By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Indianapolis

1. Labor Day election milepost

Here are your Tuesday power lunch talking points: We've passed the Labor Day mile post, the typical starting point for the election home stretch. In the municipal elections this year, we're watching potential tight races in Fort Wayne where Mayor Tom Henry is seeking a fourth term against Republican Tim Smith; the open Kokomo seat where Democrat Abbey Smith is facing Republican Howard County Commissioner Tyler Moore; New Albany where Republican businessman Mark Seabrook is challenging Democrat Jeff Gahan; and the open Elkhart seat where former mayor Dave Smith is facing Democrat Rod Roberson; and the open Muncie seat where Democrat Terri Whitt Bailey faces Republican Councilman Dan Ridenour. All of these races are either tossup or leans. We give Henry an early advantage, while Seabrook may be in the best position to pull off an upset. We think incumbents in Indianapolis (Democrat Joe Hogsett), Terre Haute (Republican Duke Bennett), Evansville (Lloyd Winnecke) and Anderson (Democrat Tom Broderick) are all likely winners.

Labor Day 2019 marks a year out in a state and national context. Gov. Eric Holcomb will likely face Democrat Dr. Woody Myers, though State Sen. Eddie Melton is still a potential, albeit long-shot nominee. A Morning Consult Poll in July puts Holcomb's approve/disapprove at 50/22%. Nationally, the Real Clear Politics composite national right/wrong track stands at a sour 36.3/56.7% while President Trump's RCP composite job approval stands at 42.8 approve and 54.1% disapprove. More troubling for Trump is that he could not poll over 40% against any of the top four Democratic contenders in a recent Quinnipiac Poll: Joe Biden 54-38%, Bernie Sanders 53-39%, Elizabeth Warren 52-40%, Kamala Harris 51-40%, and Mayor Pete Buttigieg 49-40%. Things can change, as 2016 proved, but at this point Donald Trump is in Herbert Hoover territory.

2. Holcomb unveils campaign

Gov. Eric Holcomb's reelection campaign formally announced its senior team: Joe Elsener as deputy campaign manager and political director, Mindy Colbert as finance director, and Matt Huckleby as deputy campaign manager. Indiana Republican Chairman Kyle Hupfer is managing the campaign and Clark County Sheriff Jamey Noel is the chairman. Not on board for the reelect is communications director Pete Seat who is leaving INGOP on Sept. 13 and will announce future plans soon.

3. Biden whiffs on the why

“How badly do you want to be president?” Joe Biden was asked after a recent speech in Prole, Iowa. NYT's  Mark Liebovich: The answer to such an inquiry would appear self-evident in the case of Mr. Biden, who began his running-for-president routine more than three decades ago; in other words, very badly, one would assume. Biden: “I think it’s really, really, really important that Donald Trump not be re-elected. Could I die happily not having heard ‘Hail to the Chief’ play for me? Yeah, I could.” Whew. That's a conspicuous whiff.

4. Pence assails Kremlin

It's like pulling teeth to get President Trump to acknowledge Russian assaults on the U.S. election, let alone saying anything negative about President Putin. Vice President Mike Pence did in Poland. "With its efforts to meddle in elections across Europe and around the world, now is the time for us to remain vigilant about the intentions and actions being taken by Russia," Pence said. 

5. No picnic for KKK

There was supposed to be a Ku Klux Klan picnic in Madison over the weekend, but protesters, including Mike Gamms who showed up in a Spiderman outfit, disrupted their plans. WDRB: Just after 1:30, a small motorcade of KKK members first arrived. After revving their engines past the counter protesters, about 10 klan members parked at an adjacent pavilion with two carry-out pizzas in hand. Law enforcement was there to keep the peace as counter protesters outnumbered the KKK. After a war of words, the KKK left. "Well, we're hoping this might have been a good reminder that, guess what, they're losing steam," said Mary Childress, a woman from Madison.

Have a great week, folks. It's The Atomic!