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.”
  • Atomic! Legislator promotion; sleepless mayor; Hale & Holcomb
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Nashville, Ind.

    1. Legislators for Congress: Here are your final power lunch talking points for the week: With State Rep. Jim Baird’s entry into the Republican 4th CD race we now find two current and one former legislators seeking a promotion to Congress.State Rep. Mike Braun is seeking the GOP U.S. Senate nomination, State Sen. Mike Crider is running for the open 6th CD and former rep Steve Braun in seeking the open 4th CD. They seek to join Luke Messer, Jackie Walorski, Jim Banks in the current delegation who made the jump along with Mike Pence, Marlin Stutzman, Baron Hill, Ed Pease, Julia Carson, Jim Jontz, Dan Burton, Joel Deckard, Katie Hall, Adam Benjamin, Phil Hayes and David Dennis, who have done it over the past half century.
  • Horse Race: Braun's 4th CD campaign to focus on jobs, DWD legacy
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    NASHVILLE, Ind. –  Steve Braun believes he laid a foundation of career development and job growth during his one term in the Indiana House and as commissioner of the Department of Workforce Development under Govs. Mike Pence and Eric Holcomb. Now he believes he can best serve the state representing the 4th CD. “My whole approach about is is believing that I’m the guy who can really drive results, and that is sorely needed in Washington right now,” Braun toldHowey Politics Indiana on Wednesday. “The deficit is out of control. Nothing is getting done. I’m a believer that a strong business background is a critical component to drive outcomes." Earlier this week, Braun posted $163,000 on his third quarter FEC report. While that trails the $208,000 that rival Diego Morales posted, the Braun campaign points out that the Zionsville Republican didn’t kick off his campaign until Aug. 31. 
  • Horse Race: Zakas expected to seek reelection
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS - State Sen. Joe Zakas, a 36-year veteran, is likely to seek reelecton, according to Matt Zapfe of the Senate Majority Campaign. “He’s talking about reelection,” Zapfe said, though a final decision hasn’t been made. If Zakas wins another term, he would surpass State Sens. Robert Garton, Larry Borst and Johnny Nugent, who all served 36 years. Nugent retired, while Garton and Borst were defeated in Republican primaries.
  • Horse Race: Braun makes it a three-way Senate race
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    NASHVILLE, Ind. – To put the emerging $100 million U.S. Senate race into perspective, the general election is a little more than 13 months away and already $10.5 million in candidate money has already spilled in. Add the astonishing amount of outside money  – $3,516,273 million at this point  – that includes a $993,928 buy (at this writing) by Americans For Prosperity tax reform push aimed at U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly this month, and it’s easy to see that the $100 million figure isn’t hyperbole, but a very real threshold. Democrats and allies have spent $930,542 thus far and $2,585,731 has been spent by Republicans and allied groups.

  • Greg Pence announces for 6th CD

    Howey Politics Indiana

    COLUMBUS -  Businessman Greg Pence, brother for Vice President Mike Pence, is seeking the 6th CD Republican nominat. “As my wife Denise and I traveled around the district, more and more people encouraged us to consider a run for Congress," Pence said on Wednesday. "Our family and friends have been incredibly supportive, and we are very grateful. More than 30 years ago I stepped forward to serve my country as an officer in the Marine Corps. Once you experience what it is like to serve your fellow citizens, you are always looking for different ways to do that. It’s clear the Sixth District has a long history of terrific representation in Congress. If elected, my mission will be to continue this tradition of faithful servant leadership.” Vice President Pence held the seat from 2001 to 2012. State Sen. Mike Crider and Muncie businessman Jonathan Lamb have already announced for the seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Luke Messer, who is seeking the U.S. Senate nomination. Pence is Messer's campaign finance director.

  • Atomic! Rokita posts $450k; Holcomb popular; Trump flags
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Nashville, Ind.

    1. Rokita raises $450K: Here are your Monday morning power lunch talking points. U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita raised $450,000 in the third quarter and has $2.4 million cash on hand for the Republican U.S. Senate race. That compares to Rep. Luke Messer’s $735,000 haul and an identical $2.4 million in cash. Rokita’s third quarter haul placed him third for the quarter with State Rep. Mike Braun bringing in $1 million, though that included $800,000 from himself. U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly reported $1.3 million raised in the quarter and $4.6 million cash on hand.
  • Horse Race: Donnelly reports $1.3M for quarter; Messer $735k

    By BRIAN A. HOWEY


    INDIANAPOLIS - U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly reported a $1.3 million third quarter on his FEC report and has $4.6 million cash on hand. Donnelly officially kicked off his reelection campaign in August and said that 84% of his donors gave $50 or less. U.S. Rep. Luke Messer reported $735,000 and will have $2.4 million cash on hand.  Messer’s fundraising this quarter was dominated by Hoosier grassroots support. With nearly 1,000 contributions and over 80% of them coming from within Indiana, it's clear Luke Messer has emerged as the choice for conservative Hoosiers. "I'm honored and humbled to have the support of so many Hoosiers from every region of the state," said Messer. This cycle, Messer has raised $2.26 million, outpacing the U.S. Sen. Todd Young who reported $2.16 million at this point in 2015. Additionally, Messer’s third-quarter outpaced Senator Young’s, who ended the quarter with $721,000 raised.

  • Atomic: Trump Iran nix; 1st Amendment threat; Sasse retort
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Indianapolis

    1. Trump to decertify the Iran deal: Here are your Thursday power lunch talking points: On the topic of continuing the Iran nuclear deal, Defense Sec. Jim Mattis was asked by Sen. Augus King at a Senate Armed Services Committee, “Do you believe it's in our national security interest at the present time to remain in the JCPOA [Iran nuclear deal]? That's a yes or no question.” Mattis responded, “Yes, senator, I do.” When Joint Chiefs Chairman Joseph Dunford was asked about the Iran deal, he said, “Iran is not in material breach of the agreement, and I do believe the agreement to date has delayed the development of a nuclear capability by Iran.” Our British and German allies are on the same page.

  • Atomic! Insults, nukes & hacks; Hall enters; booze mythology
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Indianapolis

    1. Insults, nukes and hacks: Here are your hump day power lunch talking points: Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker has sounded the alarms about President Trump recklessly heading into a nuclear war. The President responded with another twitter insult (“Liddle Bob”). NBC reports that after Trump was presented a national security Power Point presentation on July 20 showing the winnowing of the U.S. nuclear arsenal, Trump wanted to return to the days where we had 30,000 nukes, prompting Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s “moron” quote. “If he were to increase the numbers, the Russians would match him, and the Chinese” would ramp up their nuclear ambitions, said Joe Cirincione, a nuclear expert and MSNBC contributor. “There hasn’t been a military mission that’s required a nuclear weapon in 71 years.” We also learned that North Korean hackers stole joint U.S.-South Korean war plans that included a leadership decapitation strike. And NK hackers are targeting the U.S. power grid. If none of this inspires confidence, join the many of us who are truly alarmed.
  • Horse Race: Morales posts $207k in 4th CD
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY
        
    INDIANAPOLIS – Diego Morales prefers to do things the “right way.” He’s been cris-crossing the 4th CD over the past several months, positioning himself to win an open seat Republican nomination. He posted $207,000 on his first FEC report covering the third quarter. He immigrated to the U.S. from Guatemala when he was a senior in high school, speaking no English. “I believe in the rule of law,” Morales explained. “I want to be very compassionate, which is why I am sharing my own story. I came to American the right way, the legal way. I am truly living the American dream.” He was graduated from Silver Creek HS, attained his undergraduate degree from Indiana University, got an MBA at Purdue, campaigned and joined the staff of U.S. Rep. Mike Sodrel, served in the U.S. Army, and ended up on the staffs of Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman and Gov. Mike Pence.
  • Trump's Indiana polling sags to 49/45%

    Howey Politics Indiana

    INDIANAPOLIS - Fewer than nine months into President Donald Trump’s White House tenure, a Morning Consult survey in all 50 states indicates that voters have grown bearish on his performance in office. It shows Trump’s approve/disapprove in Indiana has declined from 55.3/33% in January to 49.8/44.9% in late September. Trump has failed to improve his standing among the public anywhere — including the states he won handily as the Republican nominee during the 2016 presidential election, according to the survey, which was based on interviews of 472,032 registered voters across each state and Washington, D.C., from Trump’s Jan. 20 inauguration to Sept. 26. The negative swings in net approval ranged from as high as 30 percentage points in solidly blue Illinois and New York to as low as 11 points in red Louisiana. But in many of the states Trump easily carried last year — such as Tennessee (-23 points), Mississippi (-21 percentage points), Kentucky (-20 points), Kansas (-19 points) and Indiana (-17 points) — voters have soured on the president in 2017.

  • HPI Analysis: A week of Trump chaos, stunts and danger
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY
        
    NASHVILLE, Ind. – President Trump has been in office for a little more than nine months now. It’s been fascinating, exhausting, depressing and exhilarating. The incidents and pronouncements cascade in the 24/7 news cycles, punctuated by bizarre tweets and weird optics. An outrage on Sunday is almost forgotten by Friday. It comes as a Morning Consult Poll shows Trump’s approve/disapprove in Indiana has declined from 55.3/33% in January to 49.8/44.9% in late September. He has called the White House a “dump,” castigated U.S. Sen. John McCain as he battles with brain cancer. The Trump/Pence political wing is planning a GOP “purge,” while key Trump ally Steve Bannon has expanded his 2018 list of targeted Republican senators to include  Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, Nebraska Sen. Deb Fischer and Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch.
  • Atomic! The Pence stunt; Corker & WWIII; Veep bro
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Indianapolis

    1. The Pence stunt: Here are your Monday power lunch talking points. While most Hoosiers basked in the career glow of Peyton Manning, who told us “I will always be a Colt,” we were also treated to a political stunt by Vice President Mike Pence, who left the game after several San Francisco 49ers took a knee during the National Anthem. President Trump later tweeted: “I asked @VP Pence to leave stadium if any players kneeled. I am proud of him and @SecondLady Karen.” NBC’s Vaughn Hillyard reported the media pool was kept in vans ahead of the game instead of being led inside with Pence. A staffer told the pool there was a chance Pence may depart early, but did not mention how early.

  • Atomic! White House fuming; Pence to islands; Messer complaint
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Indianapolis

    1. White House fuming: Here are your final power lunch talking points for a memorable week: In an NBC News story that includes the bylines of Andrea Mitchell and Kristen Welker, we learn that President Trump was “furious” over reports that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had called him a “moron” at a summer meeting with national security officials. He fumed for two hours, delaying his trip to console Las Vegas victims by 20 minutes. When Tillerson convened a hasty presser to deny he ever considered resigning, he evaded questions on the “moron” quote, further enraging POTUS. Axios reports that Tillerson is a dead man walking and CIA Director Mike Pompeo is likely headed to Foggy Bottom. We learn that Vice President Mike Pence “was incensed” at reports that R.C. Hammond, Tillerson’s spokesman, was alleging that Pence questioned the “value” of U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley. NBC: “Hammond is seen by the White House, particularly Pence’s office, as untrustworthy, officials said." Pence was "very annoyed anyone would misrepresent anything he said, particularly in private meetings," one White House official said.  Speaking on MSNBC this morning, out-going Pence spokesman Marc Lotter called the report “absolutely untrue and fabricated. They did not discuss Ambassador Haley.” Questioned about why Hammond would “make up a conversation,” Lotter replied, “I think that’s a huge deal.” So this is, obviously, not one big happy family. The dysfunction is alarming, particularly when President Trump drops another cryptic quote at a photo op with senior military saying, "Maybe it's the calm before the storm. Could be the calm, the calm before the storm."
  • Atomic! Deficit mute; Gov seeks opioid allies; Indiana & Niger
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Ann Arbor

    1. Where have the deficit hawks gone? Here are your Thursday power lunch talking points: During the Obama era, Hoosier conservative Republicans lashed out at Obamacare, over voting for bills without knowing what was in them, at social re-engineering on party line votes, and budget deficits. Now comes President Trump’s tax reform package and The Hill reports that the Tax Policy Center estimated that, without factoring in economic growth, the current plan would add $2.4 trillion to the deficit in the first decade and another $3.2 trillion in the second decade. Other sources have put the deficits at $10 trillion over the coming decade. “The numbers are really uglier than almost anybody around this place seems to have digested,” said Rep. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.), a member of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee. “The running joke in our office is we work in a math-free zone.” Where have all the deficit hawks gone?
  • Atomic: Pence & Rex; Island Don; Ayres declares GOP purge
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Ann Arbor

    1. Pence reportedly intervenes with Tillerson:  Here are your hump day power lunch talking points: Hoosier allies of Vice President Pence explained to HPI last summer why he won’t talk to the Indiana press. Doing so could stimulate President Trump’s loyalty paranoia. The allies also say that Pence, along with DNI Dan Coats and Chief of Staff John Kelly are essentially “trying to keep a lid on things” as one of them said. NBC, citing three inside sources, reports that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson almost resigned last summer, calling POTUS a “moron” in a Pentagon meeting with national security officials. Then came Trump’s awful Boy Scouts speech that agitated the Eagle Scout Tillerson. It was Pence who intervened, counseling Tillerson on “how to ease tensions with Trump” and pleading him to stay through the end of the year. NBC reports: “During the meeting, Pence gave Tillerson a ‘pep talk,” one of these officials said, but also had a message: The secretary needed to figure out how to move forward within Trump’s policy framework. Kelly and Defense Sec. Jim Mattis have been Tillerson’s strongest allies in the cabinet. In late July, ‘they did beg him to stay,’ a senior administration official said. ‘They just wanted stability.’” Tillerson said in a press conference this morning, "I have never considered" resigning.
  • Atomic: Vegas massacre; Sunday sales; Holcomb, Sisters eye opioid fight
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Auburn, Ind.

    1. The dark days of 2017: Here are your Monday power lunch talking points: Most of us rose this morning to yet another horrific massacre, with at least 250 dead or wounded on the Las Vegas strip. It came about five hours after House Republican Whip Steve Scalise recounted on “60 Minutes” his (and Capitol police’s) valiant struggle to overcome his shooting last June at a GOP baseball practice. Were it not for the security detail, that baseball diamond atrocity could have cost the GOP House majority its majority if more Members had been cut down. All of this comes on the heels of Ken Burns’ epic, but depressing PBS documentary on Vietnam, while President Trump casts himself in the “madman” role in the Korean showdown. When he wasn’t teeing off on the hurricane-embattled mayor of San Juan, he was contradicting his secretary of state on the search for a diplomatic solution with North Korea, with a potential nuclear war as the viable alternative.

  • Atomic! NFL, NCAA in trouble; ACA rate spike; Trump tax details
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Fishers

    1. Bad sports, good sports: Here are your final power lunch talking points for the week. The NFL and the NCAA are heading into troubled times. Here’s how one fan and HPI subscriber perceived the player National Anthem protests and the owner complaints: They fleece us for stadiums (everytime I buy a meal in Indy I think of the news stadium I’m paying for and the old one demolished a decade ago), they receive favorable treatment in the form of exemptions from some antitrust laws, the NFL itself is taxed as non-profit, the teams directly contract with the U.S. military and get paid to honor veterans and the flag. All of this could lead one to say the government is their partner. When the players start protesting during the National Anthem they don’t have the sense to suggest maybe this wouldn’t be good for their brand. Instead they embrace it and when called out by President Trump, they get all pissy about it and try to throw a tantrum. As for the NCAA, I’ve had a growing complaint about the one-and-done era, which degrades both the college and NBA games.
  • Fickle Trump pushes tax reform plan in Indy
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY
        
    INDIANAPOLIS – President Trump returned to Indiana and before an adoring crowd, unveiled a four-point tax reform plan and a smiled threat to U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly. But behind the scenes of bravado, reports are that Trump is troubled by the framework he touted so ardently at the Indiana State Fairgrounds on Wednesday. “We’re here in Indiana to announce our framework to announce historic tax relief for the American people,” Trump said before a crowd of business leaders, Republicans and Democrat U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly. “This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity and I can say it’s something I’m very good at. I’ve been at this for a very long time.” Then Trump put Sen. Donnelly on notice: “If Sen. Donnelly doesn’t vote for tax reform, we’re going to come here and campaign against him like no one has before.”
  • Horse Race: Crucial 2018 cycle for Indiana Democrats
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY
        
    KOKOMO – Indiana Democrats are facing a “must win” 2018 election cycle if they want to take advantage of a potential wave election. The combination of President Trump’s historic low approval polling, the traditional mid-term election millstone of the incumbent White House party, the emerging Russia scandal and the need to cut into Indiana Senate and House super majorities make this cycle vital if Indiana is to return as a true two-party state. “Both the House and Senate have seen a surge in interest from potential candidates and are ahead of where they were in terms of candidate recruitment at this point in the last midterm cycle,” said Democratic Chairman John Zody. “Both caucuses will challenge in the traditionally competitive seats while contesting races up and down the state. House Democrats are aggressively pursuing candidates across the state and have 60 candidates lined up to seek reelection or challenge Republicans, eight in districts where Democrats did not have a state representative candidate in 2016.”
        
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