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Tuesday, April 24, 2018
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Tuesday, April 24, 2018 10:40 AM
By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Indianapolis

1. Debate does little to change INSen dynamic

Here are your Tuesday power lunch talking points: With a huge undecided vote in play and a low turnout election likely less than two weeks away, last night’s Allen County GOP INSen debate didn’t seem to change the dynamic much. Viewership was expected to be light and Todd Rokita, Luke Messerand Mike Braun used the opportunity to burnish their long-stated talking points and get in some digs. Braun attempted to refute he was a tax-raisin’ “Harvard Democrat.” Messer gigged Rokita for the President Trump’s reelection campaign dig over yard sign endorsements. “Mr. Rokita runs around the state in a MAGA hat on and the Trump campaign has asked him to take his yard signs down,” Messer said.

Rokita brought up Messer’s two 20-something DUIs. At one point, Rokita said, “Luke Messer likes to say ‘I am who I say I am.’ But he’s not who he says he is. He lives in Virginia. He’s for a pathway for citizenship. Luke Messer was on the Clinton News Network, CNN.” Messer’s retort: “So many attacks andso little time.”

So who wins on May 8? HPI lists this as a tossup. The $5 million Braun has loaned his campaign, along with his gross ratings points suggests he’s in the best position to pull this off. A highly informed and reliable 3rd CD source tells HPI that Braun had a lead in polling  in State Sen. Travis Holdman’s SD19. The source added, “I’ve got to think that’s indicative of the 3rd District.” And, remember, Braun has spent on 8,043 gross rating points in the Fort Wayne broadcast market, compared to 1,905 for Messer and 1,824 for Rokita as of last week. Braun has also spent $74,185 on Fort Wayne radio compared to $26,565 for Rokita and $4,375 for Messer.

2. Rokita, Messer separate in Lugar Bipartisan Index

U.S. Reps. Luke Messer and Todd Rokita, once virtual mirror images of each other when it comes to votes, have parted ways, according to the new Lugar Center Bipartisan Index. In past Congresses, Messer and Rokita have tracked pretty close to one another. But in 2017 Messer jumped from 309 in the House to 137, earning a score above 0.00 (which is considered to be bipartisan). Rokita, meanwhile, fell from 278 to 350. Sen. Joe Donnelly ranks fourth. His score is similar to last time, but a couple of Republicans jumped over him. Sen. Todd Young ranked ninth in the Senate. In the House, he had scored slightly above 0.00 and ranked 120th, so this is quite a leap up the ladder for him. This makes the Indiana delegation one of the most bipartisan in the Senate.

3. Redlining Diego Morales

A PAC mailer is taking aim at 4th CD Republican candidate Diego Morales, with a portrayal some would see as an “illegal immigrant.” Except that Morales emigrated from Guatemala legally. The Citizens for a Strong America PAC shows a photo of Morales reading a map, with the headline reading, “Diego Morales needs directions to our district.” It claims he lives in “a house on the other side of Indianapolis.” The irony there is that Steve Braun, thought to be the source of the information, also lives outside the 4th CD  in Zionsville. So maps for all! Sent to the press has been paperwork emanating from Secretary of State Todd Rokita’s office in 2008-09 and Secretary of State Charlie White in 2011 revealing disciplinary action for Morales, citing “performance deficiencies” and letters of “disciplinary action” that resulted in Morales departing twice. So the 4th CD GOP campaign has gotten . . .ugly
  • REP. YOUNG TO POST $1M FOR QUARTER: 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 (Howey, Howey Politics Indiana).

     

    HARRISON QUALIFIES FOR INDY MAYORAL BALLOT: Rev. Charles Harrison is now prepared to throw an interesting wrench into the Indianapolis mayoral race (Howey Politics Indiana). 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.

     

    DAILY WIRE RESENT DUE TO TECHNICAL GLITCH: We are resending today’s HPI Daily Wire due to technical glitches. We apologize for the inconvenience.

     

    SANDERS SURGE WORRIES CLINTON CAMPAIGN: The ample crowds and unexpectedly strong showing garnered by Senator Bernie Sanders are setting off worry among advisers and allies of Hillary Rodham Clinton, who believe the Vermont senator could overtake her in Iowa polls by the fall and even defeat her in the nation’s first nominating contest there (New York Times).

     

    INDIANA TEACHER POOL DRYING UP; ‘POLITICIANS’ BLAMED: School leaders in south-central Indiana are reporting that the number of applicants they get for teaching positions has declined in recent years (Ladwig, Greensburg Daily News). They blame primarily state funding constraints, which depress teacher wages, and a blame-the-teachers mentality of politicians and the media, which is pushing teachers out of the profession and prompting fewer high school grads to consider teaching an attractive career. Budd said that the number of applicants has declined especially for math, sciences and foreign languages. “It has become a real struggle,” Budd said. “The pool of applicants is definitely dried up.”

     

    TEACHING LICENSES DOWN 88%: Annual state data reveal that the number of teaching licenses the state issues has fallen a whopping 88 percent in the last six years (Greensburg Daily News). According to the Indiana Department of Education, the state issued in the 2007/08 school year about 7,500 teaching licenses. In 2013/14, the most recent year for which data were available, the state issued just 934 licenses.

     

    GM REBUFFS FIAT/CHRYSLER MERGER: John Elkann, chairman of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and scion of Italy’s Agnelli family, isn’t giving up on forging a partnership with General Motors Co. , despite being rebuffed by his Detroit rival twice in the past four years (Wall Street Journal).

     

    ZODY WANTS DETAILS ON CANCELED PORTER-NOVELLI CONTRACT: Indiana Democrats have sent the Republican Pence administration a formal request to release documents showing what the state got for its money when it hired a New York public relations firm to deal with the damage inflicted by a new religious objections law (Associated Press). Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody said Monday that he wants Gov. Mike Pence's office to release contracts, messages and emails related to the agreement with Porter Novelli.

     

    HPI DAILY ANALYSIS: Hoosier taxpayers paid $365,000 to the New York PR firm Porter Novelli to repair the state’s post RFRA damage. We ought to be able to see what we paid for. Remember, Public Servants (this includes you, IEDC), you work for us, the taxpayers. - Brian A. Howey

     

    CLICK HERE TO READ TODAY'S FULL HPI DAILY WIRE.

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  • Former Sen. Coburn endorses Mike Braun
    "I am pleased to support and endorse Mike Braun, Indiana Republican candidate for U.S. Senate. Like myself, Mike is a social & fiscal conservative who supports term limits. As a successful businessman, Mike brings the very knowledge and background that is badly needed in our U.S. Senate today. Mike's opposition to deficit spending and pork barrel projects together with his proven leadership abilities will make him a highly effective U.S. Senator." - Former Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, endorsing Mike Braun for the U.S. Senate Republican nomination. Braun said, "I'm beyond honored to have earned the support of one of my idols in the U.S. Senate, Tom Coburn.”
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  • A changing tide on medicinal marijuana
    CNN medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta has changed his mind on medical marijuana. He writes Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a hardliner against pot, saying, “I feel obligated to share the results of my five-year-long investigation into the medical benefits of the cannabis plant. Before I started this worldwide, in-depth investigation, I was not particularly impressed by the results of medical marijuana research, but a few years later, as I started to dedicate time with patients and scientists in various countries, I came to a different conclusion.”

    And that conclusion? “Not only can cannabis work for a variety of conditions such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and pain, sometimes, it is the only thing that works. I changed my mind, and I am certain you can, as well. It is time for safe and regulated medical marijuana to be made available nationally. I realize this is an unconventional way to reach you, but your office declined numerous requests for an interview, and as a journalist, a doctor and a citizen, I felt it imperative to make sure you had access to our findings.”

    Gupta’s special report on “Weed 4: Pot vs. Pill” airs at 8 p.m. Sunday. It comes as James Higdon writes about “Legal Marijuana’s Big Moment” coming when former Republican House Speaker John Boehner “flipped” on the topic and became an adviser to a medicinal marijuana group. As the late John Lennon might have put it, strange days, indeed. - Brian A. Howey, publisher

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