MICHIGAN CITY MAYOR MEER INDICTED: Just days before the election, felony charges were filed against Michigan City Mayor Ron Meer for his actions following the arrest of his stepson earlier this month, but no judge has yet agreed to conduct a probable cause hearing (Mayes, Michigan City News-Dispatch). Court records show that on Wednesday – under seal – the La Porte County Prosecutor's Office charged Meer with one felony count of official misconduct; five felony counts of intimidation; and two misdemeanor counts of false informing resulting in substantial hindrance to law enforcement. The charges were initially filed in Superior Court 4, but Judge Greta Stirling Friedman recused herself from "even finding probable cause on the basis that, among other reasons, the Judge's spouse, whose employment caused him to be included on an email chain and could potentially lead to his being a witness in this matter," according to court records. That conflict extended to the court's magistrate, Friedman wrote, and the case was transferred to Superior Court 2. However, Judge Richard Stalbrink also recused himself from the case, claiming a conflict because his wife, Amber Lapaich-Stalbrink, is corporation counsel for Michigan City. As of Friday, the case had not been reassigned. "Since they both recused, it goes back to the clerk to send to the next judge up in the rotation to accept conflicts," Prosecutor John Lake said in an email. "I don’t know which judge is next in the rotation. Once they get the case they will need to review for probable cause, and once that happens, a warrant will be issued if they find probable cause for the charges." The charges come in the wake of the mayor's stepson, Adam Ross Bray, being arrested by the La Porte County Drug Task Force on Oct. 10. He was charged with felony counts of possession of heroin, possession of cocaine and possession of a firearm by a violent felon; and a misdemeanor count of resisting law enforcement. The following Monday, Oct. 13, the mayor issued a statement saying Lake had been behind the arrest, targeting his son for political reasons. "... It is a very dangerous time in La Porte County when the prosecutor, John Lake, can have your family members targeted for political retaliation and gain," he said. Lake denied that claim, calling it "reckless."

POKAGONS MAKE LEGAL $100K CONTRIBUTION TO HOLCOMB: An entity seeking to open the 14th full-fledged casino in the Hoosier State last month donated $10,000 to the re-election campaign of Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb. Indiana law prohibits owners and officers of state-regulated casinos, even those who hold just 1% of the company, from donating to candidates for state or local office. It is a level 6 felony, punishable by up to 2 1/2 years behind bars and a fine of up to $10,000 (Carden, NWI Times). The donation to Holcomb, however, appears to be perfectly legal since it came from the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, whose 166 acres of federally recognized tribal land in South Bend, including the 175,000-square-foot Four Winds Casino, are not subject to state regulation. The tribe's Oct. 18 donation of $10,000 to the Holcomb campaign was not its first to the Indiana chief executive. The Pokagons also gave the Eric Holcomb for Indiana campaign committee $10,000 on Sept. 17, 2018, and $10,000 on Nov. 3, 2016 — making the Hoosier governor the single largest recipient of donations by the tribe, according to state campaign finance records. The campaign committee of Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch last year was given $5,000 by the tribe, records show.

OATH, RULES COULD UNDO HILL: It's easy to understand terms such as battery and groping. But Attorney General Curtis Hill's disciplinary complaint includes two other key charges – “conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice” and “offensive personality.” It is these rules – contained in the lawyers' oath and rules of professional conduct – that could sink Hill (Kelly, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette). That's because the Indiana Supreme Court can find his conduct inappropriate even if it doesn't rise to the level of a crime. “I do think in this day and age sexual harassment is less and less tolerated,” said Allison Martin, a law professor who teaches Professional Responsibility at the IU McKinney School of Law. She and others with expertise in the ethics arena won't guess the outcome of the Hill case but can shed a little light on the charges. More than 1,000 grievances are filed each year with the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission but many are tossed out immediately. Only a few move forward – the last annual report available for fiscal year 2018 said 28 disciplinary complaints were filed. Also during that year, action was taken on several cases – some already pending – including 14 caution letters, five public reprimands, 16 suspensions, three resignations and two disbarments.

MAYOR PETE PROVIDES VIVID CONTRAST WITH BIDEN AT IOWA DINNER: Last week we cautioned Hoosiers to wrap their minds around the potential of a “President Mike Pence” as impeachment swirls around President Trump. After Pete Buttigieg’s Iowa Democratic Liberty and Justice Dinner speech Friday night - given in immediate contrast to fading frontrunner Joe Biden - it might be time to take a potential Mayor Pete Democratic nomination and give it viable credence (Howey Politics Indiana). "I didn’t just come here to end the era of Donald Trump, I am here to launch the era that must come next," Buttigieg told more than 13,000 Iowans at the party's annual dinner, the same event that launched Sen. Barack Obama's improbable nomination victory over Hillary Clinton and John Edwards 12 years before. "Because in order to win and in order to lead, it’s going to take a lot more than the political warfare we have come to accept from Washington, D.C.," Buttigieg said in a room that had a distinct audible buzz that a man on the move produces. "We already have a divider in chief. I am offering a White House that you can look at on the news and feel your blood pressure go down a little bit instead of through the roof. I am asking you to picture that first day the sun comes up in this country and Donald Trump is no longer the President of the United States." Buttigieg was immediately followed by Biden, who gave a credible but unremarkable speech, with the audible buzz that moved the room just minutes before simply disappearing for the former vice president. This crucial sequence came on the day a New York Times/Siena College Poll with the race reshuffling into a four-way affair, with Biden fading. Sen. Elizabeth Warren took the Iowa lead with 22%, followed by Sen. Bernie Sanders at 19%, Buttigieg at 18% and Biden at a stunning 17%. It also came on the same day former Texas congressman Beto O'Rourke, originally considered to be a key rival for the mayor, dropped out of the race. So this is evolving into a race where Buttigieg becomes the new generation alternative to septuagenarian frontrunners, all with considerable baggage: Biden the fading gaffe machine, the socialist Sanders recovering from a heart attack, and Warren, who announced an incredible $20.5 trillion plan for her Medicare For All proposal earlier that day that stacks up on an array of  liberal wish lists she has already offered.

BUTTIGIEG SEES TWO-WAY IOWA SHOWDOWN WITH WARREN:  The Iowa Democratic Party's fall fundraising dinner has often been the tone-setter for the stretch run ahead of the state's first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses. If the speeches and demonstrations here Friday night were any indication, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg now see themselves on a collision course (Balz, Washington Post). His team is upbeat, and Buttigieg's sense of confidence was on display in an interview filmed late in the week with journalist John Heilemann of Showtime's "The Circus," the full contents of which will be on the air Sunday night. "It's coming down to the two of us," Buttigieg told Heilemann. "Obviously there are a lot of candidates and a lot of things can happen, but I think that as that happens, the contrasts become clearer. The contrasts are real."

MORE SENATE REPUBLICANS ACKNOWLEDGE TRUMP QUID PRO QUO: A growing number of Senate Republicans are ready to acknowledge that President Trump used U.S. military aid as leverage to force Ukraine to investigate former vice president Joe Biden and his family as the president repeatedly denies a quid pro quo (Washington Post). In this shift in strategy to defend Trump, these Republicans are insisting that the president’s action was not illegal and does not rise to the level of an impeachable offense as the Democratic-led House moves forward with the open phase of its probe. But the shift among Senate Republicans could complicate the message coming from Trump as he furiously fights the claim that he had withheld U.S. aid from Ukraine to pressure it to dig up dirt on a political rival, even as an increasing number of Republicans wonder how long they can continue to argue that no quid pro quo was at play in the matter.  The pivot was the main topic during a private Senate GOP lunch on Wednesday, according to multiple people familiar with the session who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the meeting. Sen. John Neely Kennedy (R-La.) argued that there may have been a quid pro quo but said that the U.S. government often attaches conditions to foreign aid and that nothing was amiss in Trump’s doing so in the case of aid to Ukraine, these individuals said. Inside the lunch, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), who ran against Trump in 2016, said a quid pro quo is not illegal unless there is “corrupt intent” and echoed Kennedy’s argument that such conditions are a tool of foreign policy.

40% OF FARM INCOME COMES VIA GOVERNMENT SUBSIDY: The Agriculture Department projects that farm incomes will reach $88 billion in 2019 but nearly 40% of that — $33 billion — will come from trade aid, disaster assistance, the farm bill and insurance indemnities, according to a new report by the American Farm Bureau Federation (Axios). Farmers — a critical constituency for President Trump in the 2020 presidential election — are feeling the squeeze from China’s retaliatory tariffs, extreme weather and record-high farm debt that's driving farm bankruptcies. By the numbers: In a 12-month period ending in September 2019, Chapter 12 farm or fishery bankruptcies totaled 580 filings, up 24% from a year earlier and the most since 2011, when 676 chapter 12 bankruptcies were filed. "The support provided to farmers in 2018 and 2019 is expected to alleviate some of the financial stress, however, not all farmers will benefit from trade assistance, farm bill programs, crop insurance or disaster aid. As a result, it could take some time for the financial relief to manifest in the farm bankruptcy trends," per the AFBF. Farm aid from Trump’s trade war has cost more than double the 2009 auto bailout

U.S. DEBT EXCEEDS $23 TRILLION: The federal government's outstanding public debt has surpassed $23 trillion for the first time in history, according to data from the Treasury Department released on Friday (The Hill). Growing budget deficits have added to the nation's debt at a speedy rate since President Trump took office. The debt has grown some 16 percent since Trump's inauguration, when it stood at $19.9 trillion. It passed $22 trillion for the first time just 10 months ago. Of the $23 trillion figure, just under $17 trillion was in the category of debt held by the public, which is a more useful gauge of the debt the government has to pay down, and the number typically used in calculating the nation's debt burden. The other $6 trillion comes from loans within government bodies. Still, the $23 trillion figure marks a milestone. “Reaching $23 trillion in debt on Halloween is a scary milestone for our economy and the next generation, but Washington shows no fear," said Michael A. Peterson, CEO of the fiscally conservative Peter G. Peterson Foundation. "Piling on debt like this is especially unwise and unnecessary in a strong economy," he added.

PENCE'S VOW TO PROTECT KURD CHRISTIANS GOING UNHEEDED: When Bassam Ishak heard that Vice President Mike Pence had secured a cease-fire in Syria – one that included protections for religious minorities – he felt a wave of optimism that his family back home would be safe.  But in the weeks since that deal was announced in Turkey on Oct. 17, Ishak's hometown in northern Syria has nearly emptied, with Christians and Kurds fleeing amid fears of persecution by Turkish-backed militias (USA Today). When he announced the cease-fire, Pence emphasized Turkey's commitment to shield religious and ethnic minorities in the region. But Ishak and others say extremist paramilitary groups have not adhered to the U.S.-brokered deal, continuing their attacks and terrifying residents in their path. "They are frightened. These are communities who grew up hearing stories about the genocide against their people by Turkey in 1915," said Ishak, who left Syria in 2011 and now lives in Washington. He was referring to the Seyfo massacre, the little-known slaughter of an estimated 300,000 Christians by the Ottomans during World War I. "For them to see this happening is like history repeating itself. This is why they’re fleeing," Ishak told USA TODAY. The 60-year-old Syriac Christian last visited his home in 2018; he now represents the Syrian Democratic Council, the political arm of the U.S-allied Syrian Democratic Forces, in Washington.

18% OF GOP BACK IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY: While support for and against impeachment has stayed relatively level, with 49 percent of respondents saying in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll that Donald Trump should be removed from office and 47 percent are opposed, the survey found that the president’s approval numbers within his own party are taking a hit (Mediaite). Among Republicans surveyed in the Friday poll, 74 percent support Trump against the Democratic-led inquiry — down from 87 percent in July — and a notable 18 percent of such respondents voiced support for impeaching the GOP president. Overall, 49 percent of Americans support impeachment and 47 percent are opposed. A not insignificant number of GOP surveyors also took issue with Trump involving his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani in his plot to pressure Ukraine into targeting former Vice President Joe Biden, as 32 percent of Republicans said Giuliani’s role in the scandal was inappropriate.

HPI DAILY ANALYSIS: The Democratic presidential race is turning into a four-way race between the deeply flawed septuagenarians and Mayor Buttigieg. The contrast in Iowa Friday night between Buttigieg and Biden was sharp. Sanders has suffered a heart attack and Sen. Warren just unveiled a $20.5 trillion monstrosity that has virtually no traction in the middle. As we've been saying, Mayor Pete has a lane to the nomination. - Brian A. Howey


CASINO REFERENDUM IN TERRE HAUTE: The public on Tuesday gets its chance to say yes or no to a casino for Vigo County. With a simple question on the ballot — “Shall inland casino gambling be permitted in Vigo County?” — the day marks a turning point in the years-long effort to bring a casino to the Terre Haute area (Modesitt, Terre Haute Tribune-Star). Touted as a much-needed provider of construction and permanent jobs, an entertainment space to pair with a downtown convention center and maybe the missing piece needed to spur further development on the city’s east side — many government and business leaders say a casino can help change the area’s fortunes. But opponents say profiting on the vices of others will bring back Terre Haute’s “Sin City” past. Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett made several appearances at the Statehouse fighting for a casino for Terre Haute. “It’s always been about the economic development opportunity for me,” Bennett said. “I did all I could to help bring that opportunity to the community. Spectacle Entertainment and Full House Resorts both have stated interest in operating a Vigo casino. They and other prospective operators have until Dec. 1 to submit a formal proposal to the Gaming Commission.

RECORD SPENDING IN FORT WAYNE MAYORAL RACE: With about $1.4 million raised since the May primary and $1.8 million spent throughout 2019, Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry and Republican challenger Tim Smith have made Tuesday's election the most expensive in city history (Gong, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette). “It's been trending this way for a while,” said Andy Downs, director of the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics at Purdue University Fort Wayne. “Given the cost of TV time and the need to be more aggressive with social media and newer forms of communication and having an elaborate ground game, it's more expensive to run a race.” Spending over the entirety of 2019 totaled $1.8 million. Smith spent about $1.16 million, while Henry spent more than $680,000 this year. That's not just due to inflation, Downs said. It's also because campaigns have realized they need to be more professional to compete. That means local campaigns have become more adept at delivering a message and targeting an audience.

HOLCOMB BARNSTORMS FOR GOP MAYORS: Governor Holcomb is hitting the road to reelect three Republican mayors and elect seven new ones (WIBC). Holcomb rallied about 40 Republican campaign workers in Lawrence to get out the vote for Mayor Steve Collier, in the first stop on a 10-city tour that will close in New Albany on Monday night, 12 hours before the polls open. In between, he'll make stops on behalf of Mayors Duke Bennett in Terre Haute and Mike Moore in Jeffersonville, and boost Republican nominees in Muncie, Fort Wayne, Kokomo, Washington, Elkhart and Valparaiso. Holcomb says a strong relationship between state and local government is one of the things new businesses look for as they consider where to locate. He borrowed his own 2016 campaign slogan to praise Collier for "putting people first" in his first term. In Fort Wayne and New Albany, Holcomb is putting his weight behind challengers to Democratic incumbents Tom Henry and Jeff Gahan. But conspicuously missing from the schedule is the state's biggest city, where Indianapolis State Senator Jim Merritt is trying to unseat Democrat Joe Hogsett. Holcomb brushes aside the omission, saying there's only time to get to so many cities -- he says he could easily have added 30 more cities if there were time.

GOV STUMPS FOR MILLER IN ELKHART: Just a couple of days ahead of Election Day, candidates and their supporters are making their last push to encourage people to vote for them (WSBT-TV). Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb was in Elkhart yesterday campaigning for Republican mayoral candidate Dave Miller. "Often times these offices have much more of an influence in someone’s daily life than other maybe even state government or federal government," he said. "So it’s critically important to that government that’s closest to you that you’re involved in it, that your voice is heard." Miller is facing Democrat Rod Roberson in the Elkhart mayoral race. Roberson says all eligible voters should be involved in the civic progress. “I want everyone to be a part - not just Democrats and not just Republicans - and I would hope that the governor would be a part of that as well. I know that he wants Elkhart to be a great place, and the only way for it to be a great place is for all residents to be involved with the process.”

HOLCOMB STUMPS FOR RIDENOUR IN MUNCIE:  Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb said that building partnerships at a local level was the way to move Indiana forward (Ohlenkamp, Muncie Star Press). Speaking at a campaign event for Muncie Republican mayoral candidate Dan Ridenour on Friday morning, Holcomb said that part of that process started by backing Republican political candidates in a campaign blitz over the next several days. Indiana Republican Party Chairman Kyle Hupfer, who was also touring with the governor, said the municipal elections on Nov. 5 are the focus of their team. Muncie was one of the stops for Holcomb, who will speak in support of Republican mayoral candidates in 10 cities across Indiana in the final days prior to next week’s municipal election. To date, the Republican party helped put in $250,000 into local races across 40 Indiana cities, including assisting Ridenour’s campaign in Muncie.

HOLCOMB TOUTS SMITH IN FORT WAYNE : Getting out the vote Tuesday is of utmost importance, Gov. Eric Holcomb told a crowd of several hundred Republicans Friday at the annual Allen County GOP Bean Dinner (Gong, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette). Holcomb was in Fort Wayne to support Republican mayoral candidate Tim Smith heading into next week's general election. It was one of about a dozen stops on a barnstorming tour to campaign for Republican mayoral candidates across the state. “This can have a significant impact on your daily lives, much more so than maybe even the state or the federal administration in the elections next year. You've gotta get this right and you have the opportunity to do it. It's on you,” Holcomb said. “I'm being very blunt about that. Get those four people that probably won't vote over the next four days. Identify them and get them to the polls.” Friday's dinner was attended by a large group of Allen County Republican elected officials, candidates and donors and featured remarks from Holcomb, Smith, WOWO Radio's Pat Miller, state party Chairman Kyle Hupfer and Steve Shine, head of the local Republican Party.

BRODERICK HOPES TO DEFY ANDERSON HISTORY: With voters going to the polls in two days, the candidates vying to become Anderson’s next mayor are stressing their respective campaign platforms (de la Bastide, Anderson Herald-Bulletin). Incumbent Democrat Thomas Broderick Jr. is being opposed by Republican Rick Gardner and Libertarian Rob Jozwiak. Broderick is seeking to become the first mayor to serve consecutive terms in office since Democrat J. Mark Lawler served four terms from 1988 through 2003. Broderick said over the next four years people will see continued growth in Anderson in terms of population, breaking a trend in which the city’s population has declined. “There will be more housing to attract new residents and in the former blighted area of the city,” Broderick said. “There will be continued growth in the commercial sector bringing more jobs to Anderson,” Broderick added.

KITCHELL FACES MARTIN IN LOGANSPORT: Two candidates, one mayoral race to win, and a list of ideas for a better Logansport (WLFI-TV). “So one of the biggest things that I want to do as mayor is focus on higher-paying jobs,” said Martin. Martin is a Logansport native, he believes more infrastructure is the way to go. “We don't have a lot of investment in the north, south and west ends of Logansport, most of our retail and our food and our establishments like that are more on the east end,” said Martin. The east end is an area current Democrat Mayor Dave Kitchell has been building up. “We are a growing community,” said Kitchell. One project, in particular, is revitalizing the mall and adding a hotel on the property. Kitchell said if he continues as mayor for a second term, his focus is on housing. “We have a pent up demand for housing,” said Kitchell. “There's a reason why we're the number one place in America you want to live by realtor.com.”

MAYOR URAN REVIEWS HIS 12 YEARS: Over the last 12 years, Mayor David Uran said the city’s growth has been a collaborative effort (NWI Times). Since Uran, a Democrat, came into office in 2008, the city’s infrastructure has been modernized, the tax rate has remained low and quality of life amenities have been updated, or brought to the city, he said. If reelected, Uran said he plans to advocate for infrastructure, invest in public safety and maintain the city’s municipal tax rate — the lowest in Northwest Indiana — he said.

MIAMI COUNTY ELECTION BOARD WON'T ACT ON PERU FLIER: The Miami County Election Board on Friday determined an anonymous political flyer sent to thousands of Peru residents last month likely violated state election code, but the board had no recourse to do anything about it (Gerber, Kokomo Tribune). The postcards listed the names of Democratic Peru Mayor Gabe Greer, Republican Miles Hewitt and Independent Chris Wolfe, who are all running for mayor in next week’s election. Beside their name is a court case with a list of charges. Miami County Democratic Party Chair Charles Wagner last week filed a complaint with the election board requesting an investigation into the postcards, which he said were sent earlier this month to “1,100 or 11,000 depending upon which rumor one hears.”

10 SCHOOL REFERENDUMS ON TUESDAY: Ten school districts around the state are seeking voter approval to exceed the statewide property tax caps for construction projects or other expenses. The largest proposed projects are a $190 million renovation of two high schools by the Lawrence Township schools in Marion County, $89 million in construction for schools in the Indianapolis suburb of Zionsville and the Huntington County school district’s planned $68 million in high school renovations in northeastern Indiana (AP). The Carmel schools district is proposing the state’s first school safety referendum after the Legislature voted to allow that option this year. The district’s tax hike would go toward paying for more police officers in its schools and adding mental health services.

Presidential 2020

BUTTIGIEG 4TH IN NATIONAL ABC/POST POLL: The race for the Democratic presidential nomination is both competitive and fluid less than 100 days before the Iowa caucuses, with a stable trio of leading candidates and a fourth — Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind. — now rising above a dozen others in the low single-digits, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll. Democrats see former vice president Joe Biden as the strongest leader among the top candidates and also say he has the best chance of defeating President Trump. But he holds no advantage on five other attributes, including policy issues, bringing needed change and being mentally sharp. He remains atop the field, with Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) trailing, Warren within the margin of error. Meanwhile, the poll finds significant concerns about Sanders’s fitness in the wake of his heart attack last month, with more than 4 in 10 Democrats saying he is not in good enough health to serve as president. A majority of Democrats say they have not firmly made up their minds on whom to support, with about 1 in 10 having no current preference and about half of Democrats who do support someone saying they would consider supporting another candidate. That has added an air of uncertainty over a race that to this point has been somewhat stable. Among Democratic-leaning registered voters, 28 percent would support Biden if their state’s primary or caucus were held today, while 23 percent support Warren and 17 percent support Sanders. Biden’s edge over Warren is smaller than the poll’s margin of sampling error. Buttigieg stands at 9 percent and is the only other candidate with greater than 2 percent support.

BIDEN LEADS IN NATIONAL FOX POLL; PETE AT 7%: Democratic primary voters increasingly feel the need to nominate a candidate who can beat President Trump in 2020, and more think Joe Biden can do that than any of the other top Democratic hopefuls (Fox News). In addition, while most Democratic primary voters are satisfied with their field, more than a quarter wish they had other options, according to a new Fox News Poll. Biden leads the nomination race with the backing of 31 percent of Democratic primary voters, followed by Elizabeth Warren at 21 percent, Bernie Sanders at 19 percent, and Pete Buttigieg at 7 percent. In early October, Biden was at 32 percent, Warren 22, Sanders 17, and Buttigieg 4.

BIDEN LEADS TRUMP BY 12%; BUTTIGIEG TIED WITH TRUMP IN FOX POLL: Joe Biden performs best against Trump (51-39 percent). He leads by 12 points, garners over 50 percent and keeps Trump below 40 percent. In early October, Biden led by 10 (50-40 percent) (Fox News). More Democrats (91 percent) back Biden than Republicans (86 percent) support Trump, and 88 percent of 2016 Trump voters would stick with him, while 91 percent of Clinton voters would support Biden. Sanders has an 8-point lead (49-41 percent). Warren’s 5-point advantage over the president (46-41 percent) is within the poll’s margin of sampling error, and Buttigieg and Trump tie (41-41 percent). In a 2016 rematch, Clinton has a 2-point edge (43-41 percent).

49% SUPPORT IMPEACHEMENT IN NBC/WSJ POLL: Roughly half of the respondents in a new poll – 49 percent – support President Trump’s impeachment and removal from the Oval Office. Forty-six percent said Trump should not be impeached and removed from office in the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Sunday, one year ahead of the 2020 election. In a similar survey earlier this month, 49 percent said Trump should not be impeached and should remain in office. A majority of respondents in the new poll – 53 percent – said they approve of the impeachment inquiry, which was launched by House Democrats amid revelations that Trump asked Ukraine to investigate Democratic White House hopeful Joe Biden and his son. Forty-four percent disapprove.

BETO BUGS OUT: Former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke said on Friday he was dropping out of the Democratic presidential race after failing to catch fire with voters in a crowded field (Wall Street Journal). He vaulted from a little-known, three-term member of Congress from Texas to a political celebrity when he challenged incumbent Republican Ted Cruz for the U.S. Senate in 2018, a race Mr. O’Rourke lost narrowly. The former Texas representative’s exit came as his supporters were waiting for him to deliver a speech at a closely watched party dinner in Iowa. Polls showed Mr. O’Rourke with minimal support in the state, and he was faring poorly nationally as well.

BIDEN FADING IN IOWA; BUTTIGIEG SURGES IN IOWA: The top Democratic presidential candidates are locked in a close race in the 2020 Iowa caucuses, with Senator Elizabeth Warren slightly ahead of Senator Bernie Sanders, Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., and former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., according to a New York Times/Siena College poll of likely Democratic caucusgoers (New York Times). Ms. Warren appears to have solidified her gains in the first voting state while Mr. Buttigieg has climbed quickly to catch up with Mr. Sanders and overtake Mr. Biden, the onetime front-runner. Ms. Warren is drawing support from 22 percent of likely caucusgoers, while Mr. Sanders is at 19 percent, followed by Mr. Buttigieg at 18 percent and Mr. Biden at 17 percent. The survey is full of alarming signs for Mr. Biden, who entered the race in April at the top of the polls in Iowa and nationally. He is still in the lead in most national polls, but his comparatively weak position in the earliest primary and caucus states now presents a serious threat to his candidacy. And Mr. Biden’s unsteadiness appears to have opened a path in the race for other Democrats closer to the political middle, particularly Mr. Buttigieg.

WARREN HEALTH PLAN COMES IN AT $20T: Three years after President Trump rode a wave of populist anger into office, some of his top Democratic challengers are calling for a fundamental reordering of American capitalism, arguing that voters will embrace bold plans to reverse decades of rising inequality by raising taxes on corporations and the rich (New York Times). The $20.5 trillion proposal for “Medicare for all” released by Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts on Friday is the most prominent example of how a party that once bet on centrist economic policies to win elections is moving toward far more ambitious efforts to redistribute wealth and expand the government’s role in the economy. In doing so, Democrats are trying to push the boundaries of how much a country can rely on a sliver of high-end investors and other wealthy citizens to fund widely used social programs and bankroll other services traditionally paid for by individuals.

GOAL IN NH IS TO FINISH 2ND OR 3RD: One hundred days before the first-in-the-nation Democratic presidential primary, the real contest everyone’s watching here is for second — or even third — place. The assumption that Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren will win New Hampshire is all but baked, Democratic insiders told POLITICO; the neighbor-state senators could easily take the top two spots. The biggest prize, at this point, is the surge of momentum that would come from eclipsing Joe Biden, as the race turns to Nevada and then South Carolina. “The large field also affects the calculations of the race: Someone could place third with as little as 10 percent of the vote. With that type of finish, potentially “you are suddenly propelled into the national conversation of what is actually possible for a dark horse candidate,” said Scott Spradling, a former political director for WMUR-TV, the state’s main local political news source. “Bottom line, it changes the entire national conversation because a lot of people will most likely dismiss either Warren or Sanders winning New Hampshire." Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., is trying to make that play. The latest poll in the state conducted by the University of New Hampshire had him in fourth, just 5 points behind Biden. “The absolute critical element is the ground game,” Buttigieg said in an interview. “So, having the organizers that we have on the ground here, the field offices throughout the state, including some in certain communities that I think have been passed over in past years.”

Sunday Talk

BUTTIGIEG BLASTS WARREN IN MEDICARE PLAN: South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg on Sunday criticized a health care plan by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a fellow 2020 White House hopeful, as a “my way or the highway idea.” “What is just not true is that hers is the only solution. This 'my way or the highway' idea. That either you’re for kicking everybody off their private plans in four years or you’re for business as usual, it’s just not true,” Buttigieg said  on ABC’s “This Week.” “The way I would do it, you get to keep your private plan if you want to,” he added. Buttigieg supports a “Medicare for all who want it” plan while Warren supports “Medicare for All.” The Massachusetts senator unveiled the details of her plan last week. Asked on Sunday about Medicare for All, which is also supported by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Buttigieg said he thinks it “could very well be the long-run destination.”  But he added that people should get to choose it. “Let’s put this out there and see if it’s really the best plan for everybody. I think it will be the best plan, but I’m not willing to assume that it is the right plan for you...and order you to take it,” he said. “If it’s the right plan, then everybody will move to it,” the presidential hopeful added.

CONWAY WON'T SAY WHETHER WH WILL PARTICIPATE IN INQUIRY: Counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway sparred with Fox News’ Chris Wallace Sunday on whether the White House would cooperate with the House’s impeachment inquiry following a vote to formalize the process. “The full House did not vote to authorize an impeachment inquiry, just Democrats,” Conway said on “Fox News Sunday,” before Wallace reminded her Democrats hold the majority in the chamber. Independent Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) also voted to authorize the inquiry.

ENGLE PROMISES PUBLIC HEARINGS: House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) said on Sunday that there will be public hearings in the impeachment inquiry into President Trump “very very soon.” “There will be public hearings very very soon. This week we’re having the last of the witnesses come in and then...the transcripts will be released,” Engel said in an interview with ABC’s “This Week.” He also dismissed Republican complaints that the process has not been transparent, saying that they “keep moving the goal posts.” “The Republicans keep moving the goal posts, they tell us they want us to be transparent. When we’re transparent it’s not good enough,” Engel said.


WALORSKI STATEMENT ON INQUIRY VOTE: U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski put this statement out following Thursday's House impeachment inquiry vote (Howey Politics Indiana): “This impeachment charade is nothing but partisan politics at its worst. We have important work to do – like passing USMCA, keeping our economic momentum going, and making sure our servicemembers have the resources they need. But Democrats have put everything aside to pursue the only goal they care about: impeaching President Trump. It’s time for Congress to get back to work. Instead, today we voted on a resolution that simply confirms this tainted investigation will continue without fairness and transparency and the American people will continue waiting for this Congress to produce results.”

BLAIR WON'T TESTIFY: One of the White House’s top national security aides and a key ally to the acting chief of staff will not appear on Capitol Hill on Monday to testify before House lawmakers, his attorney confirmed late Saturday night (Politico). Robert Blair participated in the July 25 call between President Donald Trump and the Ukrainian president, which triggered enough concern among some national security officials that one filed a whistleblower complaint and set into motion the Democrats' impeachment proceedings. Blair’s attorney, Whit Ellerman, said Blair would not appear on Monday “pursuant to direction from the White House, which is based on advice from the Department of Justice.”

General Assembly

SEN. STOOPS WON'T SEEK REELECTION: State Senator Mark Stoops (D-Bloomington) announced his retirement from the Indiana State Senate after 7 years of service to the state, and 14 years in local elected office (Howey Politics Indiana). Sen. Stoops will continue to represent Senate District 40 during the 2020 legislative session. “It has been an honor representing the people of District 40,” Sen. Stoops said. “I found that the experience I gained in local government was critical to managing and understanding legislation as it moved through the process, but also with that, the importance of bringing my district’s tradition of inclusion, community welfare and environmental integrity to the state legislature to help move this state forward. My final session in 2020 will be no different. I will promote bills requiring universal background checks for gun purchases and safe firearm storage in the home. I will fight for expanding public transit options throughout the state. I will advocate for our public schools and teachers and work to make charter and voucher schools more accountable. I will fight to make sure that all Hoosiers are treated with dignity and respected as individuals, no matter their sex, their skin color, whom they love or where they were born. I will work to make elections more fair and secure and to put systems in place to protect and improve our environment."


GOVERNOR: HOLCOMB SCHEDULE - Below find Gov. Eric J. Holcomb’s public schedule for November 3, 2019.Indiana National Guard Adjutant General Assumption of Command. Gov. Holcomb and Brig. Gen. R. Dale Lyles. The governor will participate in the Assumption of Command ceremony, 11:00 a.m., Indiana War Memorial.

STATEHOUSE: HILL SEEKS TO KEEP BEHRMAN KILLER IN PRISON - The Indiana Attorney General’s Office is appealing a recent ruling that ordered the release of John Myers II, the man convicted of killing IU student Jill Behrman (Fox59). The AG filed to appeal the lower Federal District Court decision to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals on October 30. Behrman disappeared during a bike ride in 2000, and her remains were found in 2003. Myers was convicted of killing Behrman in 2006 and sentenced to 65 years. He tried to challenge the conviction, but it was upheld by both the Indiana Court of Appeals and Indiana Supreme Court. He’s been at the Indiana State Prison in Michigan City since then.

DWD: STATE ADDS 10K CONSTRUCTION JOBS - The Indiana Department of Workforce Development says the construction industry in Indiana has added nearly 10,000 jobs year-over-year. The state agency says that growth makes it one of the strongest performing employment sectors in the state during that period. Indiana DWD says the 9,800 year-over-year increase ranks Indiana sixth in the nation in the number of construction jobs added during those 12 months (Mills, Inside Indiana Business). “It’s always gratifying to see Indiana ranked among the leading states in the nation in any employment sector,” said DWD Commissioner Fred Payne. “In this case, the addition of so many construction jobs over the past year demonstrates that companies and developers have great confidence in Indiana and its economy.”

ISP: I-65 NB CLOSED AT WHITESTOWN DUE TO DEATH PROBE - A death investigation closed northbound I-65 at the Zionsville-Whitestown exit for four hours Sunday morning (WTHR-TV). According to Whitestown police, officers were called to check a disabled vehicle against the guardrail on Interstate 65 at the 131 mile-marker shortly before 4 a.m. They found an unconscious and unresponsive female in the vehicle. Medics were called and pronounced her deceased. Police now have an ongoing investigation into what lead to her death. They are not releasing her name at this time, but tell Eyewitness News she appeared to be in her late twenties.

STEEL: U.S. STEEL TAKES 3Q LOSS - U.S. Steel lost $84 million in the third quarter, or 49 cents per share (Pete, NWI Times). The Pittsburgh-based steelmaker, one of Northwest Indiana's largest employers, lost less than analysts expected on the strength of higher-than-expected flat-rolled orders, pulling in $144 million in Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization. U.S. Steel made $291 million in profit, or $1.62 per diluted share, in the third quarter of last year, but has since suffered from deteriorating market conditions and declining prices that have beset the domestic steel industry. It idled East Chicago Tin and a blast furnace at Gary Works during a time of overcapacity. "The team delivered better than expected results from solid cost performance and higher than forecasted shipments in flat-rolled. While market headwinds persist, we continue to focus on what we can control, including re-scoping our asset revitalization investments and reducing fixed costs," U.S. Steel President and CEO David Burritt said.


WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP'S PRESIDENCY VIA TWEET - In the Oval Office, an annoyed President Trump ended an argument he was having with his aides. He reached into a drawer, took out his iPhone and threw it on top of the historic Resolute Desk: “Do you want me to settle this right now?” There was no missing Mr. Trump’s threat that day in early 2017, the aides recalled (New York Times). With a tweet, he could fling a directive to the world, and there was nothing they could do about it. When Mr. Trump entered office, Twitter was a political tool that had helped get him elected and a digital howitzer that he relished firing. In the years since, he has fully integrated Twitter into the very fabric of his administration, reshaping the nature of the presidency and presidential power.

WHITE HOUSE: SMUGGLERS SAWING THROUGH TRUMP'S WALL - Smuggling gangs in Mexico have repeatedly sawed through new sections of President Trump’s border wall in recent months by using commercially available power tools, opening gaps large enough for people and drug loads to pass through, according to U.S. agents and officials with knowledge of the damage (Washington Post). The breaches have been made using a popular cordless household tool known as a reciprocating saw that retails at hardware stores for as little as $100. When fitted with specialized blades, the saws can slice through one of the barrier’s steel-and-concrete bollards in minutes, according to the agents, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the barrier-defeating techniques.

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP DEFENDS THE WALL - After years of touting the impenetrability of a border wall, President Donald Trump said Saturday that "you can cut through any wall" as reports surfaced of smugglers sawing through newly erected barriers with readily available power tools (Politico). "We have a very powerful wall. But no matter how powerful, you can cut through anything, in all fairness. But we have a lot of people watching. You know cutting, cutting is one thing, but it's easily fixed. One of the reasons we did it the way we did it, it's very easily fixed. You put the chunk back in,” Trump told reporters at the White House.

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP MOCKS BIDEN, BETO IN MS - President Trump mocked former Vice President Joe Biden, former congressman Beto O'Rourke and the impeachment inquiry at a Friday night rally in Mississippi. It was his first rally since the House formally launched the impeachment inquiry (CBS News). "How do you impeach a president who didn't do anything wrong?" Mr. Trump asked. Mr. Trump was in Mississippi, a state that voted overwhelmingly for the president in 2016, to rally in support of Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves, the Republican nominee for governor.

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP GETS BOOS, CHEERS AT UCF - President Trump briefly escaped Washington, a city where the sparring is often metaphorical, to witness a night of fighting that was decidedly real. And, occasionally, bloody (Wall Street Journal). The president spent Saturday night sitting cageside at a UFC mixed martial-arts fight at Madison Square Garden.When Mr. Trump entered the arena just before 10 p.m. with AC/DC’s “Back in Black” blaring over the speakers, he was greeted with a rowdy mix of boos and cheers. Some in the crowd pumped their fists and chanted his name. Others raised their middle fingers.

JUDICIAL: JUDGE BLOCKS IMMIGRANT HEALTH PLAN - A federal judge in Oregon blocked the Trump administration from enforcing a sweeping plan to deny visas to would-be immigrants based on their inability to show they could pay for health insurance or medical costs in the U.S. (CBS News). Through a temporary restraining order, Judge Michael Simon of the U.S. District Court in Oregon blocked the policy hours before it was set to take effect on Sunday. According to an estimate by the non-partisan Migration Policy Institute, the new requirements could bar up to 375,000 prospective legal immigrants from moving to the U.S. each year.

AUTOS: PEUGEOT CHIEF GAMBLED - Carlos Tavares stunned the auto world when he left his post as heir apparent to Carlos Ghosn at the globe-spanning Renault-Nissan alliance six years ago and then took the reins of struggling rival Peugeot, which sold relatively few cars outside Europe (Wall Street Journal). Now the 61-year-old chief executive of Peugeot’s owner, PSA Group of France, is stepping back onto a wider stage. Mr. Tavares negotiated a nearly $50 billion merger with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles FCAU 2.74% NV that, if completed, will mark one of the biggest auto-industry deals in decades and leave him CEO of the combined company. The deal presents Mr. Tavares with new challenges. He rescued Peugeot largely by cutting costs and focusing on the bottom line, and he has touted the virtues of staying nimble rather than chasing scale in a rapidly changing industry. “We are not market-share addicts,” Mr. Tavares said in a March interview with The Wall Street Journal. “We believe agility is very important.”

AUTOS: INDICTED UAW CHIEF STEPS ASIDE - United Auto Workers President Gary Jones is stepping aside from the union’s top role, the union said Saturday, amid a federal investigation into corruption in the top ranks. UAW Vice President Rory Gamble, who just led contract bargaining with Ford Motor Co. , will serve as interim president, according to a union statement (Wall Street Journal). The union board approved Mr. Jones’s request for a leave of absence. A person familiar with Mr. Jones’s request said it was a paid leave. The leadership change comes as the UAW is negotiating new four-year contracts with the Detroit auto makers. The union last month secured a new contract with General Motors Co. after a 40-day strike at the company. The union has a tentative agreement with Ford, which members will vote on in the coming weeks.

AGRICULTURE: FARM BUREAU'S BANKRUPTCY REPORT - USDA currently projects farm income in 2019 to reach $88 billion – the highest net farm income since 2014’s $92 billion, but still 29% below 2013’s record high (Farm Bureau). In addition, nearly 40% of that income – some $33 billion in total --  is related to trade assistance, disaster assistance, the farm bill and insurance indemnities and has yet to be fully received by farmers and ranchers. Moreover, farm debt in 2019 is projected to be a record-high $416 billion, with $257 billion in real estate debt and $159 billion in non-real estate debt. The repayment terms on this debt, according to data from the Kansas City Federal Reserve, reached all-time highs for a variety of categories. The report says there have been eight farm bankruptcies in Indiana in 2019, lowesr in the Big Ten states.

ILLINOIS: CHICAGO TV ANCHOR SUSPENDED IN REVENGE PORN CASE - Chicago Fox 32 news anchor Rafer Weigel has been suspended from his position in the wake of allegations of a sexual affair with a Valparaiso woman and two others that resulted in one of the women being charged under the state's new revenge porn law (NWI Times). "Rafer Weigel is suspended pending further review of the matter," a spokesperson for WFLD confirmed Friday morning for The Times. The announcement comes just two days after Weigel spent much of the day in a Porter County courtroom defending himself against a request for a protective order from the 39-year-old Valparaiso woman, whom The Times is not identifying because of her status as a potential victim in the related criminal case. "Nobody should go through this hell," the woman said from the witness stand Wednesday. The woman, who is married, said Weigel contacted her through Instagram in March and then again in June, which resulted in both swapping explicit photographs and then meeting for the first time in July at the Hilton Garden Inn in Chesterton where their sexual relationship began. When she discovered in August that Weigel was seeing two other women as well, she ended their intimate relationship, according to charging documents. It was after that point she said one of the other women involved with Weigel began sending her the explicit photos of herself that she had sent in confidence to Weigel. That woman, 50-year-old Kathy Browne, of Virginia, has been charged with a misdemeanor count of distribution of an intimate image.

NEW YORK: BOAT ABOVE NIAGARA FALLS MOVES AFTER A CENTURY - A boat stuck on rocks above Niagara Falls for more than a century has been unmoored by high wind and heavy rains (CNN). Thursday's harsh weather pushed the vessel away from its rocky perch and closer to the falls on the Canadian side, according to the Niagara Parks Commission. It's the first time it's moved any appreciable distance for more than a century, according to CNN affiliate CBC. In a video produced by Niagara Parks Commission on Friday, an official, Jim Hill, said the barge, while not currently moving, appears to have "flipped on its side and spun around."


FORT WAYNE: COUNTY EXTENDS ELECTRIC WORKS DEAL - The Allen County Commissioners on Friday became the last of three public bodies to grant developers of Electric Works a timeline extension (Rodriguez, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette). Those renovating the former General Electric campus along Broadway just south of downtown now will have until April 30 to complete their financing and leasing arrangements. The original deadline set by the county was Dec. 31. Deadlines must be met for the developer to comply with agreements providing $65 million in public funding for the project. The commissioners Friday also authorized developers of Electric Works to use about $200,000 left over from initial environmental cleanup inside two buildings for similar activities in a third.

ELKHART: PD CITIZEN BOARD TO BE CREATED - The Elkhart Police Department is creating an advisory board of local residents to provide feedback to the chief, as a first step toward reform amid an ongoing, independent review of the department (South Bend Tribune). The review began in March, after the Common Council approved $150,000 at the request of Mayor Tim Neese to hire a former U.S. attorney, Deborah Daniels, and the nonprofit Police Executive Research Forum. The group has worked with police departments nationwide to recommend changes in policy and training. One decision to come out of the review so far is the creation of the new Chief Advisory Board. Police Chief Chris Snyder said at news conference Friday that he is selecting the members and has reached out to groups such as the NAACP, Indiana Black Expo and La Casa for recommendations.

MICHIGAN CITY: NEW PD ASSISTANT CHIEFS NAMED - The new leadership in the Michigan City Police Department was completed Friday with the selection of two assistant police chiefs (Maddux, NWI Times). Dave Cooney and Jillian Ashley were named assistant chiefs by Dion Campbell, appointed police chief by Mayor Ron Meer on Tuesday. Cooney, a 13-year member of the department, fought back tears for a moment while sharing the vision Campbell outlined after offering him the position. "We really want to get our men and women in this police department back to feeling like a family,’’ he said. Former chief Mark Swistek and his assistant chiefs Royce Williams and Kevin Urbanczyk are now serving in other capacities with the department. Their resignations last week stemmed from the Oct. 10 drug-related arrest of the mayor’s stepson, Adam Bray. Bray, 33, was allegedly found with a small amount of heroin and cocaine during a traffic stop.

INDIANAPOLIS: 16 TECH PROJECT LAUNCHES FUND - The 16 Tech Community Corp. in Indianapolis is today celebrating the official launch of the 16 Tech Community Investment Fund (Brown, Inside Indiana Business). The organization says the fund will invest annually in neighborhoods surrounding the 16 Tech Innovation District on the city's near northwest side. Starla Hart, director of community initiatives for 16 Tech, says the fund will focus on key areas such as workforce training, supporting small businesses, and education initiatives. In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Hart talked about the importance of investing in the surrounding community. "A lot of times when developments of this magnitude happen across the country, it's done with no consideration to the surrounding neighborhoods in terms of building relationships and in terms of the effect a large development can have on historic neighborhoods that preexisted before the development came to be," said Hart.

WESTFIELD: GRAND JUNCTION PROJECT BREAKS GROUND - Postponed due to Thursday's wet, wintry weather blast, officials from the city of Westfield will break ground Monday morning on the $35 million Grand Junction Plaza (Mills, Inside Indiana Business). The project calls for three pavilions and an outdoor performance venue. There will also be a cafe, trailhead pavilion and a children's play area. In March, the Westfield City Council has approved a funding plan for the redevelopment project. When the funding plan was unveiled, Westfield Mayor Andy Cook said it is similar to what the city used for Grand Park Sports Campus. The project will be funded with local income tax revenue until funding from the Tax Increment Finance economic development area can cover costs. The city expects to be completed by the summer of 2021.

KOKOMO: FUNERAL OF FORMER MAYOR/SHERIFF SARGENT - Family and friends gathered on a cold morning Nov. 2, at Crown Point Cemetery in Kokomo to say goodbye to former Kokomo mayor and Howard County sheriff Bob Sargent. Following a mass at Saint Joan of Arc, a procession made its way to Crown Point Cemetery, Sargent’s final resting place. Once there Sargent received military rites (Gilbert, Kokomo Tribune). Doug Hardwick of Gordon Pipers played songs such as “Amazing Grace” and “Taps” on bagpipes to honor Sargent. “He departed his home, his family and all that he held dear to meet this challenge,” Johannes said. “He served honorably and faithfully his duty to his God and his country. Bob is part of what is called America’s greatest generation. As a sailor he had set a standard of service and victory that every sailor since has followed.”