By BRIAN A. HOWEY

CARMEL - State Sen. John Ruckelshaus told HPI late Wednesday that he is doing his “due diligence” about entering the Republican 5th CD race. “We are very seriously weighing a bid. It just takes time,” Ruckelshaus said before he headed out on a nightly door-to-door excursion in SD30. He noted that his Senate district compromises a little under 20% of the 5th CD population.

“The reason it’s taking so long is my Senate term expires at the same time. It’s one or the other. I don’t get one of those free passes,” Ruckelshaus said. “Congress has always been a dream of my with our family history. Hopefully around Labor Day we’ll come to some kind of conclusion.” He said he is in weekly consultation with his uncle, William Ruckelshaus, the former EPA director and state senator who lost a U.S. Senate race to Sen. Birch Bayh in 1968. “When I talk to people in Washington, they are looking for someone who can win in difficult circumstances,” Ruckelshaus said. He said that he won his 2016 race by 5% in a district Donald Trump lost by 19%. “There is a lot of interest out of Washington in that,” he said.
 
Two months in, so far only Rev. Micah Beckwith has filed FEC paperwork. Others including former state senator Mike Delph, Treasurer Kelly Mitchell (who has put her house up for sale to move into the district), former BMV commissioner Ken Abernathy, businessman Terry Henderson and former state rep and DWD director Steve Braun are acting like future candidates. 

Delph has the support of former congressman Todd Rokita, returning the favor from 2016 when the former senator backed Rokita in the U.S. Senate race won by Todd Young.

Former Indianapolis mayor Greg Ballard took a pass, as has Fishers Deputy Mayor Leah McGrath (she had some potentially powerful supporters in the wings). “I am grateful and humbled by the encouragement I received and for the people who shared their time and advice with us,” McGrath said. “After much discernment, however, we concluded it is not the right time for our family. There is more I can do to serve my community here at home.” Sen. Victoria Spartz has reportedly signaled to supporters she won’t run. 

2nd CD: Walorski posts $299k

Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-2nd, raised more than $299,000 in the second quarter and nearly $638,000 for the election cycle. Her finance report showed she had almost $581,000 in cash on hand (Fort Wayne Journal Gazette). South Bend attorney Pat Hackett seeks the Democratic nomination in the 2nd District, filing her candidacy in February. Hackett, who finished second to Mel Hall in the 2018 Democratic primary, lent her campaign $750 in the second quarter and $2,250 for the cycle to date. 

3rd CD: Banks posts $130k

Rep. Jim Banks, R-3rd, raised more than $130,000 in the second quarter, bringing his total to more than $294,000 for the 2019-20 election cycle. He ended the quarter with nearly $111,000 in cash on hand, according to the campaign finance report he filed with the Federal Election Commission (Fort Wayne Journal Gazette). Dr. Chris Magiera announced last month that he will challenge Banks in the Republican primary election next May. Magiera has not filed a campaign finance report with the FEC. Magiera is the husband of Pam Galloway, who ran against Banks and four other candidates in the 2016 primary, lending her campaign $250,000 along the way.

U.S. Senate: Young raises $345k

Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., raised $345,000 in the second quarter and $1.7 million for the cycle, and he had $680,000 in cash. Young next faces re-election in 2022 (Fort Wayne Journal Gazette). Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., raised more than $60,000 in the quarter and more than $6.8 million for the cycle, including $6.4 million of his own money, and he had nearly $100,000 in cash on hand. Braun faces reelection in 2024.

Mayors

Indianapolis: Hogsett’s $1.2B budget

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett on Monday evening unveiled his $1.2 billion spending proposal for the city’s 2020 budget, most of which is dedicated to public safety, the criminal justice system and public works spending on roads and bridges (Colombo, IBJ). But there’s at least one big change: Starting next year, the city of Indianapolis will no longer fund a preschool program that launched five years ago under former Mayor Greg Ballard. Starting next school year, the 4-year-olds that were served by the city’s program will be absorbed into the state’s On My Way Pre-K program, eliminating the need for city funding. However, the state did not provide funding for 3-year-olds and the city will not provide funding either. The Indianapolis preschool program, launched as a five-year program by former Mayor Greg Ballard, cost the city $4 million annually and is administered by the mayor’s Office of Education Innovation. Hogsett’s chief of staff, Thomas Cook, said the mayor’s office sought corporate and philanthropic support to keep the preschool program for 3-year-olds running. But, he said, “Ultimately, neither the corporate or philanthropic [communities] expressed an interest in continuing to fund just 3-year-olds.” Without outside support, Cook said, “There wasn’t a particularly compelling financial argument to just fund the 3-year-old program.”

Republican nominee Jim Merritt said that Hogsett is ignoring the council. “Once again, Mayor Hogsett has proposed a budget unilaterally, with little to no input from many members of the City County Council,” Merritt said. “Last year’s budget was inadequate from the beginning. Over the course of the past eight months, the mayor has gone back to the council no less than eight times for additional appropriations. This raises serious questions about transparency and an honestly balanced budget proposal. We deserve better.”

Decatur: Dem off ballot

The Adams County Election Board voted 2-1 on Tuesday to disqualify Daniel Rickord as the Democratic nominee for mayor of Decatur (Francisco, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette). The board sustained a challenge by the county Republican Party, which contended that Rickord had failed to declare his candidacy in writing before a state-imposed June 30 deadline. The election board’s decision means that Republican Mayor Kenneth Meyer will be unopposed in the Nov. 5 municipal election. “I’m stumped right now. I’m amazed,” Rickord said after the board hearing in the courthouse. “I feel bad for the citizens of Decatur. I believe (the board) should have done what was right for the citizens and let them vote.” Rickord and Democratic Party Chairwoman Barb Engle argued that an oral declaration of candidacy Rickord made to Engle on June 27 satisfied the state requirement and that they filed necessary paperwork with the county clerk ahead of a July 3 deadline. 

Anderson: Candidates talk development

The No. 1 issue since the 1980s when it comes to electing a mayor of Anderson has been job creation. Every mayor since the administration of Republican Tom McMahan has had as a primary focus encouraging investment by companies and the creation of new employment opportunities (de la Bastide, Anderson Herald-Bulletin). Incumbent Democrat Thomas Broderick Jr. is seeking a second term in November and is being challenged by Republican Rick Gardner, the current Madison County auditor, and Libertarian Rob Jozwiak, a local business owner. “We will continue to be aggressive in seeking economic development growth in the future,” Broderick said. “We will continue to hold the incentives down more than was done in the past.” He said 50% of the investments over the past six years have come since he took office in 2016. “We want to open new areas to future development,” Broderick said. “We’re looking for new sites for investment.” Gardner said he is continuing to work on the details of an economic development strategy. “There will be some changes when it comes to economic development,” Gardner said. “I’m still working to put a plan together.”

Presidential

Buttigieg rolls out rural health plan

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg on Friday rolled out a sweeping plan to expand access to health services in rural communities, while addressing drug addiction and tackling rising maternal mortality rates across the country (Politico). “We need to lift rural communities up as places of opportunity, both for this generation and future ones. That work begins with securing the health of all rural residents,” Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., said in a statement. Buttigieg proposes to expand access to health care in rural areas by implementing a “Medicare for All Who Want It” approach and increasing federal subsidies for plans sold through the Obamacare exchanges. He aims to beef up the health workforce through loan forgiveness programs and proposes increasing Medicare reimbursement rates specifically for providers in underserved communities.

Mayor Pete on gun safety

Buttigieg discussed gun safety in Iowa over the weekend. “We in power, we in office, we in charge, just adults in general, are supposed to worry about this so that you don’t have to; getting through middle school is hard enough without worrying about your physical safety,” Buttigieg said. “And the other thing that ... I would like to believe happens in the heart of even the most hard-bitten, cynical politician, is that when they are face to face with a young person saying, ‘You’ve got to do a better job keeping me safe,’ there is a voice inside that says, ‘Do not let this person down, do not let this child down.’”

Trump disapproval soars in Fox News poll

Donald Trump’s disapproval rating soared to 56% in a Fox News poll released this week, just one percent off the network’s record high for the president. The poll, published on Wednesday, showed a 5% increase in the president’s disapproval rating from last month’s figures.According to Fox News, Trump’s disapproval rating has only been higher once before, in October 2017, when it was at 57 percent. Trump’s approval rating also dropped from 46 percent last month to 43 percent.

Biden leads in Iowa, Warren second

Joe Biden leads the field in the Monmouth poll in Iowa, the first DNC-approved poll in the key early state taken since the second round of debates last month. He has 28% to Warren’s 19% (Politico). Harris is in third with 11%, Sanders has 9% and Buttigieg has 8%.