SANDERS OPENS UP NH TRACKING POLL LEAD: This New Hampshire primary has been a rollercoaster ride, with one last hairpin turn in the final night of the exclusive WBZ/Boston Globe/Suffolk University tracking poll with Bernie Sanders rolling out to 27%, followed by Pete Buttigieg at 19% and Amy Klobuchar going to 14% following her Friday night debate performance. Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren were at 12%. In bellwhether Dover, which has backed the last three NH winners, Sanders leads Buttigieg 25 to 22%, with Klobuchar at 16% and Biden at 11%.

BUTTIGIEG CAMPAIGN'S SUNDAY TURNOUTS: Over 5,000 people turned out across Pete Buttigieg’s four town halls on Sunday –– the largest turnout for his events in a single day since the campaign’s launch in April (Howey Politics Indiana). At every stop, Buttigieg drew the largest crowds of any candidate in each respective city and town this cycle. He drew more than 1,800 people to his rally in Nashua, 1,113 people in Dover, 1,257 in Salem, and 914 in Londonderry. In Nashua, roughly a third of attendees at the rally were walk-ins who were new to the campaign. Salem and Londonderry have consistently voted for the Republican nominee in the past three presidential elections. This isn’t Buttigieg’s first visit to the area either –– in November, he drew over 700 people to his town hall in Salem and held a roundtable with veterans in May in Londonderry. The record crowds in these communities are the latest indication that the candidate is going everywhere and building a coalition of independents (New Hampshire’s largest voting bloc), progressives, and future former Republicans. Buttigieg got his message out to New Hampshire voters by doing six Sunday shows –– including NBC’s Meet the Press, ABC’s This Week, Fox News Sunday, CNN’s State of the Union, CBS’s Face the Nation, and WMUR’s Close-Up. In addition to his record crowds there has been a record number of volunteers knocking on doors this weekend.

PETE RESPONDS TO BIDEN ATTACK: Pete Buttigieg took Joe Biden's criticism that he is not a transformative candidate, such as Barack Obama, and turned it back on him (Washington Examiner). The former South Bend, Indiana, mayor was asked to respond to a comment the former vice president made when a reporter pointed out that he attacked Obama on his lack of experience in the 2008 campaign, similar to how he is casting doubt on Buttigieg's experience. "This guy's not a Barack Obama," Biden, 77, said Saturday. "Well, he's right; I'm not. And neither is he," Buttigieg, 38, said Sunday on CNN's State of the Union. "Neither is any of us running for president. And this isn't 2008; it's 2020."

SANDERS EVADES TV ATTACK ADS IN NH: Bernie Sanders was battered in Iowa with more than $800,000 in TV attack ads that labeled him a socialist and argued he couldn't beat President Trump. Here in New Hampshire, the opposite has happened: The airwaves are free of anti-Sanders spots in the days before the first-in-the-nation-primary, and he's watching the moderates shank each other (Politico). Tom Steyer is largely training his advertising firepower onto Pete Buttigieg and Joe Biden. The former vice president is mocking Buttigieg's experience and targeting him in a digital spot. Fighting back against Biden, the ex-mayor says he's tired of being a punchline. The strength of the Vermont senator — who is polling first in the state with Buttigieg closely behind him — and the sudden lack of resistance to him on the airwaves is sparking anxiety among some moderate Democratic leaders.

TRUMP'S DREAM REELECTION SCENARIO UNFOLDING: Inside Donald Trump's reelection campaign, Joe Biden is a shadow of the past. Once his chief rival in the 2020 Democratic presidential field, and the cause of so much presidential angst that Trump mounted a pressure campaign against Ukraine to damage him, the former vice president's name is now hardly mentioned in conversations with the president's aides — that is, unless they're mocking him (Politico). "Lately, he looks like he's competing against himself,' a top Trump aide said late last week as delayed data from the Iowa caucuses appeared to confirm Biden's dismal fourth-place finish. “The campaign doesn’t have to do anything but step back and watch the Democrats demolish themselves,” said a GOP operative close to the Trump campaign. “This is like a dream scenario.”

BLOOMBERG'S CAMPAIGN HAS A CORPORATE FEEL: Mike Bloomberg's campaign feels corporate. It's calm, orderly and punctual. His audiences clap politely, and you can't walk two steps without running into a paid staffer with talking points. Nobody whoops or yells. Nothing is left to chance. No expense is spared. The candidate is self-consciously low-key (Axios). The scale of Bloomberg's staff buildup and national advertising spending is unprecedented in modern American politics. His operation is coming to resemble his own personal political party. After being immersed in Donald Trump's freewheeling White House and campaign for more than four years, Axios' Jonathan Swan found a day he spent flying around California with Bloomberg last week to be a foreign experience. Supporters didn't profess their love for Bloomberg like fans at Trump rallies, who come across as football fans cheering for their quarterback. Some at Bloomberg's rallies wore printed T-shirts saying: "I Like Mike." Bloomberg promises to govern quietly. "What about no tweeting from the Oval Office ever again?" he said to applause in Fresno.

TRUMP PROPOSES STEEP SAFETY NET CUTS: President Trump is expected to release a $4.8 trillion budget Monday that charts a path for a potential second term, proposing steep reductions in social-safety-net programs and foreign aid and higher outlays for defense and veterans (Wall Street Journal). The plan would increase military spending 0.3%, to $740.5 billion for fiscal year 2021, which begins Oct. 1, according to a senior administration official. The proposal would lower nondefense spending by 5%, to $590 billion, below the level Congress and the president agreed to in a two-year budget deal last summer. A White House budget reflects an administration’s priorities in spending negotiations for the next fiscal year. This year, the budget proposal also reveals Mr. Trump’s fiscal policy objectives should he win re-election, and his campaign messaging will likely reflect it. The proposal is unlikely to become law, however, as Democrats control the House and spending bills in the GOP-led Senate need bipartisan support.

PUTIN'S APPROVAL RISES AMONG REPUBLICANS IN U.S.: Russian President Vladimir Putin has now been in power for more than two decades. Last month, Putin proposed constitutional amendments that led to the resignation of the Russian Cabinet and the appointment of a new prime minister – steps widely interpreted as a consolidation of Putin’s long-term power (Pew Research). Globally, people tend to express little confidence in Putin’s ability to do the right thing regarding world affairs. And views of Russia itself mirror these negative evaluations of Putin. In most of the 33 countries surveyed by Pew Research Center in 2019, less than half of adults see Russia favorably. The 18% of Americans who today have a positive view of Russia is far lower than the 44% who expressed a favorable opinion when the question was first asked in 2007. Only about three-in-ten Russians (29%) have a favorable opinion of the U.S. today. Republicans and Republican-leaning independents are now 21 points more likely than Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents to express confidence in Putin (31% vs. 10%), the widest partisan gap on this question in Pew Research Center polling.

FAITH LEADERS TIRED OF WAITING FOR CITY TO ACT ON VIOLENCE: They are tired of waiting on the city to take action, so faith leaders from across the Indianapolis area came together over the weekend to discuss how they can help the effort to stop violent crime from happening in Indianapolis (Darling, WIBC). Last week, four people were shot and killed inside an apartment complex on the city's east side. The shooter(s) is still on the loose. That shooting seems to have been a tipping point for Rev. Charles Harrison of Barnes United Methodist Church. He is the leader of Indy's Ten Point Coalition, a faith-based organization that uses ordinary citizens to patrol problem neighborhoods to help prevent violent crime. "As a community, not waiting on the city to do it, we have to do our part so let's start doing it now," Harrison said to WISH-TV at a gathering at his church. "It's going to take all of us. We can no longer be numb about the violence. We all have to care."

HPI DAILY ANALYSIS: The signature requirement for Indiana ballot access has proved its worth. The two "stunt candidates" - Democrat Josh Owens and Republican Brian Roth - will not be on the ballot. Roth acknowledges he doesn't have enough signatures and he will almost certainly not withstand a challenge from the Holcomb campaign. Owens said he had enough signatures, but decided to drop out and support Dr. Myers. Yeah, right. Who would go through the process of compiling more than 4,500 signatures and then drop out at the filing deadline? - Brian A. Howey



Campaigns

MELTON ENDORSES TALLIAN FOR A.G.: State Sen. Karen Tallian has been endorsed by State Sen. Eddie Melton for attorney general (Howey Politics Indiana). “Karen Tallian has been a great partner and leader in the Senate," Melton said. "Her record and expertise on criminal justice reform make her the clear choice for Attorney General. I look forward to continuing our work to strengthen our communities when she is Attorney General.” Tallian said, “Eddie is a talented young leader and I have been proud to work with him on ensuring that our teachers are paid what they deserve, that our communities are given the best opportunities to succeed, and to create a fair and just criminal justice system. I look forward to continuing to work with him on these crucial issues as Attorney General.”

PIERCE RUNS FOR HD36: Kyle Pierce, a pragmatic Hoosier focused on championing higher-paying jobs, delivering more money to the classroom, and making government more transparent, has filed to run for HD36 and as the only Republican to file, will challenge State Rep. Terri Austin (Howey Politics Indiana). “Citizens of House District 36 deserve a State Representative who will work every day to protect manufacturing jobs and to attract high paying industries. My experience as former Deputy Director of the Indiana Medical Device Manufacturers Council will allow me to focus on job creation for Hoosiers starting on day one,” Pierce said in a statement released Monday. “I will fight to direct more education dollars to the classroom where it will work for Hoosier children and their families – while also fighting against funding special interests,” Pierce added.

VANNATTER SEEKS 6TH TERM: State Rep. Heath VanNatter is running for a sixth term representing District 38, which covers parts of Cass, Howard, Clinton and Carroll counties (Kokomo Tribune). “My constituents seem to be happy, and as long as my constituents are happy, I’ll continue to run,” VanNatter said. He was born and raised in Howard County and is a graduate of Northwestern High School. He still resides in Howard County with his wife, Felicia, and their three children — Madison, Bella and Cole — and has been a small business owner for 23 years. VanNatter originally ran for the office in 2010. “I thought that I could do a better job than the representative that was in. I’m a business owner. I thought I could represent businesses” and improve things for them and, through that, improve things for everyone, he said. “I ran as a pro-life, pro-Second Amendment candidate,” he said. Over his six terms as a representative, he has become a committee chairman, which VanNatter said gives him more influence that will benefit his constituents. He’s the chairman of the House Committee on Employment, Pensions and Labor.

Presidential 2020

BUTTIGIEG ENDS UP WITH 14 IOWA DELEGATES: Pete Buttigieg has narrowly edged out Bernie Sanders for delegates from last week's Iowa caucuses, according to an announcement late Sunday by the state Democratic Party (Politico). Updated results from the party show Buttigieg with 26.2 percent of state delegate equivalents, compared to 26.1 percent for Sanders. Elizabeth Warren (18 percent) was third, and Joe Biden (15.8 percent) was fourth. According to the state Democratic Party, Buttigieg is projected to win 14 delegates to the national convention this summer in Milwaukee, while Sanders will get 12 delegates. Warren will receive eight delegates, Joe Biden will get six, and Amy Klobuchar will receive a single delegate. Sanders did have the support of more caucus-goers, both on the first and final alignments. But because of the caucus rules, he will receive slightly fewer delegates.

BUTTIGIEG SCHEDULE: Pete Buttigieg will continue to talk to Granite Staters about his bold vision to turn the page on our divisive politics (Howey Politics Indiana). On Monday, Pete will hold a Meet Pete event at Plymouth State University and Get Out the Vote events in Milford and Exeter.

HOOSIERS HEAD TO NH FOR PETE: Amy Metheny reached out her hand toward Former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg just as he finished his “get out the vote” rally here Sunday afternoon (Lineham, South Bend Tribune). “Hoosiers for Pete!” she yelled, garnering a smile from her home state’s candidate. Metheny, of Indianapolis, was joined by about 1,800 people at a middle school in Nashua, a crowd the campaign said was the largest in New Hampshire this cycle. Though most of the attendees hailed from different corners of New Hampshire or the neighboring state of Massachusetts, a small enclave of people who call Indiana home lifted signs and led chants. “Boot-Edge-Edge, Boot-Edge-Edge,” Metheny yelled. The Indiana contingent arrived in town Saturday night at about the same time as some other Hoosiers criticized the candidate. “I know why Pete Buttigieg looked like a deer in headlights last night when talking about systemic racism in the South Bend Police,” South Bend councilman Henry Davis Jr. tweeted Saturday. “He tolerated it, he perpetuated it, and last night he lied to millions of Americans about it.”

BLOOMBERG 'CHIT-CHATS' WITH OBAMA: After Bloomberg announced his presidential bid, he spoke over the phone with the last Democrat to win the presidency (Axios). President Obama "congratulated me and we chit-chatted," Bloomberg told me. "He just basically said, you know, 'Good luck, and when they try to go after you don't fall for the bait, and don't feel bad if not everything goes right.'" "It's not a sprint, it's a marathon and you've got to keep working at it," Bloomberg said Obama told him. A source close to Obama said, "It was the same advice he's dispensed to all the other presidential candidates who have sought his advice." Bloomberg said he did not ask Obama for an endorsement. "You know, he's got his vice president's running. And he hasn't endorsed him yet. ... Maybe he's just staying out of the whole thing, I don't know."



General Assembly

COAL BILL FIRES UP CRACKER BARRELL: A contentious bill offering protection to the Indiana coal industry garnered considerable conversation Saturday at the League of Women Voters of Vigo County’s monthly legislative crackerbarrel (Modesitt, Terre Haute Tribune-Star). The two-hour session featuring State Sen. Jon Ford and State Reps. Tonya Pfaff and Bruce Borders covered most everything from gerrymandering to tenant law, but it was House Bill 1414 that provoked the most conversation. Authored by Rep. Ed Soliday, R-Valporaiso, the bill, HB 1414, would require utility companies to notify the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission if they plan to close an energy-producing plant. The IURC over the ensuing months would hold a hearing and issue findings, after which the utility could close its facility. Borders, R-Jasonville, said he argued in favor of the bill on the House floor and would do the same at the Vigo County Public Library on Saturday. He said it’s strange coal is seemingly talked about like a step-child in the energy family, despite it being responsible for 70-some percent of the energy generated in the state. “Coal is still the major provider of electricity in the state of Indiana and provides more than a third across the United States,” Borders said. “It is a pipe dream to believe that we can shut down these coal plants and pretend that renewables are going to overnight replace that and provide affordable electricity.” Pfaff, D-Terre Haute, said she voted against the bill, using a common refrain heard from Republican colleagues as part of her reasoning. “Don’t they say up here all the time we should let the market decide?” Pfaff said. “And the market has decided that we have enough coal and that we’re ready for natural gas and renewables.”

Congress

HOUSE SCHEDULE: The House will vote on H.J.Res. 79, which would remove the deadline to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (Axios). The ERA states that the rights affirmed by the U.S. Constitution are held equally by all citizens regardless of their sex. The amendment, first proposed in 1923, has been the source of several lawsuits, including one filed just a few weeks ago, Axios' Alayna Treene writes. Attempts to add the controversial amendment to the Constitution have been made in almost every Congress since the 1920s. The House will also consider H.R. 2546, "Protecting America's Wilderness Act." This bill would designate 1.3 million acres as wilderness or potential wilderness areas.

SENATE SCHEDULE: The Senate is back to confirming judges now that the Senate impeachment trial has concluded (Axios). The Senate will vote on the following nominees, per a Republican leadership aide: Andrew Lynn Brasher as U.S. Circuit Judge for the Eleventh Circuit. Joshua M. Kindred as U.S. District Judge for the District of Alaska. Matthew Thomas Schelp as United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Missouri. John Fitzgerald Kness as U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of Illinois. Philip Halpern as U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of New York.

State

EDUCATION: CHOICE VOUCHER SCHOOLS GROW TO 36k - Indiana’s Choice Scholarship Program has been growing since its inception in 2011, when it was limited to 7,500 students. Last year, 36,290 students around the state utilized vouchers to attend private schools (IBJ). It provides up to 90% of tuition fees in scholarships to families that meet certain guidelines, including financial limits. For the upcoming school year, a family of four can make up to $72,705 to receive a partial scholarship. Families with a special needs student can make even more. The program has been growing since its inception in 2011, when it was limited to 7,500 students. The following year, it was limited to 15,000. After that, the cap was removed, clearing the way for all who qualified to receive assistance. Last year, 36,290 students around the state utilize vouchers to attend private schools, according to the Indiana Department of Education.

EDUCATION: PURDUE LANDS $5.9M AIR FORCE GRANT - The Air Force Research Laboratory has awarded Purdue University a $5.9 million contract to develop the world’s first Mach 8 quiet wind tunnel — a device capable of operating at eight times the speed of sound (IBJ). The new Mach 8 wind tunnel will be experimental and designed to collect information at speeds greater than Mach 6 wind tunnels, which operate at a rate six times the speed of sound. Purdue, which is already home to one of only two working Mach 6 quiet wind tunnels in the U.S., will collaborate with the University of Notre Dame to develop the new wind tunnel. Purdue was awarded the Mach 8 contract in June 2019, but the school did not publicly announce the project until Tuesday, after it was cleared to do so by the Air Force Research Laboratory.

Nation

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP BUDGET WILL BOOST NUKES - President Trump will request a major increase to the budget for America's nuclear weapons arsenal, according to people familiar with the budget request the administration will unveil on Monday (Axios). By the numbers: Trump's 2021 budget calls for $28.9 billion for the Pentagon to modernize nuclear delivery systems and $19.8 billion to the National Nuclear Security Administration — a nearly 20% increase over his previous budget request — for "modernizing the nuclear weapons stockpile," according to people familiar with the budget request. Political leaders in America have kept delaying modernizing the three legs of the nuclear triad — land-launched nuclear missiles, nuclear submarines and strategic aircraft. These systems have now aged to the "end of their service lives," said Mackenzie Eaglen, defense budget expert at the American Enterprise Institute.

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP BUDGET SEEKS $4.6T IN DEFICIT REDUCTION - President Trump's 2021 budget proposes $4.6 trillion in deficit reduction, but it would take 15 years to balance, according to a source familiar with the budget (Axios). The budget will project deficits until 2035 and rather than proposing a new round of tax cuts, it assumes the extension of Trump's 2017 tax bill through the next term. On the 2016 campaign trail, Trump promised to eliminate the national debt in eight years. Not only has he failed to do that, but he's grown the debt by a trillion dollars each year he's been president. Even using optimistic scenarios, Trump's 2021 budget projects annual deficits to continue well beyond a second Trump term in office.

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP RANTS AT ROMNEY - President Donald Trump isn’t letting up on Sen. Mitt Romney during his post-acquittal victory lap (Politico). Four days after the end of his impeachment trial, the president spent a sunny Sunday in D.C. continuing a weekend tweetstorm against the proceedings and his perceived foes — particularly targeting Romney, the lone Republican who voted to boot him from the White House. The president retweeted assertions that Romney “stabbed Trump in the back” by joining Democrats in attempts to overturn the 2016 election, and that the Utah senator was connected to unsubstantiated claims that Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, was corruptly involved with the Burisma Holdings energy company in Ukraine.

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP/PENCE SCHEDULE - President Trump's schedule, per a White House official: Monday: Trump will deliver remarks to governors at the White House. He will also have lunch with Pompeo. Trump will then travel to Manchester, New Hampshire, for a campaign rally. Wednesday: Trump will have lunch with VP Mike Pence. He will also meet with Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno at the White House. Later, Trump will meet with supporters and speak at a fundraising committee reception. Friday: Trump will attend a meeting with the National Border Patrol Council.

STATE: POMPEO WARNS GOVERNORS THAT CHINA IS WATCHING - Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had a stark message for the governors gathered in Washington this weekend: The Chinese government is watching them, and other state government officials, more closely than they think," (Politico). Pompeo told some 44 governors at the National Governors Association winter meeting that they are being individually analyzed by at least one Chinese government-backed think-tank on how malleable they are, and how prone to cooperate with China. And he warned governors to be cautious on everything from business deals to pension funds to the D.C. Metro system."

MEDIA: 'PARASITE' MAKES OSCAR HISTORY - The South Korean film “Parasite” won best picture at the 92nd Academy Awards, becoming the first ever non-English-language film to seize the top honor. The historic victory marked the fourth win of the night for the film, which mined suspense, humor and anguish in its tale rooted in the socioeconomic divide between two families (Wall Street Journal). “Parasite,” which was one of only 10 foreign-language films in Oscar history nominated for best picture, also won best international feature film, original screenplay and director for filmmaker Bong Joon Ho. He used one of his acceptance speeches to thank fellow nominees who influenced his work, including Martin Scorsese, whose epic “The Irishman” was shut out of all 10 categories it was nominated in.

Local

EVANSVILLE: LWV CELEBRATES 100TH ANNIVERSARY -  The League of Women Voters celebrated 100 years of service on Sunday with their Votes for Women event (WFIE-TV). The League of Women Voters was founded in the 1920s. It was a group of who believed that voters should play a critical role in democracy. “It’s not enough to just want it, you have to learn how to get it," said Elaine Weiss, the keynote speaker. Weiss wrote the book “The Women’s Hour, the Great Fight to Win the Vote” and on Sunday she shared thoughts from her book about the struggle for the 19th Amendment and the struggles that came after. “They were denounced, they were considered radicals, they were considered, even traders," Weiss said. This year, the 19th Amendment celebrates 100 years. “Here in Indiana, five of the seven elected statewide officeholders are women, and we have the first female woman chief justice of the supreme court," Weiss said.

KOSCIUSKO COUNTY: 9 GRADUATE FROM JAIL ADDICTION PROGRAM -  Nine men are the newest group of graduates of the Jail Chemical Addiction Program, or JCAP, at the Kosciusko County Jail (WANE-TV). Nearly 70 people were in attendance for graduation Friday including Mayor Joe Thallemer, community leaders, and even the jail cook, a news release said. The jail started the Jail Chemical Addiction Program in October of 2018. It is a voluntary program where certain inmates who are battling addiction can get help. The men on Friday graduated after four months of classes and services. They completed numerous courses including: MRT, parenting, Celebrate Recovery, fitness, spiritual and job readiness classes.