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Wednesday, August 17, 2022
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Tuesday, August 16, 2022 12:34 PM
By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Indianapolis

1. 2nd CD field takes shape

The 2nd CD field is taking shape in a short sprint toward Saturday’s 11 a.m. caucus at Mishawaka Grissom MS to chose a replacement nominee for the late U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski and to finish the final months of her term, with State Rep. Curt Nisly, attorney Tiernan Kane and Michael Hogberg filing with the GOP. Former attorney general Curtis Hill announced this morning: “Our nation has been spiraling downward under the current administration. Today, costs are out-of-control, with prices for food, rent and gasoline straining our household budgets. Education has become indoctrination. Public safety has given way to rampant crime. And the rule of law has evolved into witch hunts that threaten our cherished freedoms. As your next congressman, I will fight as a true Conservative to restore common sense and traditional values to our great nation.”

Former legislator Christy Stutzman announced on Monday under the slogan “bold, proven, conservative” and will be meeting with precinct officials in Rochester today, Warsaw on Wednesday, Nappanee on Thursday, South Bend on Friday and Mishawaka just before the caucuses.

Monday was dominated by Rudy Yakym III, who was endorsed by Walorski’s husband, Dean Swihart: “Rudy is a political outsider who has what it takes to stand up to the Pelosi-Biden agenda. He will fight to do the right thing, just as Jackie did every day of her career.” Yakym, who was appointed by Gov. Eric Holcomb to the Indiana Finance Authority and the Indiana Judicial Nominating Commission & Judicial Qualifications Commission, said in a statement to HPI, “Over the past decade Jackie has been a mentor and friend, and I have learned a lot about public service working alongside her. I am running for the 2nd District to not only honor her legacy, but to represent Hoosier common sense in Washington.”

What's HPI's Horse Race take? Yakym probably has the most momentum with the Swihart endorsement coming just days after Walorski's emotional funeral. The field of six candidates makes that nod even more potent.

2. Spartz calls Mar-a-Lago search 'political'

U.S. Rep. Victoria Spartz, who was with Donald Trump at Bedminster the day after the FBI search at Mar-a-Lago, told Ken de la Bastide of the Anderson Herald Bulletin: "It’s just political and getting the FBI involved is very dangerous. It shouldn’t happen. No one should be treated like that. I believe he’s getting used to it. We can’t have a police state.”

3. Trump's split screen week

When U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney goes down in defeat tonight, she'll be the eighth House Republican who voted to impeach Donald Trump to lose or retire. As NBC's Chuck Todd notes, "Donald Trump's revenge tour is now almost complete. It's a stunning split-screen moment: Trump’s grip on his party has never seemed stronger after Jan. 6. But it also comes at a time when there's never been more potential legal trouble for the former president and those associated with him." On Monday, Rudy Giuliani became a target in the Georgia probe, former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg is expected to plead guilty to criminal charges; and DOJ asked that the Mar-a-Lago search warrant affidavit remained sealed “to protect the integrity of an ongoing law enforcement investigation that implicates national security.”

4. The check is in the mail

NWI Times' Dan Carden reports that Auditor Tera Klutz began printing out 1.7 million tax rebate checks on Monday. The checks initially were going to be worth $125 per eligible taxpayer, or $250 for a married couple, as an automatic taxpayer refund linked to excess state revenue at the end of the 2021 budget year. However, earlier this month the Indiana General Assembly decided to send eligible Hoosiers a second distribution of $200 based on the state's unprecedented tax receipts during the 2022 budget year that ended June 30. The fortuitous timing of Klutz finally obtaining the needed security paper and Gov. Eric Holcomb signing Senate Enrolled Act 2 into law means the two payments can be put onto a single check, saving the state about $1 million in paper, printing and mailing costs, according to the auditor's office.

5. DOJ rescues 9 kids

WTHR-TV reports that during a two-week operation earlier this month, the FBI located 84 victims of child sex exploitation and found 37 actively missing children during a nationwide sex trafficking initiative, including nine children were rescued in Indiana and three sex offenders were caught on Aug. 12. Attorney General Merrick Garland: “The Justice Department is committed to doing everything in our power to combat the insidious crimes of human trafficking that devastate survivors and their families.”

Thanks for reading, folks. It's The Atomic!
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  • By CURT SMITH
    INDIANAPOLIS  – After a troubling and difficult process for pro-lifers, Senate Enrolled Act 1, which limits abortions in Indiana, passed the Legislature and was signed into law late Friday night. To begin with, the original draft of SB1 was a gut punch to the pro-life community. After nearly 50 years of advocating for women and unborn babies who have been harmed and killed by the abortion industry, SB1 had a pro-life veneer but contained policies at odds with pro-life principles and even current law. That context is important because everything that happened from the introduction of SB1 forward was guided by the weak language that started the process. Pro-life legal experts from Indiana and around the nation, along with pro-life Hoosier doctors and medical experts, worked around the clock to recommend language to fix the myriad problems of SB1. Some were adopted, some were not. But SB1 as passed looks very different than when introduced, which is key to acquiescence from the major pro-family groups like Indiana Right to Life and the Indiana Family Institute.
  • By MORTON J. MARCUS
    INDIANAPOLIS – Too often we must admit to being ashamed to be Hoosiers. Most of those times are related to the behavior of our legislature and our governor. This is one of those times. The behavior of our political “leaders” with regard to the abortion issue is despicable. Is there another word for it? A woman (or a man) has the right to control the use of her/his (not their!) body. To deny that right, even in the case of suicide, is contrary to the dignity of each individual. If you believe God made us in His image, then we are each a distinct person capable of and responsible for our behavior. We do have responsibilities with regard to others, but we also must be granted freedom from the dictates of others when our actions do not abridge those of others. Cells lodged in the body of a woman, with or without her consent, are hers to keep or discard as she chooses until they become viable human beings. And what right does the man have who helped form those cells? None, if he failed to take precautions to prevent impregnation. And only a very limited claim, if the pregnancy was mutually desired, but later rejected by the woman.
  • By KELLY HAWES
    ANDERSON – During a debate in the Indiana House of Representatives, John Jacob repeatedly accused his fellow lawmakers of condoning murder. Jacob, a Republican from Indianapolis, exhorted his colleagues to stand up for the unborn. “I am pleading with you,” he said. You could hear the anguish in his voice as he repeated his argument: Life begins at fertilization. Abortion ends that life. Abortion is murder. House Speaker Todd Huston reminded Jacob not to question the motives of his colleagues, but Jacob wouldn’t bend. “There is a right and a wrong, Mr. Speaker,” he said. “Murder is wrong.” It’s worth noting that Jacob’s theory on when life begins isn’t supported by science. In an essay for the Guttmacher Institute, public policy expert Rachel Benson Gold noted that theologians and philosophers had been debating the question for centuries. Does life begin when the infant draws that first breath or sometime sooner? It’s a debate, she wrote, that might never be settled. “However, on the separate but closely related question of when a woman is considered pregnant,” she wrote, “the medical community has long been clear: Pregnancy is established when a fertilized egg has been implanted in the wall of a woman’s uterus.”
  • By JACK COLWELL
    SOUTH BEND – Sen. Todd Young prevailed over Senate tribalism – Red Tribe vs. Blue Tribe – to win bipartisan passage of legislation to compete with China on scientific innovation and production of microchips vital for everything from missile defense systems to new cars and smartphones. The Indiana Republican was co-author of the bill with Sen. Chuck Schumer, Democratic majority leader. Passage came after Young’s persistent efforts to persuade a sufficient number of fellow Republicans that it was good for America, not just a political plus for President Joe Biden, and to convince Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, not to block the vote. Seventeen Republicans voted for the $280 billion “Chips and Science Act,” approved 64-33. It provides $52 billion to microchip manufacturers to incentivize production in America, lessening reliance on foreign production that was interrupted during the pandemic and supply-chain woes. The shortage has plagued the auto industry.
  • By MICHAEL HICKS
    MUNCIE – I’ve been living in Rustbelt towns in West Virginia, Ohio and Indiana for more than two decades. One shocking thing I continue to hear is the belief that something will cause an increase in factory jobs. Whether this fantasy is heard on the national stage or in cities and towns, I remain stunned by the ignorance that otherwise intelligent people have about manufacturing in the United States. One trick I have to show how misinformed folks are about factory employment is simply to ask, “When was peak manufacturing production in the USA?” The answers range from 1942 to the 1970s. The correct answer is 2021. That’s right, the inflation-adjusted peak year of manufacturing production in the USA was 2021. That shouldn’t be too shocking to folks, but apparently it is. I then ask, “When was peak manufacturing employment in the USA?” The answer there is 1979, which seems not to shock too many people. Here in Indiana, the answers are 2021 and 1973, respectively. So what’s been going on, and why do so many folks believe that salvation in the form of factory jobs is right around the corner?
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  • Horse Race: Wesco, Milo, Nisly, the Stutzman are potential 2nd CD candidates; Swihart to play role
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS – With funeral services for the late U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski concluding today, attention now shifts to the November concurrent elections called by Gov. Eric Holcomb. Our short list of candidates includes former 3rd CD congressman Marlin Stutzman and his wife, former state representative Christy Stutzman. Both have been active in the 2nd CD, having bought Amish Acres (now called “The Barns”) in Nappanee with Christy Stutzman promising an announcement on Monday. Another name is former LaPorte mayor Blair Milo, who lost the 1st CD nomination to Jennifer-Ruth Green in the May primary. LaPorte straddles the 1st and 2nd CDs. From the General Assembly, we’ll be watching State Reps. Timothy Wesco of Elkhart and Jake Teshka of South Bend. State Rep. Curt Nisly tweeted out a “Nisly for Congress” logo Wednesday night and filed his candidacy with the secretary of state on Thursday. Importantville reported that former disgraced attorney general Curtis Hill has been making calls about the seat. Dean Swihart, husband of the late congresswoman, says he plans to weigh in. "There are certain realities that we must face as part of this process, and I have been asked by many of you if I will be weighing in on Jackie’s replacement for the 2nd District Congressional seat based on the notice issued today from the Indiana GOP," Swihart said. "There was nothing more important to Jackie than public service, and as part of her legacy I know she would want to weigh in on her successor."
  • Horse Race: Gauging 17 Indiana Senate races; GOP super majority likely to survive
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS – With the new abortion restrictions in place following the Senate passage of SB1 and Gov. Eric Holcomb’s signing, the key political question is whether this controversial legislation will change the political dynamic. Howey Politics Indiana analysis of Indiana Senate races reveals that out of the 17 contested races in November, potential pickups remain elusive for Democrats. HPI rates only SD31 (Sen. Kyle Walker v. Fishers Councilwoman Jocelyn Vare) as a tossup. We rate five races – SD 1, SD11, SD26, SD45 and SD47 – in our “Leans” category, with four of these currently held by Republicans. Eight Republicans – State Sens. Rick Niemeyer in SD6, Liz Brown in SD15, Travis Holdman in SD19, Ronnie J. Alting in SD22, Jon Ford in SD38, Eric Bassler in SD39, Chip Perfect in SD43, and Jim Tomes in SD49 – are unopposed. HPI will analyze Indiana House races in next week’s edition.

  • Indiana legislators pass most restrictive abortion ban, Gov. Holcomb signs bill

    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS - After hours of some of the most emotional testimony in modern history, the Indiana House passed SB1 62-38 Friday afternoon, putting the state on a path to pass some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the nation since the U.S. Supreme Court relegated Roe to the dustbin of history. The Indiana Senate by a 28-19 vote passed the new restrictions that advocates say will prevent 99% of abortions. 
    Gov. Eric Holcomb signed the bill into law late Friday night. “Following the overturning of Roe, I stated clearly that I would be willing to support legislation that made progress in protecting life. In my view, SEA 1 accomplishes this goal following its passage in both chambers of the Indiana General Assembly with a solid majority of support,” Holcomb said in a statement. The law goes into effect Sept. 15. “These actions followed long days of hearings filled with sobering and personal testimony from citizens and elected representatives on this emotional and complex topic,” he continued. “Ultimately, those voices shaped and informed the final contents of the legislation and its carefully negotiated exceptions to address some of the unthinkable circumstances a woman or unborn child might face.”

  • Funeral services set for Rep. Walorski
    Details regarding the visitation and funeral for late U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski have been announced. Walorski died in a two-vehicle crash in Elkhart County on Wednesday. Three others were killed in the crash, including two of Walorski’s staffers. According to Palmer Funeral Home, visitation will be held at Granger Community Church on Wednesday, Aug. 10, from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. Her funeral will also be held at Granger Community Church on Thursday, Aug. 11, at 11 a.m.
  • HPI Analysis: As Indiana prepares to restrict abortion, Kansas speaks
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS – For nearly eight hours on Tuesday, the Indiana House Criminal Courts Committee heard polarizing testimony on SB1, with virtually no one supporting the bill. For activists like David Mervar who often wore pro-life T-shirts and MAGA hats, abortion was, plain and simple, “murder” and OB-GYNs are “baby killers.” There were a dozen or so physicians who testified in white coats. “I am asking you to let me do my job,” Dr. Caroline Rouse, a physician with Riley Children’s Health’s Maternal Fetal Medicine. “My job is to predict and prevent complications and death as best I can. Not to wait until catastrophe occurs and then act. In cases where pregnancy increases the risk of serious complications and death, discussing abortion is my medical and ethical responsibility.” “The current wording of impairment of life or physical health is not only too broad, but it also fails to give clear guidance for physicians to determine whether a pre-viability delivery would be allowed,” Dr. Christina Francis, an OB-GYN from Fort Wayne. “This has the danger of either allowing abortions for any reason or making physicians hesitate to intervene in a potentially life-threatening situation.” Then there was “Norma,” a grandmother who had been raped and kept her baby, who showed up at the podium with a poster of her extended family, prompting State Rep. Timothy Wesco to post a photo on Facebook, saying, “This is Norma. Tragically conceived. Triumphantly alive! And a proud grandmother!”
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  • Dean Swihart backing Rudy Yakym for 2nd CD GOP nomination; Yakym cites business background
    "As I mentioned last week, I am confident that Jackie would want to weigh in on her successor to ensure that our voices continue to be represented in Congress. After deep reflection and deliberation, today I am supporting Rudy Yakym to represent the 2nd District of Indiana in Congress. Rudy has spent years working in public service alongside my beloved wife and will fight for our district to protect our faith, families and communities. Rudy is a political outsider who has what it takes to stand up to the Pelosi-Biden agenda.  He will fight to do the right thing, just as Jackie did every day of her career.  I encourage the precinct committeemen to support Rudy in this week’s caucus.” Dean Swihart, husband to the late U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski, on his support of Rudy Yakym III for the 2nd CD. Yakym said on Monday, "I am honored and deeply humbled to be endorsed by Dean Swihart. Over the past decade Jackie has been a mentor and friend, and I have learned a lot about public service working alongside her. I am running for the 2nd District to not only honor her legacy, but to represent Hoosier common sense in Washington and fight against the dangerous Pelosi-Biden agenda that is ruining our country. I believe a proven leader with business experience, not political experience, is what Washington needs right now, and I am committed to protecting local jobs and restoring America's strengths at home and abroad." Yakym is a Notre Dame MBA graduate as well as with a business and economics degree from IUSB. He's a member of the Indiana Judicial Nominating Commission & Judicial Qualifications Commission, appointed by Gov. Eric Holcomb in 2021, as well as a member of the Indiana Finance Authority. Former legislator Christy Stutzman was planning on entering the race on Monday, former attorney general Curtis Hill is expected to announce on Tuesday. Tiernan Kane and State Rep. Curt Nisly have  filed.
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