MORALES, ELLIOTT WIN GOP NOMINATIONS: Diego Morales won a second ballot GOP nomination for secretary of state Saturday afternoon, defeating incumbent Secretary Holli Sullivan 847 to 561, while Morgan County Republican Chairman Daniel Elliott won the treasurer's nod by three votes in a brutal day for so-called "establishment Republicans" (Howey Politics Indiana). The party platform also was changed with the term "democracy" subbed with the word "republic" throughout. Morales will face Democrat Destiny Scott Wells in November. Asked what his victory over Sullivan means, Morales answered, "I will say one word: Praise the Lord." Morales, who accused Gov. Eric Holcomb of "abusing his power" during the COVID-19 pandemic, added, "I'm concerned now about how we can bring everyone together. My job right now is to unite our party so we can win in November. I look to have a good, positive message." "This can happen only in America," Morales told the convention prior to the voting. "This is the American dream. The vision today is to keep that American dream alive. We must secure our elections ... so we can increase voter confidence." Sullivan had been appointed by Gov. Eric Holcomb to finish the term of Secretary Connie Lawson, who retired. Lawson had endorsed Sullivan, but while Holcomb's approval was 73% in a recent Morning Consult poll, he was seen as a liability in this race. He didn't officially endorse Sullivan or campaign with her or for her. A mailer from Morales to delegates described Sullivan as "Holcomb's puppet" as well as an "elitist," borrowing from Attorney General Todd Rokita's 2018 unsuccessful U.S. Senate campaign under the slogan "Defeat the Elite." There had been rampant speculation that delegates would lash out at Holcomb via Sullivan and they did. After WIBC's Rob Kendall tweeted, "Overwhelming applause for Morales. Very vocal crowd. Certainly appears @indgop is about to nominate a SOS candidate who left the office under suspect circumstances not once, but twice," Wells responded with two words: "Bring it."

 

INDEM PLATFORM CALLS TO EXPANDING VOTER ACCESS: Democrats unveiled their party platform for 2022 while formally selecting their statewide nominees Saturday. The Indiana Democratic Party confirmed a platform that focused on improving voter turnout, public education, workers rights and Indiana’s overall health. Chair Mike Schmul said Indiana’s place at the bottom for those measures is largely because of two decades of Republican leadership (Chapman, Indiana Public Media). “They’re in a fight for who they wanna be as a party,” he said. “We know who we want to be as a party. We are the party that backs American democracy, that backs Hoosier democracy.” Indiana Democrats also formally nominated three women for statewide offices at their state party convention. For state treasurer, Democrats nominated Jessica McClellan – Monroe County’s two-term treasurer. She said that experience is the perfect stepping stone to the state office. “I would want to elect somebody who’s qualified for this office,” McClellan said. “If somebody had experience and it’s a good sized county, and they really know what the treasurer’s office does – to me, that’s the idea of the perfect candidate.” If elected, McClellan would become the first openly LGBTQ+ statewide office holder in Indiana history. Democrats nominated ZeNai Brooks for state auditor to face off against Republican Tera Klutz. Brooks, like Klutz, is a certified public accountant and said she wants to bring better accountability to the office. “I think at this point in time, people are really wanting to restore trust in how our tax dollars are being spent … they’re tired of how things have always been and so it’s time for change,” Brooks said.

 

WELLS CALLS GOP PARTY OF 'INSURRECTIONISTS': Destiny Wells is the Democratic nominee for secretary of state. She said she wants to improve Indiana’s low voter turnout. She frequently repeated that Indiana is not a red state, it’s a purple state with a voter turnout problem (Chapman, Indiana Public Media). “So these are complex problems that need a professional in the office, who can also reach across the aisle and start to … undo what has been a Gordian knot tied by the Republicans for the last 30 years, resulting in us having one of the worst voter turnouts in the nation,” Wells said. Wells had sharp criticism for the Republican chosen to face her in November: Diego Morales. Former Trump campaign advisor Steve Cortes advocated for Morales and he has appeared on Steve Bannon’s podcast. “Do you know what all these people have in common? Insurrectionists,” Wells said.

 

CARVILLE URGES INDEMS TO SEEK 'REAL SOLUTIONS': Democratic consultant James Carville urged Indiana Democrats Friday night to seek "real solutions" in what is shaping up to be a harrowing political sequence for the party (Howey Politics Indiana). “The way to win as Democrats is to talk directly with voters, not in code," Carville, who coined the 1992 phrase "It's the economy, stupid," told the party. "We have got to be the party that talks about real people and real problems and even real solutions. Don’t wait for orders from the DNC or anybody else. You understand what people want. They want leadership that is responsive to their lives and their hopes and their dreams. And if you want to do all of that, it is real simple. Elect more Democrats. Republicans are trying to make Indiana the Mississippi of the Midwest.” Carville met with with Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr., Friday night at the Indiana Convention Center. McDermott is challenging Republican U.S. Sen. Todd Young. Both Indiana Democrats and Republicans are having their conventions Saturday in Indianapolis to nominate their tickets for November.

 

ELLIOTT TOUTED HIS LOCAL RECORD, 2018 CONVENTION MARRIAGE PLANK: Indiana Republican Party delegates also chose their nominee for state treasurer by the narrowest state convention margin in memory. Just three votes out of 1,429 cast were the difference as Morgan County GOP Chair Daniel Elliott edged out a victory over Boone County Council President Elise Nieshalla at Saturday’s convention (Chapman, Indiana Public Media). Elliott touted his local government experience in his pitch to delegates, saying he is a "man from the country, not the country club" (Howey Politics Indiana). He also noted the prominent role he played in the 2018 GOP convention floor fight over the marriage plank. He’s served on the county council and is currently president of the Morgan County Redevelopment Commission. “I am the only person running for this office who’s ever built a road, built a park or brought rural broadband to Indiana,” Elliott said.

 

TRUMP SAYS JAN. 6 WAS A 'PROTEST THAT GOT OUT OF HAND': Former President Trump, making his first public appearance since the Jan. 6 hearings began, told his faithful in Nashville yesterday that the insurrection was "a simple protest that got out of hand," AP reports.  Trump used his speech to tease his own run in 2024 ... to call the committee's evidence a "lie" and a "fraud". "One of the most urgent tasks facing the next Republican president — I wonder who that will be," Trump said during the Faith & Freedom Coalition's Road to Majority conference, prompting chants of "U-S-A!" "Would anybody like me to run for president?" he asked the crowd, unleashing more cheers. Ralph Reed, founder and chair of the coalition, said: "We don't know whether or not he will run — although certainly given his speech, I think he wanted to let everybody know that that is his plan."

 

PROSECUTING TRUMP FOR SEDITION WOULD BE CHALLENGING: As new questions swirled this past week about former President Donald J. Trump’s potential criminal exposure for seeking to overturn the 2020 election, Mr. Trump issued a rambling 12-page statement (Schmidt & Haberman, New York Times). It contained his usual mix of outlandish claims, hyperbole and outright falsehoods, but also something that Trump allies and legal experts said was notable and different: the beginnings of a legal defense. On nearly every page, Mr. Trump gave explanations for why he was convinced that the 2020 election had been stolen from him and why he was well within his rights to challenge the results by any means available. What happened at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, Mr. Trump wrote, stemmed from an effort by Americans “to hold their elected officials accountable for the obvious signs of criminal activity throughout the election.” His statement, while unfounded, carried a particular significance given the intensifying focus on whether he could face criminal charges. If the Justice Department were to bring a case against him, prosecutors would face the challenge of showing that he knew — or should have known — that his position was based on assertions about widespread election fraud that were false or that his attempt to block the congressional certification of the outcome was illegal.

 

TRUMP BASHES PENCE AT EVANGELICAL CONFERENCE:  The day after the latest U.S. congressional hearings on the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the Capitol by Donald Trump’s supporters, the former president criticized Mike Pence’s actions that day, saying that his vice president had lacked courage (Reuters). The hearings have detailed the ways in which Trump urged his supporters to turn on Pence for refusing his requests to reject the November 2020 election results, before they stormed the Capitol, fighting with police as some chanted “hang Mike Pence!” “Mike Pence had a chance to be great. He had a chance to be, frankly, historic,” Trump told an audience of Christian conservatives in Nashville on Friday. “Mike, and I say it sadly because I like him, but Mike did not have the courage to act,” Trump added. Republican Trump repeated his false claims that his defeat to Democrat Joe Biden was the result of widespread fraud, assertions that were rejected by multiple courts, state election officials and members of his own administration. Pence defended his actions, however, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal published on Friday. “Ultimately, I believe that most Americans understand that we did our duty that day under the Constitution and the laws of this country,” the newspaper quoted Pence as saying. Trump attacked the bipartisan nine-member Jan. 6 select committee, which has held three hearings in little more than a week and is building a case that Trump acted illegally by trying to overturn his election loss. “Let’s be clear, this is not a congressional investigation, this horrible situation that’s wasting everyone’s time. This is a theatrical production of partisan political fiction. That’s getting these terrible, terrible ratings and they’re going crazy,” Trump said.

 

BIDEN SIGNALS INTENT TO SEEK 2ND TERM: Democratic insiders in Washington and key primary states expect President Biden to follow through on his intention to stand for re-election and appear to have little appetite for casting him aside, though they expressed concerns about his advanced age and persistently low poll numbers (Wall Street Journal). The White House has repeatedly said that Mr. Biden, 79, the oldest president to be sworn into office, intends to run for re-election. A person familiar with the president’s advisers’ thinking said they are planning on him running and that the private conversations have matched the public statements. The current discussion is that an announcement would happen after the midterm elections, likely sometime in the spring of 2023, this person said.

 

BANKS FLOATS PRO-FAMILY AGENDA: Republicans have apparently taken to heart Napoleon Bonaparte’s famous advice: “Never interrupt your opponent when they’re making a mistake.”  Over the last year and a half, Democrats have implemented a disastrous foreign policy, ruined the economy, and embraced an extremely unpopular “woke” agenda on cultural issues. There’s no doubt that’s enough to give the GOP a big win in 2022. But even so, Republicans will still have to deliver a compelling answer to an important question: What are we for? (Town Hall). While some GOP leaders have tried to ignore the question entirely, Congressman Jim Banks has been busy working to answer it. Last year, he made headlines when he wrote a memo to Republican leadership urging a policy shift toward becoming the party of the working class. Now, Banks is pressing on even further. Just this week, the Republican Study Committee (RSC), which is chaired by Banks, released a new budget plan designed to fight inflation and put Americans first. It permanently adjusts the tax code to lower rates for working families, allowing parents to make the most of their hard work and reinvest in their households. It would create a Universal Savings Account to save some family investments from capital gains tax, re-incentivizing parents to fruitfully invest in their children’s futures. And it would end marriage tax penalties that discourage the formation of families, especially for younger adults.

 

BUTTIGIEG SAYS U.S. MAY ACT V. AIRLINES: The day after Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg met with airline leaders to quiz them about widespread flight disruptions, his own flight was canceled and he wound up driving from Washington to New York (AP). “That is happening to a lot of people, and that is exactly why we are paying close attention here to what can be done and how to make sure that the airlines are delivering,” Buttigieg told The Associated Press in an interview Saturday. Buttigieg said he is pushing the airlines to stress-test their summer schedules to ensure they can operate all their planned flights with the employees they have, and to add customer-service workers. That could put pressure on airlines to make additional cuts in their summer schedules. Buttigieg said his department could take enforcement actions against airlines that fail to live up to consumer-protection standards. But first, he said, he wants to see whether there are major flight disruptions over the July Fourth holiday weekend and the rest of the summer.

 

McCARTNEY TURNS 80: Today's cultural milestone: The "cute Beatle" is 80. Paul McCartney celebrated by singing "Glory Days" with Bruce Springsteen on Thursday at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., serenaded by 60,000 well-wishers, AP's David Bauder writes. Jersey guy Jon Bon Jovi brought out a fistful of balloons during the encore. Like several other members of the "hope I die before I get old" generation — including Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones and former Beatles mate Ringo Starr — McCartney keeps working. Another 1960s icon, Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, is scheduled to play at the Starlight Theatre in Kansas City, Mo., on his 80th birthday Monday.Between the lines: The fragility in McCartney's voice was evident while singing "Blackbird." He struggled for the high notes in "Here Today," his love letter to the late John Lennon.

 

HPI DAILY ANALYSIS: One thing that struck me after spending seven hours at the Indiana Republican convention Saturday was how little Donald Trump (and Mike Pence) presence there was among delegates. There were only a few MAGA hats and T-shirts present. - Brian A. Howey

 

Campaigns

 

MORALES PRESSED ON 2020 ELECTION: When a reporter asked him at Saturday’s convention whether he thought the 2020 election was run fairly, Diego Morales did not directly answer the question (Orr, IBJ). “Joe Biden is in the White House,” Morales said. “Also, let me be clear—he’s doing a horrible job.” In a speech to delegates before convention voting began, Morales outlined steps he would take as secretary of state to “secure our elections” with “common-sense policies.” Those policies include, among other things, strengthening voter ID requirements and taking steps to prevent non-citizens from voting. Morales said he would also establish a voting task force to investigate voting discrepancies and favors shortening the early-voting period from its current 28 days down to 14 days. Morales, who immigrated to the U.S. with his family from Guatemala as a teen, said it’s “nonsense” to suggest that voter ID laws are racist. He held a copy of his U.S. naturalization certificate, saying it took him 10 years to become a citizen “so why not demand an ID when people vote?”

 

HUPFER SAYS MORALES WIN NOT 'COMMENTARY' ON HOLCOMB: State Republican Party Chairman Kyle Hupfer said he viewed Morales’ win not as a commentary on Holcomb but as a reflection of the effort Morales put into his campaign (IBJ). Morales said he traveled to all of Indiana’s 92 counties during his campaign. “They [delegates] know Diego. Diego’s been everywhere,” Hupfer told reporters.

 

AUDITOR KLUTZ RENOMINATED: Current State Auditor Tera Klutz was unopposed in her renomination bid. She used the convention to hone her pitch to the voters (Indiana Public Media). “My track record includes making Indiana state government less bureaucratic and more accountable," Klutz said. "I increased transparency, increased communication at every level and developed internal controls for state government.” Democrats nominated Jessica McClellan for State Treasurer and ZeNai Brooks for State Auditor at their convention Saturday.

 

HUPFER CONGRATUATES NOMINEES: Delegates of the 2022 Indiana Republican Party State Convention nominated Tera Klutz for auditor of state, Diego Morales for secretary state, and Daniel Elliott for treasurer of state, officially setting the statewide Republican ticket for the November elections; nearly 1,700 eligible Hoosiers cast their ballots (Howey Politics Indiana). Statement from Chairman Kyle Hupfer: “We’re looking forward to working with this dynamic team over the next few months. Under Republican leadership, Hoosiers have come to expect great government service from these offices, and with our slate of candidates, this legacy of leadership will undoubtedly continue. We’re energized, united, and ready to get to work to make sure they all cross the finish line first in November!”

 

INDEMS SAY GOP MOVING AWAY FROM DANIELS: Indiana Democrat spokesman Drew Anderson said (Howey Politics Indiana): "The Indiana GOP’s last-minute smear campaign against Diego Morales not only failed, but with his nomination, the Party sprints further away from the Mitch Daniels era and closer to a brand of politics that’s unrecognizable to Hoosiers - including many Republican voters. This is exactly why veteran and attorney Destiny Wells will become Indiana’s next Secretary of State. She’ll put forward an Indiana-first and country-first agenda — not one made from extremism and the latest conspiracy theory. There’s too much at stake for Hoosiers and Democrats are the only ones who can protect our Hoosier democracy in the future.”

 

ROKITA STATEMENT ON GOP CONVENTION: Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita released the following statement on the Indiana GOP convention (Howey Politics Indiana): “Congratulations to our Republican nominees, especially my friends and conservative allies, Diego Morales and Daniel Elliott. This convention proved that Hoosiers are fed up with the establishment, woke corporations, and leftist media who run the Indianapolis swamp. Morales and Elliott will be partners of mine to drain it, and save our Hoosier values for generations to come. Congratulations also to Tera Klutz on her re-nomination.”

 

DANIELS EYES POLITICAL RETURN: Mitch Daniels is eyeing a political encore. The former two-term Indiana governor, who came to the brink of announcing a 2012 presidential bid in 2011 before backing out over family concerns, announced last week that he would step down as president of Purdue University at the end of this year after nearly a decade, shocking the campus (Wren, Politico). Now, longtime loyalists and friends say the 73-year-old former director of George W. Bush’s Office of Management and Budget is warming up to the idea of a return to politics, batting around a potential third gubernatorial run in the Hoosier state’s open 2024 contest. Current Gov. Eric Holcomb, a Daniels ally and his handpicked party chairman during his administration, is term-limited from running again. “He’s fascinated by the idea,” Mark Lubbers, Daniels’ longtime confidante and top political adviser early in his gubernatorial administration, told POLITICO in an interview Thursday while on an annual golf trip with Daniels at The Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.V. He said the two “discussed” recent speculation in Indiana media that Daniels could mount a return to the political stage after his turn in academia. “We have NOT discussed policy or politics of a run,” Lubbers later added in a text. “Suffice to say he would never do it unless he felt there were ambitious policy objectives. You’ve heard him say before that he likes BIG ideas. He would have no interest ever in running to just hold the seat again. Not his style.” Daniels did not return voicemail or text messages seeking confirmation. A Purdue University spokesman declined to comment, citing Daniels’ vacation. One person close to Daniels who asked not to be identified said that Daniels is primarily contemplating a return to state politics, not national. “He doesn’t want to go to Washington,” the person said. “Cheri doesn’t want to go. Cheri is supportive here. That is a giant thing.”

 

BIDEN SENDING EVERY SIGNAL HE'S GOING TO RUN IN '24: President Biden’s advisers have been studying a spring 2023 reelection announcement that would echo the timetable of former president Barack Obama. They have flooded 2024 battleground states with millions of dollars to build up Democratic operations in advance of the next presidential campaign (Washington Post). “If Trump is going to run, there is no question Biden is running, and he would probably run regardless,” said Greg Schultz, who worked as the first Biden campaign manager during the 2020 primary race.

 

PENCE IN CINCINNATI: While former Vice President and Indiana Governor Mike Pence was the talk of the third public hearing of the January 6th committee investigating last year’s attack on the Capitol Thursday, he was in Cincinnati for a roundtable with members of Ohio’s oil and gas industry. He said President Biden’s energy and economic policies are holding the country back (Herrick, WIBC). “He’s been telling oil companies to produce more oil. In fact, it was his press secretary who said it is their patriotic duty to produce more oil. Well I would say to President Joe Biden, ‘It is your patriotic duty to unleash American energy and put our nation back on a pathway to energy independence,” said Pence in a nondescript boardroom at the Enerfab manufacturing plant in Cincinnati’s Spring Grove Village neighborhood.

 

State

 

ISDH: 1ST MONKEY POX CASE REPORTED IN STATE - State health officials announced today that the first probable case of monkeypox in Indiana in 2022 has been identified. No further information about the patient will be released due to privacy concerns (Howey Politics Indiana). Initial testing was completed at the Indiana Department of Health (IDOH) Laboratories Saturday. Confirmatory testing is pending at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Based on the initial positive test and preliminary case investigation, state health officials consider this a probable monkeypox infection. The patient remains isolated, and health officials are working to identify anyone the patient may have had close contact with while infectious. “The risk of monkeypox among the general public continues to be extremely low,” said State Health Commissioner Kris Box, M.D., FACOG. “Monkeypox is rare and does not easily spread through brief casual contact. Please continue to take the same steps you do to protect against any infection, including washing your hands frequently and thoroughly, and check with a healthcare provider if you have any new signs or symptoms.”

 

BSU: ROOM/BOARD RATES TO BE UNCHANGED - Ball State University is keeping its “room and board” rates for students steady next year, for the second year in a row.  But, tuition at the Muncie school will increase (Indiana Public Media). Tuition at Ball State is approved every two years.  A 1.8 percent increase for the 2022-23 academic year was approved in 2021. But for the second year in a row, what students will pay to live, eat, and park on campus remains the same.  Without parking, the general “room and board” rate is a little less than $10,800. Ball State President Geoffrey Mearns says he knows the rate freeze comes at a time when state number show a sharp decline in Hoosier high school graduates choosing to attend college. “We know that tuition makes up a significant portion of the cost, but these other expenses are substantial as well.  And so, for us to continue to constrain those costs – not withstanding the substantial increases in inflation – is a very significant sign of our commitment to affordability and access for all of our students.”

 

NCAA: NOTRE DAME TOPS TEXAS 7-3 IN CWS - The Fighting Irish are headed for the winner’s bracket after a 7-3 victory over Texas in their first game of the 2022 College World Series Friday night (WNDU-TV). Jared Miller opened the scoring with a home run in the first, and Carter Putz shut the door with a homer of his own in the 9th to secure an Irish win. Notre Dame now moves on to play Oklahoma on Sunday at 7/6 central after the Sooners took down Texas A&M in their opening game.

 

Congress

 

YOUNG PRESSES GARLAND ON NASSER: Senator Todd Young, alongside Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, pushed the Justice Department to explain the reasoning for opting out of not charging two former FBI officials in the Larry Nassar investigation (WRTV). In the investigation, the two former FBI officials failed to properly respond to the information about the abuse of the gymnasts, and instead tried to cover it up with their negligence. The department announced it would not file charges against either of the officials despite the findings collected from the department's Office of Inspector General and details referenced by the Deputy Attorney General. In a letter written to Attorney General Merrick Garland, the senators wrote: “This declination is all the more inexplicable in light of DAG Monaco’s representation to the Committee on October 5, 2021, that ‘new information’ had come to light and which was under review by the Assistant Attorney General of the Criminal Division. Presumably, this ‘new information’ was inculpatory and not exculpatory as to the two former FBI agents,” the senators wrote in a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland.

 

Nation

 

WHITE HOUSE: BIDEN TUMBLES OFF BIKE - Joe Biden fell off his bike during ride near his Rehoboth Beach home in Delaware Friday, as he and his wife celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary (Daily Mail). 'I’m good,' the president reportedly told press who saw him take the tumble, which transpired around 9:30am. Biden told reporters that had trouble removing his shoes from the bikes' pedals, causing the fall. He was pictured sitting on the pavement after incident, caught up in the bike's frame. Footage shows Biden with his wife, Jill - surrounded by agents - riding down a road near their Rehoboth Beach home, as press and citizens await the procession with their phones and camera out.

 

JUSTICE: SHELBYVILLE MAN GUILTY IN JAN. 6 CHARGE -  A central Indiana man pleaded guilty Friday to carrying a loaded gun on the Capitol grounds and assaulting police during the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol, federal prosecutors said (AP). Mark Andrew Mazza, 57, of Shelbyville pleaded guilty in the District of Columbia. Court documents say Mazza brought a revolver loaded with three shotgun shells and two hollow point bullets to the Capitol but lost possession of the revolver. He made his way to a tunnel area with doors leading into the Capitol Building and joined a collective effort of rioters to push through at least 20 officers who were defending the tunnel entrance, records say. He held a door to allow other rioters to attack officers with flag poles, batons, sticks and stolen law enforcement shields, records say. He wrestled a baton from an officer’s hand and swung it, striking one officer in the arm, records say.

 

JUSTICE: JUDGE DENIES BANNON TO DISMISS CHARGES - Longtime Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon asked a federal judge to exclude all evidence relating to the Jan. 6 storming of the US Capitol from his criminal contempt trial (Bloomberg News). Bannon was indicted in November on two counts of contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with subpoenas from the House Jan. 6 committee seeking his testimony and production of documents. In a Friday filing, Bannon argued that the evidence should be excluded in part because it will prejudice a jury, in light of the media attention given to the committee hearings. In a separate filing, the government asked the judge to prevent Bannon from presenting arguments that would “politicize” the case, pointing to his past claims that he has been targeted for political reasons. For example, prosecutors said Bannon’s defense team should be prevented from questioning witnesses, including those on the select committee, about their politics. At every turn “the defendant has attempted to make this case and the issues in it about politics, not the law and the facts,” prosecutors wrote. Earlier this week, U.S. District Judge Carl J. Nichols denied Bannon’s request to dismiss the charges against him.

 

CDC: WALLENSKY AUTHORIZES VAX FOR KIDS THIS WEEK - CDC Director Rochelle Walensky signed off yesterday on allowing Moderna and Pfizer COVID shots for children as young as six months old, Axios' Tina Reed reports.  The shots could be in little arms as early as this week, as most states have already pre-ordered COVID vaccines for children under 5 in anticipation of federal authorization. President Biden hailed the "monumental step forward in our nation’s fight against the virus, with virtually every American now eligible for the protections that COVID-19 vaccines provide."

 

MEDIA: MARK SHIELDS DIES AT AGE 85 -  Political commentator and columnist Mark Shields, who shared his insight into American politics and wit on “PBS NewsHour” for decades, died Saturday. He was 85 (Politico). Shields died at his Chevy Chase, Maryland, home, from kidney failure, “PBS NewsHour” spokesman Nick Massella said. Shields was a regular on the show starting in 1987, the year the show began, and stepped down from his regular Friday night discussion segment in December 2020. He had collaborated with David Brooks since 2001 to provide analysis and commentary in their weekly Shields & Brooks segment and during election specials and conventions and before that with David Gergen and Paul Gigot, according to “PBS NewsHour.” His tenure there spanned six presidencies.

 

KENTUCKY: MAN SLUGS LOUISVILLE MAYOR - Louisville police are looking for the man who punched their city’s mayor in the face Saturday night. Mayor Greg Fischer was at a popular downtown event when he was assaulted (CNN). Louisville police released several screengrabs from surveillance video showing a man they are calling a suspect. According to a Facebook post, investigators say the mayor is doing fine. Fischer, a Democrat, is in his third term as mayor of Kentucky’s largest city and cannot run again due to term limits. Craig Greenberg, the 2022 Democratic nominee to replace him, survived an apparent assassination attempt in February. On Twitter, Greenberg sent well wishes to Fischer saying, “We cannot solve our disagreements with violence.”

 

MLB: SOX BLANK ASTROS 7-0 - Johnny Cueto and Reynaldo López combined for a three-hitter and Luis Robert tied a career-high with four RBI as the Chicago White Sox jumped on Justin Verlander early and cruised to a 7-0 win over the Houston Astros on Saturday (ESPN). Cueto (1-3) allowed two hits and struck out five in a season-high seven innings to get his first win since July 29 with San Francisco. "Johnny set the tempo," manager Tony La Russa said. "He's an artist out there ... that's just high, high major league pitching." Robert tied a season best with three hits and José Abreu drove in two runs as the White Sox built a 7-0 lead after four innings to get their fourth win in five games.

 

MLB: CUBS TOP ATLANTA 6-3 -  Willson Contreras had three hits and stole a base in his first game against younger brother William, helping the Chicago Cubs beat the Atlanta Braves 6-3 on Saturday (ESPN). Chicago won a day after ending its 10-game losing streak and also stopping the Braves' 14-game winning string.

 

MLB: BREWERS DOWN CINCY 7-3 - Willy Adames and Hunter Renfroe both homered for the second straight day, rookie Jason Alexander earned his first career win and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Cincinnati Reds 7-3 on Saturday (ESPN). Jace Peterson drove in two runs with a sixth-inning double on a chopper over the head of leaping first baseman Mike Moustakas, and Milwaukee won a second straight game for the first time this month. "It's been a while," Brewers manager Craig Counsell. "We played good baseball today. That's what you have to do to win in this league. We earned a win."

 

Sunday Talk

 

DEESE SAYS ECONOMIC STRENGTHS UNDER-ESTIMATED: National Economic Council Director Brian Deese on Sunday downplayed some economists’ fears of an impending recession, arguing the economy can persevere through ongoing interest rate hikes that aim to curb rising prices. Speaking with Margaret Brennan on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Deese instead described the economy as in a state of “transition” after President Biden said on Thursday a recession was “not inevitable.”  Deese pointed to increased household savings and low proportions of people missing payments on mortgages and credit cards. “Not only is a recession not inevitable, but I think that a lot of people are underestimating those strengths and the resilience of the American economy,” Deese said.

 

O'ROURKE CALLS FOR 'COMMON SENSE' GUN CONTROL: Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) said in an interview broadcast on Sunday that Texas needs to find “common ground” on gun control by respecting the Second Amendment while also requiring safety measures on firearms. O’Rourke, the 2022 Democratic candidate for governor of Texas, slammed current Gov. Greg Abbott (R) for what he described as “extreme” gun policies in the interview with KXAN-TV in Austin, Texas, citing a Quinnipiac poll that found only 6 percent of Texans agree with Abbott’s policy of no background checks.

 

Local

 

NEW ALBANY: COUNCILMAN TURNER EXPLORES MAYORAL BID - Republican Josh Turner filed paperwork Friday to establish an exploratory committee for the 2023 New Albany mayor's race (Suddeath, News & Tribune). Turner is the District 5 New Albany City Council representative. He's an IT engineer and a veteran, and said if elected he will prioritize strengthening the city's relationships with residents and regional partners. "I'm excited to get out there and talk to the people and see if the issues I'm seeing in my district match the same needs of the people throughout the city," said Turner, who added that forming the committee allows him to meet with residents citywide in a more official capacity. "I think I bring new energy to the city. I'm not a political type of person. I'm a people person. I believe in accountability and transparency, and I believe that elected officials especially locally should go out of their way to serve the people who put us in office."

 

LOGANSPORT: DORAN TO SEEK MAYORAL BID - Logansport resident Terry Doran announced his intention to run for mayor next year and said he plans to knock on 6,000 doors before the election. “I’ve wanted to be the mayor for a couple decades, and everybody knows it,” he said (Adair, Logansport Pharos-Tribune). Doran formerly served on the Logansport Common Council and the Logansport Parks Board as both a member and president. He has also been a committeeman for his union at Stellantis, and he served on the Cass County Arts Alliance for eight years. “I have about 800 people under me that expect me to know what they’re up to and what I can do to make their jobs better,” he said about his position as a committeeman. Doran previously ran for mayor in 2019, but confusion about the number of voter signatures required for candidacy resulted in his removal from the ballot. Even though he described himself as a “life-long Democrat,” Doran ran as an Independent in 2019 so he could choose Republican Teresa Popejoy as his runningmate for deputy mayor.

 

ALLEN COUNTY: COMMISSIONERS EYE LONG-TERM JAIL SOLUTION - The Allen County Commissioners responded on Friday after a federal judge said their plan to reduce overcrowding and remedy “inhumane” conditions at the Allen County Jail wasn’t good enough (WPTA-TV). The ACLU of Indiana’s Legal Director said on Thursday that the judge found the county’s proposal did not properly address his order. That order required a definite plan and timeline, and he said the situation must be rectified quickly. The judge set an August 25 hearing to review the new plan to ensure it is in compliance with his order. Commissioner Nelson Peters spent part of Friday morning’s meeting emphasizing action steps he says county officials have taken to address the situation, including off-loading inmates to Noble and LaGrange County, stepping up recruiting efforts, and sending level 6 offenders back to state penitentiaries. The commissioners say they are still researching funding and location options for constructing a new jail. An architect could be on board by next week, but they say nothing is set in stone at this point.

 

JENNINGS COUNTY: COMPLAINT OVER LIBRARY PRIDE DISPLAY - The Jennings County Public Library is facing pressure over a Pride Month display, and its board is considering whether the publicly funded library should remove a display recognizing LGBTQ+ people (Stafford, Columbus Republic). As it has done in years past, the library in North Vernon put up a display for June’s observation of the federally proclaimed LGBTQ+ Pride Month, administrator Mary Abplanalp said. She said the display includes Pride flags, a glossary and books. “We had a complaint that went to the board, and the board asked that I write a display policy for the board meeting tonight,” Abplanalp said. She said she and the board agreed a policy was needed. “We will be discussing that at the board meeting tonight … if this display is within the policy guidelines.”