HPI’S FINAL FORECASTS: Howey Politics Indiana views the Senate race as a tossup. We’re watching heavy turnout in Indy, but also across red Indiana. Mike Braun was in a tossup race in the primary, and won going away, by 10%. If we had to put a money bet on it, Braun pulls it out, but we’re NOT making a money bet. FiveThirtyEight gives Sen. Joe Donnelly a 71.1% chance of winning this morning. We predicted this would be a $100 million Senate race and the tally stood at $91 million this morning. Former congressman and HPI analyst Mark Souder: “I believe that Braun will narrowly win because Republicans have been steadily activated in Indiana. Sen. Donnelly has run a better campaign, and will run ahead of the congressional Democrats in seven of the nine districts as well as their statewide candidates and their state legislative candidates, who are struggling to win 1/3 of the respective bodies. Donnelly will win crossover votes but not enough. Not only did President Trump push Republicans together, but President Obama's appearance - trying to boost turnout in Democrat areas - further served to remind Republicans that there is no middle party. In the Senate and House you are either a Republican or a Democrat. Indiana is an overwhelmingly Republican at the present time.” The GOP will easily carry the three statewide races. Reps. Jackie Walorski and Trey Hollingsworth look like comfortable winners. Democrats will pick up three to four House seats (most vulnerable will be Reps. Sally Siegrist, Julie Olthoff, Dale Devon and Martin Carbaugh on the bubble), and three Senate seats (with Republican Sens. Mike Delph, Jon Ford and Ron Grooms the most vulnerable). The Indiana Business for Responsive Government put $20,000 in Grooms late last week and Republicans were accusing Democrat Anna Murray of hiding a late contribution, so they’re worried about that one. The House Republican Campaign Committee put in $27,500 to Carbaugh on Nov. 1. Indiana BankPAC and IBRG put in a combined $9,000 for Devon. HRCC pumped in $24,000 to Siegrist on Halloween. Democrats put in $20,000 in Chris Gambill’s challenge to Sen. Jon Ford, who received $8,000 from the Republican State Committee. So we’re following the late money  as indicators of where the real races are.

IN FORT WAYNE, TRUMP SAYS ELECTION IS ABOUT SAFETY, JOBS: President Donald Trump tried to fire up Republicans and demonize Democrats during a Fort Wayne rally on the eve of today's midterm election – while also saying he wants to reconcile with his opponents at some point (Francisco, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette). Trump spoke for about an hour at Memorial Coliseum, where he praised his administration and the GOP Congress for their policies and practices on everything – the economy, trade, taxes, immigration, health care, crime, Supreme Court appointments – and condemned Democrats for standing in the way on all of it. His audience regularly cheered or booed as if on cue. “There's only one way to stop this Democat-led assault on America's sovereignty. You have to vote Republican tomorrow,” Trump told more than 10,000 people at the Coliseum, many of them wearing clothing and caps bearing Trump's name and campaign slogans. “This election is about safety, and this election is about jobs,” Trump said. “For years, you watched as we let foreign countries plunder our wealth, shutter our factories and steal our jobs. But those days are over. And in case you haven't noticed our country is respected again.”

DONNELLY IN FORT WAYNE HOURS BEFORE PRESIDENT'S VISIT: In the hours before President Donald Trump arrived in Fort Wayne for a campaign rally, Democratic Senator Joe Donnelly visited the summit city as well (Solis, WANE-TV). Senator Donnelly was joined by Mayor Tom Henry and other candidates for office at the Allen County Democratic Headquarters. Donnelly was there getting volunteers who've been canvassing and making phone calls excited for Tuesday's election. He called on them to keep calling and keep knocking on doors. The senator told the crowd that this election is about healthcare and that he will fight for the healthcare of all Hoosiers. He made no mention of President Trump being in Fort Wayne to the crowd.

DEMS SEE SENATE POLLING SURGE: A final batch of polls provided signs of late momentum for Democrats in the battle for the Senate, with surveys showing their candidates leading in two battleground races and decisively ahead in New Jersey (Politico). In Florida, Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson led Republican Gov. Rick Scott in two surveys out Monday, a sign that the critical battleground race is breaking their way in the final days. And in Missouri, an NBC News poll showed Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill slightly leading Republican Josh Hawley despite Republicans optimism in recent weeks that the race shifted in their favor. Democrats would need both those polls to be correct — especially in Missouri, where Hawley has led by a similar margin in several other recent public polls — and to have similar momentum in a handful of other tossup races, to have any shot at winning the Senate majority Tuesday night. Trump will conclude a week of barnstorming across the Senate map Monday night with rallies in Indiana and Missouri, hoping to boost Hawley and Republican Mike Braun, who's locked in a tight race against Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly in the Hoosier State. In his first rally of the day in Ohio, Trump said midterm elections used to be "boring," but that they have become the "hottest thing" because of his investment in boosting GOP candidates. He touted his administration's economic record before pivoting back to criticizing Democrats on immigration. He also acknowledged that the midterms are a referendum on his administration. "In a sense, I am on the ticket," he said. At least five races — in Arizona, Florida, Montana, Indiana and Missouri — remain tight in the closing stretch.

HEAVY EARLY VOTING ACROSS THE STATE: The final Marion County totals were 83,018, which was 22% above 2016 levels (Howey Politics Indiana). The Bloomington Herald-times reported that 24,000 voted early in Monroe County. Early voting turnout for this midterm election is more than three times the number of ballots cast early — 7,389 — during the 2014 midterm elections. There were 21,884 people who voted early in St. Joseph County this election season — 16,535 in person and 5,349 by mail, said Clerk Terri Rethlake (South Bend Tribune). That was a nearly two-and-a-half-fold increase from the 8,967 early voters in the last midterm general election in 2014. The Terre Haute Tribune-Star reported 16,522 voted early in Vigo County, compared to 21,863 total in 2014. There was a surge of voting in Bartholomew County, with 11,731 local ballots cast prior to Election Day (Columbus Republic). That’s 23.3 percent of Bartholomew County’s 50,255 residents registered to vote in the 2018 general election. “In each of the three midterm elections since the inception of walk-in voting in 2006, early voting totals were just above 2,000,” Clerk Jay Phelps said on Nov. 1. “We’ve easily surpassed each of those elections.” In Wayne County, 9,778 people had voted (Richmond Palladium-Item). Once you add in the 850 or so mail-in absentee ballots that had been received by midday Monday, you get a number just about equal to the total of 11,000 for the entire 2014 election.

DONNELLY ELECTION NIGHT AT HYATT; BRAUN AT J.W. MARRIOTT: Sen. Joe Donnelly's campaign will gather at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Indianapolis for Election Night (Howey Politics Indiana). Mike Braun and Republicans will gather at the J.W. Marriott.

FOX, NBC STOP RUNNING TRUMP AD: An ad created by President Trump's campaign committee tying together Democrats, a notorious murderer and a caravan of asylum-seeking migrants in Mexico embroiled NBC in controversy overnight, prompting the network to backpedal and pull it from the air (New York Times). Critics had denounced the ad as false and inflammatory, and CNN had refused to broadcast a longer version, calling it racist. But NBC put it up during the ratings giant "Sunday Night Football." "After further review we recognize the insensitive nature of the ad and have decided to cease airing it across our properties as soon as possible," NBCUniversal said in a statement. Even Fox News, which has made the caravan a staple of its midterm elections coverage, announced that it had decided on Sunday to stop running it, and Facebook removed the ad, which had been targeted at users in key electoral battlegrounds, like Florida and Arizona.

ZODY BLASTS TRUMP OVER FEAR MONGERING: Indiana Democratic Chairman John Zody said that President Trump and Vice President Pence are suggesting election tampering (Howey Politics Indiana). Trump tweeted Monday, "Law Enforcement has been strongly notified to watch closely for any ILLEGAL VOTING which may take place in Tuesday's Election (or Early Voting). Anyone caught will be subject to the Maximum Criminal Penalties allowed by law. Thank you!" In remarks to reporters on his way to a campaign rally in Cleveland, Trump also falsely claimed that voter fraud is commonplace (Washington Post). “Just take a look,” he said. “All you have to do is go around, take a look at what’s happened over the years, and you’ll see. There are a lot of people — a lot of people — my opinion, and based on proof — that try and get in illegally and actually vote illegally. So we just want to let them know that there will be prosecutions at the highest level.” There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the United States. Trump formed a commission to study the issue shortly after he took office that was disbanded without finding evidence of fraud after states refused to turn over voter data. “It’s indicative of a pattern with this administration,” said David Vance, a spokesman for Common Cause, a civil rights group that helped recruit 6,500 volunteers to monitor polling locations across the country Tuesday. “It’s an effort to intimidate voters and keep them away from the polls and try to dictate which voters will turn out and which voters won’t. It flies in the face of what the DOJ has done traditionally to protect voters.” Zody responded, saying, "You are trying to scare people out of voting. Knock it off, @POTUS, @VP and anyone else deploying your disgusting scare tactics."

VOTERS NOT CONFIDENT IN BALLOT INTEGRITY: As Americans cast early ballots at historic rates for a nonpresidential year, voters are heading to the polls deeply suspicious about the opposing party's commitment to fair elections, new polling shows, further polarizing the electorate (Washington Post). Apprehension about ballot integrity this year is reminiscent of the presidential election of 2000, when a divided nation watched a painstaking recount unfold in Florida to determine the race between Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Al Gore, experts said. "The environment that we're in right now is particularly dangerous," said Richard Hasen, a law professor at the University of California at Irvine who specializes in election law. "All of this ramped up since the 2000 election, when people realized that the rules of the game really matter."

FARMERS OPTIMISTIC AS THEY HEAD TO BALLOT BOX: As Indiana farmers head to the voting booth, their attitudes on some key ag issues have changed (Truitt, Hoosier Ag Today). This summer, falling crop prices and rising trade tensions had many farmers angry and anxious. Yet with a successful harvest and good yields, Indiana Farm Bureau President Randy Kron says farmers are feeling more optimistic. "While prices are low, most have had good yields and that always brightens your outlook." Will this change in outlook impact their decisions on Election Day? A national survey indicated that farmers still support President Trump despite the impact his trade policy has had on their pocketbooks. Kron told HAT that, over the past few months, Indiana farmers have resigned themselves to the fact that this trade battle with China is going to take a long time to get resolved.

NOBLESVILLE SCHOOL SHOOTER ADMITS GUILT: It was revealed publicly Monday where the Noblesville West Middle School shooter, all of 13 years old, found the two handguns he brought to school May 25 (IndyStar). Those gathered for the juvenile court hearing in Hamilton Circuit Court also learned greater detail about the injuries sustained by the teacher and student who were shot that day. The courtroom gallery watched a video in which the boy warned of his coming deed, and learned from investigators about an online history littered with searches for other school shootings. But while an abundance of new details were shared during the juvenile court hearing, some questions remain. Prosecutors did not provide a motive for why the boy shot Jason Seaman, his science teacher, and Ella Whistler, a then-seventh-grade classmate. And the judge did not issue a disposition directing punishment for the boy, who formally admitted guilt Monday to 11 counts, including two for attempted murder.

AMAZON TO SPLIT HQ2 BETWEEN 2 CITIES: Amazon.com Inc. plans to split its second headquarters evenly between two locations rather than picking one city, according to a person familiar with the matter, a surprise decision that will spread the impact of a massive new office across two communities (Wall Street Journal). The driving force behind the decision to build two equal offices for "HQ2"—in addition to the company's headquarters in Seattle—is recruiting enough tech talent, according to the person familiar with the company's plans. The move will also ease potential issues with housing, transit and other areas where adding tens of thousands of workers could cause problems. Under the new plan, Amazon would split the workforce with 25,000 employees in each city, the person said. Amazon is in advanced talks with multiple cities but hasn't made a final decision on which two locations it will pick, according to people familiar with the matter. The Wall Street Journal on Sunday reported that Amazon was in late-stage discussions with Crystal City in Virginia, Dallas and New York City. A decision and announcement could come as soon as this week, according to people familiar with the matter.

HPI DAILY ANALYSIS: We've been concerned about efforts to call into question the legitimacy of not only today's election, but in 2020 and beyond. We've tried to downplay such speculation. The poll we published in Monday's Daily Wire that 37% of Americans don't believe this democracy is viable is a dangerous development. We all must be careful this evening if problems arise and how we react. - Brian A. Howey


Campaigns

PENCE SAYS GOP WILL HOLD HOUSE: Vice President Mike Pence spoke with CBN'S David Brode yesterday on the campaign trail. PENCE on the midterms: "I think we are going to expand our majority in the United States Senate." BRODY: "You do?" PENCE: "And I really believe we are going to hold the House of Representatives. But again, it's being driven by the agenda that this president and our partners on Capitol Hill have been able to advance."

DONNELLY STATEMENT ON TRUMP RALLY: U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly made the following statement in response to the president's rally for Republican senatorial candidate Mike Braun last night in Fort Wayne (Fox59): "While President Trump rallied in Fort Wayne, our coordinated campaign knocked on tens of thousands of doors, called hundreds of thousands of Hoosier voters, and texted countless more supporters to remind them to vote. We'd like to thank the president for keeping thousands of committed Braun supporters off the phones and doors the night before the election. In an election this close, every little bit helps."

PRESIDENT INTERRUPTED 3 TIMES BY PROTESTORS: The first protester was thrown out of the Fort Wayne rally during President Donald Trump’s speech, as he discussed immigration (IndyStar). “Get them out of here. Out. Get home to mommy,” Trump said. “Go home to mommy.” Soon after, another protester was kicked out. Trump said that was the third protester kicked out tonight. “I don’t know what it is about Indiana, but I’m not surprised,” Trump said. “That’s Indiana for you. That’s Indiana. Go on back home to mom.”

IVANKA, CONWAY & HUCKABEE APPEAR AT FORT WAYNE RALLY: The president welcomed some other guests at the Fort Wayne rally: his daughter Ivanka Trump, White House counselor Kelly Anne Conway and White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders (IndyStar). Conway got the crowd chanting, "Joe must go," referencing Democratic incumbent Sen. Joe Donnelly. "Elections have consequences, and your vote tomorrow is so incredibly important," Conway said. She closed by saying, "Go Mike Braun," the Republican trying unseat Donnelly. Ivanka Trump and Sanders didn't specifically mention Braun or Donnelly. But they did praise the work Trump has done.

HOLCOMB SAYS INDIANA NEEDS BRAUN IN WASHINGTON: Indiana's governor said Indiana is on the right track, and that Mike Braun is the person Hoosiers need to send to Washington (Napoleon, Post-Tribune). An energetic Republican crowd packed the barn Saturday at Niemeyer Auction Services and Realty in Lowell to welcome Senate candidate Braun, Gov. Eric Holcomb and the state Republican slate ahead of Tuesday's general election. The group ran into the barn from their Right Track Results tour bus into the crowd amid raucous cheers and high fives. The Lake County stop was the sixth and final for the day that started in Orange County and made its way up Interstate 65 for stops in Johnson, Marion, Boone, Tippecanoe counties before wrapping up in Lowell.

BRAUN STUMPS IN MISHAWAKA: On Sunday Joe Donnelly's challenger, Republican businessman and former Indiana State lawmaker Mike Braun, was in Donnelly's backyard (WSBT-TV). Braun appeared with other republicans at a "Get Out the Vote" event in Mishawaka. Donnelly is from Granger, and St. Joe County is traditionally a Democratic stronghold. Braun commented on how he sees growth in the GOP numbers in this area, and he fired up the crowd by directing a verbal assault directly at Joe Donnelly. "He has done so little, it sounds like he is the tired help that takes all marching orders from Chuck Schumer," said Braun. "Help me make him the fired help."

ZODY CRITICAL OF BRAUN AFTER RALLY: Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody issued this statement (Fox59): "Rep. Braun made clear again tonight that he's not interested in serving Hoosiers, just in advancing the same disastrous policies supported by his party leaders. He'd help President Trump take away health care for 1.1 million Hoosiers under 65 with pre-existing conditions, help Mitch McConnell slash Medicare and Social Security, and he'd help himself by passing more tax cuts that help the wealthiest Americans at the expense of working families. Tomorrow, Hoosiers will send a message and keep Rep. Braun far away from the U.S. Senate."

HELP PRESERVE 'FRAGILE' GOP VICTORIES, TRUMP SAYS: In his final pitch to voters, President Donald Trump implored Republicans on Monday to help preserve "fragile" GOP victories that could be erased by Democrats as he closes out a midterm campaign that has been defined by his racially charged rhetoric, hard-line immigration moves and scattershot policy proposals (Associated Press). "It's all fragile. Everything I told you about, it can be undone and changed by the Democrats if they get in," Trump told supporters on a telephone "town hall" organized by his re-election campaign. "You see how they've behaved. You see what's happening with them. They've really become radicalized."

8TH CD RACE ROARS TO CLOSE: Democrat William Tanoos has brought energy — but not much money — to the campaign to oust four-term 8th District Congressman Larry Bucshon (Langhorne, Evansville Courier & Press). The challenger reported having $7,544 cash on-hand as of Oct. 17, compared to Bucshon's $250,197. Bucshon has all the advantages of incumbency. What about Trump? The controversial president is at the focal point of Democratic anger nationally and the opposition party's campaign to take control of the U.S. House of Representatives. He is everywhere. "I wish he would focus more on priorities that he put front and center in his campaign," Tanoos said. Bucshon embraces Trump, calling the president "someone that actually really wants to lead from the front, not from the back."

TANOOS GOES DOOR-TO-DOOR: You don't often nowadays see a Congressional candidate going door-to-door to meet and greet voters, but that is what Democratic candidate for Congress William Tanoos was doing in Washington Wednesday (Emmons, Washington Times Herald). Tanoos also stopped by the Times Herald to talk a bit about his campaign and his views on some of the issues and his experiences in his first foray into the political arena.

STARK CONTRAST IN 9TH CD: On Tuesday, voters in southern Indiana could help decide whether Republicans keep their majority in both the U.S. House and Senate (Smith, WDRB-TV). And Liz Watson, a Democrat, took that direct shot at the man she's trying to unseat: Republican incumbent Rep. Trey Hollingsworth. "Trey Hollingsworth isn't from Indiana," Watson said. "[He] has no relationship with our district." Hollingsworth said he's heard it all before. "What I focus on are the results I've gotten you over the last two years, by working with the administration, by working with the Senate, those are the results that we got because we made the right decision in November two years ago," he said.

GREG PENCE TO ATTEND BARTHOLOMEW COUNTY ELECTION PARTY: After the polls close on November 6, Sixth District Congressional candidate Greg Pence will join supporters and volunteers for an election night party in Columbus, a news release stated (Howey Politics Indiana). The election night party is hosted by Bartholomew County Republicans and Greg Pence for Congress. Event is slated to begin at 6 p.m. tomorrow at Factory 12 Event Loft, 1235 Jackson St., Columbus.

ISSUES DOMINATE SD49 CONTEST: "We feel like the winds of change are with us right now. And we've had enough resources to implement every strategy we wanted to do," Edie Hardcastle, a USI biology professor, said last week (Webb, Evansville Courier & Press). "And we feel like we have a really good shot at this." The progressive Democrat is trying to flip the District 49 seat occupied by Republican Jim Tomes. For the most part, the competition between Hardcastle and Tomes has bloomed into something rare: a race based on the issues. Tomes told the Courier in September that he refused to go negative. And Hardcastle has stuck to a few major themes that affect every Indiana resident. Two big ones are education and healthcare.

CAMPBELL BRINGS UP BOSMA ALLEGATIONS IN HD26: The gloves came off in the race for House District 26 Thursday, when Indiana Democrats issued mailers designed to cut into Rep. Sally Siegrist, a West Lafayette Republican, landed in House District 26 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 Bosma's defense. The mailer's accusation of Siegrist: "Bad for Women. Bad for Indiana." The mailers support Chris Campbell, a West Lafayette audiologist, as the Democratic candidate.

PORTER COUNTY VOTER OFFICIAL ALLEGES SIGNATURE FORGED: Democrat Director of Porter County Voter Registration Kathy Kozuszek told the Chesterton Tribune today that she has filed a report with the Valparaiso Police Department alleging that a signature on the Voter Registration office's 2018 budget, purportedly hers, was in fact placed on the document by her Republican co-director, Sundae Schoon (Rex, Chesterton Tribune). Kozuszek said she discovered the false signature in April, as she was hoping to hire part-time workers to help answer calls from voters during the 2018 primary and general elections, and was told that the line item from which she wanted to pull funds was empty.

ACCUSATIONS OF DIRTY CAMPAIGN AD IN La PORTE COUNTY PROSECUTOR RACE: The campaign for La Porte County prosecutor has been one of the most hotly contested in this midterm election season, and with just one day before voters go the polls, it's gotten even more intense (Michigan City News-Dispatch). Republican candidate Christina Espar's campaign sent out flyers showing mugshots of several suspects in felony cases, and claims the campaign of Democrat John Lake is using them as unpaid campaign volunteers. Lake said it's part of a campaign to impugn his name, but Espar defended the flyer, though she did pull it off the campaign's Facebook page.

NW INDIANA LOCAL, STATE CANDIDATES RAKE IN $1.5M: Candidates for state legislative and local government races across Northwest Indiana have raked in more than $1.5 million in campaign contributions over last summer and early fall (Dolan, NWI Times). More than 50 Democrats and Republicans in contested races have spent more than $884,000 and were keeping more than $580,000 in reserve before the Nov. 6 general election, according to campaign finance reports.

SD17 FORUM ERUPTS AT RACISM COMMENT: A Facebook conversation from 2015 in which state Sen. Andy Zay (R-Huntington) described affirmative action as discriminatory against white men has followed the senator throughout his campaign this fall, culminating in a chaotic end to a candidate forum Tuesday between Zay and his Democratic challenger, Gary Snyder (Klemann, Wabash Plain Dealer). Snyder referenced Zay's words again Tuesday in his closing statements during a candidate forum hosted by the Wabash County Farm Bureau, eliciting boos from Zay's supporters and condemnation from the forum's moderator, Bill Ruppel, who said Snyder's accusations were "stepping over the line" and in violation of the forum rules against personal attacks.

TOP HOOSIER CEOs DROP $650K ON ELECTION: Eli Lilly and Co. CEO David Ricks has personally given nearly $200,000 to national political campaigns this election cycle (Erdody, IBJ). And he's not alone. An IBJ analysis of political giving by the CEOs of Indiana's biggest companies (based on IBJ's lists of largest companies by revenue) during this election found that 56 executives have donated almost $650,000 to nearly 92 organizations and candidates seeking federal office. The list, which Ricks leads, includes the leaders of companies such as Simon Property Group, Duke Realty and OneAmerica Financial Partners. It does not include donations to state and local races and parties, and the election cycle is two years for all races, except the Senate, which has a six-year fundraising cycle.

$3.2B SPENT ON MEDIA: Estimates for TV and radio alone are around $3.27 billion, according to Advertising Analytics. And estimates for digital ad spend come in at roughly $900 million, according to Kantar Media/CMAG (Axios). For comparison, local TV dollars have nearly eclipsed local TV dollars spent in 2016's presidential cycle. And since the 2014 midterm election, local cable TV spend nearly doubled and digital spend nearly tripled. The biggest spenders on both sides were the top PACs, like Priorities USA and House Majority PAC on the left and the Congressional Leadership Fund and Senate Majority Fund on the right. Republicans and Democrats have each homed in on two major issues in an effort to get voters to the polls. For Democrats, "There's been a lot of message discipline this time around particularly around heath care and the cost of prescription drugs, hikes in premium, and preexisting conditions," says Steve Passwaiter, VP of political advertising at Kantar Media/CMAG. For Republicans, "Trump has moved immigration into almost a parity with health care," says Zac Moffatt, Founder and CEO of Targeted Victory, a digital marketing firm that works primarily with conservatives. "From an execution perspective, Republicans are embracing the president in their marketing."

MYSTERIOUS LETTERS SEEM TO SHAME INDY RECIPIENTS INTO VOTING: Some people in Indianapolis have received mysterious letters from an organization, telling them when they and their neighbors last voted, and seemingly shaming them into voting again (McKinney, WRTV). The letters come from the Center for Voter Information and say, "Public records indicate that you are eligible to vote in 2018. Who you vote for is private, but whether or not you vote is public record." The letters then show a table with the recipient's name, address, and whether or not they voted in 2012, 2012, 2014 and 2016.

CLARK COUNTY DEMOCRATIC RALLY PROMOTES VOTER TURNOUT: A group of Democratic candidates gathered in Jeffersonville on Saturday to rally for progressive ideals and to canvas door-to-door encouraging people to vote (McAfee, News & Tribune). The Clark County Democrats presented a "Get Out the Vote" rally outside the Law Offices of Brittany Blau, 538 E. Court Ave., to encourage voter turnout in the county. U.S. congressional candidate Liz Watson, state senate candidate Anna Murray, and state representative candidate Rita Fleming and other county and statewide candidates were among the speakers.

BROWN COUNTY CLAIMS MOST SECURE VOTING IN STATE: The machines on which most of Brown County's residents will vote sit in the basement of the jail, in a cage secured by three different locks (Clifford, Brown County Democrat). One key is in the hands of the Republican Party, one is in the hands of the Democratic Party, and the other is held by Brown County Clerk Brenda Woods. Kyle Conrad called it "the most secure voting equipment in the state of Indiana." He works for Governmental Business Systems, the vendor that's been providing Brown County's vote-gathering and vote-counting machines for the past 10 years or so.

A DOZEN SCHOOL REFERENDA STATEWIDE: Candidates aren't the only ones with high hopes during election season, as schools turn to voters for more funding support (Lindsay, WFIU). This November there are a dozen school construction and operations referenda up for consideration – that's more than any other November election since 2010. But local tax expert and Purdue professor of agricultural economics Larry DeBoer says school referenda are still pretty rare statewide. About 60 percent of districts have never asked voters to approve additional funding for their schools. "Those that have not tried tend to have lower county incomes, they tend to have lower assessed values and they tend to have lower enrollment growth," he says.

FLORIDA DEMS UP IN POLLS: Florida Democrats woke up to some encouraging news Monday morning: a pair of statewide polls show the Democratic gubernatorial and Senate candidates with slim leads, and registered Democrats surpassed registered Republicans in the early vote total (Wall Street Journal). An NBC News/Marist poll of likely voters conducted from Oct. 30 to Nov. 2 shows Democratic incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson leading Republican Gov. Rick Scott 50% to 46% in the Senate race, and Democrat Andrew Gillum leads Republican Ron DeSantis 50% to 46%. The margin of error is plus or minus 5 percentage points. A Quinnipiac University poll of likely voters shows Mr. Nelson leading Mr. Scott 51% to 44% and has Mr. Gillum up 50% to Mr. DeSantis's 43%. Quinnipiac conducted the poll between Oct. 29 and Nov. 4, and it has a plus or minus 3.5 percentage point margin of error.

MORE AT STAKE FOR DEMOCRATS: Both parties have a lot at stake in the midterms, but it's the Democrats for whom Tuesday's elections are do or die (Rothenberg, Roll Call). With the president's job approval numbers weak and a majority of likely voters telling pollsters they would prefer a Democratic Congress, Democrats simply cannot afford to fall short of taking back the House on Tuesday. A loss would be both gut-wrenching and deflating. With their large financial advantage and strong class of challengers and open-seat recruits, Democrats seem poised to take at least 30 House seats from the GOP, quite possibly more.

REPUBLICANS BRACE FOR MIDWEST MASSACRE: On the eve of the 2018 midterm elections, Republicans are bracing for a massacre in the Midwest (Politico). “When we woke up after the 2016 election, there was a real possibility that we were seeing a realignment among white-working class voters in the Midwest—and that they could go the way that white-working class voters have gone in the south over the past generation,” said Matt Grossman, a political scientist at Michigan State University. “But two years later, there’s no sign that those gains are holding or being extended. Instead, there are a lot of campaigns in that region where Republicans are struggling to be competitive.” Trump bears much of the responsibility. His approval rating has plunged, by double digits, in most Midwestern states. His presidency has energized the Democratic base in ways Hillary Clinton never could. His party’s rewrite of the tax code was disproportionately beneficial to wealthy people and corporations; to the extent the law is popular with voters, he barely tries to promote it. And his trade warring has been particularly burdensome to farmers, manufacturers and blue-collar workers in the Rust Belt, with numerous Republicans from affected states, including Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and National Republican Congressional Committee chairman Steve Stivers of Ohio, pleading privately with Trump and his aides to find resolution.

PUNDITS HEDGE THEIR BETS: Nearly two years removed from President Trump’s upset, political reporters and pundits are increasingly hedging their analysis of the 2018 midterm elections, as you can see in the video above (Washington Post). Sunday talking heads expressed skepticism about Tuesday’s outcomes, even though polls — if not the pundits who read them — have remained highly accurate. “I am a little nervous, too, because of this turnout,” NBC News’s Chuck Todd said Sunday. “One thing that is so interesting is just about the fact that things are still up in the air,” CNN’s Jake Tapper said. “I will be surprised if I’m not surprised,” ABC News’s Jonathan Karl said.


Congress

DONNELLY ON LACK OF MATERNITY CARE IN INDIANA: U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly (D-IN) highlighted in a news release a troubling new report from March of Dimes that shows significant geographical disparities in maternity care access in Indiana and across the country (Howey Politics Indiana). According to the report, 52 Hoosier counties have limited access to maternity care, which means they have few hospitals offering obstetric care and minimal obstetric providers. Further, 25 of these counties are maternity care deserts with no hospitals providing obstetric care, no obstetric providers, and a high proportion of women without health insurance.


State

GOVERNOR: HOLCOMB TO ADDRESS BGD CONFERENCE NEXT MONTH - A news release announced Gov. Eric Holcomb will be distinguished speaker Dec. 12 at the annual legislative conference hosted by Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP (Howey Politics Indiana). "BGD LegCon offers first-hand information from decision makers, policy makers and engaged public servants from across the state," the release stated. The all-day event is slated for the Indiana Convention Center. Registration deadline is Dec. 7.

STATEHOUSE: ANTI-FRAUD TAX REFUND PROGRAM HALTS $9.7M IN PAYMENTS - The Indiana Department of Revenue says identity theft prevention and refund fraud detection programs helped halt more than $9.7 million in improper payments during the 2018 budget year (Associated Press). Revenue Commissioner Adam Krupp tells The (Northwest Indiana) Times the department is benefiting from combining technology with dedicated fraud monitoring specialists in partnership with other tax agencies. Indiana for years has required selected taxpayers who say they are entitled to refunds to complete a four-question online identity confirmation quiz as part of the process of submitting their income tax returns. Fraud prevention programs over the past five years have denied payment on more than $119 million.

STATEHOUSE: AG OFFICE SECURES $5.1M DENTAL CLINIC SETTLEMENT - The Indiana Attorney General's Office has helped secure a $5.1 million settlement with two dental firms accused of improperly billing Indiana Medicaid for unperformed or unnecessary dental services (Stancombe, Indiana Lawyer). The settlement, reached in conjunction with U.S. Attorney Russell M. Coleman in the Western District of Kentucky, resolves claims that ImmediaDent of Indiana LLC improperly billed Indiana Medicaid for dental services in its nine dental practices in Indiana. Another firm involved in the settlement, Samson Dental Partners LLC, provides administrative and other support services to ImmediaDent.

STATEHOUSE: HILL WARNS OF FALSE VEHICLE ADS ONLINE - Attorney General Curtis Hill is warning consumers purchasing vehicles from online advertisements to check the identity of sellers before responding to such ads, a news release stated (Howey Politics Indiana). Multiple Indiana consumers have contacted the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division alleging they have lost money after wiring payments to an unknown person posting online advertisements purporting to sell vintage vehicles, typically 1950-era trucks.

STATEHOUSE: DNR ASKED TO NIX POWER LINES THROUGH STATE PARK - The idea of power lines running through the Farm at Prophetstown, a nonprofit replica of a 1920s working farm at Prophetstown State Park, isn't sitting well, as Greater Lafayette officials mount pressure to steer the Indiana Department of Natural Resources to another solution (Bangert, Lafayette Journal & Courier). West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis on Monday said he was in touch with Gov. Eric Holcomb last week, echoing pleas from the Farm at Prophetstown as the DNR considers where to move a set of Duke Energy lines that go over a mining operation that one day will be a lake near the state park entrance in Battle Ground. State Sen. Ron Alting, a Lafayette Republican, said he's discussed the situation with DNR officials and is convinced "they want to do what is right."

DEVELOPMENT: LOCAL OFFICIALS MUM AMID AMAZON HQ2 REPORTS - Local officials involved with the bid to bring Amazon's $5 billion HQ2 project to Indianapolis remained mum on Monday after reports over the weekend that indicated as many as three competitors were in "advanced" or "late" stages of negotiations (Associated Press & IBJ). Local organizers for the Indianapolis bid declined to comment Monday on the city's chances as Amazon nears the Dec. 31 deadline it has set to make its decision. "While we will not comment on any specifics of the Indianapolis regional bid for Amazon HQ2, we remain dedicated to providing Amazon the information needed for their team to make this important decision," said Joe Pellman, director of marketing and communications for Indy Chamber, which took the lead in spearheading the local bid.

ECONOMY: USDA ISSUES $55.9M IN PAYMENTS TO INDIANA FARMERS - USDA Indiana Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director, Steven Brown, announced that approximately $55.9 million will be paid to Indiana farms that enrolled in Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) for 2017 market downturns (Hoosier Ag Today). Additionally, Indiana FSA will distribute approximately $41 million in Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) rental payments to landowners for their commitment to conservation stewardship. "ARC and PLC were authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill to protect farmers against unexpected drops in crop prices or revenues," Brown said. "These payments help provide reassurance to Indiana farm families who continue to persevere, even in this tough farm economy." According to Brown, PLC payments have triggered for 2017 barley, canola, corn, grain sorghum, wheat and other crops.

ECONOMY: U.S. STEEL POSTS 3Q PROFIT OF $291M - U.S. Steel Corporation (USS) is reporting net earnings in the third quarter of 2018 of $291 million or $1.62 per diluted share, compared to $214 million or $1.20 in the second quarter and $147 million or 83 cents in the year-ago period (Nevers, Chesterton Tribune). "Our third-quarter results were in line with our expectations, with a significant improvement in earnings from our flat-rolled segment and a return to profitability for our tubular segment," USS President and CEO David Burritt said in a statement.

ENERGY: NIPSCO MOVING FROM COAL TO RENEWABLES - The Indiana utility NIPSCO wants to move from about 65 percent coal-powered to mostly renewables by 2028. That’s a big shift for NIPSCO, but it’s hard to say if other Indiana utilities will follow suit (Indiana Public Media). Its director of communications, Nick Meyer, says cost was a major factor in the company’s decision to move toward wind and solar and away from coal. “You avoid that fuel cost and not to mention these are aging facilities that are within our fleet and so you don’t have the upkeep and operating and maintenance costs associated with those plants,” he says. The utility has also decided to retire its five remaining coal units early. The ones at the R.M. Schahfer Generating Station in Wheatfield would close by 2023 and the Michigan City Generating station in Michigan City would shutter by 2028. NIPSCO expects the move to mostly renewables would cut carbon emissions by 90 percent in the region they serve. Meyer says NIPSCO also found that renewables would likely be cheaper than natural gas.

RAIL: MORE TRAINS TO ROLL THROUGH SOUTHERN INDIANA NEXT MONTH - As promised, more trains soon will be rolling through Seymour, and they will be longer and faster, railroad officials said (Rutherford, Seymour Tribune). Train traffic through the city is expected to increase the first week of December, now that a couple of major railroad projects have been completed. "Beginning as soon as Dec. 4, with the track realignment in Seymour and the completion of the Flat Rock River Bridge replacement, communities may see an increase in train speed, frequency, and length on the Louisville & Indiana Railroad," said company president John Goldman.

RAIL: MAYOR McDERMOTT LAUNCHES STOPPED TRAIN CAMPAIGN - Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott recently embarked on a social media campaign, with the hashtag #StoppedTrainSelfie, to shine a spotlight on the issue (Cross, NWI Times). Blocked crossings are a problem for most communities in Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties. That's why Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott recently embarked on a social media campaign, with the hashtag #StoppedTrainSelfie, to shine a spotlight on the issue. "They'll ignore Mayor Thomas McDermott of Hammond. (Valparaiso) Mayor Jon Costas. They'll ignore Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson. But if we all get together, they can't ignore that," McDermott said. McDermott is hoping to rally local leaders as he heads up a new local task force aimed at forming long-term solutions to the nagging problem of stopped trains.

RAIL: SOUTH SHORE DOUBLE-TRACKING PLANS PROGRESS - Plans to double track the South Shore rail line have cleared a key regulatory step (McGowan, Inside Indiana Business). The Federal Transit Administration has issued a Finding of No Significant Impact following review of the environmental assessment of the estimated $300 million project. The finding from the U.S. Department of Transportation agency means development can continue after final approval on what the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District calls the project's "environmental capstone decision-making document."

CHILDCARE: ONLY 12% HAVE ACCESS TO LICENSED FACILITIES - A recent report from the think tank Center for American Progress looks at so-called childcare deserts in Indiana (Lindsay,WFIU). It says there are more than eight Hoosier children for every one spot available in licensed childcare, or in other words, licensed providers in the state have the capacity to serve just 12 percent of the state's infants and toddlers. Some families might prefer other options, like close relatives or friends, but spokesperson for the nonprofit Early Learning Indiana, Jeff Harris, says there are key educational benefits from licensed programs.

GAMING: FEDS SAY HORSESHOE CASINO OWES WORKERS $175K - Following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (WHD), Las Vegas-based Caesar's Entertainment Group will pay $175,128 in back wages and liquidated damages to 889 employees at two Indiana casinos it operates, for minimum wage violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Department of Labor (DOL) is reporting (Chesterton Tribune). WHD investigators determined that Horseshoe Hammond Casino in Hammond and the Horseshoe Southern Indiana Casino in Elizabeth made deductions from employees' wages to cover their costs for individual employees' casino gaming licenses required by the Indiana Gaming Commission.


Nation

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP CLAIMS HE WON’T MEET WITH PUTIN IN PARIS - President Donald Trump said Monday he “probably” won’t be meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin when he travels to Paris later this week, but will meet with him at the G-20 gathering of world leaders later this year in Argentina (Associated Press). White House national security adviser John Bolton had said previously that Trump would meet with Putin this week when he travels to Paris for the Armistice Day 100th anniversary. But Trump told reporters as he departed for a trio of rallies Monday that he wasn’t sure the venue was right. “I’m not sure that we’ll have a meeting in Paris. Probably not,” Trump said on the tarmac at Joint Base Andrews before taking off for a trio of get-the-vote rallies the day before the midterm elections.

WHITE HOUSE: PENCE SAYS INFRASTRUCTURE UP NEXT - Vice President Pence in an interview that aired Monday on "Rising" said that President Trump would push an infrastructure reform package after the new Congress is sworn in next year (The Hill). "There's an infrastructure bill. This builder that became president would like to rebuild the infrastructure of America," Pence told Hill.TV's Buck Sexton on Friday. "Not only our roads and bridge, and highways and byways, and ports and airports." "We think there's an opportunity to work in a bipartisan way in the Congress of the United States to advance that," he continued. Pence, in the same interview, said he believed Republicans would keep control in both the House and the Senate.

JUSTICE: CIVIL RIGHTS DIVISION TO MONITOR ELECTIONS IN 35 COUNTIES - When Americans head to the polls on Tuesday for the midterm elections, voters in 35 counties — from Las Vegas to Dallas to Tampa — will head to precincts that are being closely monitored by the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division for "compliance with the federal voting rights laws," the DOJ announced Monday (Roll Call). "Voting rights are constitutional rights, and they're part of what it means to be an American," Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement. Sessions also warned that "fraud in the voting process will not be tolerated."

COURTS: SCOTUS REJECTS NET NEUTRALITY APPEAL - The Supreme Court has ended the court fight over repealed Obama-era "net neutrality" rules that required internet providers to treat all online traffic equally (Associated Press). The court on Monday rejected appeals from the telecommunications industry seeking to throw out a lower court ruling in favor of the "net neutrality" rules. The Federal Communications Commission under President Donald Trump has rolled back the rules, but the industry also wanted to wipe the court ruling off the books. Conservative Justices Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas would have granted the industry's request.


Local

CITIES: NOBLESVILLE SCHOOL SHOOTING SUSPECT APOLOGIZES - In a statement presented by attorneys in court, the 13-year-old suspect in the Noblesville West Middle School shooting apologized to his classmate, seventh-grader Ella Whistler, who was shot multiple times (IndyStar). "I wish I could have been the geeky jokester who annoyed you," the boy wrote. He will not take the stand during Monday's juvenile court hearing, but his attorneys read his statement aloud for the court.

CITIES: OFFICERS ADDED AFTER 'NON-CREDIBLE' THREAT AT DECATUR SCHOOL - More school resource officers were on hand Monday at Decatur Middle School (Fox59). The extra officers were a precaution after a "non-credible" social media threat. Some parents were upset at how the district handed the case. The school district posted on Facebook that there was an online threat concerning a middle school student. The school consulted with IMPD and said the threat wasn't credible.

CITIES: PORTAGE TREASURER SAYS CITY 'SCRIMPING' TO MAKE IT - Clerk-treasurer Chris Stidham said this past week the city will be "scrimping" and "struggling financially" to make it through the year (Russell, NWI Times). "It is worse than I've seen in my seven years" as clerk-treasurer, said Stidham about the state of the city's budget. Stidham contends the city could be as much as $700,000 in the hole by year's end between a $450,000 cash deficit and anticipated $250,000 in unpaid bills.

CITIES: NEW COMPREHENSIVE PLAN IN WORKS FOR SHELBYVILLE - Planners are set to work on a final draft of Shelbyville's new Comprehensive Plan following public input on the plan's main elements (Walker, Shelbyville News). Cory Daly, a partner at HWC Engineering, the city's consultant on drafting the new comp plan, presented the main elements to the audience. Daly cited demographics as the starting point for developing the plan, calling them a "benchmark" of the community.

CITIES: ANDERSON STARTING JOB TRAINING PROGRAM - Seeing numerous jobs in Anderson going unfilled, Mayor Thomas Broderick Jr. is developing an internship program to provide local residents with the necessary skills (de la Bastide, Anderson Herald Bulletin). Broderick recently returned from a trip to Japan where he met with officials from five companies with a presence in Anderson to strengthen relationships for possible future expansion. Broderick said Thursday that he has gotten a commitment from several of those companies and an interest to participate from others in a job training program.

CITIES: PRAISE FOR INDY'S DIGITAL CITY HALL - To apply for a property tax deduction, Marion County residents used to have to trek downtown to the City-County Building, find parking, get through security, and take the elevator up to Marion County Auditor Julie Voorhies' eighth-floor office (Colombo, IBJ). Now, residents are completing the process through a web portal launched earlier this year, saving time for both residents and staff members.

CITIES: WATER INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECT UNDERWAY IN GARY - A major water infrastructure project is underway in Gary following a groundbreaking Friday by Greenwood-based Indiana American Water (Parker, Inside Indiana Business). The work includes installing nearly two miles of 36-inch water main to replace nearly a century-old 20-inch water main. Indiana American Water says it has committed to more than $127 million in investment in northwest Indiana over the last several years. Projects include close to $67 million in water main and hydrants replacement, $23 million for new meters and service lines and some $38 million for pumping, treatment, storage and operations facilities improvements.

CITIES: STUDY FAVORS CONNERSVILLE WATER PLANT OPTION - An international engineering company has completed its study of proposals for expanding sewer treatment capabilities for the Western Wayne Regional Sewer District (Smith, Connersville News Examiner). "It can be concluded that from a planning level cost comparison, including the Wayne County contribution of $3 million to the Connersville Regionalization option, cost comparisons favor the Connersville Regionalization alternative over the WWTP (Western Wayne Treatment Plant) upgrade alternative," the report summarized. Hometown Engineering included a 24-inch force main from a pump station in Cambridge City to Connersville in order to account for the peak flow requirements.

CITIES: INDY'S COLLEGE AVENUE BRIDGE TO REOPEN - The Indianapolis Department of Public Works announced today that favorable weather and an efficient construction schedule has allowed for the reopening of the College Avenue bridge over Fall Creek nearly two weeks ahead of schedule. Initially expected to open on Nov. 17, the bridge was closed in mid-September for deck resurfacing and sidewalk repairs. This evening, DPW and contractor crews will begin operations to remove barriers around the bridge and re-program signage and signals in the area. Motorists and pedestrians can expect full use of the bridge for Tuesday morning's commute.

CITIES: 181 GUNS COLLECTED AT INDY EVENT - Metro Police collected 181 guns and in return gave out $19,000 in gift cards (WTHR-TV). They were offering $80 or more for weapons at the MLK Center. Indy Ceasefire is organized by local clergy, law enforcement and other community groups.

CITIES: RICHMOND WINERY OF 10 YEARS TO CLOSE - Jeff and Melody Haist knew they would someday open a winery, but it took them a couple of years before they could find the perfect venue (Kirby, Richmond Palladium-Item). Then they came across 3415 National Road West, and for 10 years, that was the location they served the community as owners of J&J Winery. On Wednesday, the Haists announced that run would end, and they would close the winery by the end of the year, including wine sales and all other uses of the facility.

COUNTIES: HAMILTON WEIGHS 10% TAX HIKE - Income taxes in Hamilton County could increase 10 percent under a proposal for funding the county's 911 center (Quinn, IBJ). For at least a year, county officials have debated how best to pay for the county's 911 communications operation going forward. Now, some leaders are discussing a 0.1-percentage-point tax increase that would specifically fund emergency dispatch services. The county's income tax rate is currently 1 percent.