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Wednesday, August 24, 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.”
  • Drake finds an 'excruciating' end to 8th CD recount

    By THOMAS CURRY

    INDIANAPOLIS - One hundred and eight days after the May 3rd primary, the Indiana Recount Commission announced Ron Drake the winner of the Democratic primary for Congress in the 8th CD Friday after a lengthy process that Drake called “excruciating, difficult and hard.” While the recount only changed the vote difference between David Orentlicher and Ron Drake by four votes, the effects of the recount are far greater, leaving Drake with less than 90 days to challenge Republican U.S. Rep. Larry Bucshon. Drake said that the recount “stopped me from campaigning. I couldn't tell people I was the nominee when I was not.”

  • Conway's ascension in Trump, Inc. boosts Pence influence
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY
        
    INDIANAPOLIS – This latest week of Mike Pence’s excellent adventure began under the cloud of gloom and a landslide Trump loss in the making. Instead of measuring for curtains in the Old Executive Office Building, Pence allies were said to be scouting potential post-2016 options for a governor soon to be without a state. At this writing, Pence seemed to have consolidated a stronger position within Trump/Pence, Inc., when his long-time pollster, Kellyanne Conway, was elevated to manage day-to-day operations while Breitbart executive Stephen Bannon was made chief executive in the second Trump campaign shakeup this summer. It comes as a new Monmouth University Poll in Indiana shows the Republican ticket leading Clinton 47-36% with Gary Johnson at 10%. Conway’s ascension could signal greater influence by Pence on the Trump operations.
  • Horse Race: Pence money slow to flow to Holcomb
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS - At the risk of becoming the Cuba Gooding Jr., character in the movie “Jerry Maguire,” Howey Politics Indiana has been asking, “Show me the money!” when it comes to Gov. Mike Pence’s war chest. Another week has gone by and thus far, only $1.25 million of Pence’s $7.4 million campaign funds have made it into the coffers of Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb. Holcomb campaign sources have told HPI they expect close to $5 million to migrate to Holcomb; he had $20,000 in his campaign account when he received the nomination from the Indiana Republican Central Committee on July 26. Three days later, Pence moved what many Republicans believe to be the first part of the funds. On Friday, the Indiana Secretary of State’s large contribution site posted a $250,000 donation from the RGA Direct PAC. Holcomb campaign spokesman Pete Seat told HPI on Sunday that the RGA contribution is a “new investment.” The Democratic Governors Association is contesting the Holcomb campaign’s intent to use “permissible” campaign funds from Pence to fuel Holcomb, who has name ID under 20% and entered the nomination with a mere $20,000.  Holcomb has picked up an additional $175,000 in large donations since Aug. 3.
  • HPI Analysis: Bayh's 2010 issues resurface in 2016 campaign
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY
        
    INDIANAPOLIS – In the fateful hours before Evan Bayh’s February 2010 bombshell that he wouldn’t seek a third U.S. Senate term, a waiter described a private confab in a downtown Indianapolis hotel that was attended by the senator, his wife and some of his closest supporters. The waiter described the scene as Bayh loyalists pleading with him: “You just can’t run.” The details were murky. Was it his looming deciding vote for Obamacare? Was it the emerging Tea Party movement that would help end fellow Sen. Dick Lugar’s political career two years later? Was it the fact that the Bayhs found themselves much wealthier at this point than when he entered the Senate in 1999? Was it that the media attention would be afixed to Susan Bayh, an attorney of unremarkable stature who ended up on a number of corporate boards where she raked in millions of dollars? Whatever the reason, Bayh decided to drop out of the race just hours later, and just hours before the end of the filing deadline, forever changing Hoosier politics.
  • Monmouth Poll Indiana: Trump up 11%, Bayh up 7%, Gov tossup
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY
        
    INDIANAPOLIS - The first independent polling in Indiana since the national conventions give Donald Trump an 11% lead over Hillary Clinton, Evan Bayh up 7% over Republican Todd Young, and the gubernatorial race between Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb and Democrat John Gregg a dead heat. The Monmouth University Poll suggests similarities to 1988, when Hoosier voters elected the Bush/Quayle ticket as well as Bayh governor. WTHR/Howey Politics Indiana will be releasing three independent polls in September, October and November. Indiana Democrats were quick to note that the Monmouth sample was +13% Republican. Among Indiana voters likely to cast ballots in November’s presidential election, 47% currently support Trump and 36% back Clinton. Another 10% intend to vote for Libertarian Gary Johnson, with 5% who are undecided. About the same number of Republicans back Trump (84%) as Democrats who back Clinton (87%). Independents are divided at 38% for Trump and 34% for Clinton, with 18% supporting Johnson.
  • Clinton Indiana field office part of 50 state strategy v. Trump
    By MAUREEN HAYDEN
    CNHI State Reporter


    INDIANAPOLIS – Keith Potts put aside wedding planning on a recent Saturday to spend a rainy morning canvassing for votes in Indianapolis. Wearing a Hillary Clinton T-shirt and ball cap, Potts, who lives in the city, said he is hopeful of changing minds even in a traditionally red state whose governor is running as vice president on the Republican ticket. “There’s a real energy in Indiana this year,” he said. “I think Indiana might be a surprise to a lot of people.” Indiana is no swing state. Yet, a small paid campaign staff and some trained volunteers, including Potts, have been organizing phone banks and voter drives as part of the Democrat's sweeping strategy to campaign at the local level in all 50 states.
  • Psssst ... Pence, Holcomb campaign together in Columbus
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS – On the face of it and in normal political times, a rainy Saturday morning in Columbus would have been a prime earned media and photo opportunity for Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence and his Republican Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb. Pence returned to his hometown to campaign with Holcomb at the Upland Columbus Pump House and John Willy’s Restaurant, with a quick stop at a downtown farmers’ market. But the Trump/Pence campaign did not release this stop on any Pence itinerary and Holcomb’s campaign schedule had the nominee solo Saturday morning. This peculiar sans media campaign style comes after a Republican canary in the coal mine moment this past week. An internal poll for Democrat gubernatorial nominee John Gregg not only had him leading Holcomb 46-39%, but showed that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are tied in Indiana at 44%.
  • As tsunami looms and Indiana in play, Pence eyes future options
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    NASHVILLE, Ind. – Mike Pence had two distinct political periods. The first came in 1988 and 1990 when he lost two 2nd CD races to U.S. Rep. Phil Sharp. The second came in 2000 when he won an open 6th CD seat that helped ignite a seven-election winning streak, resulting in six terms in the U.S. House and one as Indiana governor. The Hoosier bicentennial year put Pence on a different trajectory. The most ideological modern Indiana governor positioned himself for a tough reelection rematch with Democrat John Gregg. Polling by WTHR-TV and Howey Politics Indiana as well as Bellwether Research had him mired in the 40th percentile with narrow head-to-head leads over Gregg, while his reelect languished at 36%, as his job approval and fav/unfavs were moored in the lower 40% range. Pence could have been reelected, but when Donald Trump picked him out of a tiny pool of Republicans willing to take a chance on the Trump ticket, Gov. Pence made what many believe was a career-saving leap right on to the edge of the straight razor.

  • Orentlicher concedes to Drake in 8th CD Democrat recount

    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    NASHVILLE, Ind. The 8th CD Democratic recount ended without a formal resolution as David Orentlicher conceded to Ron Drake Friday afternoon. A 19-county recount concluded this week showed Orentlicher failing to come close to erasing Drake’s 68 vote lead on the May 3 primary. “Earlier this afternoon, I called Ron Drake and congratulated him on winning the Democratic Party’s nomination for the 8th District congressional race. I told him that I have decided to suspend the recount process,” Orentlicher said. “Now that we have had a chance to consider the hard work of the State Board of Accounts and to review the notes of our terrific volunteer observers, it is clear that the final numbers will confirm a victory for Mr. Drake." Drake told the Evansville Courier & Press, “I wish him well. I know how badly he wanted this.” Drake now faces Republican U.S. Rep. Larry Bucshon on Nov. 8.

  • Internal Democrat poll shows Gregg leading 46-39%
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS - An internal Democratic poll obtained by Howey Politics Indiana shows Democratic gubernatorial nominee John Gregg leading Republican Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb 46-39% with 6% backing Libertarian Rex Bell and 9% undecided. The poll by Expedition Strategies and pollster Pete Brodnitz conducted last week also shows Democrat U.S. Senate nominee Evan Bayh with a 58-32% lead over U.S. Rep. Todd Young with 9% undecided. Howey Politics Indiana and WTHR-TV will be conducting three non-partisan polls between now and the Nov. 8 election. Since Holcomb was nominated by the Indiana Republican Central Committee on July 26 to replace Gov. Mike Pence and Bayh was nominated by the Indiana Democratic Central Committee in late July to replace former nominee Baron Hill, there has been no independent, non-partisan polling on either race.
  • Holcomb campaign expects $5M in Pence money to migrate
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS - The Holcomb/Crouch gubernatorial campaign is expecting to recover about $5 million of the reelection funds from Gov. Mike Pence. An informed and reliable campaign source tells HPI, “It’s safe to say that somewhere in the ball park of $5 million will come via direct transfers, in-kind or other legally permissible ways. No one really knows the full amount at this point.”  The knowledgeable source said that while the Pence campaign posted $7.5 million on the June 30 mid-year report, in reality the campaign was never prepared to turn that much over to the new gubernatorial nominee who became Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb on July 26. At the time of the mid-year report, the source said, the Pence campaign believed the governor was likely to be nominated for vice president by Donald Trump. “Pretty much at that point, they knew they were being vetted for vice president, there were still expenditures, but the revenues stopped.”

  • Too early to determine impact of Pence campaign finance blunder
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS - It is still too early to tell whether Gov. Mike Pence and his reelection campaign’s hasty bolt from Indiana politics without taking the necessary steps to transfer his $7.4 million campaign fund to the successor nominee is a blunder of historic proportions, or just a temporary blip. But now just under two weeks of the fledgling gubernatorial campaign of Eric Holcomb and Suzanne Crouch, only a fraction of the Pence funds - $1.25 million - has flowed into the new nominee’s account. Like the old adage of “early money is like yeast,” the Holcomb/Crouch campaign could have really used the Pence money to gin up his name ID, which is under 20%. That, however, is a work in progress. Republican financier Bob Grand, who is advising the Holcomb campaign on how to unlock the Pence funds, responded to a number of questions by Howey Politics Indiana by saying Saturday morning, “Stay tuned. You can tell by recent filings that we are really having success.”
  • Young, Mutz recall Bayh's opposition to Subaru, Japanese firms
    By THOMAS CURRY

    LAFAYETTE - While Democrat Evan Bayh may be a new entry into the 2016 U.S. Senate race, his Republican opponent Todd Young plans to drag out old skeletons from Bayh’s closet, some dating back to 1988, including his opposition to a Japanese automaker locating a now thriving plant in Indiana. Young met with Subaru officials, toured the factory and spoke to media at the same Subaru plant in Lafayette Thursday that was a major focus of Indiana’s 1988 gubernatorial race between Evan Bayh and then Lt. Gov John Mutz, who was instrumental in landing the plant while heading the Department of Commerce under Gov. Robert Orr.

  • HPI Analysis: Gov. Pence's Trumpian adventure
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY
        
    INDIANAPOLIS – The drunken uncle is down in the basement, droning on and on about walls and Russian dictators and shooting people on Fifth Avenue and vicious Gold Star moms. He covets that Purple Heart his five Vietnam War era draft deferments denied him and basks at getting one the “easy” way from a soldier who earned it. Floating above these sounds is a faint Mozartian oboe of a voice … “I’m a Christian, a conservative and a Republican in that order …” Indiana Gov. Mike Pence grew up a Catholic, evolved into an evangelical, and has now converted to the Trumpian Church of Ambition. This conversion is uncomfortable for those who know him and care about him.The emerging reality is that Pence has reordered his life priorities. He has become a Republican first. At a time when dozens of Republicans spent months sizing up Donald Trump, many decided no way, unsheathed their 10-foot poles, and wouldn’t go anywhere near Cleveland, Ohio, in July.

  • Horse Race: O'Brien to manage Holcomb campaign
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY
        
    INDIANAPOLIS – One day after officially becoming a ticket, the Holcomb/Crouch campaign today announced its senior leadership team of Mike O’Brien, campaign manager; Pete Seat, communications director; Brian McGrath, finance director; Mindy Colbert, deputy finance director; Joe Elsener, coalitions director; and Ethan Lawson, deputy political director. “This senior campaign team brings unparalleled experience in developing strategy, delivering a message, raising money and executing a ground game,” said Holcomb. “Between them, they are an all-star team with experience working on campaigns ranging from the township level to the presidential level, and serving public officials from State Auditor to president of the United States. Suzanne and I are excited to welcome them to our growing team.”
  • The female LG trend continues with Crouch
    By MAUREEN HAYDEN
    CNHI Statehouse Bureau

        
    INDIANAPOLIS – No matter who wins the governor’s race in November, one outcome seems certain: The lieutenant governor’s office will be held by a woman. The decision, formalized Monday, to add state Auditor Suzanne Crouch to the Republican ticket revives what’s becoming a new tradition in Indiana politics with gender balance. Since 2003, with one brief exception, there’s been one male and one female on every major party ticket for the state’s top two offices, in a state where gubernatorial candidates pick their running mates. “It’s not just a tradition, it’s an expectation now,” said Democrat Kathy Davis, who became Indiana’s first lieutenant governor 13 years ago. “It’s just a sign of something way overdue, given 51 percent of voters are women,” she added.
  • HPI Analysis: Crouch joins the Holcomb gubernatorial ticket
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY
        
    INDIANAPOLIS –  The easy part for the new Holcomb/Crouch ticket came and went Monday morning with smiles and cheers. Suzanne Crouch was formally ratified by the Indiana Republican Central Committee three days after Republican gubernatorial nominee Eric Holcomb nominated her for lieutenant governor. She was presented to the public and press Monday morning, capping nearly six months of unprecedented change that has roiled the party. “She brings it all,” Holcomb said as he was flanked by the same 22 committee members who gave him the gubernatorial nomination six days ago. Holcomb cited Crouch’s background as a Vanderburgh County commissioner and auditor, state representative and state auditor, as well as her successful statewide election in 2014. “She’s held four important positions. She has legislative and executive experience. Most importantly, she can assume the duties as governor,” Holcomb said.
        
  • Pence intervenes in Trump's Gold Star mother controversy

    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS - For the second time in a week, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence stepped into a controversy generated by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, trying to clarify where the campaign stands. On Sunday, Trump criticized Gold Star mother Ghazala Khan after he husband Khizr criticized his proposed Muslim ban during the Democratic National Convention in which he paid tribute to his son, U.S. Army Capt. Humayan Khan, who was killed by an IED in Iraq in 2004. "If you look at his wife, she was standing there. She had nothing to say. She probably, maybe she wasn't allowed to have anything to say. You tell me," Trump said, in an interview with ABC's "This Week."

  • Holcomb/Crouch ticket faces daunting cash, ID, issue challenges
    By MAUREEN HAYDEN
    CNHI Statehouse Bureau

    INDIANAPOLIS – Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb stepped into the governor’s race this week facing twin challenges - little campaign cash and minimal name recognition. More pressing, say supporters and political analysts, is whether Holcomb identifies as a Mitch Daniels Republican or a Mike Pence Republican. “He’s really got to define himself and do that soon,” said state Rep. Sean Eberhart, R-Shelbyville, who notes that Democrat John Gregg has a big head start over the never-elected Holcomb in the campaign. Eberhart’s district is in one of the "doughnut" counties outside Indianapolis, where Pence was polling poorly before dropping his re-election bid three weeks ago to join Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s ticket.

  • HPI Analysis: How will history gauge Pence's governorship?
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY
        
    INDIANAPOLIS – Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence will occupy a unique perch in the pantheon of modern Indiana governors. Since the Indiana Constitution was changed to allow governors to serve two consecutive terms, Pence will be the “one-termer” in a group of seven to have served in the era. He could be only the second governor to move up the political food chain and into the federal executive branch, joining Doc Bowen who served as secretary of Health and Human Services, but that is a verdict to be determined in November. Pence returned to Indiana on Friday, riding his motorcycle with ABATE to Rushville, addressing ALEC where he spent about 20 minutes saying, ”What common sense conservative principals have done at state level in this country and will do at the national level." And he conducted a Statehouse cabinet meeting.
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  • Priebus predicts Trump/Pence poll lead by Labor Day
    "I think what you are seeing on the campaign is a continuation of a good couple of weeks that Donald Trump has had. It's going to be important for us and for Donald Trump to continue down this measured path that he's on and if he does that, I think he's going to be tied or ahead at or just after Labor Day." - Republican National Chairman Reince Priebus, predicting the Trump/Pence ticket will lead Hillary Clinton after more email and Clinton Foundation controversies have surfaced. Gov. Mike Pence has called it “pay to play” with access to the Clinton Foundation and has called for it to be shut down.
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HPI Video Feed
Bayh on his residency issue in Lafayette
Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Evan Bayh discusses his residency issue with WLFI-TV on Lafayette.

1st Trump/Pence TV ad of the fall
This is the first Trump/Pence campaign TV ad of the general election.

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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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