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Wednesday, August 05, 2015
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Gov. Mike Pence (right) during the January State of the State address while Senate President David Long (left) and House Speaker Brian Bosma listen. All three are seeking ways of "clarifying" the Religious Freedom Restoration Act that has set off boycotts of Indiana. (HPI Photo)
Gov. Mike Pence (right) during the January State of the State address while Senate President David Long (left) and House Speaker Brian Bosma listen. All three are seeking ways of "clarifying" the Religious Freedom Restoration Act that has set off boycotts of Indiana. (HPI Photo)
Monday, March 30, 2015 3:34 PM
By MATTHEW BUTLER

INDIANAPOLIS - Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma and Senate President Pro Temp David Long told reporters Monday that Indiana’s new Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) law would not allow for discrimination of gays and lesbians and they would seek to pass legislation clarifying such. Both Republican leaders of super majorities in their respective chambers said it was never their intent to pass anything discriminatory and they felt the law was being misunderstood by many and misconstrued by some. The Monday morning press conference was the likes of which rarely seen at the Indiana Statehouse. Media nearly packed the Senate Chamber as national reporters and cameramen jockeyed for space with the everyday statehouse press corps. Outside, national television satellite trucks were parked on the streets lining the state capitol. Democrats were able to use the entire gaggle of media later in the morning to call for repeal of the entire RFRA law and to bolster the state’s human rights statutes by making sexual orientation a protected class.
  • HPI Analysis: Solutions for Indiana's historic low voter turnout
    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.
     
  • Horse Race: Sugar, McDermott weigh Democrat gov runs
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY
    and MATTHEW BUTLER

        
    INDIANAPOLIS – In the past week Glenda Ritz’s gubernatorial campaign was described in the IndyStar as “minor league” with three strikes against it. State Sen. Karen Tallian drew 10 people to a Richmond meet-and-greet. John Gregg, Ritz and Tallian have yet to unveil the so-called “big idea” to fuel popular support of a campaign other than defeating the socially divisive Gov. Mike Pence. And former Evan Bayh staffer Tom Sugar and Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. are both exploring potential candidacies. It’s nine months out from the 2016 Democratic primary and the field isn’t set. “Quite frankly, when I look at our candidates, I’m not sensing a lot of enthusiasm for the ticket,” said McDermott, who is running for reelection in November and is heavily favored. He sees himself as a potential late entry into the race. “I think if I ran I would be very, very dangerous in the primary. I think I could win the primary.”
     
  • Horse Race: Three-way GOP race develops in 9th CD
    By MATTHEW BUTLER

    INDIANAPOLIS -Two weeks ago the 9th CD’s Republican field officially became a three-way race among State Sen. Erin Houchin, of Salem, State Sen. Brent Waltz, of Greenwood, and New Albany native and Attorney General Greg Zoeller. The flurry of announcements followed the much-anticipated announcement that incumbent Todd Young is running for U.S. Senate. The three hopefuls’ early campaign statements have touched on different themes. Zoeller’s campaign kickoff stressed defending states’ rights, reining in “federal overreach,” and tackling dysfunction in Washington. Houchin, however, focused on a strong foreign policy and border security. Waltz has been touting his record in the State Senate and record for grassroots activity.
     
  • 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.

     
  • By BRIAN A. HOWEY
        
    BLOOMINGTON – 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. “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. Americans learned last week that more than 20 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 church Bible study group in South Carolina.
            
    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.
     
  • Horse Race: A surprising twist in Gregg, Pence money war
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY
        
    INDIANAPOLIS – Raise your hand if you were forecasting that John Gregg would out-raise Gov. Mike Pence in the first half of the year. That was territory that Howey Politics Indiana hadn’t ventured in, nor are we aware of any other punditry, foreign or domestic, that would have guessed that when it was all tallied up, Gregg would report $1.76 million compared to Gov. Pence’s take of $1.63 million for the first six months of 2015. In a year that has already featured some surprising developments, Sen. Dan Coats’ retirement, the RFRA fiasco and the April Howey Politics Indiana poll that saw Pence’s approval and job performance take a historic dive, this development is an important turn of events.

       
     
  • Horse Race: Waltz jumps in 9th CD; Zoeller, Houchin, Mayfield prepare
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY
        
    INDIANAPOLIS – Just hours after U.S. Rep. Todd Young jumped into the 2016 U.S. Senate race, State Sen. Brent Waltz announced an expected bid for the 9th CD. “I’m in 100%,” Waltz told Howey Politics Indiana. “There will be a formal announcement on Thursday.” Waltz is one of a handful of Republicans looking to succeed Young, who declared for the Senate race on Sunday. Attorney General Greg Zoeller, State Sen. Erin Houchin of Salem and State Rep. Peggy Mayfield of Martinsville have all expressed interest. Zoeller told Howey Politics Indiana on Monday that he has been seriously weighing a bid. “It’s no secret that I have been discussing running for this seat with many supporters in the district and have received encouragement, but it’s more appropriate to allow Congressman Young to make his public announcement Saturday before announcing my own plan.”
     
  • Holcomb posts $200,000 for 2nd quarter, adds endorsements
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS - Republican U.S. Senate candidate Eric Holcomb announced he raised $200,000 in the second FEC quarter and unveiled a slate of new endorsements. The former Indiana Republican chairman added seven legislators, eight mayors, nine elected officials and nine party leaders to his list of support. Holcomb’s second quarter numbers followed that of U.S. Rep. Todd Young, who is expected to officially join the race later this month. Young raised $1 million in the second quarter and will have close to $2 million cash on hand. The third candidate, U.S. Rep. Marlin Stutzman, announced he has the backing of Citizens United, but has not released second quarter fundraising totals.
     
  • Aspiring Senate candidate Young raises $1 million in 2nd quarter
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS - Just days before he makes a presumptive Republican U.S. Senate bid official, U.S. Rep. Todd Young scorched the fundraising circuit, preparing to post $1,024,908 for the second quarter. Entering the quarter with $1.1 million cash on hand, Young will likely start his Senate campaign with close to $2 million cash on hand. For historical perspective, Young’s dialing for dollars acumen rates with two other prodigious Hoosier U.S. Senate fundraisers, Republican Sen. Dick Lugar and Democrat Sen. Evan Bayh. In other off-year cycles, Lugar ranked second with $973,853 in the 2011 April quarterly and fourth with $911,584 in the 2011 July quarterly. Bayh posted $946,298 in the 2003 July quarterly, and $863,704 in the 2003 April quarterly.
     
  • Harrison crosses Indy ballot access signature threshold
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS - Rev. Charles Harrison is now prepared to throw an interesting wrench into the Indianapolis mayoral race. Allies of the United Methodist pastor filed more than 6,600 signatures to gain ballot access as an independent last week. Sources with the Marion County Voter Registration have confirmed 3,200 signatures, with another 150 pages yet to be counted, meaning Harrison qualifies for ballot access. “Once again, I am humbled and incredibly blessed that so many folks want me to run for mayor of Indianapolis,” Harrison said this morning.
     
  • HPI Analysis: A riveting week that changed America
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY
        
    INDIANAPOLIS – In a riveting 24-hour period last week, Americans saw the U.S. Supreme Court reaffirm Obamacare, then legalize same-sex marriage in all 50 states. A few hours later at the funeral for South Carolina State Sen. Clementa Pinckney, the full frontal assault on the Confederate battle flag continued, quickly spreading from President Obama’s citation of the flag as racist, to a similar assessment from Republican Jeb Bush, to retailers such as eBay, Amazon and Walmart, to the Alabama statehouse where Gov. Robert Bentley ordered its removal from the heart of Dixie. It was a stunning week that changed America in ways rarely witnessed at such a pace. While Congress and state legislatures remain mostly inert as the general public evolves quickly on social issues, it was the Supreme Court and the corporate community that decisively moved the needle. What remains to be seen is whether this evolution folds seamlessly into American culture, or whether this is only the calm before various groups on the social right regroup and prepare for other fights along other picket lines.
        
     
  • Horse Race: Thomas continues to ponder GOP challenge to Pence
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS - Indianapolis auto dealer Bob Thomas is still pondering entry into the Republican primary, and perhaps even an independent gubernatorial bid. “It is still under consideration,” Thomas told HPI on Tuesday. “But taking on a sitting governor is a huge undertaking. I don’t want to get into a bloody primary and then give the seat to the Democrats.” Thomas began pondering a challenge to Gov. Pence following the Religious Freedom Restoration Act episode last April. Thomas said that he is talking with Republicans about the race. “I’m talking to the adults in the party,” he said. “Everybody thinks the same way. They are scared to death this guy is going to get beat in November.” Thomas is looking at mid-July to make a decision.
     
  • Pence lauds SCOTUS decision that pre-empts EPA showdown
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS - A week after vowing “not to comply” with pending Environmental Protection Agency Clean Power Plan, Gov. Mike Pence hailed a U.S. Supreme Court decision released Monday morning that clipped the Obama administration’s attempt to restrict carbon emissions that he believed would make energy more expensive and gnaw into Hoosier job creation. “Today’s Supreme Court ruling is a victory for Indiana and for Hoosiers,” Pence said Monday afternoon following the 5-4 decision on Michigan et al. v. EPA.
     
  • Reaction to marriage ruling predictable across Hoosier State
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    NASHVILLE, Ind. - There was a wide scope of reaction in the Hoosier State to Friday’s 5-4 U.S. Supreme Court that legalized gay marriage nationwide. It was mostly predictable, with Gov. Mike Pence expressing disappointment, Democrat gubernatorial challengers John Gregg and Glenda Ritz promising to seek civil rights expansion, and the family groups were angry in their reaction. Gov. Mike Pence, for the second day in a row, expressed his “disappointment” in the high court, following Thursday’s decision reaffirming Obamacare. “Like many Hoosiers, I believe marriage is the union between one man and one woman, and I am disappointed that the Supreme Court failed to recognize the historic role of the states in setting marriage policy in this country,” said Pence. “Nevertheless, our Administration will continue to uphold the rule of law and abide by the ruling of the Court in this case.”

     
  • SCOTUS 5-4 marriage decision ends two-decade IN culture war

    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    BLOOMINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision affirming the right of gay couples of marriage under the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause essentially ends a two-decade long cultural battle that played out year after year in the Indiana General Assembly. “The court now holds that same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry. No longer may this liberty be denied to them,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion granting marriage equality in all 50 states. Micah Clark, executive director of the American Family Association of Indiana, reacted, saying, “This act by the court will devalue marriage. If marriage can mean anything, it ultimately means nothing.  When marriage loses its' meaning, society and children suffer.  When children suffer, government expands. When government expands, liberty contracts. This is not a good day for the future of America."

     
  • HPI Analysis: Gov. Pence prepares to pick a fight
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY
    and MATTHEW BUTLER

        
    INDIANAPOLIS – Last Thursday evening, it wasn’t the packed banquet hall at Primo’s, or the demonstrators outside, or even the red meat rhetoric that caught our attention. It was Gov. Mike Pence’s face, snapped in a Howey Politics Indiana photo by Matthew Butler that told the story. Pence’s eyes were piercing. His mouth drawn taut. Jaw clenched. And he put the Hoosier political world on notice that he was ready to, as he once famously said on the Washington Mall, pick a fight. “This is going to be a fight and I’m ready,” Pence told the Indiana Republican spring dinner. “We’re not going to allow liberals and special interests in Washington, D.C., undo all we’ve accomplished together. To do this we must be prepared to stand united for common sense leadership that has made our state synonymous with growth and government reform. For those expecting a campaign like 2012, they will be disappointed.”
        
     
  • IMA's Kiely took part in a manufacturing revolution
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY
        
    INDIANAPOLIS – When Pat Kiely entered the Indiana House in 1978, there were no cell phones. When he joined the Indiana Manufacturers Association 24 years ago, the venerable organization was still in the pre-computer era. Now as he prepares to step away from that organization, Kiely surveys a state that is just as reliant on making things as it was when U.S. Steel employed tens of thousands of Hoosiers and his hometown of Anderson was home to a huge General Motors complex. Things have evolved to the point where U.S. Steel employs fewer than 6,000 workers and GM has vanished from Anderson. In 2008, Kiely watched as the domestic auto industry teetered near bankruptcy, an event which, had it occurred, would have produced the same kind of 20% jobless rate he witnessed after the oil shocks of the late 1970s. Tabbed by Speaker J. Roberts Dailey as one of the youngest Ways & Means Committee chairs in history, the 31-year-old Kiely was faced with plugging an epic budget deficit in December 1982 with a record tax increase. Today, Indiana’s manufacturing sector is No. 1 in gross state product (GSP) at 30.1%.
     
  • Coats surveys the INSen race
    By MATTHEW BUTLER
        
    INDIANAPOLIS – Though he has said he will not endorse any candidate, U.S. Sen. Dan Coats described to Howey Politics Indiana the type of Republican he would like to see win the nomination for his seat in May 2016. Coats announced in March he would not seek reelection, citing the desire to spend more time with family. Concerning his successor, he stressed that a willingness to cooperate is essential to achieving substantive reforms in a country that is politically polarized. “I’m very much going to try to work for and support someone who I think has the maturity, has made tough decisions, has the judgment to go in and be a very responsible senator, and, hopefully, pursue the major issues without just being a wrecking ball,” Coats said.
     
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  • Sen. Donnelly votes to defund Planned Parenthood
    “While Planned Parenthood clinics in Indiana do not partake in fetal tissue donation and were found to be following the law, today’s vote is about Planned Parenthood clinics around the country. I cannot in good faith support federal funding for this organization until the questions of whether other clinics are complying with federal and state laws are answered.” - U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly, who was one of two Senate Democrats to vote to defund Planned Parenthood. Senate Democrats blocked GOP’s defunding effort which at a 53-46 vote fell short of the 60 votes needed. U.S. Sen. Dan Coats backed the measure. The issue is expected to resurface in October and has the potential to shut down the federal government.
     



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