant program.  Appearing at a LaPorte Fire Department statement Wednesday afternoon, Holcomb delivered a $1 million check to Mayor Blair Milo, saying, “While other states struggle with infrastructure, Indiana has continued to invest in ours year after year after year without raising taxes.” He was joined by INDOT Commissioner Brandye Hendrickson and House Transportation Chairman Ed Soliday, who authored HEA 1001 which created the funding. Milo, who describes LaPorte as a “hub of awesome,” was extremely grateful, noting that her city’s pavement management system had identified $17 million in needs, calling the $1 million that Holcomb delivered on Wednesday “a significant step.” She added, “This is not an effort taken by any one person. Lt. Gov. Holcomb is a tremendous champion for our communities.”
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  • Jim Shella to retire after November election
    “I arrived at WISH-TV looking for a job and found a career. I have been given the privilege to cover Indiana politics with the freedom to pursue stories that other stations ignore. I send my thanks to the viewers who made it possible.” - WISH-TV political reporter and “Indiana Week in Review” host Jim Shella, announcing he will retire on Nov. 11.
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HPI Video Feed
Lugar undecided in presidential race
Former U.S. Sen. Dick Lugar tells Fox59 he's undecided in the presidential race.

Hillary Clinton's "Mirrors" TV ad
The Clinton campaign highlights Donald Trump quotes on women.

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2 videos
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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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