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Monday, July 22, 2019
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Thursday, October 15, 2015 9:20 AM
By BRIAN A. HOWEY
    
INDIANAPOLIS – Gov. Mike Pence kicked off the infrastructure debate with a $1 billion proposal to repair state highways, interstates and bridges. Local government officials want the governor and General Assembly to take it several steps further, and provide what the Indiana Association of Cities & Towns calls a “sustainable” funding source. IACT President Matthew Greller told Howey Politics Indiana on Wednesday that the Pence plan is a good start. “The big thing is it’s good the administration is addressing infrastructure in a very serious way with a very serious proposal and a lot of money. But it includes no money for city and town streets and county roads. I’m disappointed because the vast majority of road miles in Indiana are maintained by local governments.”
  • HPI Analysis: Gov. Holcomb wants medical research on marijuana

    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    CHARLESTOWN, Ind. - Memo to State Rep. Jim Lucas, the First Church of Cannabis and the Rev. Bill Levin, and Hoosiers who seek to end marijuana prohibition in Indiana: It ain’t gonna happen here any time soon. While Indiana will likely be surrounded by states where marijuana will be recreationally legal (Illinois, Michigan and Ohio by 2020), Gov. Eric Holcomb made it clear in a Howey Politics Indiana interview that he is inclined to stick with the status quo until he has the necessary medical research. Unlike other marijuana reform states, there is no organized lobby in place at the Statehouse to push the reforms. That has fallen on characters like Levin, who formed his church and is planning to seek the Libertarian Party nomination for governor in 2020. There is very little research. But there is public support. An October 2016 WTHR/Howey Politics Indiana  poll found that 73% of Hoosiers support the legalization of medical marijuana — including 82% of Democrats, 77% of independents, and 59% of Republicans. A Ball State Poll in 2017 revealed 39% back recreational marijuana. 

  • Mayor Buttigieg issues clarion call to Young Democrats
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS - Mayor Pete Buttigieg issued a clarion call for Young Democrats to pick up the mantle of leadership and make a generational shift from the Ronald Reagan chapter of American politics, telling delegates, "Young gets it done."  "The young generation today is the largest and most diverse ever, and the size of our generation gives us the power to shape politics for the half-century to come," Buttigieg told a Young Democrats Convention at Union Station. "So it’s good news that we are the most Democratic generation alive. It’s natural that our generation be the most skeptical ever of Republican policies." Buttigieg said that President Trump is betraying Reagan conservatism. "This is how the conservative era comes to an end," Buttigieg said. "Their movement is collapsing. That's where I come in."

  • HPI Interview: Gov. Holcomb prepares for reelection
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    NEW ALBANY – The road to the Clark County Fair in Charlestown took Gov. Eric Holcomb and myself past State Rep. Jim Lucas’s town of Seymour, past the heroin-HIV torn city of Austin in Scott County, past the sprawling River Ridge development between Jeffersonville and Charlestown as we conducted this interview. When we arrived at the fair, Holcomb and Indiana Republican Chairman Kyle Hupfer were met by Clark County Sheriff Jamey Noel. This will be the nexus of the governor’s reelection bid. Hupfer will manage the campaign; Noel is the chairman. This will be Holcomb’s first gubernatorial campaign designed with structure and order. It comes as a new Morning Consult Poll released this morning put his approval at 50%, disapproval at 28% with 22% having no opinion.
  • Horse Race: Hogsett's Hudnut ad a jaw dropper
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS – Twenty-eight years ago, appointed Secretary of State Joe Hogsett faced a big threat. Big as in 6-foot-5, larger than life Indianapolis Mayor Bill Hudnut, who occasionally dressed up as a huge leprechaun. Hogsett was up for his first full term in the 1990 election after succeeding Evan Bayh, who had won the governorship two years earlier. Hudnut was a three-term mayor gazing down Market Street at the Statehouse with a particular sense of envy. Like Bayh, winning the secretary of state office was considered a viable ticket to the Second Floor gubernatorial suite.
  • Horse Race: Holcomb stumps for Seabrook in New Albany
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    NEW ALBANY - Gov. Eric Holcomb joined a campaign fundraiser for Republican New Albany mayoral nominee Mark Seabrook in his race against two-term incumbent Mayor Jeff Gahan. “I’m rewinding the tape about this past decade and how far we’ve come,” Holcomb said of Floyd County, once a Democratic stronghold that has been overtaken by Republicans. “When we mapped out our tour, the man of the hour is Mark Seabrook.” Holcomb cited Seabrook’s three terms as a Floyd County commissioner and three on the city council. “You’re fortunate to have already seen him in action.” Seabrook said, “I can tell you from the bottom of my heart what New Albany means to me.”
  • The Atomic! America descending into a racial stew
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Nashville, Ind.

    1. This from the Party of Lincoln: Here are your Tuesday power lunch talking points: As we descend into a racial stew, Hoosier Republicans remain on the sidelines with the latest President TrumpTwitter controversy where he urged four Democratic congresswomen to “go back” to “the crime infested places from which they came” (three of them come from Detroit, Cincinnati and New York City; the fourth is a naturalized American). He later added, “These are people that hate our country.  They hate it, I think, with a passion.” And Sen. Lindsey Graham, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, called the four Democrats "a bunch of communists who hate America." So the Party of Lincoln is transforming itself into a 21st Century version somewhere between David Duke and Joe McCarthy. Trump & Company continue to play to the base, with a shrewd intent of steering the Democratic Party into the ultra-progressive spin. This morning, Trump tweeted, “Those Tweets were NOT Racist. I don’t have a Racist bone in my body!” He called a resolution taking shape in the House a “Democrat con game,” adding “Republicans should not show ‘weakness’ and fall into their trap. This should be a vote on the filthy language, statements and lies told by the Democrat.” 
  • Atomic! Guv passes on shot; Rokita mulls AG; Pete's standing O

    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Knightstown

    1. Passing on a 'Hoosiers' shot: Here are your Monday power lunch talking points: In a state with a long list of basketball politicians (Lee Hamilton, Baron Hill, Frank O’Bannon, Rep. Bob Heaton, Elkhart mayoral nominee Rod RobersonKyle Hupfer among them), Gov. Eric Holcomb entered the legendary Hoosier Gym with no time on the clock while Hickory and Terhune were tied at 20. And this is a governor who boasts about taking basketball shots in all 92 counties. So we quizzed GOP spokesman Pete Seat: Will ol’ Hickory Holcomb take a shot after declaring for reelection? The east goal was retracted to the roof, but the west goal was ready to go. Seat said that Holcomb had taken (and made) some shots the day before. There were concerns about the crowd getting in the way. Ultimately, there would be no shot, though the crowd did go wild anywayPolitical operatives, ever mindful of B-roll and opposition trackers, know all too well the risk. What if the Guv missed? What if he missed again?  What if Hickory Holcomb went on a cold streak and had to finish with a layup, instead of the trey? My response would have been: Can’t go wrong with a slam dunk. But the cowboy boots could have been a problem. And missing a slam dunk could cause a polling free fall, because, well, this is Indiana. Ted Cruz paid a dear price in 2016 when he talked about a "basketball ring" here (it's a "hoop," Theodore, who finished with a cold, cold 36%). In the 2000 reelect campaign, Gov. Frank O’Bannon was featured in a TV ad as a “pure shooting guard.” Voiceover: “It’s like he’s in a whole other league. No telling what he’ll do next”  as the former IU guard launched an over the shoulder shot while gazing into the camera with his twinkling smile. On the TV ad, the shot went in. Legend has it that it really happened, it really went in. But it wasn’t before a live audience. Big difference. 

  • Holcomb, Crouch kick off reelect in boisterous Hoosiers Gym
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    KNIGHTSTOWN - Gov. Eric Holcomb, who has shot baskets in all 92 counties during his first three years in office, kicked off his reelection campaign in the historic Hoosier Gym on Saturday before a packed house and the strains of Neil Young's classic "Rocking in the Free World." Under banners proclaiming “Go Holcomb All the Way,” the Hoosier Gym scoreboard showing Hickory tied with Terhune 20-20, joined by Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, Holcomb emerged from the gym's lockerroom, high-fived Crouch and proclaimed, “What a way for me and Suzanne to officially announce our commitment to keep Indiana moving forward for four more years! And it’s all because of our team – all of you – getting at it every day, taking Indiana to the Next Level, exceeding high expectations."
  • Atomic! Acosta ousta; Pence clips Judge Fisher; Gov's windfall
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Indianapolis

    1. Acosta is toast: Here are your final power lunch talking points for the week: Labor Secretary Alex Acosta is toast. President Trump announced he resigned this morning after fallout from the Jeffrey Epstein pedophile prosecutions. "I called the president this morning and told him I would step aside," Acosta said at a presser with Trump this morning. "It would be selfish for me to stay in this position rather than keep talking about a case 12 years old." That, of course, was the 13-month sentence for Epstein (and he could go to his office during the day) while Acosta was the DA in Miami, after he was convicted of pedophilia. President Trump called Acosta a "great labor secretary" and said this morning, "I told him you don't have to do this." But he did.

  • HPI Analysis: Myers enters as Holcomb sits on $7.2 million
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS – Four days before Gov. Eric Holcomb kicks off his reelection campaign in Knightstown with $7.2 million cash and 61% approval, he now has a challenger, after Dr. Woody Myers announced he will seek the Democratic nomination. It is the latest launch of a major party gubernatorial campaign in modern Indiana history and it comes as Holcomb is exhibiting historic strength. Myers staked his candidacy on the notion that the state has had “one party rule” for the past 15 years. “I’m running for governor because Indiana has too many preexisting conditions that typical politicians just can’t treat. And treating tough problems is what I do,”   Myers said in front of the old Wishard Hospital Emergency Room where he treated patients and taught.

  • Horse Race: With virtually no black support, Buttigieg unveils 'Douglass Plan'
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS - With his campaign flush with cash but flagging in the polls with virtually no support from African-Americans, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg unveiled his "Douglass Plan" on Thursday. Buttigieg explains, “Black Americans continue to live in the shadow of systemic racism. This is a fact, and one that requires bold action to reverse. To see equity in our time, it will not be enough to simply replace centuries of racism with non-racist policies. We must intentionally put anti-racist policies in place to close the gaps those centuries of policy created. Today, I’m proud to share with you The Douglass Plan, named after American hero Frederick Douglass, and comparable in scale to the Marshall Plan that rebuilt Europe after World War II.” 
  • Horse Race: Democrats Hackett, Hale seek 2nd, 5th CD nominations
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS - Two Indiana congressional races began to take shape on Wednesday when Notre Dame Prof. Pat Hackett announced she would challenge U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski and former legislator Christina Hale said she will seek the open 5th CD being vacated by U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks. Both are Democrats. In addition, Republican Micah Beckwith has filed FEC papers to form a committee in the 5th. Hackett, a South Bend attorney, unsuccessfully ran for the seat in 2018. “I will always fight for dignity and justice for all, and I believe we deserve a representative who listens and represents our interests," Hackett said. "Jackie Walorski is a career politician who refuses to hold town -halls, caters to the special interests who give millions of dollars to her campaigns, and is out of touch with the people in this district. I will be an advocate for health care for all, the workers who live paycheck-to-paycheck, the seniors who depend on Social Security and Medicare, and the farmers who are struggling with the growing catastrophe of climate change and challenge of reckless tariffs. We deserve an advocate and leader who will represent the people of this district and not engage in pay-to-play politics in Congress.”  
  • Horse Race: Hill posts $220K

    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS - Facing a Republican convention challenge from John Westercamp, Attorney General Curtis Hill's reelection campaign announced he has raised $220,000 in the past two months. Informed and reliable sources tell HPI that $100,000 of those funds came from the Republican Attorney Generals fund. Hill is seeking reelection despite calls for his resignation by Gov. Eric Holcomb, Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, legislative leaders and U.S. Sen. Mike Braun after sexual harassment allegations were leveled by four womenThe Hill campaign believes that is a record for an Indiana attorney general. “From challenging the constitutionality of ObamaCare to fighting illegal immigration to defending the right to life, I have taken on the tough fights as Attorney General," Hill said  "It’s been one of the highest honors of my life to serve and I am just getting started,” Hill said.  “I look forward to continuing to work to defend the rule of law, our conservative values and our way of life. The campaign added, "This fundraising success is a testament to Attorney General Hill’s record of delivering results and following through on the campaign promises made in 2016."

  • Atomic! INGov big week; King George's air force; What? Mad Pete

    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Indianapolis

    1. Myers poised to kick off campaign: Here are your Monday power lunch talking points: This should be a milestone week in the Indiana governor's race. Gov. Eric Holcomb kicks off his reelect at the historic "Hoosiers" gym in Knightstown at 1 p.m. Saturday. And he still doesn't have an opponentDr. Woody Myers announced Monday he will make an "announcement about my future" at 11:30 am. Wednesday outside the old Wishard Hospital ER. He will be introduced by former congressman Baron Hill. Rep. Karlee Macer is working on emptying her nest (i.e. two of her kids are getting married), and Sen. Eddie Melton is doing a listening tour with Republican Supt. Jennifer McCormick, creating the most interesting story line.

  • Another Fourth of July irony with Eva Mozes Kor's passing
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS - Independence Day has brought us another historical irony with the passing of Eva Mozes Kor at age 85 in Poland. She died not far from the Auschwitz concentration camp that dramatically altered the life of her and her family. But she rose from the most searing atrocity in the history of mankind and defined her life with forgiveness, humility and education. She had been tweeting on her last trip to Poland on July 3, saying, "Can you believe that today I can get chicken McNuggets near Auschwitz? That would have been wonderful 75 years ago. They taste the same in every country and were delicious." She had big plans for the future as she prepared to observe the 75th anniversary of her liberation, tweeting on June 22, "If any of you want to go with me, you have a great opportunity in January 27 2020 - 75 years to the liberation of the camp. We will see you next year!"
  • Atomic! Bipolar Pete; Trump posts $105M; Iacocca's legacy
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Indianapolis

    1. Bipolar Pete: Here are your pre-fireworks power barbecue talking points: So Mayor Pete's campaign seems bipolar right now. He is fading in the national polls (4% in Quinnipiac, 3% in the ABC Washington Post), with zero support from African-American voters. That demographic is the biggest obstacle to his becoming an enduring top tier candidate.Yet, he raised a stunning $24.8 million  in the second quarter and that looks even more significant when Sen. Bernie Sanders posted $18 million and Joe Biden $21.5 million. We've not seen postings from Sens. Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren. In the WP/ABC Poll, Biden leads Sanders 25% to 18%, with Harris and Sen. Elizabeth Warren tied for third place at 9%. In Quinnipiac, Biden clipped Harris 22-20% with Warren at 14% and Sanders at 13%. How should we process this?  I get the sense that if Biden were to lose his lead, he may never get it back. Of course, a Reaganesque debate bounce-back in late July could be all it takes to preserve enduring frontrunner status. Keep in mind that the July before the actual voting is not the time to peak, as Harris appears to be doing. Mayor Pete hopes for that ascendant trajectory in November or December, so he still has time and he has the funding. And, remember, the state polls are the ones that really matter ... next fall and winter. The other widespread notion is if Buttigieg can't make inroads with black voters, he's really playing for the veep slot on the ticket, particularly if Harris wins the nomination. 

  • Atomic! Melton & Mac; Banks challenger; Irsay's Stratocaster
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Indianapolis

    1. A Melton-McCormick ticket? Here are your pre-fireworks power lunch barbecue grill talking points: As we’ve frequently written, Gov. Eric Holcomb is in about as strong a reelect position as we’ve ever seen. But beneath the GOP Statehouse is a lot of fissures. Holcomb has called for the resignation of Republican Attorney General Curtis Hill over sexual harassment allegations, and last October Supt. Jennifer McCormick abruptly announced she wouldn’t seek reelection, suggesting politics had became a distraction. She had parted with the GOP on policy such as vouchers and early education. McCormick blind-sided the governor (who wins anyway because he gets to select her replacement). So Monday’s announcement that McCormick will join Sen. Eddie Melton on a gubernatorial exploration town hall tour in July and August was a jaw-dropper. “I am excited that Dr. McCormick will be joining our Hoosier Community Conversations and sharing her expertise and passion about education across the state with me," said Melton. "It is an honor to share this platform with Dr. McCormick, who has been an advocate for Indiana’s students and families.” As she warmed up to politics again, McCormick said, “Indiana needs more state-wide leaders who value the voices of practitioners and community stakeholders, as demonstrated by Sen. Eddie Melton. As State Superintendent of Public Instruction, I am optimistic that a potential 2020 gubernatorial candidate has the foresight and the willingness to elevate educational issues and work collaboratively.” 

  • Atomic! Pete's $25M; Karlee in Cornfield; Hale yes? Bromance
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Indianapolis

    1. Pete’s $25 million haul: Mayor Pete Buttigieg raised many eyebrows when he posted $7 million on his first quarter FEC report in April. He was in exploratory mode during the period, and that haul gave his campaign credibility. The eyebrows are really popping this morning after his campaign announced raising more than $24.8 million from more than 294,000 donors. Campaign spokesman Chris Meagher said, "We have more than $22.6 million cash on hand. We more than doubled the amount of total individual donors to the campaign between Q1 and Q2. We had more than 230,000 new donors in Q2, bringing our total number of donors to more than 400,000. Our average contribution size for the cycle is $47.42. We have donors from all 57 states and territories." Campaign Manager Mike Schmuhl said, "We officially launched our campaign just a couple of months ago, and since then, time and time again, Pete has proved why he is a top-tier candidate  for the nomination.” 

  • Mayor Buttigieg posts $24 million in second FEC report
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS - Pete Buttigieg's presidential campaign announced a $24 million second quarter FEC haul. "We just announced via email raising more than $24.8 million from more than 294,000 donors in the second quarter of 2019," said Chris Meagher, a campaign spokesman. "We have more than $22.6 million cash on hand. We more than doubled the amount of total individual donors to the campaign between Q1 and Q2. We had more than 230,000 new donors in Q2, bringing our total number of donors to more than 400,000. Our average contribution size for the cycle is $47.42. We have donors from all 57 states and territories." This comes on top of the $7 million Buttigieg raised in the first quarter. And it comes after Mayor Buttigieg had to suspend major fundraisers following the June 16 police action shooting that drew him back to South Bend.
  • Horse Race: 3rd CD Dems hosting 2019 Cornfield Conference
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS  — More than 80 years after Homer Capehart reenergized Hoosier Republicans who had been rendered moot by President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, Northern Indiana Democrats are gathering today for the “2019 Tri-State Cornfield Conference” at the Noble County Fairgrounds in Kendallville. “Given the situation we’re in now in the Midwest — Trump carried Indiana by a larger amount than expected along with Ohio and Michigan — now is the time for a Democratic revival on the Midwest,” said Noble County Democratic Chairwoman Carmen Darland. “This Cornfield Conference is intended to fire people up. We can’t wish Donald Trump away. We’re going to have to work this election. We need activists to go past voting. We need voting-plus, and that means collecting ballot petition signatures now. It is time for a revival of the Democratic Party, so that we can restore checks and balances in government at the statehouses and in Washington, D.C.”
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  • Pence vows to return to the moon on 50th anniversary
    "Standing before you today, I am proud to report, at the direction of the president of the United States of America, America will return to the moon within the next five years, and the next man and the first woman on the moon will be American astronauts. We’re going back." - Vice President Mike Pence, speaking at Cape Canaveral observing the 50th anniversary of NASA astronaut and Purdue graduate Neil Armstrong walking on the moon. Pence is seen here with astronaut Buzz Aldrin, who followed Armstrong on to the moon surface on July 20, 1969.
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  • Epstein, Acosta and the perversion of power
    For those of you wondering why Labor Secretary Alex Acosta resigned Friday despite President Trump's assertion that he is a "great labor secretary," spend 15 minutes to read Miami Herald reporter Julie K. Brown's "Perversion of Justice: How a future Trump Cabinet member gave a serial sex abuser the deal of a lifetime." You'll learn that District Attorney Acosta bowed to the demands of pedophile Jeffrey Epstein's all-star legal team, cut "an extraordinary plea agreement that would conceal the full extent of Epstein’s crimes and the number of people involved." This is about a lurid a tale of crime and power as I've ever read. While this was going on, Epstein's enforcers were tracking down witnesses and journalists, issuing threats.

    Brown writes: "Not only would Epstein serve just 13 months in the county jail, but the deal — called a non-prosecution agreement — essentially shut down an ongoing FBI probe into whether there were more victims and other powerful people who took part in Epstein’s sex crimes." We are learning that Epstein's circles included dozens if not hundreds of underage girls, recruiters, presidents, princes and the rich and famous.

    Florida State Sen. Lauren Book, asks: “Where is the righteous indignation for these women? Where are the protectors? Who is banging down the doors of the secretary of labor, or the judge or the sheriff’s office in Palm Beach County, demanding justice and demanding the right to be heard?"

    Of course President Trump said of Epstein in 2002, “I’ve known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side." Wink-wink. That was three years before Trump's infamous Access Hollywood comment (if you're rich and famous, "you can grab them by their pussy") and five years before Acosta's plea deal with Epstein. It begs the question, What would Mother think?  - Brian A. Howey, publisher
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