ROTH ACKNOWLEDGES HE LACKS SIGNATURES GOP INGOV BALLOT: Republican Brian Roth filed for the Republican gubernatorial nomination by the noon Friday deadline, but in a campaign Facebook posting said it will await to see if secretary of state's office will qualify him (Howey Politics Indiana). Roth posted on his personal Facebook page, "It might be over in the mind of Kyle Hupfer but options remain. We did fall short of collecting the required signatures." Indiana Republican Chairman Kyle Hupfer, who doubles as Gov. Eric Holcomb's campaign manager, said Friday, "While Brian Roth came up short of collecting the necessary signatures to be on the May primary ballot, I appreciate the effort he and his supporters put in over the last few months to be active in our party. Although his signature collection effort was not successful and he will not be on the ballot in May, I am encouraged by Brian’s willingness to put himself in the public arena." Campaign spokesman Jake Oakman told HPI this morning, "The Secretary of State's office lists him as a candidate because he filed, but he wouldn't be able to sustain a challenge to the Election Board." Oakman said Roth is about 2,000 signatures short. "Someone could file with no signatures at all and they'd be on the ballot if no one challenged it." The Holcomb campaign will file that challenge.

PRESUMPTIVE NOMINEE MYERS CAN FOCUS ON NOVEMBER: Dr. Woody Myers says he’s not going to relax his campaign for Indiana governor during the primary season, even though fellow Democrat Josh Owens announced Wednesday he was dropping out of the race (Quinn, IBJ). Myers now becomes the presumed Democratic nominee, which means he won’t need to spend time or resources on a divisive primary and can begin building a war chest for November. “Then you realize the enormity of the task that’s ahead of you—and of course, it’s a very different race when you don’t have a primary challenger,” he told IBJ. “It just means you have to double down on your efforts in order to make sure you get the resources you need, the votes that you need, on and on.” His campaign is already beefing up resources and looking to book speaking engagements for Myers past May, steps he was hesitant to take with a primary in front of him. “I’ve got 270 days left in my job interview. I consider a campaign to be a very long job interview,” he added. “I’m going to continue to work to earn every single vote that I can get. I know we need between 1 million and 1.3 million Hoosiers to see things our way and to give me this opportunity to serve, and I’m going to give them every reason to say yes between now and November.”

11 QUALIFY FOR INDIANA PRESIDENTIAL BALLOT: The filing period for Indiana's May 5 primary elections drew to a close on Friday, setting the field for the presidential contest, Congressional races and more (WPTA-TV). Nine Democrats will make the ballot as they attempt to secure the party's nomination and the right to challenge incumbent Pres. Donald Trump. They are: Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar; former Vice President Joe Biden; former New York Mayor and businessman Michael Bloomberg; former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg; businessmen Tom Steyer and Andrew Yang; and Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. Trump drew one qualified challenger from within the GOP: Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld.

KNIGHT RETURNS TO ASSEMBLY HALL AFTER 2 DECADE EXILE: Surrounded by his son Pat and legendary Hoosiers Scott May, Randy Wittman, Quinn Buckner, Isiah Thomas and Mike Woodson, with Mark Cuban, Sage Steel and Gene Keady in the stands, and Dickie V. calling the game, former Indiana University Coach Bob Knight ended two decades of self-imposed exile and returned to Assembly Hall on Saturday (Howey Politics Indiana). The capacity crowd chanted "Bobby! Bobby!" as Knight entered the stadium during halftime, with IU trailing Purdue. An emotional Knight waved to the exuberant crowd, posed with his 1980 Big Ten championship team, and standing before ESPN announce Dick Vitale (who had spent the past decade urging Knight to return to IU), Knight led the crowd in a hallmark chant of his era: "De-fense, de-fense." Knight was fired by the university in 2000 and he hasn't returned to Assembly Hall since. Purdue won the game 72-64. Knight moved back to Bloomington in 2019, telling friends the "fishing is good" and he wanted to be near friends and former players. "This day a day we've waited for a long, long time, to get Coach Knight back here," said Buckner. "These fans still love him and he loves these fans," Wittman said. Knight and Keady were honored at halftime of the Indiana Pacers game Saturday night.

PETE, SANDERS IN NH TRACKING DEADHEAT: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete Buttigieg are in a statistical tie for the lead in New Hampshire, according to a new WBZ/Boston Globe/Suffolk University tracking poll (The Hill). The survey, which was released late Saturday, just days ahead of the first-in-the-nation primary of 2020, shows that 24 percent of the state's likely Democratic primary voters favor Sanders, while 22 percent support Buttigieg. Sanders's 2-point advantage falls within the 4.4 percent margin of error. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is in a distant third, garnering 13 percent support. Former Vice President Joe Biden trails her by 3 points, with 10 percent of primary voters saying they favor him to be the Democratic nominee. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) appeared to be the only candidate to gain a boost in the survey following Friday night's debate. Nine percent of respondents said they'd support the moderate Democrat, a 3-point increase from an identical survey released on Friday.

BLOOMBERG OUTSPENDS EVERYONE ... COMBINED: Mike Bloomberg is creating a parallel, unofficial party structure in case the DNC can't make the eventual Democratic nominee competitive with President Trump (Axios). In just over a month, Bloomberg spent more than the top 2020 contenders, including Trump, for the whole final quarter of 2019 combined, according to FEC data. He also outspent the entire RNC and DNC. Inside the machine: With 2,100 paid staff, Bloomberg has three times as many as Trump, five times as many as Joe Biden and more than twice as many as Elizabeth Warren, according to data the campaigns provided to Axios. Trump is the king of Facebook ads, but Bloomberg has spent $5.7 million more than the president's campaign in the past month.

HOW PETE WON IOWA: Two days before the Iowa caucuses, Pete Buttigieg stopped for a town hall event at the Oelwein Coliseum, a 92-year-old music venue that in its heyday hosted the likes of Lawrence Welk and Sammy Kaye (New York Times). Recent history suggested there weren’t many Democrats to win over in Oelwein: After President Barack Obama won surrounding Fayette County by 12 percentage points in 2012, Donald J. Trump carried it by 19 points four years later. During the event’s question period, one man described himself to Mr. Buttigieg as a fiscally responsible “lifelong Republican” and said that “if you don’t win, I’m probably not going to vote Democratic.” “Well,” Mr. Buttigieg told the crowd of 250, about a third of the 2016 Fayette County caucus universe, “I better win, then.” Mr. Buttigieg, the 38-year-old former mayor of South Bend, Ind., appears to have succeeded. His showing across Iowa’s rural counties on Monday propelled him to a dead heat with Senator Bernie Sanders for the lead in the state’s caucuses. Mr. Buttigieg carried Fayette County by 14 percentage points over former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who placed second. Much of his success can be traced to geography and timing. While Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren focused their campaigns on Iowa’s cities and college towns and Mr. Biden never developed a strong organization, Mr. Buttigieg went everywhere. He held more events over more days in Iowa than his top three rivals, two of whom were sidelined by the Senate impeachment trial, and watched the investment pay off by running strong in the Des Moines suburbs and across rural Iowa.

U.S. ECONOMY ADDS 225K JOBS IN JANUARY: Hiring jumped last month as U.S. employers added a robust 225,000 jobs, bolstering an economy that faces threats from China’s viral outbreak, an ongoing trade war and struggles at Boeing (AP). The Labor Department also said Friday that a half-million people streamed into the job market in January, though not all of them found jobs. That influx meant that more people were counted as unemployed, and it boosted the jobless rate to 3.6% from a half-century low of 3.5% in December. The government’s monthly jobs report signaled that businesses remain confident enough to keep hiring, with the pace of job growth accelerating from a year ago. Solid consumer spending is offsetting drags from the trade war and declining business investment. The job gains also give President Donald Trump more evidence for his argument that the economy is flourishing under his watch.

PENCE LAYS OUT TRUMP CAMPAIGN'S 4 ISSUES: Vice President Mike Pence told Fox Business on Friday that Republicans have big plans on several key issues that they are working on unveiling in 2020, ahead of the upcoming election, that will hopefully seal the deal on getting President Donald Trump re-elected ( When asked by Fox Business host Stuart Varney if tax cuts 2.0 were coming, Pence responded, “Oh, they’re absolutely coming. I expect we’ll be talking about that before this election year is out,” Pence responded. “It’s one of the reasons why we’re going to focus so much energy on making sure that not only do we get President Donald Trump four more years in this White House, but we’re going to make sure that we reelect a Republican Senate and elect a Republican House of Representatives.” Pence highlighted four key issues that Republicans were going to focus on unveiling plans for ahead of the 2020 elections. Pence said, “We’re going to lay out our vision on tax reform, on healthcare, on infrastructure, on prescription drugs, and we’re going to go out there and fight every day, as I said, to get this president four more years but also to make sure that we have Republican allies in the majority in the Congress to help us bring it about.”

TRUMP FIRES SONDLAND, VINDMAN & BROTHER: A handful of Republican senators tried to stop President Trump from firing Gordon D. Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union who testified in the House impeachment hearings, but the president relieved the diplomat of his post anyway, according to people briefed on the discussions (New York Times). The senators were concerned that it would look bad for Mr. Trump to dismiss Mr. Sondland and argued that it was unnecessary, since the ambassador was already talking with senior officials about leaving after the Senate trial, the people said. But Mr. Trump evidently was not interested in a quiet departure, choosing instead to make a point by forcing Mr. Sondland out before the ambassador was ready to go. When State Department officials called Mr. Sondland on Friday to tell him that he had to resign that day, he resisted, saying that he did not want to be included in what seemed like a larger purge of impeachment witnesses, according to the people informed about the matter. Mr. Sondland conveyed to the State Department officials that if they wanted him gone that day, they would have to fire him. And so the president did, ordering the ambassador recalled from his post effective immediately. Mr. Sondland’s dismissal was announced just hours after another impeachment witness, Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, and his twin brother, Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman, were marched out of the White House by security officers and told their services were no longer needed.

HPI DAILY ANALYSIS: Coach Knight finally buried the hatchet with old IU, and that’s a good thing. Bitterness is corrosive to the soul. It’s unfortunate the current Hoosiers weren’t up to the moment, losing badly to Purdue with a potential NCAA bid on the line. Coach Archie has a real problem if he misses the big dance for a fourth consecutive season.- Brian A. Howey


BAUER'S DAUGHTER SEEKING HD6: Two things were clear after B. Patrick Bauer, South Bend’s longest-serving state representative, announced he wouldn’t seek re-election this year: The three people vying to succeed him are far younger than he is, and one of them, his daughter, could enjoy a financial head start in the three-month primary race (Parrott, South Bend Tribune). Bauer, 75, a Democrat who held the Statehouse District 6 seat for 50 years, announced Jan. 27 that he would step down. Running in the May 5 Democratic primary to succeed him are his daughter, Maureen Bauer, 35; Drew Duncan, 30; and Garrett Blad, 25. He seldom had to run campaigns and has $103,000 left in his campaign finance fund, according to state records. St. Joseph County Democratic Party Chair Stan Wruble said when Bauer told him he wouldn’t seek re-election, and that his daughter would run for his seat, Bauer commented, “Money for her campaign won’t be a problem.” When contacted by The Tribune, Bauer said he hadn’t decided whether to give the money to his daughter’s campaign. If he does, he won’t give it all to her, he said. He’ll also give some to other Democrats who polling indicates can win their races, he said. Maureen Bauer said her father has not committed to giving her campaign any of the money. “I plan to fundraise and knock on doors, make phone calls and do all that is typical of a campaign,” she said. “In the end, it’s about meeting the voters and getting their vote for the most qualified candidate, which I believe I am.” When asked if she had discussed the issue of her father’s campaign fund, Maureen Bauer said, “No. I didn’t know anything about that dollar amount. I’ve never heard him giving me all the money. I think some of the money will certainly stay in the district to get the House District 6 candidate elected, but there are many other races that are important. My dad has worked very hard across the state to get Democrats elected.”

HUPFER ON ROTH BALLOT ACCESS: Indiana Republican Party Chairman Kyle Hupfer, who also serves as the campaign manager of Governor Eric Holcomb's campaign, released this statement following the filing deadline for Indiana's 2020 primary election (Howey Politics Indiana): “While Brian Roth came up short of collecting the necessary signatures to be on the May primary ballot, I appreciate the effort he and his supporters put in over the last few months to be active in our party. Although his signature collection effort was not successful and he will not be on the ballot in May, I am encouraged by Brian’s willingness to put himself in the public arena. I encourage him to get involved with the Indiana Republican Party and bring his supporters into the fold. They can help us as we head towards victories in November for President Trump, Vice President Pence, Governor Holcomb and all our Republican candidates up and down the ballot.”

PRIMARY FILINGS: Here are the final day's Indiana secretary of state primary filings at the noon Friday deadline. Look for our comprehensive analysis of the primary field in next Thursday’s weekly HPI.

President: Pete Buttigieg, D.

Governor: Woodrow (Woody) Myers, D; Brian D. Roth, R.

Congress: Wendell Mosby, D, CD1; Benjamin Frederick, D, CD4; Barry Welsh, D, CD6; Pierre Quincy Pullins, D, CD7; Christopher Glenn Davis, R, CD2; Jeffrey Michael Alberts, R, CD4; Carl Brizzi, R, CD5; Kelly Maureen Mitchell, R, CD5; Mike Campbell, R, CD6; Jon J. Davis, R, CD7; J.D. Miniear, R, CD7.

Indiana Senate: Tabitha N. Bartley, D, SD7; Alex Bowman, D, SD10; Trent Feuerbach, D, SD40. Christopher A. Penley, R, SD20.

Indiana House: Garrett Blad, HD6; Drew Duncan, HD6; Keegan Damron, D, HD11; Brandon Dothager, D, HD12; Mike (Mad Mac) McInerney, D, HD12; Amy Burke Adams, D, HD42; Erica Lawrence, D, HD72; Tonda Pauley, D, HD78; Beverly J. McDermott-Piazza, D, HF91; Jared Evans, D, HD92; Bob Kern, D, HD98; Clif Marsiglio, D, HD100; Bill Treadway, R, HD43; Heather R. Bline, R, HD58; Zach Payne, R, HD66; R. Michael Griffin, R, HD75; Taylor Isch, R, HD79.

Presidential 2020

SANDERS HAS CNN NH LEAD: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg are boosting their support in New Hampshire ahead of the Granite State’s primary Tuesday, according to a new CNN poll released Saturday (The Hill). Sanders leads the primary field with 28 percent support from likely Democratic primary voters, followed by Buttigieg with 21 percent. The results represented a 3-point and 6-point boosts from the same poll in January, respectively. Former Vice President Joe Biden came in third with 11 percent, a 5-point dip from last month, while Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) dropped to 9 percent.

BUTTIGIEG CAMPAIGNS CLAIMS MASSIVE OUTREACH: After the debate, momentum continues to build for Pete Buttigieg in New Hampshire on Saturday, his campaign said (Howey Politics Indiana). Pete for America had their best organizing day of the entire campaign yesterday - thousands of Granite Staters came out to see Pete at town halls and we knocked on more doors than any other day of the campaign. Today, Buttigieg will appear on six Sunday shows before holding four events across the Granite State. On Saturday, Buttigieg held six events across the Granite State, speaking to nearly 2,300 voters in total about his bold plans to break from the old ways of Washington and unify this country around a vision for the future.  Pete for America in New Hampshire knocked on more doors on Saturday alone than any full week of the entire campaign.  In just the first two shifts on Saturday, more volunteers went out to knock doors than on any full weekend of the entire campaign. In Keene, National Campaign Co-Chair Rep. Annie Kuster — the first member of the New Hampshire congressional delegation to endorse in the primary — compared her support of Pete to her early endorsement of President Barack Obama. “Pete has this uncanny calm, we used to call it no-drama Obama, and I haven’t come up with a catchy rhyme yet for Pete Buttigieg, but I’m sure it’s there." Actor Michael J. Fox — who recently endorsed Pete –– introduced Pete to a crowd of nearly 1,000 people at Keene State College — the largest of any candidate this cycle. Pete drew another huge crowd yesterday in Lebanon, with over 900 people and long lines of supporters outside waiting to see him. This was Pete’s 6th visit to the Upper Valley — where he has earned the endorsement of State Senator Martha Hennessey (Hanover). 12-Term State Rep. Susan Almy, and former Lebanon Mayor Suzanne Prentiss. Pete drew a huge crowd at Dartmouth, where Pete for America has a dedicated campus organizer who has been working closely with students, who have formed a grassroots movement in support of Buttigieg shortly after he declared his candidacy.

BIDEN ATTACKS MAYOR PETE'S EXPERIENCE: Scrambling to salvage his presidential campaign, Joe Biden escalated his criticism of Pete Buttigieg on Saturday, mocking Buttigieg's experience as a small city mayor and cutting down the comparisons Buttigieg has drawn to the last Democratic president, declaring: "This guy's not a Barack Obama" (AP). Biden's biting attacks on Buttigieg's relatively thin resume mark a new, more aggressive attempt to slow the momentum of the youngest candidate in the Democratic field. The 38-year-old emerged from Iowa in an effective tie with Sen. Bernie Sanders, but faces questions about whether his eight years as mayor of South Bend prepared him for the presidency. "I do not believe we're a party at risk if I'm the nominee," Biden told voters in Manchester. "I do believe we're a party at risk if we nominate someone who has never held a higher office than the mayor of South Bend, Indiana."

BUTTIGIEG CAMPAIGN RESPONDS TO BIDEN AD: Vice President Joe Biden's campaign released an attack ad on Pete Buttigieg (Howey Politics Indiana). "It suggests that Pete’s perspective as a mayor of a small American city is incompatible with the presidency," the Buttigieg campaign said. "But Pete’s on the ground experience as mayor turning around a Midwestern industrial city -- and as a veteran -- is exactly why he is running for president. Because at this moment, the American people are calling out for something completely different from this classic Washington style of politics. Pete’s offering a new vision of what politics could be, shaped by his experience as a middle-class mayor and veteran. That’s the point."

BIDEN SAYS PETE 'NO BARACK OBAMA':  Joe Biden wanted to make one point clear Saturday: Pete Buttigieg is nothing like the last Democratic president (Politico). “This guy’s not Barack Obama. Barack Obama had been a senator of a really large state. Barack Obama had laid out a clear vision [concerning international relations],” Biden told reporters. “Barack Obama had laid out in detail what he thought should happen with regard to the economy,” he continued. “Barack Obama inherited the worst recession in the history of the nation short of a depression ... and laid out what he was going to do about it. This is a very different situation.”

BUTTIGIEG EDGES SANDERS IN IOWA DELEGATES 13-12: Former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., has taken 13 pledged delegates from Iowa’s maligned caucuses and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont has won 12, The Associated Press said Friday. The AP had announced Thursday afternoon that it would not declare a winner in Iowa’s first-in-the-nation contest, but the allocation provides new clarity about the accumulation of delegates that are necessary to win the Democratic presidential nomination. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts took eight delegates, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. received six and Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota has one, according to The A.P. The A.P. calculated the distribution of 40 of Iowa’s 41 national convention delegates. It was not immediately clear why the 41st delegate was not allocated, but it may have been withheld because the news service did not declare a winner in the race. That leaves the possibility that Mr. Sanders could tie Mr. Buttigieg in pledged delegates.

BUTTIGIEG BEGINS DIGITAL AD IN 7 STATES: Pete Buttigieg is pushing into Super Tuesday and beyond with a round of digital ads in seven states, targeting counties that flipped from Barack Obama to Donald Trump in 2016 — shedding light on the former South Bend, Ind., mayor’s strategy in the next phase of the primary (Politico). Buttigieg, who has not yet built out a robust on-the-ground infrastructure in Super Tuesday states, is going up with a six-figure digital ad buy in Minnesota, Michigan, Maine, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Virginia. The ads, airing on YouTube, will kick off after Tuesday and will continue to run through March 3. They’re added to a slate of buys in Nevada and South Carolina, the remaining early states.

WALSH DROPS OUT; CALLS GOP 'A CULT': Former Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh on Friday announced he has dropped out of the 2020 Republican presidential primary, describing the modern GOP as a "cult" and concluding that President Donald Trump "can't be stopped" from within his own party (Politico). "Look, I got into this because I thought it was really important that there was a Republican — a Republican — out there every day calling out this president for how unfit he is," Walsh told host John Berman on CNN's "New Day." "I want to stop Trump. I believe he's a threat to this country. He can't be stopped within the Republican Party. Nobody can beat him," Walsh continued. "It's Trump's party, John. It's not a party, it's a cult. He can't be beaten in the Republican primary, so there's no reason for me — or any candidate, really — to be in there. The party has become a cult."

IOWA TURNOUT CONCERNS DEMS: Turnout for the Iowa caucuses fell far short of expectations. The leading campaigns were prepared for as many as 300,000 people to show up — 60,000 more than the record set in 2008. Instead just 176,000 showed up, less than 3 percent more than in 2016 (New York Times). While that’s higher than 2016, it’s a striking change from just a few years ago, when turnout in the midterm elections reached the highest level in a century and Democrats took control of the House of Representatives. Last November, Democrats gloated about their success winning governors seats in two red states — Kentucky and Louisiana — with help from a historic surge of voters. Now, at the moment when they need their ground troops the most, there are signs that the past three years may have depleted some of their reserves for organizing, activism and fund-raising.

Sunday Talk

SANDERS, BUTTIGIEG TAKE SWIPES: Ahead of Tuesday’s first-in-the-nation primary in New Hampshire, Democratic presidential frontrunners Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg continued to take swipes at each other over campaign finance and other issues, continuing their tiff from Friday’s Democratic debate (Politico). Speaking with “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace in New Hampshire, Sanders touted his campaign’s grassroots fundraising base as he sought to distinguish himself from his fellow candidates. “I am enormously proud of the fact that my campaign, as of today, has received more campaign contributions from more people, averaging all of $18.50, than any candidate in the history of the United States of America,” the Vermont senator said Sunday. Sanders has mounted a formidable small-donor fundraising machine. His campaign last week announced it raised $25 million in January from nearly 650,000 donors — his best fundraising month of the campaign. Picking up on a line of attack he used in last Friday’s debate in New Hampshire, Sanders slammed Buttigieg on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “I will also point out that I am running against a candidate, Pete Buttigieg, among others, who has raised contributions from more than 40 billionaires, including the CEOs of some of the largest drug companies in America,” Sanders told host Jake Tapper.

BUTTIGIEG DEFENDS SOUTH BEND RECORD: The former mayor of South Bend, Ind., defended himself Sunday, telling Wallace that he’s “building a campaign that’s not defined by who we reject” (Politico). “We’ve got 2 million contributions in this campaign, I think the average is under 40 bucks,” Buttigieg said Sunday. “We’re building the movement that is going to defeat Donald Trump. I want everybody to help out. I want everybody who shares that vision to be at our side.”

BIDEN WON'T LET ANGER TAKE OVER: Former Vice President Joe Biden said that his “anger” at seeing his son become a 2020 campaign target cannot overshadow his platform (Politico). “I can't let my anger overcome the desire and the need to have unite, heal this country,” Biden said in a pre-recorded interview that aired Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.” “I’ve got to move beyond me and beyond my family. Because it's about your family, it’s about everybody else's family, not mine.” Biden called President Donald Trump’s attacks on his son, Hunter, and the Ukrainian gas company he served on the board of, Burisma, a “pure sham.”

BIDEN TAKES OF SANDERS AND SOCIALISM: Former Vice President Joe Biden said on Sunday that Democratic candidates would face a "bigger uphill climb" if Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) wins the party's presidential nomination this year.  Biden, a Democratic candidate for president who has focused on making a case for his own electability, said Sanders labeling himself a Democratic Socialist could turn off voters in key swing states. "Look, I'm not putting that label on Bernie. He calls himself a Democratic Socialist. Now you've been around George, as much as anybody, you're going to win with that label?" Biden said to George Stephanopoulos on ABC's "This Week." "You're going to help somebody in Florida with the label Democratic Socialist? It's going to go all the way down the line. That's what's going to happen. You're going to win in North Carolina? You're going to win in Pennsylvania? You're going to win in those states in the midwest?"

SANDERS SAYS HE'S NO 'COMMUNIST': Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a 2020 White House hopeful, on Sunday dismissed concerns that his status as a self-proclaimed democratic socialist would be a liability in a general election and said President Trump’s description of his ideology as “communist” was inaccurate. “Obviously I am not a communist,” Sanders told host Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday” in response to a clip of Trump using the designation in a Fox News interview, adding that Trump “maybe doesn’t know the difference.” Sanders also called Trump a “pathological liar” for claiming Sanders was “married in Moscow.”

WARREN SAYS SHE DOESN'T NEED NH WIN: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) dismissed the need to place in the top two in Tuesday’s New Hampshire primaries after trailing in third coming out of last week’s Iowa caucuses. “The way I see this is it's going to be a long campaign,” Warren said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”

General Assembly

HEALTH EXPERT 'DEVASTATED' BY NEEDLE EXCHANGE PROPOSAL: The Indiana state legislature’s decision earlier this week to discontinue needle exchanges has public health officials concerned (Legan, Indiana Public Media). If legislators do not move to retain the exchanges, they’ll be eliminated starting July 2021. Carrie Lawrence is a research scientist at the Indiana University School of Public Health. She’s also the associate director for the Rural Center for AIDS/STD Prevention and was on the ground in Scott County during the HIV outbreak there in 2015. She advocates for the positive public health effects of needle exchanges. She says she couldn’t believe the news when she first heard it. “My initial reaction was I was devastated,” Lawrence says. “Because it took us so long to get there. And I would just hate to see another outbreak occur of any type, and would hate to see Indiana’s overdose rates continue to rise.”

TEACHERS RALLY DIDN'T ALTER GOP PRIORITIES: Several thousand teachers at a boisterous Statehouse rally put complaints about their treatment squarely in front of Indiana lawmakers as this year’s legislative session was about to start (Davies, AP). The Republicans who dominate state government say they’re giving educators more respect, pointing to a proposal that would end the mandatory use of student test results in teacher evaluations. The loud chants from teachers for improved school funding, however, didn’t result in any additional money as Republican lawmakers pushed through this year’s only planned spending bill even before the 10-week legislative session reached its midpoint this past week. The school funding rebuff came as few teachers returned to the Statehouse since the November rally and several legislators said that few teachers had contacted them to talk about their concerns. Neither the teachers unions that organized the rally nor any teachers testified during the budget committee hearings on the Republican-backed plan for spending $291 million in unexpected state tax revenue, which Democrats unsuccessfully tried to shift toward boosting the state’s stagnant teacher pay.

BILL WOULD REQUIRE INDUSTRIAL SPILL NOTIFICATIONS: A state bill aims to better notify water utilities of industrial spills. It comes a few months after a chemical spill from northwest Indiana steelmaker ArcelorMittal killed about 3,000 fish in a Lake Michigan waterway (Indiana Public Media). The bill, authored by Rep. Ryan Hatfield (D-Evansville), would require the party responsible to notify water utilities and water treatment plants when a spill or other release could cause a threat to their operations. Justin Schneider is the director of consumer affairs for Indiana American Water — which had to temporarily shut down its Ogden Dunes facility due to the ArcelorMittal spill. He says when spills happen, companies might notify state and local governments. “We're not necessarily getting those phone calls. And this bill is really to ensure that that all water utilities that could be impacted around the state would get a phone call,” Schneider says.

FETAL REMAINS DISPOSAL BILL HEADS TO HOUSE: The Senate easily sent legislation to the House that builds on a 2016 anti-abortion law dealing with fetal remains (Smith, Indiana Public Media). That law – which only took effect last year after the U.S. Supreme Court OK'd it – requires health care facilities to bury or cremate fetal remains. This year’s legislation lays out the process for those facilities, including forms developed by the State Department of Health. It also makes clear that a woman who completes her medication-induced abortion at home could bring the result of that back into a health care facility, says Sen. Liz Brown (R-Fort Wayne). “Who makes that decision? Even after she’s aborted her baby, the woman makes that decision,” Brown says.

BOSMA SAYS MEDICAL COST DATABASE COULD RETURN: House Republicans say a proposed database of Indiana health care costs will save you money -- even though they killed their own bill to create it (Berman, WIBC). Speaker Brian Bosma says the House will revive the database bill this month as they begin work on bills which passed the Senate last month. The Senate passed its own version of the bill, or the House could add the issue to another health bill. Bosma says the database isn't the whole solution to rising medical costs, but it's a start. He says it would allow patients, employers and insurance companies to comparison-shop prices. The bill is part of Republicans' 2020 agenda in both the House and Senate, but Bosma killed the first attempt at the bill after 16 Republicans joined Democrats to add a provision allowing the state to import prescription drugs from Canada. Bosma argues it's not only bad policy, but is too big a change to make without going through a committee debate first.


GOVERNOR: HOLCOMB ATTENDING NGA - Gov. Eric J. Holcomb will attend the annual National Governors Association Winter Meeting in Washington D.C., Feb. 8 and 9 (Howey Politics Indiana). National Governors Association is a nonpartisan organization. Through NGA, governors share best practices, address issues of national and state interest, and share innovative solutions that improve state government and support the principles of federalism. While there, Gov. Holcomb and other governors will meet with the president and vice president. He also will meet with business leaders who hire Hoosiers.

GOVERNOR: EVANSVILLE STRATEGIC PLAN RELEASED - Gov. Holcomb’s office released the new Strategic Workforce Draft Plan on Thursday, outlining how well the city of Evansville is doing when it comes to creating affordable housing through blight elimination (WFIE-TV). Greg Wathen, the President and CEO of the Economic Development Coalition spoke about what the city is doing to combat that issue. “What you’re going to do is turn around, take that property, and put it back on the tax roll, so you have some developable property.” The four-year plan shows Evansville is a city of upward economic mobility. The report sees the completion of the I-69 project bringing in thousands of more people to the area. “The very fact that it will be complete by 2024, from Evansville all the way to Indianapolis is very significant,” Wathen said. So significant that the governor’s office reports the completion of the project bringing in around 11,000 additional housing units to combat the increase in residents. It’s something the city has been working towards for years, particularly affordable housing.

EDUCATION: PURDUE TO OFFER TAMPONS TO STUDENTS - Purdue University will offer free tampons and other feminine hygiene products in the campus’ bathrooms in response to student advocates who have been pushing for the move for three years (AP). University President Mitch Daniels on Thursday credited the University Senate, a faculty-led body, for proposing the initiative in a resolution that described feminine hygiene products as a basic necessity that should be in campus restrooms free of charge. The measure was set to be voted on later this month, but Daniels obtained permission from the University Senate to go ahead and implement it. “I think people will treat it responsibly,” Daniels told WLFI in an interview. “That’s what the Purdue family does.”


WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP BUDGET COMING MONDAY - The budget proposal President Trump will release Monday is expected to lay bare how much he has adjusted to the political and practical limits of Washington, with some of his biggest campaign promises from 2016 cast aside and replaced with more limited policy ambitions (Washington Post). On immigration, health care, infrastructure and the deficit, the final budget pitch of Trump’s first term will look much different from the campaign platform he offered four years ago. The border wall that he promised would be paid for by Mexico is instead being financed by billions in U.S. taxpayer dollars, and the administration’s budget request to Congress is expected to seek even more. The president’s 2015 promise to protect Medicaid from cuts has been repeatedly ignored, as he has sought to slash some $800 billion over a decade from the health program for low-income Americans. The latest evidence of this came on Saturday, when he wrote on Twitter that the budget proposal “will not be touching your Social Security or Medicare.” He made no mention of protecting Medicaid, even though he had vowed to guard it during his first presidential campaign.

WHITE HOUSE: PENCE DEFENDS TRUMP'S TOWERING DEFICITS - Vice President Mike Pence defended deficit expansion under the Trump administration during a CNBC interview Friday, saying that debt and deficits are secondary concerns compared to economic growth. Pence, who spoke to CNBC’s Wilfred Frost at the White House on the heels of President Donald Trump’s victory lap over his acquittal in the Senate’s impeachment trial, maintained that focusing on growth will solve long-term fiscal challenges. “The president came into office and he said, ‘First and foremost, we have to restore growth,’” Pence said. “Deficits and debt are right in line, but it is first about getting this economy moving again and we really do believe the trajectory of this economy,” Pence said. Pence’s remarks came less than three hours after the Labor Department released much-better-than-expected monthly payroll figures for January. Nonfarm payrolls rose 225,000 for the month, far exceeding the 158,000 expected by a survey of Dow Jones economists. The unemployment rate ticked higher to 3.6%, but the labor force participation rate also increased 0.2 percentage point to 63.4%. But under Trump, U.S. budget deficits have grown at a level not seen since the middle of the Obama administration, when the government was working to pull the country out of the Great Recession. The fiscal deficit topped $1 trillion in 2019, the highest level in a calendar year seen since 2012, according to Treasury Department figures released last month. Asked about the debt-to-GDP ratio — which has grown from Obama’s tenure in the White House to Trump’s — Pence said Friday that “in a second term, we’ll continue to address those issues.”

JUSTICE: ANTI-TRUST EMISSIONS CASE CLOSED - The U.S. Justice Department on Friday told four automakers it had closed an antitrust investigation into a voluntary agreement the companies reached with California on emissions without taking any action, three automakers and a source told Reuters (Reuters). Ford Motor Co, BMW AG and Honda Motor Co confirmed the probe had been ended. A source confirmed it had also been closed in connection with Volkswagen AG as well. Volkswagen did not immediately comment. The Trump administration in September issued a determination that California cannot set its own vehicle emission standards and had been investigating if the companies engaged in anti-competitive conduct in striking the deal. The Justice Department did not immediately comment. California Governor Gavin Newsom said “these trumped up charges were always a sham – a blatant attempt by the Trump administration to prevent more automakers from joining California and agreeing to stronger emissions standards. This is a big loss for the president and his weaponization of federal agencies – and a victory for anyone who cares about the rule of law and clean air.”


MICHIGAN CITY: OPTS OUT OF LEAD REMEDIATION PROGRAM - The city will opt out of $2.3 million grant program to help remediate lead problems in homes, test children for lead, and train residents to help find and solve lead problems (Michigan City News-Dispatch). Last year, the city was awarded a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grant under the Lead Based Paint Hazard Reduction Grant program, a grant which was lauded by U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, U.S. Sen. Todd Young and former mayor Ron Meer. However, the grant required a local match of $420,000, and the Mayor’s Office announced Friday that the cost is too high. “After careful review of the current progress of this grant, the new city administration does not believe we can successfully comply with all the terms and conditions set forth in the grant, which includes meeting the quota threshold of 150 units needed to be completed by the federal grant guidelines,” the statement said.

FORT WAYNE: REDEVELOPMENT COMMISSION TO VOTE ON ELECTRIC WORKS - The Redevelopment Commission is expected to vote on extending the economic development agreement for the multi-use Electric Works project this week (WANE-TV). The Redevelopment Commission is set to vote at 4 p.m. Monday, Feb. 8, at Citizens Square. In a tweet, officials with the project asked the public to attend and show their support. The development team at Electric Works is set to announce the newest company to anchor the project on Thursday, Feb. 13, at 2:30 p.m. The announcement at Electric Works is expected to draw state, regional, and local leaders.

WARRICK COUNTY: SATELLITE VOTING LOCATIONS CONSIDERED - The Warrick County Election Board is considering more locations for early voting (WFIE-TV). We’re just about 60 days from the May primary, and the Warrick County Board of Elections is expecting a bigger turnout than in previous years. “The possibility of expanding our in-person early voting locations in Warrick County to include, in addition to the Boonville location, locations in Lynnville or other areas in the northern county, and in Newburgh," Andrew Skinner, president of the Warrick County Board of Elections said. Although the idea of adding those two locations sparked interest, some board members are concerned about the limited time frame to set them up. “We haven’t really investigated the security aspect of those locations either and how that, I’m a meeting planner, so I think about logistics and operational and there’s a lot here in a short amount of time that we would have to get turned around,” Sylvia Abshire, a board member.