Hamilton County businessman Brian Roth didn't have enough signatures to qualify for the GOP gubernatorial ballot
Hamilton County businessman Brian Roth didn't have enough signatures to qualify for the GOP gubernatorial ballot
By BRIAN A. HOWEY

INDIANAPOLIS — The gubernatorial field is set. Democrat Woody Myers will challenge Gov. Eric Holcomb, who starts with more than a $7 million cash advantage.

If there was any drama left in this race, it was whether Myers and Indianapolis businessman Josh Owens would have enough signatures to qualify for the ballot by last Friday’s noon filing deadline. Myers announced last Thursday that he did; Owens did, too, but then dropped out of the race. He seemed to equate who filed their signatures first was tantamount to winning the primary. “We knew the primary was going to come down to who qualified for the ballot first,” Owens told the IBJ. “It was going to be a sprint. We knew the primary might be decided before May.”

With that mind-numbing logic in place, Myers told the IBJ that “it’s a very different race when you don’t have a primary challenger. It just means you have to double down on your efforts in order to make sure you get the resources you need, the votes that you need, on and on. I’ve got 270 days left in my job interview. I consider a campaign to be a very long job interview. I’m going to continue to work to earn every single vote that I can get. I know we need between 1 million and 1.3 million Hoosiers to see things our way and to give me this opportunity to serve, and I’m going to give them every reason to say yes between now and November.”

Besides Owens, the other “stunt candidate” (i.e. an obscure hopeful with no track record inside the party, running to seek publicity) is Republican Brian Roth of Hamilton County. He filed, but in a campaign Facebook posting said he will wait to see if the secretary of state’s office will qualify him. Roth posted on his personal Facebook page, “It might be over in the mind of Kyle Hupfer but options remain. We did fall short of collecting the required signatures.”

Indiana Republican Chairman Kyle Hupfer, who doubles as Holcomb’s campaign manager, said Friday, “While Brian Roth came up short of collecting the necessary signatures to be on the May primary ballot, I appreciate the effort he and his supporters put in over the last few months to be active in our party. Although his signature collection effort was not successful and he will not be on the ballot in May, I am encouraged by Brian’s willingness to put himself in the public arena.”

Campaign spokesman Jake Oakman told HPI on Sunday, “The secretary of state’s office lists him as a candidate because he filed, but he wouldn’t be able to sustain a challenge to the Election Board.” Oakman said Roth is about 2,000 signatures short. “Someone could file with no signatures at all and they’d be on the ballot if no one challenged it.” The Holcomb campaign won’t file that challenge, but expects one to come from a citizen.

Holcomb endorsed by Indiana Builders

Indiana Builders Association endorsed Holcomb, the first time the association has made a preference. “It is critical that the home building industry support candidates for public office that understand the important role housing plays in Indiana’s overall economy,” said Indiana Builders Association President Brett Harter. “Gov. Holcomb’s success in bringing jobs to our state and making Indiana a desired place to work and live during his tenure has earned the support and respect of our leadership across the state.  It is our honor to endorse his reelection as Indiana’s governor.” According to Harter, Gov. Holcomb’s leadership in Indiana’s long-term infrastructure plan, Next Level Jobs initiative and community rehabilitation efforts make him an ideal candidate for the association. This is the first endorsement ever made by the IBA.

Congress

1st CD: 19 candidates file

Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. is the frontrunner for this open seat, and faces a spirited challenge from North Township Trustee Frank Mrvan Jr., and State Rep Mara Candaleria Reardon and Jim Harper, along with 11 other Democratic candidates. Six Republicans also filed.

5th CD: Brizzi enters race

Former Marion County prosecutor Carl Brizzi is joining the crowded field of Republicans seeking the nomination to run for Indiana’s 5th CD (Indiana Lawyer). Brizzi served as Marion County prosecutor for two terms, from 2002 until 2010, before going back into private practice. He was known as a political up-and-comer who had a high conviction rate, especially for narcotics and sex-crimes cases. For years, Brizzi was embattled in controversy stemming from accusations he accepted bribes while in office. He was investigated by the FBI for accepting $25,000 in campaign contributions from the father of a woman who was seeking a modification to a murder sentence and for arranging a lenient plea bargain for a business partner’s client. He was never charged with a crime. Then in 2017, he was suspended from practicing law in Indiana for 30 days after the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission found he violated prohibitions against representing a client in a case in which he had a personal interest. “I’ve been through the trenches,” he said. “I don’t think anyone has been more investigated or vetted than I have been, so I see it as a plus.” The GOP field includes Kent Abernathy, Andrew Bates, Micah Beckwith, Allen R. Davidson, Chuck Dietzen, Beth Henderson, Matthew Hook, Matthew Hullinger, Danny Niederberger, Indiana Treasurer Kelly Mitchell, State Sen. Victoria Spartz, Mark Small, Victor Wakley and Russell Stwalley.

Braun headlines Henderson fundraiser

U.S. Sen. Mike Braun and former state senator Luke Kenley will host a fundraiser for 5th CD Republican candidate Beth Henderson from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 17, at the Booth Tarkington House owned by Doris Anne and Tim Sadler with Nancy and Charlie Hiltunen as co-hosts.

Cardwell endorses Dietzen


Chuck Dietzen received the endorsement of former Indiana Republican chairman Jeff Cardwell. “I am proud to endorse Dr. Chuck Dietzen for United States Congress,” Cardwell said. “Chuck is an unapologetic pro-life conservative leader and the embodiment of Hoosier values. I have known Chuck for over 20 years as we have served together to combat global housing, hunger, and health challenges. His heart for serving others remains unmatched and his passion to walk alongside those in need are both admirable and contagious. A doctor, an entrepreneur, and a lifelong Republican; there is no one more fit to serve Hoosiers in Washington.”

Hale endorsed by Action Fund

The New Democratic Action Fund announced their endorsement of Christina Hale for Congress. “NewDems stand for fresh approaches, bold ideas, and meaningful progress,” said Congressman Ami Bera, chair of the NewDem Action Fund. “Christina has committed to that same approach and has what it takes to win in this competitive district. We look forward to standing side by side through 2020 and beyond.” Hale had previously been named a “candidate to watch” by the organization and has gone on to earn the support of dozens of state, local and national groups and has set fundraising records. “I am running for Congress to get things done, to work across the aisle and to restore some common sense to Washington,” said Hale. “I’m excited to know that there are others that share my practical approach.”

6th CD: Last 3 Dem nominees file

The last three unsuccessful 6th CD Democratic nominees have filed for the nomination to take on U.S. Rep. Greg Pence. They are George T. Holland, Barry Welsh, and 2018 nominee Jeannine Lee Lake.

8th CD: Drake seeks rematch

The 2016 Democratic nominee Ron Drake has filed, seeking a rematch with U.S. Rep. Larry Bucshon. Drake faces labor activist Thomasina Marsili and Mike Webster.

9th CD: 5 Dems seek nomination

Five Democrats seeking the nomination to challenge U.S. Rep. Trey Hollingsworth are former Bloomington councilman Andy Ruff, Rev. Mark Powell, Brandon Hood, Liam Dorris and James O’Gabhann III.

Statewides

Attorney general: Melton endorses Tallian


State Sen. Karen Tallian has been endorsed by State Sen. Eddie Melton for attorney general. Tallian faces former Evansville mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel. “Karen Tallian has been a great partner and leader in the Senate,” Melton said. “Her record and expertise on criminal justice reform make her the clear choice for attorney general. I look forward to continuing our work to strengthen our communities when she is attorney general.”

General Assembly


HD6: Bauer’s daughter running

Maureen Bauer is seeking to extend the family dynasty to three generations; she filed for the seat State Rep. B. Patrick Bauer and her grandfather, Bernie Bauer, held for almost 60 years. Rep. Bauer, 75, a Democrat who held the seat for 50 years, announced Jan. 27 that he would step down. Running in the May 5 Democratic primary to succeed him are his daughter, Maureen Bauer, 35; Drew Duncan, 30; and Garrett Blad, 25. St. Joseph County Democratic Party Chair Stan Wruble told the South Bend Tribune that when Bauer told him he wouldn’t seek reelection, and that his daughter would run for his seat, Bauer commented, “Money for her campaign won’t be a problem.” When contacted by The Tribune, Bauer said he hadn’t decided whether to give the money to his daughter’s campaign. If he does, he won’t give it all to her, he said; he’ll also give some to other Democrats who polling indicates can win their races.  Maureen Bauer said, “I plan to fundraise and knock on doors, make phone calls and do all that is typical of a campaign. In the end, it’s about meeting the voters and getting their vote for the most qualified candidate, which I believe I am. I think some of the money will certainly stay in the district to get the House District 6 candidate elected, but there are many other races that are important. My dad has worked very hard across the state to get Democrats elected.”

HD36: Pierce to challenge Austin

Republican Kyle Pierce has filed to run for HD36 and as the only Republican to file, will challenge State Rep. Terri Austin. “Citizens of House District 36 deserve a state representative who will work every day to protect manufacturing jobs and to attract high paying industries. My experience as former deputy director of the Indiana Medical Device Manufacturers Council will allow me to focus on job creation for Hoosiers starting on day one,” Pierce said in a statement released Monday. “I will fight to direct more education dollars to the classroom where it will work for Hoosier children and their families, while also fighting against funding special interests,” Pierce added.

SD36: Dems run digital ads v. Sandlin

The Indiana Senate Democrats Committee, the campaign arm of the Indiana Senate Democratic Caucus, today announced “Big Government Jack Sandlin,” a new digital ad buy focused on Senate Bill 436 and its co-author State Sen. Jack Sandlin (SD-36). SB 436 would have allowed the state government to supercede prosecutorial discretion and prosecute Hoosiers who are simply following their local city policies. This bill is a direct contradiction to the Indiana Republican Party’s political attacks on “big government” over the last decade.

SD10: Bowman challenges Niezgodski

Local attorney Alex C. Bowman has launched a primary challenge to State Sen. David Niezgodski. “Elections should be about choice,” Bowman said about his decision to become the second of two Democratic candidates vying for the position. “I believe it’s always better for the voters to choose their candidates than to have the choice made for them.” Bowman said he was keeping a years-old promise he made to himself, that upon earning his law degree he would return to his hometown and be a voice for people in the community that means so much to him. “I am committed to promoting the kind of economic growth and job opportunities in South Bend and Mishawaka.”