FOX POLL GIVES DEMOCRATS INTENSITY ADVANTAGE IN INDIANA: The Fox News Poll that gave U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly a surprising 45-38% lead over Republican Mike Braun shows Democrats are maintaining a voter intensity edge (Howey Politics Indiana). Likely voters asked how interested they are in the Senate race, 44% of Democrats said they were "extremely" interested, compared to 37% for Republicans and 16% for independents. On the ideological spectrum, 45% of liberals, 37% of conservatives, 31% of moderates and 37% of evangelicals described themselves as "extremely" interested. As for location, 42% of suburbanites fit that category, compared to 37% of urban voters and 33% of rural voters. In the head-to-head question, Braun was carrying 78% of Republican voters, compared to 84% of Democrats who support Donnelly. Donnelly had a 30-18% lead among independent voters, while 18% of those were backing Libertarian Lucy Brenton. That poll showed that 19% could change their mind, including 14% of Democrats and 19% of Republicans.

18 STATES SURPASS 2014 MIDTERM TURNOUT: More Americans are taking advantage of absentee and early voting this year, with 28 million ballots already cast nationwide and four days of the campaign still to go. In 18 states, including Indiana, and Washington, D.C., advance vote counts have already surpassed those of the last midterm election (New York Times). Presidential contests tend to attract higher turnout than midterm elections; in 2016, more than 47 million votes were cast early. Yet this year’s advance vote count — which measures both absentee ballots and in-person early voting — is nearing 2014 levels, and voters. “We’re in uncharted territory with the size of this vote,” said Michael P. McDonald, an associate professor of political science at the University of Florida who tracks early voting. “In some states, it’s closer to the presidential election than to the 2014 midterm election.” In Indiana, 292,726 ballots cast over 14 days.

INDY CHAMBER ENDORSES JD FORD: After fending off a tough primary challenge, conservative firebrand Mike Delph is locked in a tight re-election rematch with progressive Democrat J.D. Ford for a seat in the Indiana Senate (Sikich, IndyStar). Ford came within about 2,400 votes of beating Delph four years ago and thinks he's worked hard enough to bridge that gap Nov. 6. He enters the fight with significant financial support, including from the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce. "We like Ford's openness and willingness to listen to all sides and to bring no entrenched ideological positions to the process of legislating," said Chief Policy Officer Mark Fisher.  Delph brushes off the significance of the chamber's backing, pointing out it didn't help his primary opponent, Carmel's Corrie Meyer. He has his own massive war chest, but thinks the election will be won on the strength of grass roots campaigning. He likes his odds and his supporters agree. "I support Mike because he listens to his constituents," said Carmel tea party activist Sue Lile. "He also sometimes has to take a stand against what (Republican) leadership wants, but he puts his constituents first."

DEM FLIER ASSAILS REP. SIEGRIST OVER BOSMA: The gloves in HD26 came off on No. 3 on that list Thursday, when mailers designed to cut into Rep. Sally Siegrist landed in mailboxes (Bangert, Lafayette Journal & Courier). On the front of the glossy mailer, a woman hides her face in her hands. The text: “Intimidation. Coercion. Strong-arming. Politics at its worst.” On the back, was a picture of Siegrist and a copy of the statement she signed in House Speaker Brian Bosma’s defense. The mailer’s accusation of Siegrist: “Bad for Women. Bad for Indiana.” Siegrist, asked earlier in the week about her opponents’ plans to raise questions about her support of Bosma, declined to answer questions from the J&C. On Thursday, once mailers went out, she did not immediately respond to follow-up questions. Campbell said she knew the flier, paid for by the Indiana Democratic State Central Committee, was coming out. “For her to not stand by another woman,” Campbell said, “I find it pretty appalling.” “I found it quite appalling that he would spend $40,000 to basically harass a former intern,” Campbell said. “With the MeToo movement, women are trying to speak out and fight back and say, basically, we’re not going to accept this kind of behavior. We’re going to make men accountable for their actions. … Sally Siegrist should have, too.”

TRUMP, PENCE IN SOUTHPORT TODAY: President Trump and Vice President Pence return to Indiana for a 7 p.m. rally at Southport High School in an effort to boost the candidate of Republican Senate nominee Mike Braun (Howey Politics Indiana). It will be Trump's third rally for Braun, after appearing in Elkhart in May and Evansville in August. Doors open at 4 p.m. There will be temporary road closures between 6-9 p.m. During the rally, Shelby Street from Banta Road to Southport Drive will be closed, as well as Banta Road from Shelby Street to Camden Street. It will be the first of three profile events in the waning days of the intense Senate race. Former President Obama will campaign for Sen. Joe Donnelly at the Genesis Center in Gary on Sunday. A time has not been announced. Trump will return on Monday for a 6:30 p.m. rally for Braun at the Coliseum that is expected to draw 11,000 supporters.

POLL SHOWS 79% OF FARMERS BACK TRUMP: A new poll out shows that farmers and ranchers still overwhelmingly support President Donald Trump. However, the poll also shows that they would like the White House to focus more on building exports and ending the trade war with China (Hoosier Ag Today). The poll was commissioned by Agri-Pulse. Editor Sara Wyant says the president mentions his support for farmers and his work on improving trade at every rural political rally he attends. “That’s even as economic conditions on the farm are very difficult,” says Wyant. “Our research shows that farmers and ranchers are willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, plus, they appear optimistic about his trade and regulatory policies. Producers still seem to believe there will be a payoff in the long run.” The poll shows that 79 percent of farmers reached by phone strongly approve or approve President Trump. On the other end, 19 percent of respondents disapprove of the president. Along party lines, 92 percent of Republican producers approve of the way Trump is doing his job, 33 percent of Democrats, and 65 percent of independent voters also approve of the president. About 67 percent of Democratic farmers, which made up 12 percent of the total poll respondents, disapprove of Trump’s job performance.

TRUMP SAYS HE TRIES TO TELL THE TRUTH: President Donald Trump "always" wants to tell the truth, he claimed in an interview Wednesday night, and does tell the truth "when I can" (Politico). Trump has come under scrutiny throughout his presidency, but especially in recent weeks, for repeatedly spouting falsehoods and misleading statements. But despite evidence to the contrary, the president insisted on Wednesday that he tries to tell the truth. "Well, I try. I do try" to tell the truth, he told ABC's Jon Karl before a campaign rally in Florida. "I always want to tell the truth. When I can, I tell the truth. And sometimes it turns out to be where something happens that's different or there's a change, but I always like to be truthful." The Washington Post, which has made a project of tracking the president's claims that they deem false, said in September that Trump had cleared 5,000 false or misleading statements during his nearly two years in office.

TRUMP CALLS ATTACKS ON MEDIA POLITICALLY SUCCESSFUL: President Trump, in an interview with Axios that will premiere Sunday on HBO, says railing against his enemies in the media helped him win — and that his supporters like him more when he cranks up the "enemy of the people" rhetoric. Why it matters: In modern American history, no other president argued it's not his job to calm people in a moment of high tension and unease, especially in the days following deadly domestic terrorism. Two exchanges during the interview with Jonathan Swan and Jim VandeHei provide a window into why Trump feels no responsibility for how Americans respond to his words or actions: He both feels wronged by the media, and knows he can whip his supporters into a frenzy by pounding the press: "Axios on HBO": "You are the most powerful man in the world. And if you say that word — 'enemy,' 'enemy,' 'enemy' — think about what enemy means." Trump: "I think I'm doing a service [by attacking the press] when people write stories about me that are so wrong." "I know what I do good and what I do bad. I really get it, OK? I really get it better than anybody in the whole world."

TRUMP AIRING RACIALLY CHARGED CAMPAIGN VIDEO: In the most racially charged national political ad in 30 years, President Donald Trump and the Republican Party accuse Democrats of plotting to help people they depict as Central American invaders overrun the nation with cop killers (CNN). The new web video, tweeted by the President five days before the midterm elections, is the most extreme step yet in the most inflammatory closing argument of any campaign in recent memory. The Trump campaign ad is the latest example of the President's willingness to lie and fear-monger in order to tear at racial and societal divides; to embrace demagoguery to bolster his own political power and the cause of the Republican midterm campaign. The web video -- produced for the Trump campaign -- features Luis Bracamontes, a Mexican man who had previously been deported but returned to the United States and was convicted in February in the slaying of two California deputies. "I'm going to kill more cops soon," a grinning Bracamontes is shown saying in court as captions flash across the screen reading "Democrats let him into our country. Democrats let him stay." The ad recalls the notorious "Willie Horton" campaign ad financed by supporters of the George H.W. Bush campaign in the 1988 presidential election.

HEALTHCARE TOP ISSUE FOR HOOSIER VOTERS: Health care is the most important national issue for Hoosier voters, according to a poll conducted by the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics at Purdue University Fort Wayne (Francisco, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette). The survey of more than 1,000 registered voters found that 22 percent identified health care as the most important issue among the options they were presented with, while 17 percent selected the economy, 13 percent chose immigration, 9 percent said federal taxing and spending, and 8 percent said U.S. relations with other countries. The Downs Center poll found that among Donnelly supporters, health care is the most important issue for 33.9 percent, followed by the economy, 11.2 percent, and U.S. relations with other countries, 10.9 percent. Among Braun supporters, the economy is the most important issue for 24.5 percent, followed closely by immigration, 23.6 percent; health care, 13.8 percent; and terrorism, 10.7 percent. Among supporters of Libertarian Senate candidate Lucy Brenton, the top issues are health care, 22.1 percent; federal taxing and spending, 19.1 percent; and the economy, 16.2 percent.

TRUMP STOKES IMMIGRATION FEARS: President Trump's closing argument is now clear: Build tent cities for migrants. End birthright citizenship. Fear the caravan. Send active-duty troops to the border. Refuse asylum (New York Times). Immigration has been the animating force of the Trump presidency, and now — facing the possibility that Republicans will lose control of Congress on Tuesday — the president has fully embraced a dark, anti-immigrant message in the hope that stoking fear will motivate voters to show up for his party's candidates across the country. Eager to shift the national conversation away from the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre and the pipe bombs delivered by a Trump supporter, the president's political team has in recent days urged him to use his bully pulpit to ratchet up the nation's sense of alarm about the dangers of migrants heading for the border. The president did not need much convincing. On Wednesday afternoon, he tweeted out a 53-second, expletive-filled video that features immigrants charged with violent crimes and images of a throng of brown-skinned men breaching a barrier and running forward. The president's message was clear: Immigrants will kill you and the Democrats are to blame.

PENCE PLAYS KEY ROLE IN MIDTERMS: After Josh Hawley decided to challenge incumbent Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill in the 2018 midterm elections, he got plenty of campaign advice from a seasoned fellow Republican: Vice President Mike Pence (Groppe, IndyStar). The vice president talked to Hawley about messaging and pressed him on his plan for raising money to compete with McCaskill, a prolific fundraiser. It was Pence, in fact, who had helped convince Hawley to enter Missouri's Senate race, what has become one of the most closely watched contests in Tuesday's elections. Pence's involvement in the midterm elections that will decide control of Congress has taken him to at least three dozen states over the past 10 months for rallies, fundraising events and to sell the GOP tax cuts. While predecessors such as Dick Cheney and Joe Biden also campaigned intensively during midterm elections, Pence, a former governor and six-term congressman who enjoys a good fight, has taken to the task with particular zeal, wooing donors, sending six-figure checks from his political action committee, to gubernatorial candidates, revving up the Christian conservative base and cutting commercials for Republican Senate candidates. "He's been a secret weapon for so many members," said House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.

HPI DAILY ANALYSIS: I'll give President Trump some credit for candor when he says he wants to tell the truth "when I can." It's an interesting standard, but one we wouldn't accept from our governor or mayor. There may come a day when this nation is in crisis, and we will need to know if the president is telling the truth. That's when this standard could really become a problem. As for the midterm elections, we'll be updating our INSen, statewides, congressional, and legislative forecasts at mid-day Monday. Thanks for reading, folks, and have a great weekend. - Brian A. Howey


ALI GOES NEGATIVE AGAINST LANANE: There are two expensive, hard-fought races for state Senate seats in East Central Indiana, one of which has turned negative (Slabaugh, Muncie Star Press). In a matchup of two Anderson attorneys, Republican Zaki Ali is attacking Democratic Sen. Tim Lanane as "Liberal Lanane" and a "career politician" who "has been playing politics for over 20 long years." In a direct mail piece, Ali depicts "Twenty-year Tim" wearing an "I Love Taxes" button on his lapel. Lanane prefers to call himself a "longtime public servant." And he is expressing  disappointment that Ali is "distorting my record" and breaking a promise not to focus his campaign on criticizing Lanane. "Early on, he told me he would not engage in negative politics," Lanane told The Star Press. "Late in the game, he does. It's the first time I've seen such negativity in one of my campaigns." "My promise to Senator Lanane was that I would not make any personal attacks against him," Ali told The Star Press. "Never once did I say I would not discuss his record. And that is exactly what I'm doing. Because it is atrocious. While he consistently claims he supports funding increases for education, he repeatedly voted against legislation that provided $1 billion in increased funding for K-12 education simply because Republicans authored it. I call that playing games."

$400K SPILLS INTO OPEN SD26: More than $400,000 has been raised by Democrat Dave Cravens and Republican Mike Gaskill in their hotly contested race for the open seat left by the retirement of Sen. Doug Eckerty, R-Yorktown (Slabaugh, Muncie Star Press). The U-shaped Senate District 26 runs from Albany to Elwood, down to Pendleton and over to Summit Lake and Blountsville. It includes Yorktown but largely skips Anderson and Muncie, which are represented by Lanane. "I used to have it before they gerrymandered it," said Rep. Sue Errington, D-Muncie, formerly the 26th District senator. "When I was senator there, the district was just Delaware County and one precinct in Madison County. That district made sense. The gerrymandered district has separated communities of interest. Delaware County is more attuned to Muncie than it is to Elwood. Henry County is more aligned to New Castle than to Anderson." "I believe Cravens has been portraying himself as a moderate Democrat, perhaps not too unlike (Sen. Joe) Donnelly, and has gotten a lot of financial support, which means there is excitement around his campaign and belief that he could win it," said Chad Kinsella, assistant professor of political science at Ball State University.  "Mike Gaskill is also receiving attention and funding, again because it is an open seat, and it is seen as one that can and should be held by the Indiana GOP."

STATE POLICE INVESTIGATE OLD NEWSPAPER AD IN SD26 RACE: The placement of an outdated political ad in The Herald Bulletin last week has led to an investigation by the Indiana State Police into the sponsor or sponsors of the message (de la Bastide, Anderson Herald-Bulletin). “A number of people called (saying) that they didn’t authorize their names being used in the endorsement ad,” said Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings. “The State Police are trying to determine who is responsible for paying and placing the ad.” Cummings said it is a Class A misdemeanor to not include a disclaimer of who paid for and sponsored political advertisements in newspapers, radio spots or on yard signs. The ad appeared in the Oct. 24 edition. Unbeknownst to the paper, it turned out to be a reprint of a 2012 ad listing 175 Madison County public safety employees opposed to the election of then county councilmen Mike Gaskill and Mike Phipps. A person named Don Smith was listed in the disclaimer at the bottom of the ad as treasurer of the group. Gaskill is a Republican candidate for state senator in next week’s election. He is opposed by Democrat Dave Cravens, Anderson’s fire chief. Cravens said he had nothing to do with the ad or the person who placed it. Phipps is currently a county commissioner and not a candidate for office.

ABORTION ISSUE IN INSEN RACE: Sen. Joe Donnelly, Indiana’s lone statewide Democrat, was propelled into office six years ago after his opponent’s incendiary comments about abortion and rape during a disastrous debate appearance tanked his candidacy (Slodysko, Associated Press). On a similar stage Tuesday night, Donnelly’s Republican challenger Mike Braun appeared determined to avoid the same fate, despite a full-throated attack from the Democrat, who tried to force the issue. “If your daughter happens to be raped, Mike thinks the government has a role in the middle of that — I don’t,” Donnelly said during the debate. Both candidates say they oppose abortion, though Donnelly has highlighted how he believes exceptions should be made in cases of rape, incest, or when the mother’s health could be at stake. But despite Donnelly’s best effort to make Braun sound like his 2012 opponent Richard Mourdock — who said a woman who gets pregnant from her rapist is carrying a “gift from God” — Braun avoided a similar gaffe. “The senator tries to have it both ways. When it comes to the sanctity of life, you cannot say you are pro-life and have your voting record,” he said of Donnelly, adding that he “would never demonize anyone who disagrees with my point of view.”

GOP 'RIGHT TRACK' TOUR CONTINUES: U.S. Senate candidate Mike Braun, Governor Eric Holcomb and Indiana Republicans will host eight rallies as part of the final weekend of the Right Track Results Tour on Saturday and Sunday, making stops across Central and Northern Indiana (Howey Politics Indiana). "From the beginning, the Right Track Results Tour has been about the results Hoosiers are seeing from the Courthouse, Statehouse and White House," said Kyle Hupfer, chairman of the Indiana Republican Party. "With more than 30 stops across 29 counties on this tour, we're seeing that Mike Braun and Hoosier Republicans have momentum on our side going into Election Day. With the proven results we're seeing, it's crystal clear why we need to keep Indiana on the right track and continue to put America back on the right track!" The tour's final weekend includes stops on Saturday in Greenwood, Indianapolis, Whitestown, Lafayette, and Lowell. Sunday stops will be in Mishawaka, Warsaw and Noblesville. Candidates and guests at all stops include Braun, Governor Holcomb, Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson, Indiana Auditor Tera Klutz and Indiana Treasurer Kelly Mitchell.

SEN. GRAHAM STUMPS FOR BRAUN, WALORSKI: With less than a week left until election day, prominent members of the Senate are helping campaign for Senate candidates across the U.S. (Darling, WIBC). South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham was at Congresswoman Jackie Walorski's offices in Mishawaka today stumping for Walorski and GOP Senate candidate Mike Braun. "Mike's the cavalry," Graham said. "We need help! We need help in Washington!" Graham spoke after Braun said a few words, most of which were on how he has a plan to get rid of the Affordable Care Act.

BRAUN CANCELS KOKOMO EVENT TO ATTEND TRUMP RALLY: Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike Braun has canceled his planned visit to Kokomo and instead will attend a rally in Indianapolis Friday hosted by President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence (Myers, Kokomo Tribune). A media release distributed Wednesday by Howard County GOP Chairwoman Jamie Bolser explained Trump and Pence will instead rally Friday at Southport Fieldhouse at Southport High School, 971 E. Banta Road, Indianapolis, for Braun and Indiana's statewide candidates for secretary of state, auditor and treasurer.

14% PERSUADABLE IN SENATE POLL: Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly and Republican challenger Mike Braun are running neck and neck in Indiana's important Senate race, according to a new NBC News/Marist poll of the state (NBC News). The new NBC/Marist poll identifies 14 percent of the likely voters in this contest to be persuadable – who are undecided or who lean to a particular candidate but might change their minds. When the ballot expands to include Libertarian Lucy Brenton, Donnelly holds a 3-point lead over Braun, 45 percent to 42, with Brenton receiving 7 percent. "Although Donnelly has a numeric 3-point edge over Braun, the proportion of persuadable voters is nearly five times greater than the margin that separates the candidates," says Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.

BRENTON RELISHES SPOILER ROLE: Libertarian candidate Lucy Brenton relishes the chance to play the spoiler in Indiana's crucial U.S. Senate race (Smith, Indiana Public Media). Brenton sees it as an opportunity to advance the Libertarian Party's ideals. She ran for Senate in 2016 and got about 5.5 percent of the vote. If she repeats or improves on that performance this year, it could tip the scales between incumbent U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) and Republican Mike Braun. Brenton is happy to play that role. "Do I intend to spoil the election for them? Absolutely, and here's why: something doesn't spoil unless it's rotten," Brenton says. Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics Director Andrew Downs says with her anti-tax, pro-marijuana platform, Brenton could draw votes away from both candidates.

YOUNG ASSURES VOTERS ON BRAUN AND PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS: U.S. Sen. Todd Young acknowledged in response to media questions that the contest between Indiana's incumbent Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly and Republican Mike Braun has taken on importance unusual for the Hoosier state (Rodriguez, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette). "Control of the U.S. Senate is in the balance," Young said. "I think we have to continue the Trump agenda." He also said people have nothing to fear on Braun's positions on health insurance, including preexisting conditions. "I think Mike Braun is very clear that people who have preexisting conditions are protected.... That is Mike Braun's position " Young said.

ERIC TRUMP CAMPAIGNS FOR GREG PENCE: A member of the Trump family came to Columbus on Thursday, pledging his support to congressional candidate Greg Pence, older brother of the vice president, in their hometown (Johannesen, Columbus Republic). It was an opportunity to say thanks, and to demonstrate how close the Trump and Pence families have become in the past two years, said Eric Trump, executive vice president of the Trump Organization, which runs President Donald Trump’s business interests. Five days before the general election, Eric Trump — at 34, the president’s second-oldest son — spoke in an upstairs room at Zaharakos to about 60 team members and supporters of Columbus businessman Greg Pence, running for Indiana’s 6th congressional district against Democrat Jeannine Lee Lake and Libertarian Thomas Ferkinhoff.“We go around campaigning for a lot of people, and we say Greg is one we do not worry about. There’s no better family, no better person. This is one of the greatest families you’ll ever meet,” Trump said.

NEW WALORSKI AD TOUTS 'INDEPENDENT VOICE': A new advertisement from Republican Jackie Walorski includes women extolling the congresswoman's achievements in the second district (Howey Politics Indiana). "Jackie Walorski delivers for us," the ad begins, followed by scenes of women expressing appreciation for the candidate's assistance in uniting families, "working across the aisle with Senator Joe Donnelly" in bringing a VA clinic to the area, and for writing a law to help doctors fight the opioid crisis. "I'm Jackie Walorski, and I approve this message because I'll always be an independent voice for you," the ad concludes.

HALL CLAIMS WALORSKI AD MISLEADS: The Mel Hall (D) for Congress campaign released the following statement regarding a recent ad from his second district opponent, Republican incumbent Jackie Walorski: "I ran for Congress to give a voice to Hoosiers across northern Indiana, to protect their health care, and to make sure that everyone in the 2nd District has reform-minded leadership," said Hall. "Nancy Pelosi once tried to call me. I didn't answer. Called back, left a message, and told her I wouldn't support her. Leadership in both parties needs to change. Rather than answer for why she tried to strip health care coverage from millions of Hoosiers, Rep. Walorski continues to lie and mislead voters... "

FOP ENDORSES BANKS: U.S. Rep. Jim Banks has been endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police, Indiana Wayne Lodge 14, of Fort Wayne (Howey Politics Indiana). "I am honored to receive this endorsement and will continue to do all I can to support our local law enforcement officers here in northeast Indiana. Our police officers in this region are men and women dedicated to making their communities safer and investing in those they serve. I stand with them and am committed to supporting their efforts."

EAST CENTRAL STATE SENATE RACES COSTLY, HARD-FOUGHT: There are two expensive, hard-fought races for state Senate seats in East Central Indiana, one of which has turned negative (Slabaugh, Muncie Star Press). In a matchup of two Anderson attorneys, Republican Zaki Ali is attacking Democratic Sen. Tim Lanane as "Liberal Lanane" and a "career politician" who "has been playing politics for over 20 long years." In a direct mail piece, Ali depicts "Twenty-year Tim" wearing an "I Love Taxes" button on his lapel. More than $400,000 has been raised by Democrat Dave Cravens and Republican Mike Gaskill in their hotly contested race for the open seat left by the retirement of Sen. Doug Eckerty, R-Yorktown.

DEMOCRATIC, LIBERTARIAN SECRETARY OF STATE CANDIDATES VOW TO MAKE VOTING EASIER: The Democratic and Libertarian candidates for secretary of state on Thursday committed to making it easier for Hoosiers to vote if either becomes Indiana's chief elections officer (Carden, NWI Times). Democrat Jim Harper, of Valparaiso, and Libertarian Mark Rutherford, a Valparaiso University Law School graduate, said the legitimacy of government depends on people having a voice through their votes, and Indiana's short voting hours, long lines and tedious registration process more often than not silences many Hoosier voices. Both blamed Republican Secretary of State Connie Lawson, and the Republican-controlled General Assembly, for preventing those ideas from becoming law. Lawson, who is running for a second full term as secretary of state, declined to join Harper and Rutherford. According to the secretary of state's office, Lawson previously had committed to participate in an FBI briefing on election security at the same time as the live radio program.

AGUILERA SAYS HE WOULD ADD DIVERSITY TO STATEHOUSE: Democratic State Treasurer candidate John Aguilera says he would bring much needed diversity to the Statehouse (Smith, Indiana Public Media). Aguilera is a former state legislator and a county councilman. He’s also the former head of the Indiana Latino Institute and, if elected, would be the first Latino statewide elected official in Indiana history. He says that should matter to voters. “There is no diversity there. There is none," Aguilera says. "And when you think about priorities, if we’re not at the table, how are our issues being looked at?” Aguilera says he would invest state money more aggressively. He says this will open more ways to help Hoosier communities, and gives the lead contamination crisis in East Chicago as an example. “We need to be flexible and we need to be creative in trying to rebuild these communities.” Incumbent Republican State Treasurer Kelly Mitchell relies on her background and career as she makes her re-election bid. Mitchell was first elected as treasurer in 2014. She also worked in the office for seven years before that. “The qualifications and the experience are what really matter, I think, when you’re handling $7 billion of state dollars,” Mitchell says.

EARLY VOTING UP IN DELAWARE: Early voting in Delaware County is up substantially over previous mid-term election years (Roysdon, Muncie Star Press). The high number of people voting early indicates either a strong interest in the election — or a strong interest in not having to go to a polling place on Tuesday. As of Wednesday, 6,698 people had voted early, either in the election office in the Delaware County Building, by mail or otherwise. That's far greater than the 3,593 early votes from 2014 and 4,026 from 2010, according to Delaware County Clerk Mike King.

STATE POLICE INVESTIGATING ANDERSON POLITICAL AD: The placement of an outdated political ad in The Herald Bulletin last week has led to an investigation by the Indiana State Police into the sponsor or sponsors of the message (de la Bastide, Anderson Herald Bulletin). The ad appeared in the Oct. 24 edition. Unbeknownst to the paper, it turned out to be a reprint of a 2012 ad listing 175 Madison County public safety employees opposed to the election of then county councilmen Mike Gaskill and Mike Phipps. Pamela Stires, a former fundraiser for local Democratic Party candidates, delivered the old ad – with Smith listed as the group treasurer – on Oct. 22 to the newspaper's office. She said she was placing it on behalf of two men who did not want their names used and whom she declined to identify.

LITERATURE REMOVED FROM VOTE CENTER IN VANDERBURGH COUNTY: An Evansville church being used as a vote center was asked to remove two political interest groups' literature from a table inside the church door (Martin, Evansville Courier & Press). Vanderburgh County Clerk Carla Hayden said the materials' placement was an "oversight" by the church. An Evansville resident who voted at the church last Saturday contacted Hayden's office after noticing materials from Right to Life and AdvanceAmerica on a table. The resident also reached out to the Courier & Press.

HUPFER COMMENTS ON SEN. BOOKER VISIT: Indiana Republican Party Chairman Kyle Hupfer released the following statement on Senator Cory Booker's Indiana visit today in support of Democrat Joe Donnelly (Howey Politics Indiana): "It's not surprising that Democrat Joe Donnelly picked East Coast liberal Cory Booker to come in to campaign for him in the final days of the campaign. They both are working to stand in the way of President Trump's real progress in Washington, from opposing the confirmation of Justice Kavanaugh to opposing cutting federal taxes for Hoosiers and standing in the way of real health care solutions."

ZODY SUPPORTS ETHICS INVESTIGATION INTO BOSMA'S CONDUCT: Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody issued the following statement after a second request for an investigation into Speaker Brian Bosma's conduct was made to the House Ethics Committee in as many weeks: "The need for a thorough investigation of Speaker Bosma's conduct couldn't be clearer. This is about politicians being held to account. The longer Governor Holcomb shrugs it off, the more it looks like he believes the rules don't apply to his powerful political allies. Barring the use of outside counsel, it's hard to see how the House Ethics Committee objectively investigates the man who appointed half its members. With Holcomb with his hands in his pockets and Senate leadership staying silent, this crisis of public confidence is slowly spiraling out of control."

DEMOCRATS POISED TO WIN HOUSE: Democrats maintain a strong position to retake the U.S. House, but the party's base of less-frequent voters and concerns about illegal immigration stand out as wild cards in the final days before Tuesday's midterm elections, according to a new Washington Post-Schar School poll of likely voters in battleground congressional districts (Washington Post). Overwhelming majorities of both Democrats and Republicans are confident that their party will prevail, with both nearly as confident as Democrats were — erroneously, as it turned out — ahead of President Trump's surprise victory two years ago. Voters also perceive high stakes in the event of a loss: At least two-thirds of Democrats and Republicans alike say a losing outcome for their party would be "very bad" for the country. Across 69 congressional districts identified by the Cook Political Report and The Post as competitive in late August, the Post-Schar School poll finds 50 percent of likely voters support the Democratic candidate, while 46 percent support the Republican.

PENCE, OPRAH CAMPAIGN IN GEORGIA: In a rousing speech in the Republican-leaning suburbs of Atlanta, Oprah Winfrey urged voters on Thursday to make history by backing Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams in next week's election (Associated Press). Winfrey called Abrams a "changemaker" who represents the values of all Georgians. "I am here today because Stacey Abrams cares about the things that matter," she said to a mostly female audience north of downtown Atlanta. Seventy-five miles (120 kilometers) north, Vice President Mike Pence stood alongside Abrams' opponent, Brian Kemp, in Dalton, and mocked the billionaire media icon as just another liberal outsider trying to impose on Republican-run Georgia. "Stacey Abrams is being bankrolled by Hollywood liberals," Pence said. Pence drew boos from the crowd when he mentioned that "Oprah is in town" and noted that actor Will Ferrell was recently in Georgia for Democrats. "I'd like to remind Stacey and Oprah and Will Ferrell, I'm kind of a big deal, too," Pence said, adding "a message for all Stacey Abrams' liberal friends: This ain't Hollywood. This is Georgia."

OPRAH SAYS SHE WON'T RUN: Entertainment mogul Oprah Winfrey has a message for voters: Get out and vote. Just not for her (Politico). Winfrey appeared Thursday at a campaign rally in Marietta, Ga., for Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams, and said point-blank that she does not want to run for president, despite an onslaught of speculation that she may. "I want to make it very clear to all of the press, everybody, I am not here because I am making some grandstand because I'm thinking about running myself," she said. "I don't want to run. I am not trying to test any waters, don't want to go in those waters."

TIGHT RACES IN FLA ACCORDING TO CNN POLL: Florida voters are almost evenly split on both the state's Senate and gubernatorial contests, while the Senate contest in Tennessee appears to be shifting in the Republican's favor, according to new CNN polls conducted by SSRS. In Florida's Senate race, Bill Nelson is locked in a close race with Rick Scott, with 49% of likely voters supporting Nelson, the incumbent Democrat, and 47% behind Scott, the state's Republican governor. The gubernatorial race is similarly divided: 49% for Democrat Andrew Gillum and 48% for Republican Ron DeSantis. In both contests, the share of likely voters who say they could change their minds in the final days of the campaign stands in single digits.

BLACKBURN LEADS IN TENNESSEE: In Tennessee, Republican Marsha Blackburn has overtaken former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen. In the new poll, 49% back Blackburn, 45% Bredesen (CNN). That reflects a reversal since a mid-September CNN poll found Bredesen with a five-point edge over Blackburn.


DONNELLY POINTS TO ADMINISTRATION FOR RISING HEALTHCARE COSTS: According to a press release from the office of U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN), as Hoosiers start signing up for 2019 health insurance coverage through the marketplaces, new data from the non-partisan Kaiser Family Foundation show that, nationally, benchmark health care premiums for 2019 are, on average, 16 percent higher than they would have been without the ongoing sabotage by the Administration (Howey Politics Indiana). Donnelly said, "My focus has been on finding bipartisan solutions that would make health care more affordable and accessible, and to continue the protections in place for Hoosiers with a pre-existing condition. The Administration should be working with a bipartisan coalition in Congress to achieve that goal, instead of taking repeated actions that are undermining health care markets and leading to higher premiums for Hoosiers and families across the country."

'STOP USING FOOD AS A WEAPON OF WAR' YOUNG SAYS: Sen. Todd Young is an ex-Marine and staunch conservative not known for bucking President Donald Trump or the Republican party line. Except on one very controversial issue: Yemen's horrific civil war (USA Today). Or more precisely, America's support for a deadly bombing campaign in the Arab nation that has created the world's worst humanitarian disaster. An Indiana Republican and freshman senator, Young has emerged as the Trump administration's biggest irritant when it comes to its Yemen policy – persistently challenging America's military role in a campaign that has killed or injured at least 17,000 civilians, including hundreds of children, according to the United Nations. What drew Young's attention was not just the death toll from errant military strikes. It was the famine that truly alarmed him – a man-made catastrophe that has put more than 8 million Yemenis on the brink of starvation.

YOUNG OPPOSES SALE OF NUCLEAR POWER TO SAUDIS: A group of Republican senators is urging a halt to talks on selling U.S. nuclear power equipment to Saudi Arabia in response to the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, adding to doubts about the stalled deal (Bloomberg). Senators Marco Rubio of Florida, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Todd Young of Indiana, Cory Gardner of Colorado and Dean Heller of Nevada signed the letter. "I would not be investing heavily on the prospects of any deal being finalized soon," Henry Sokolski, executive director of the Washington-based Nonproliferation Policy Education Center, said in an interview. "It's at least on the back burner and almost certainly on ice."

DONNELLY BLAMES 'IRRESPONSIBLE TAX LAW' FOR SPIKE IN BORROWING: U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly (D-IN) released the following statement in an email to the media after the U.S. Treasury Department announced that government borrowing this year will be $1.34 trillion, more than double the amount from 2017 (Howey Politics Indiana). Donnelly said, "Last year, Leader McConnell and Speaker Ryan pushed through an irresponsible and partisan tax law that exploded our deficit to benefit the wealthy and big corporations. Now, they want to pay for it by cutting Medicare and Social Security, which more than one million Hoosier seniors depend upon. We cannot balance the budget on the backs of our seniors, and I'll continue opposing any effort that jeopardizes the benefits they have earned."

DONNELLY WELCOMES EPA RULE TO HELP FAMERS: U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly (D-IN) welcomed a proposed rule from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that follows from his bipartisan Fair Agricultural Reporting Method (FARM) Act, according to a news release (Howey Politics Indiana). The proposed rule is EPA's plan for implementing Donnelly's provisions, which were designed to prevent farmers from being required to file needless, burdensome reports with the EPA, the release stated. The EPA has previously stated that the reports were not being used by the federal government, meaning that farmers would have been spending time and money on unnecessary paperwork. Donnelly introduced the FARM Act earlier this year with Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE) and it was included in a larger legislative package that was signed into law by President Trump in March.

CARSON STATEMENT ON OPEN ENROLLMENT PERIOD: U.S. Rep. André Carson (D-IN) released the following statement on the first day of the open enrollment period: "Beginning today, Hoosiers can log on to to shop for health insurance plans for 2019. Since the Affordable Care Act was signed in 2010, the law has helped over 245,000 Hoosiers and 20 million Americans gain access to affordable health insurance. Despite the law's success, Congressional Republicans and President Trump have attempted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but it continues to remain the law of the land..."

HOUSE FREEDOM CAUCUS EXPECTED TO GROW: At a time when most House Republican factions are preparing to see their ranks shrink regardless of whether their party loses its majority next week, one caucus is expecting its membership to grow (Roll Call). The House Freedom Caucus, considered the most conservative bloc of Republicans in Congress, is expecting to increase its roster of 35 members to somewhere in the 37-to-40 range, based on the number of incumbent and recruited candidates they predict could lose Tuesday.

General Assembly

STATE SENATE DEMOCRATS FAULT NEW HEALTH POLICY: Democrats in the State Senate issued a press release criticizing the Trump administration's announcement of a new policy that would allow states to bypass health insurance coverage requirements, including coverage for pre-existing conditions (Howey Politics Indiana). "With this announcement, states like Indiana can now petition the federal government to subsidize insurance plans that deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions," Senate Democratic Leader Tim Lanane (D-Anderson) said. "This puts families at risk, and it's the wrong thing to do. One in four Hoosiers already owes medical debt to collection agencies, they don't need added financial stress." "Given the ongoing opioid crisis in Indiana, now is absolutely the wrong time to tell insurance companies they don't have to cover treatment for drug addiction," Senate Democratic Caucus Chair Karen Tallian (D-Ogden Dunes) said.

COOK TALKS HATE CRIMES BILL AFTER GREENTOWN INCIDENT: The arrest of a 63-year-old Greentown resident for leaving a letter riddled with racist, vulgar slurs on her neighbors' front door has sparked national outrage and a renewed discussion about hate crimes in Indiana (Myers, Kokomo Tribune). One person following the story is Indiana state Rep. Tony Cook, R-Cicero, who has drafted a hate-crimes-related bill he plans to file in the upcoming General Assembly session. Cook provided a statement to the Tribune about Cantwell's racist letter and how it relates to the conversation surrounding hate crimes legislation in Indiana. "The Greentown incident demonstrates the bigotry and discriminatory ignorance that remains entrenched in parts of our society," he stated in an email Tuesday. "Accordingly, judges need clear discretion and delineation of individuals and groups that commonly face hate bias motivated crimes. This incident would probably fall within the boundaries of low-level misdemeanor crime prosecution … but since it is in Indiana, no enhanced sentencing for a 'Hate Crime' will occur."

WATER INFRASTRUCTURE PANEL AGREES ON DRAFT: The state is closer to finalizing a plan to address Indiana's water and wastewater needs. The Water Infrastructure Task Force agreed on a draft report at its last meeting on Tuesday (Thiele, WFIU). One of the committee's many recommendations is that the state study areas where communities can collaborate to help pay for costly infrastructure improvements. Task force co-chair Rep. Ed Soliday (R-Valparaiso) says that could look like regions grouped by their water source or much smaller collaboratives, or both. "We're sort of saying to the administration, there's more than one way to do this," he says.


GOVERNOR: JUDICIAL APPOINTMENT FOR ALLEN COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT - Gov. Eric J. Holcomb announced in a news release that Senior Magistrate David M. Zent is his appointment to the Allen County Superior Court Criminal Division (Howey Politics Indiana). Judge Zent will succeed Judge John F. Surbeck Jr. who will retire Dec. 31. Zent currently serves as senior magistrate of the Misdemeanor and Traffic Division of the Allen County Superior Court and has been a magistrate in the Criminal Division since 2015.

GOVERNOR: BASKETBALL-THEMED TRICK-OR-TREAT AT RESIDENCE - The first family of Indiana channeled Hoosier basketball for Halloween on Wednesday night (WISH-TV). Gov. Eric Holcomb and first lady Janet Holcomb handed out candy and mini-basketballs to trick-or-treaters. The governor donned Indiana Pacers gear, and the first lady dressed in Indiana Fever apparel. They didn't forget the first dog: Henry dressed up as a basketball hoop.

GOVERNOR: CROUCH RECEIVES DISABILITIES REPORT - Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch submitted the final report of the Task Force for Assessment of Services and Supports for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities to the Indiana General Assembly (Howey Politics Indiana). "It is my great pleasure to share with the public and the Indiana General Assembly the final report, entitled, Comprehensive State Plan on Community Based Services for Persons with IDD: The 1102 Task Force Report," Crouch said. The Task Force for Assessment of Services and Supports for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities was established by House Enrolled Act 1102, during the 2017 session of the Indiana General Assembly. This plan, with its goals and recommendations, provides information about existing services, identifies gaps in services and proposes services that will help make people with disabilities more independent.

GOVERNOR: CROUCH PROMOTES 'INDIANA GROWN' FOR SCHOOLS - The state's Indiana Grown program is teaming up with three organizations to provide Indiana school corporations greater access to local foods (Hoosier Ag Today). As part of a Farm to School grant, Indiana Grown is putting together a local school food resource guide and is looking for farmers, producers and businesses that are interested in selling their products. "This partnership is all about equipping our school corporations with the tools they need to make better informed decisions when it comes to purchasing local foods," said Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch, Indiana's Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development.

STATEHOUSE: AG TORT CLAIM COULD HIT HOOSIER WALLETS - Though Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill won't face criminal charges stemming from allegations that he groped at least four women at a party in March, he may not legally be out of the woods (Covington, Indiana Lawyer). A tort claim notice filed with Hill's office last week announced the women's plans to seek civil redress against the Attorney General, an action that could have a direct impact on taxpayers' wallets. Under Indiana Code section 34-13-3-17, if the tort claim proceeds and a court enters judgment against any of the state defendants, the court can order a governmental entity to "levy and collect a tax to pay the judgment if there are insufficient funds available for that purpose." Further, questions remain as to whether the Office of the Attorney General will pay for outside counsel to defend the state against the civil claims — questions Hill, his office and his attorneys have so far declined to answer.

STATEHOUSE: FARMER ORDERED TO STOP FARMING WETLANDS - The Indiana Department of Environmental Management has ordered a farmer to stop farming a wetland that he was cited for destroying more than a decade ago (Slabaugh, Muncie Star Press). IDEM Commissioner Bruno Pigott recently ordered Larry Yeley, from the community of McCordsville in Hancock County, to pay a civil penalty of $14,205 and to take steps to restore more than 15 acres of state-regulated forested wetland along Delaware County Road 600-W in the Yorktown area.

COURTS: SUSPECT'S LAWYERS SAY DEATH PENALTY UNCONSTITUTIONAL - Lawyers for a Fort Wayne man facing execution for the alleged murders of four people in 2016 are asking a local judge to declare the state's death penalty law unconstitutional (LeBlanc, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette). Michelle Kraus and Robert Gevers argue in court documents filed in Allen Superior Court the law violates several portions of the U.S. and state constitutions and should be thrown out. The death penalty "is disproportionate and vindictive" and "has no deterrent effect," according to a motion they filed this week.

ECONOMY: KELLEY SCHOOL FORECASTS 'ACROSS THE BOARD' GROWTH - The most recent economic forecast from the Indiana University Kelley School of Business suggests the state's economy will continue to outperform the rest of the nation (McGowan, Inside Indiana Business). The results, released Thursday in Indianapolis and Bloomington during the first legs of Kelley's statewide Indiana Business Outlook Tour, include the prediction that Indiana's economic output will grow 3.2 percent in 2019. Additionally, forecast author and Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus Associate Professor of Finance Ryan Brewer anticipates "across the board" growth in areas such as jobs, income levels and wages. The report suggests other categories that could expand in the state include numbers of establishments and gross state product. Brewer adds "the state economy appears poised to see its strongest growth in the first quarter of 2019, after which growth rates are expected to slow but remain strong through the end of the year."

DEVELOPMENT: EAST CENTRAL LEADERS HEAD TO JAPAN - A group of leaders from east central Indiana is heading overseas this month. The East Central Indiana Regional Partnership will lead the mission to Japan in an effort to introduce the region and explore strategic opportunities with Japanese officials (Brown, Inside Indiana Business). The trip will take place from November 11-16.

SECURITY: DATA BREACH AT BANKERS LIFE - The Indiana Department of Insurance is investigating a recent data breach suffered by Bankers Life and Casualty Co., a division of Carmel-based insurance holding company CNO Financial Group Inc. (Orr, IBJ) Bankers Life and Casualty Co. disclosed late last week that it was hit by a data breach between May 30 and Sept. 13, and the hackers were able to gain extensive personal information for a "limited group" of customers. That information included Social Security numbers, driver's license or state identification card numbers, bank account numbers, medication information, diagnoses and treatment plan information, the company said.

AGRICULTURE: WINE GRAPE GROWERS SEE FRUITFUL SEASON - A professor of horticulture at Purdue University says wine grape growers throughout the state have yielded positive results in a difficult season (Brown, Inside Indiana Business). Bruce Bordelon says a cold winter and rainy ripening period did not deter Indiana growers, who had a productive harvest with high fruit quality. Bordelon said this years results are a "testament to our growers that they can succeed in a difficult year such as this one."

ACA: MARKETPLACE ENROLLMENT OPENS - The individual marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act, ACA, is open Wednesday (Sheridan, Indiana Public Media). Although there have been some changes to the federal program, Hoosiers who need health insurance, will have options. Indiana residents can find comprehensive health insurance that is protected by provisions through the ACA and covers pre-existing conditions, maternity care and mental health. This will be the first open enrollment after federal moves got rid of the individual mandate fee for not having insurance. In recent years, the Trump administration has also cut back the enrollment period and people hired to help enrollees.

MEDIA: WTTV'S RAFFERTY PASSES - Former WTTV anchor Doug Rafferty passed away this week. He was 66. (WTHR-TV) A former colleague called WTHR with the news Wednesday morning. Rafferty spent 18 years at WTTV from the early 1970s through 1991, then moved to Maine to work for WGME. He was an anchor there for roughly 15 years before suffering a stroke on-air in 2006. After that, he was moved off the anchor desk and worked primarily on a feature series called "Doug's Discovery."

MEDIA: NORM COX ENTERS BROADCAST HOF - Four long-time Hoosier broadcasters were inducted into the Indiana Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame on Thursday, including former RTV6 reporter Norman Cox. Cox, a veteran political reporter, retired exactly five years ago Thursday from RTV6 after nearly 37 years of covering the statehouse. The event honored legendary Hoosier broadcasters from radio and television who served as powerful voices in their community over the years. Also honored on Thursday was radio host Bernie Eagan, radio host Al Hobbs and TV host, reporter and producer Patty Spitler.  “This is a very proud moment in my life,” said Cox. “Channel 6 will always be the high of my life.”


WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP HAS LONG CALL WITH PRESIDENT XI ON TRADE - President Trump said Thursday he had a "long and very good conversation" with Chinese President Xi Jinping and signaled progress on the trade dispute between the nations (Wall Street Journal). The comments, made on Twitter, come as the U.S. has refused to resume trade negotiations with China until Beijing comes up with a concrete proposal to address Washington's complaints about forced technology transfers and other economic issues, officials on both sides said. Trump tweeted: "Just had a long and very good conversation with President Xi Jinping of China. We talked about many subjects, with a heavy emphasis on Trade. Those discussions are moving along nicely with meetings being scheduled at the G-20 in Argentina. Also had good discussion on North Korea!" "At the presidential level, relations and communications are resuming," Mr. Kudlow, the president's top economic adviser, said.

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP ORDERS IMMIGRANTS TO STAY IN CUSTODY - President Trump said Thursday he wants to keep undocumented immigrants who are apprehended at the border in detention until their legal cases are heard, rather than be released into the U.S. while awaiting their hearings (Wall Street Journal). The remarks are the latest in a series of hard-line immigration pledges the president has made ahead of midterm elections next week. It follows on the heels of a plan to send thousands of U.S. troops to support border-control efforts and Mr. Trump's claim that he intends to use an executive order to end birthright citizenship for children born to illegal immigrants, something legal that scholars said would be unconstitutional. In his remarks Thursday, Mr. Trump said he plans to sign a "comprehensive" executive order next week about holding apprehended migrants, including those seeking asylum status.

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP KEEPS SPOTLIGHT ON IMMIGRATION - President Trump on Thursday sought to keep the spotlight on his hardline immigration policies, saying he is "finalizing a plan" to deny asylum claims from people who enter the country illegally (The Hill). The White House had signaled the president would be announcing the legally questionable change to the nation's asylum system during a Roosevelt Room event days before the midterm elections. Instead, Trump announced no new policies, but suggested an official announcement on the asylum plan could come in an executive order "next week." "Under this plan, the illegal aliens will no longer get a free pass into the country by lodging meritless claims in seeking asylum," the president said in a speech delivered before leaving the White House for a campaign rally in Missouri.

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP SEEKS TO TREAT ROCK THROWERS AS ARMED - President Donald Trump announced Thursday that the U.S. military would treat any rocks or stones being thrown by asylum-seeking migrants slowly heading to the U.S.-Mexico border as firearms (Politico). "I will tell you, anybody throwing stones, rocks, like they did to Mexico and the Mexican military, Mexican police, where they badly hurt police and soldiers of Mexico, we will consider that a firearm," Trump said during an announcement that his administration next week would release a "comprehensive" executive action on immigration that will include changes to the asylum-seeking process.

WHITE HOUSE: CROWN PRINCE CALLS TRUMP - Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman described slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi as a dangerous Islamist days after his disappearance in a phone call with President Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner and national security adviser John Bolton, according to people familiar with the discussion (Washington Post). In the call, which occurred before the kingdom publicly acknowledged killing Khashoggi, the crown prince urged Kushner and Bolton to preserve the U.S.-Saudi alliance and said the journalist was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, a group long opposed by Bolton and other senior Trump officials. The attempt to criticize Khashoggi in private stands in contrast to the Saudi government's later public statements decrying the journalist's death as a "terrible mistake" and a "terrible tragedy." "The incident that happened is very painful, for all Saudis," the crown prince, the kingdom's de facto leader, said during a panel discussion last week. "The incident is not justifiable."

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP TO NOMINATE NAUERT TO U.N. - President Donald Trump has told State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert that he wants to nominate her to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, a senior White House official told ABC News. It is unclear whether she has accepted his offer concerning the position, now held by Nikki Haley, who said she would leave by the end of the year. But when asked about Nauert later Thursday, President Trump said while she is "under very serious consideration," he had not yet made a final decision and wouldn't until next week." "She's been a supporter for a long time, and she's really excellent," he said of Nauert.

WHITE HOUSE: CONCERNS OF ZINKE MISCONDUCT - The White House is growing increasingly concerned about allegations of misconduct against Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, according to two senior administration officials, and President Trump has asked aides for more information about a Montana land deal under scrutiny by the Justice Department (Washington Post). Trump told his aides that he is afraid Zinke has broken rules while serving as the interior secretary and is concerned about the Justice Department referral, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter. But the president has not indicated whether he will fire the former Navy SEAL and congressman and has asked for more information, the officials said. This week, Interior’s Office of Inspector General referred the inquiry — one of several probes into the secretary’s conduct — to the Justice Department to determine whether a criminal investigation is warranted. That referral concerns Zinke’s involvement in a Whitefish, Mont., land development deal backed by David J. Lesar, chairman of the oil services firm Halliburton.

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP SCHEDULE - President Trump will leave the White House at 2:15 p.m. to head to Huntington, W.Va. He will headline a political rally at 4 p.m. Afterward, he will fly to Indianapolis. At 7:15 p.m., Trump will speak at a political rally at Southport High School. He's spending the night in Indianapolis.

MUELLER: STONE TOLD CAMPAIGN HE HAD WIKILEAKS PIPELINE - Roger Stone, a longtime adviser to President Trump, sent an email to Trump's chief campaign strategist in October 2016 that implied that he had information about WikiLeaks's plans to release material that would be damaging to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton (Washington Post). In an email to Stephen K. Bannon on Oct. 4 — days before WikiLeaks began releasing emails hacked from the account of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta — Stone said that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange feared for his personal safety but would nevertheless be releasing "a load every week going forward." Stone posted the exchange with Bannon on Thursday in a column on the Daily Caller website, shortly before the New York Times published a story describing the message.

ECONOMY: JOBS REPORTS EXPECTED TO REMAIN STEADY - The U.S. government releases its broad measure of the October labor market on Friday. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal expect the Labor Department to report employers added 188,000 jobs during the month and unemployment held at 3.7%. Here are five things to watch in the report.

ECONOMY: PRODUCTIVITY GROWTH TICKS DOWN IN 3RD QUARTER - U.S. productivity grew at an annual rate of 2.2 percent in the third quarter, a slowdown from the previous quarter but still better than the lackluster gains of the last decade (Associated Press). Labor costs accelerated but remained at a low level. The rise in productivity in the July-September period followed a 3 percent rate of increase in the second quarter, which had been the strongest figure in three years. Labor costs rose at a 1.2 percent rate after having fallen at a 1 percent rate in the second quarter.

STEEL: UNION, ARCELORMITTAL RETURN TO TABLE - United Steelworkers negotiators with ArcelorMittal headed back to Pittsburgh on Wednesday with hopes of coming to terms with the global steel company on several outstanding issues (Caffarini, Post-Tribune). Pete Trinidad, president of USW Local 6787 in Chesterton and a member of the union negotiating team, is hopeful that the issues, the most significant of which is profit sharing, could be ironed out in the next few days. "I don't think there's anything out there that level-headed individuals shouldn't be able to resolve," Trinidad said.

MEDIA: SUNDAY TALK LINEUP - CBS "Face the Nation": Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) ... Ronna Romney McDaniel ... Ed O'Keefe and Anthony Salvanto. Panel: Shawna Thomas, Amy Walter, Nancy Cordes and Ben Domenech. ABC "This Week": Panel: Jon Karl, Cecilia Vega, Matt Dowd, Chris Christie and Donna Brazile. CNN ”State of the Union": Ronna Romney McDaniel. Panel: Van Jones, Rick Santorum, Mary Katharine Ham and Jennifer Granholm. CNN "Inside Politics": Michael Shear, Maeve Reston, Jeff Zeleny and Seung Min Kim. ”Fox News Sunday": Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio) ... Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.). Panel: Jason Chaffetz, Jason Riley, Liz Marlantes and Mo Elleithee. “Meet the Press" live from NBC News election HQ in New York: new NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll. Panel: Cornell Belcher, Tom Brokaw, Savannah Guthrie, Hugh Hewitt and Kasie Hunt.


CITIES: HOGSETT TO ANNOUNCE NEIGHBORHOOD INITIATIVE - On Monday, November 5, Mayor Joe Hogsett and the Department of Public Works (DPW) will announce the opening of the application process for the 2019 Indy Neighborhood Infrastructure Partnership (Howey Politics Indiana). This announcement coincides with the completion of the resurfacing work for streets in the Greystone neighborhood, a recipient of 2018 infrastructure partnership funds.

CITIES: MONDAY COURT HEARING FOR SCHOOL SHOOTING SUSPECT - The boy expected to admit to carrying out last spring's Noblesville Middle School shooting could face consequences far outlasting whatever a judge prescribes for him at a disposition hearing set for this Monday (Alesia, IndyStar). In Indiana, people who commit delinquent acts as juveniles can navigate obstacles for years or even decades later involving their education and when applying for jobs. Their juvenile records also can put them at risk of harsher punishment in adult criminal cases.

CITIES: STUDENT FOUND WITH GUN AT BLACKFORD H.S. - Blackford County Sheriff Jeff Sones says another arrest is possible after a student was found with a gun at the high school Tuesday afternoon (Carter, WTHR-TV). About an hour before dismissal, a student alerted administrators that a classmate had a gun. Police and sheriff deputies responded, taking the student into custody in about 6 minutes. The minor is charged with possession of a firearm on school grounds.

CITIES: CONTINUANCE REQUESTED IN TANOOS BRIBERY CASE - Time to respond to a motion to dismiss bribery charges against former Vigo County Schools Supt. Danny Tanoos has been requested by Marion County prosecutors (Trigg, Terre Haute Tribune-Star). Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Janna Skelton has asked Judge Lisa Borges to move a hearing to Nov. 30, rather than the current hearing date of Nov. 14. Tanoos' lawyers have claimed lack of jurisdiction and lack of specifics in the bribery charges. They filed a motion to dismiss the case Oct. 22. The court set a hearing on that motion for Nov. 14.

CITIES: RETURN TO WORK DELAYED AT KOKOMO FIAT PLANT - Employees at two local Fiat Chrysler Automobiles plants are waiting longer than expected to return to work (Myers, Kokomo Tribune). A Fiat Chrysler spokeswoman told the Tribune employees at the two plants could potentially qualify for unemployment and supplemental pay. Information on Fiat Chrysler's website, last updated in August, stated ITPI boasts 2,230 employees - 1,950 hourly and 280 salaries – combined with ITPII.

CITIES: WINERY BLAMES McCORDSVILLE FOR CLOSURE - A winery in Hancock County says it will close to the public this week (Brown, Inside Indiana Business). Daniel's Family Vineyard & Winery calls the decision to close its winery and tasting room and discontinue all public events "difficult," though it will continue to host private events. The winery opened to the public in May 2017. Owner Daniel Cook released a statement this week saying the winery has to re-evaluate its business plan due to a lack of support from the McCordsville Town Council.

CITIES: DEVELOPER PROPOSES CONVENTION CENTER FOR MERRILLVILLE - The owner of Century Plaza in Merrillville is preparing a plan to develop a convention center on the Broadway site, using the existing 140,000-square-foot building that is the last remnant of the former Century Mall (Steele, NWI Times). Richard Dube, president of Tri-Land Properties of Westchester, Illinois, said the plan will offer a relatively quick and inexpensive option that would fulfill the requirements of the Lake County convention center feasibility study published in July.

CITIES: INDY HA STRUGGLES WITH EXPLODING CRIME RATE - Crime is climbing across the apartment and townhome properties that many of the Indianapolis Housing Agency's (IHA) 22,000 residents call home (McQuaid, WTTV). Ever since local officials stopped enforcing the "One Strike Rule," a previous U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development policy to evict felons and persons accused of crimes from public housing, crime has increased the last two years and is up system wide 25-28 percent in 2018.

CITIES: FORT WAYNE SETS UP SEXUAL ASSAULT WEBSITE - In a continued effort to empower and address the needs of crime victims impacted by violence and abuse, Mayor Tom Henry's Commission on Domestic Violence, Rape and Sexual Assault has launched a new website (Howey Politics Indiana). The website includes a "Get Help Now" button with information about what to do if the victim is in immediate danger, and a "Quick Exit" button which allows users to exit to Google with a single click if their abuser enters the room while they are searching for help. There is also a language support option on the page, which allows the user to choose from 58 languages. "My Commission on Domestic Violence, Rape and Sexual Assault is a critical component to the current and future success of Fort Wayne. The Commission works diligently to provide essential services to individuals in need in our community and this website is one more way to let individuals know that there are resources available to them," said Mayor Henry. "Violent crimes of any nature have no place in Fort Wayne and I appreciate and value the work that my Commission is doing to make Fort Wayne the best and safest city possible."

CITIES: BLAKE JOHNSON TO HEAD INDYHUB - Indianapolis City-County Councilman Blake Johnson has been named president of IndyHub, the organization aimed at getting 20- and 30-somethings involved in civic life, volunteerism and the city's cultural organizations (Colombo, IBJ). Johnson, 32, replaces Molly Chavers as the leader of the organization, which serves as an advocate and networking resource for young professionals.

CITIES: SOUTH BEND HIRES TRANSPO DIRECTOR - Nearly a year after it fired the CEO for mistreating staff and launched a national search for his replacement, Transpo’s board of directors Thursday tapped the organization’s former marketing director for the job (Parrott, South Bend Tribune). The board voted unanimously to hire Amy Hill, who had led the bus company in the interim, as the permanent CEO and general manager. “As we talked about in executive session, just the way that you’ve led this organization through some tough times has been just a fantastic job,” board member and South Bend Common Council member Jake Teshka told Hill at the meeting after the vote.

CITIES: ELKHART GOP TO FILL VACANT COUNCIL SEAT - Republicans in the City of Elkhart will select a new City Council member during November to fill the seat vacated by Adam Bujalski, who has moved out of city limits and attended his last meeting Thursday, Oct. 25 (Jorgensen, Elkhart Truth). Elkhart County Republican Party Chairman, Dan Holtz, said that because Bujalski was elected as a Republican, the Republican precinct committee members get to select the person who will replace him until the at-large seat is up for election next year.

CITIES: PORTAGE COUNCIL PASSES EMAIL RESTRICTIONS - Third time is a charm for a city ordinance approved this past week requiring city officials and employees to use solely their city emails when doing city business (NWI Times). Councilman John Cannon, R-4th, proposed ordinances twice before and the measure was also originally included in a recently approved ordinance regulating social media use by officials and employees. The measure was removed before the social media policy was passed. Cannon said he sponsored the measure because he believes it is important all of the city business is done through a city email account for transparency and record keeping services. "We need to have a public record of the emails," said Cannon.

COUNTIES: HUNTINGTON COUNCIL OKS 0.2% JAIL TAX - The proposed .2 percent income tax to deal with overcrowding at the Huntington County Jail passed, on second a final reading, and will take affect on Jan. 1, 2019 (Maciejewski, Huntington Herald Press). The tax was narrowly blocked last meeting with a 6-1 vote in favor of the proposal, since a unanimous vote was needed to approve it on first reading, but county commissioners stuck to their original vote, which met the simple-majority threshold to pass the tax on second reading.

COUNTIES: TEMPORARY DELAWARE JAIL TO BE READY IN MARCH - Decatur County will soon have a temporary jail facility to address overcrowding issues at the current jail (Heath, Greensburg Daily News). Once the facility was approved by the Decatur County Commissioners, it was anticipated it would take approximately six months for the new jail to be built. That was more than a month ago.

COUNTIES: MIAMI CORRECTIONS MAIL WORKERS RUSHED TO HOSPITAL - Four employees at Miami Correctional Facility were rushed to the hospital Thursday morning after they were exposed to an unknown substance located on a piece of incoming mail (Kokomo Tribune). Prison administrators said the four employees were working in the mail room at around 11 a.m. when they were exposed to the substance. The workers were transported to Dukes Memorial Hospital for evaluation and treatment. All the employees were considered stable as of Thursday afternoon.

COUNTIES: LAKE HIRES FELON AS FOOD SANITARIAN - Lake County Commissioners have hired a woman with connections to the old East Chicago political machine and a felony conviction (Dolan, NWI Times). Karen L. Krahn-Fife, of East Chicago, began work this week in the Lake County Health Department as a food sanitarian to inspect restaurants and other food providers. This happened despite top county health department officials preferring another internal candidate for the position.

COUNTIES: TRAIL PLAN APPROVED IN HANCOCK - After almost a year of discussions and planning, a 20-plus-year vision to connect Hancock County communities through trails will advance to the county commissioners for final consideration (Middlekamp, Greenfield Daily Reporter). The Hancock County Area Plan Commission unanimously approved the county trails plan Tuesday, following a lengthy public hearing.