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Monday, January 20, 2020
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Thursday, November 14, 2019 11:58 AM
By BRIAN A. HOWEY

INDIANAPOLIS  — South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg has joined former Vice President Joe Biden, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders at the top of the leaderboard in the third Monmouth University Poll of the 2020 Iowa Democratic caucuses. Buttigieg’s gains since the summer have been across the board, with increasing support coming from nearly every demographic group.  Regardless, less than one-third of likely caucusgoers say that they are firmly set on their choice of candidate and most would not be too disappointed if they had to switch their support.  
  • HPI Analysis: Teacher pay an issue of semantics
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS  – Wait ‘til next year? That was part of the reaction to Gov. Eric Holcomb’s fourth State of the State address Tuesday night when he announced he would use $250 million of the state’s $2.3 billion surplus to free up $55 million “to redirect” to teacher pay. Next year. Except the governor’s office produced data that 99% of teachers received an average pay bump of more than $1,200 this year, due to actions he took in 2019.

  • Horse Race: Holcomb begins with $7M cash advantage
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS — Gov. Eric Holcomb will hold a $7.25 million cash edge on Dr. Woody Myers, who told Howey Politics Indiana on Wednesday that he “raised and spent $173,000, plus or minus.” Myers said in a statement his campaign will report $172,801 raised. A second Democrat, Indianapolis businessman Josh Owens, filed a report of $83,906 raised and a little over $16,000 cash on hand. The largest campaign fund of any Democratic gubernatorial candidate belongs to 2012 and 2016 nominee John Gregg. He has about $360,000 left over from his 2016 campaign but didn’t collect any contributions during the past year.
  • Horse Race: Pete's lackluster debate may not matter
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS — His supporters were hoping for that defining moment in the final debate Tuesday evening before the Iowa caucuses three weeks out. But when the dust settled after two hours, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg was described as “muted” and struggling for attention. The Hill observed: “Buttigieg continues to present himself as the youthful centrist, at one point jabbing at progressives for purportedly believing that ‘the boldness of a plan only consists of how many Americans it can alienate.’”  
  • Horse Race: Indiana implications of rising Bernie Sanders
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS - Bernie Sanders is rising, and conventional wisdom is that a Democratic nomination of the Vermont Democratic socialist will play right into President Trump's reelection wheelhouse. But look back to the faint echoes of 2016 here in the Hoosier State and that conventional wisdom finds plenty of doubt. Sen. Sanders catapulted into the Iowa caucus lead in a Des Moines Register/CNN poll with 20% on Friday, with Pete Buttigieg fading by 9% to 16%. Sen. Elizabeth Warren was second at 17%, and Joe Biden was at 15%. In a Monmouth New Hampshire Poll, Mayor Pete had the lead at 20%, with Biden at 19%, Sanders at 18% and Warren at 15%.
  • Stark money realities prompt Melton out of gov race
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS - By the time the Indiana General Assembly gaveled in on Monday, the obvious set in on State Sen. Eddie Melton's nascent and under-funded Democratic gubernatorial campaign: the prohibition on legislator money-raising would doom the effort. After sunset, the Gary Democrat pulled out of the race, leaving Dr. Woody Myers and gay businessman Josh Owens in the primary race for the nomination to challenge Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb. 

  • Frontrunner Mayor Pete withstands incoming at Dem debate
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS - South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg wore a black suit, white shirt and blue tie to Thursday's sixth Democratic debate in Los Angeles, but he might has well have had a bullseye on his back. He more than withstood two withering attacks from U.S. Sens. Amy Klobachar and Elizabeth Warren, more evidence he has joined the ranks of the frontrunners born out by recent Iowa polling. 

  • Horse Race: Impeachment contorts open 1st, 5th CD races
    By MARK SCHOEFF JR.

    WASHINGTON  – If you want to see the pressure the impeachment of President Donald Trump is putting on Democratic House candidates who are trying to win in Republican districts, look at Christina Hale. Hours before the Democratic-majority House voted almost strictly along party lines Wednesday night to impeach Trump, Hale, a candidate for the Democratic nomination in the 5th CD, put out a careful statement. She alluded to Trump’s efforts to withhold military aid from Ukraine – and deny President Volodymyr Zelensky a White House visit -- unless the country launched an investigation of former vice president Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, the abuse of power that was at the center of the first article of impeachment. She also referenced Trump’s obstruction of Congress, which constituted the second article of impeachment. The House approved the first article, 230-197, with only two Democrats voting against. The second article passed, 229-198, with only three Democrats voting against. But Hale didn’t explicitly say whether she would have stood with her Democratic colleagues had she been serving in the House rather than running for it. “National security is of primary importance to all Americans,” Hale said in the statement. “My dad, a longtime prosecuting attorney, taught me long ago that no one is above the law, not even our president, and that transparency in government is essential to well-functioning democracy. Americans across our country are seriously concerned, and we need to see this impeachment process through in the Senate, and give these articles a fair and open hearing. That said, we must not allow Congress to be distracted from working on the everyday issues affecting people here in Indiana, like making health care more affordable, lowering the cost of prescription drugs and focusing on education and employment.”
  • Mayor Pete gets his debate septuagenarian showdown
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS — At 8 tonight at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s primetime moment arrives. It is a dynamic his upstart campaign has been seeking since its national breakthrough moment last spring: A less crowded debate stage where the 37-year-old mayor can match his policy chops with the septuagenarian frontrunners Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. Missing will be Rep. Eric Swalwell, Beto O’Rourke, Sen. Kamala Harris and that other Rhodes Scholar mayor, Sen. Cory Booker. Tonight could also open up a new era in this Democratic presidential race where the so-called frontrunners affix a bullseye to Mayor Pete’s back.

  • Horse Race: Holcomb reelect continues on historic arc
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS – Gov. Eric Holcomb and Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch continued on their historic reelection arc as the Indiana Republican ticket is poised to report a year-end balance of $8.35 million in combined funds. Not only will these be unprecedented fundraising totals, they come with a dearth of corresponding large donations from the three current Democratic gubernatorial campaigns. The campaigns of Woody Myers, State Sen. Eddie Melton and businessman Josh Owens have reported no CFA-11 contributions over $10,000 as of Tuesday. In 2011 for the 2012 open gubernatorial seat, Democrat John Gregg had posted 11 CFA-11 contributions totaling $174,999. In 2015, Gregg had posted 63 such contributions totaling $2.069 million. And in the 2007 ramp-up to challenge Gov. Mitch Daniels, Jim Schellinger had posted 58 CFA-11 contributions totaling $1.311 million, while eventual nominee Jill Long Thompson had posted eight CFA-11 contributions of $285,000. Those two Democrats combined for a total of $1.596 million. Schellinger now serves of Gov. Holcomb's commerce secretary. Eric Holcomb for Indiana, Friends of Suzanne Crouch and the Indiana Republican Party have a combined $8.15 million cash-on-hand. "This number may go higher before we close the books on 2019," Kyle Hupfer, Republican chairman and Holcomb campaign manager, told HPI on Tuesday. "This is $500,000 more than the 2007 record and $1.2 million more than 2015."
  • Horse Race: Holcomb reelect continues on historic arc
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS – Gov. Eric Holcomb and Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch continued on their historic reelection arc as the Indiana Republican ticket is poised to report a year-end balance of $8.35 million in combined funds. Not only will these be unprecedented fundraising totals, they come with a dearth of corresponding large donations from the three current Democratic gubernatorial campaigns. The campaigns of Woody Myers, State Sen. Eddie Melton and businessman Josh Owens have reported no CFA-11 contributions over $10,000 as of Tuesday. In 2011 for the 2012 open gubernatorial seat, Democrat John Gregg had posted 11 CFA-11 contributions totaling $174,999. In 2015, Gregg had posted 63 such contributions totaling $2.069 million. And in the 2007 ramp-up to challenge Gov. Mitch Daniels, Jim Schellinger had posted 58 CFA-11 contributions totaling $1.311 million, while eventual nominee Jill Long Thompson had posted eight CFA-11 contributions of $285,000. Those two Democrats combined for a total of $1.596 million. Schellinger now serves of Gov. Holcomb's commerce secretary. Eric Holcomb for Indiana, Friends of Suzanne Crouch and the Indiana Republican Party have a combined $8.15 million cash-on-hand.
  • Horse Race: Weinzapfel declares for attorney general
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY 

    INDIANAPOLIS  –  Former Evansville Jonathan Weinzapfel announced Tuesday he is seeking the Democratic attorney general nomination. It sets up a June conventiion floor showdown with State Sen. Karen Tallian of Ogden Dunes.. “I am committed to restoring honor and integrity to the office of attorney general, Weinzapfel siad. “Through my work as mayor, chancellor, state representative and private legal practice, I know how to work together with people, putting politics aside, to get things done and make our lives better. As attorney general I will work for the people of Indiana and ensure the laws work for them, not politicians, big corporations, or special interests in Washington.” 
  • HPI Analysis: Impeachment begins for a polarized nation
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS  – A polarized nation watched its executive and legislative branches lurch into a fourth impeachment sequence on Wednesday.

    Democratic Judiciary Chairman Adam Schiff portrayed a scheme by President Trump’s White House to have a desperate ally – Ukraine, under invasion from Russian proxy forces – supply political dirt on a potential political rival.

    Republicans from Trump himself to his allies on Capitol Hill called the probe a “witch hunt” designed to overturn the 2016 presidential election. “Today, America will see one party try and overturn the constitutional election of a president of the United States of America, a goal since @realDonaldTrump  was elected,” tweeted U.S. Rep. Jim Banks, an ardent defender of Trump.

    “The questions presented by this impeachment inquiry are whether President Trump sought to exploit that ally’s vulnerability and invite Ukraine’s interference in our elections?” Schiff said. “Whether President Trump sought to condition official acts, such as a White House meeting or U.S. military assistance, on Ukraine’s willingness to assist with two political investigations that would help his reelection campaign? And if President Trump did either, whether such an abuse of his power is compatible with the office of the presidency? The matter is as simple, and as terrible as that. Our answer to these questions will affect not only the future of this presidency, but the future of the presidency itself, and what kind of conduct or misconduct the American people may come to expect from their commander-in-chief.” 

    Republicans sought to portray the proceedings as a partisan farce. Rep. Devin Nunes of California, the top Republican on the Intelligence panel, cited a “three-year-long operation” to “overturn the results of the 2016 election” by congressional Democrats. “This is a carefully orchestrated media smear campaign,” Nunes said, and described the Ukraine controversy as a “low-rent” sequel to the investigation of the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russians. Republicans argue that the proceedings are an attempt to abrogate the 2016 election that thrust Trump into a shocking upset that gained him the White House.

    This fourth impeachment proceedings are expected to yield an indictment of President Trump in the House, and an acquittal in the Senate. The Indiana congressional delegation enters this process along partisan lines, with Democrat Rep. Andre Carson and the retiring Pete Visclosky supporting the impeachment inquiry, while Republican are opposed.
  • The Indiana Citizen takes aim at lagging Hoosier civic health
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS – Next Monday morning, Hoosiers will be getting a biennial report card on civic engagement, presented by Lee Hamilton, Randall Shepard and Greg Zoeller. The state’s social “fabric” will be measured by the “Civic Health Index” and it won’t be pretty. Past reports have come and gone since 2011 without a mechanism to enhance voter participation, voluntary civic and religious assembly. That will change with the establishment of “The Indiana Citizen” website. Created by Bill and Ann Moreau with the support of board members Bob Grand, Jeanne Kelsay, Michael Goldenberg, Russell Cox and Trevor Foughty, this non-partisan, non-profit platform described as “The Crossroads of Civic Engagement” will seek to increase 2020 voter participation by 20%, or 500,000 votes,  next year. “That would move Indiana from the bottom 10 to the top 10,” Moreau told HPI Tuesday as he previewed his Indiana Citizen message. It was recorded on March 15, a day after his former boss and mentor, U.S. Sen. Birch Bayh, died.
  • Horse Race: Mayors Henry, Bennett get four more
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS  – It would be trite to say the 2019 municipal elections were status quo, not with 17 defeated incumbents. But there are solid trendlines: Democrats dominated in the big cities, coasting to wins in Indianapolis by Joe Hogsett and Fort Wayne by Tom Henry and picking up council seats in Evansville without a credible mayoral nominee. Republicans did extremely well in the auto belt, picking up Kokomo, Logansport and Muncie. It helped them forge a historic 70-seat night, which underscores how the Republicans are dominating in the prairies (they hold 80% of county commissioner seats), while Democrats are holding onto the big cities and college towns.

  • Horse Race: Visclosky retirement opens door for McDermott, Mrvan
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS — The dust had barely settled on Tuesday’s mayoral race when U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky dropped a bombshell: The dean of the Indiana congressional delegation won’t seek reelection. It immediately opened the door for Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. to seek the office he was planning to announce for on Dec. 6. North Township Trustee Frank J. Mrvan also jumped in. “On Nov. 6, 35 years ago today I was elected to serve as Indiana’s 1st District U.S. representative,” Visclosky wrote. “Today, I announce that I will not seek reelection. For the past 35 years our office has vigorously advocated on behalf of thousands of constituents for assistance on any number of local, state and federal isues. While we could never guarantee positive results, we could guarantee our hard work and best efforts.”
  • Michigan City Mayor Meer's defeat amidst legal mess
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS  — The mayor is up for reelection within month. His son is arrested on a drug possession charge, making local headline news. In a rational world, a prudent police chief or sheriff would have immediately sought to have the case handed off to the Indiana State Police. If there were to be charges, a prudent prosecutor probably would have opted for a special prosecutor, to ensure there were no signs of impropriety. But none of that happened in Michigan City and LaPorte County this past week. Instead, Democratic Mayor Ron Meer found himself in a showdown with his own police chief, who resigned, along with senior staff following the arrest of his stepson on Oct. 10 by the LaPorte County Drug Task Force.
  • Mayors Henry, Bennett prevail in Fort Wayne and Terre Haute

    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS - Indiana Democrats held on to the two largest city halls in Indianapolis and Fort Wayne where Mayor Tom Henry won an unprecedented fourth term with a landslide victory over Tim Smith, and picked up Elkhart with Rod Roberson’s defeat of former mayor Dave Miller. Joe Hogsett won a second term in the capital city, easily dispatching State Sen. Jim Merritt. Democrats also made suburban gains with Emily Styron upsetting Zionsville Mayor Tim Haak, as well as picking up council seats in the Republican strongholds Carmel and Fishers. Democrats also took control of the Columbus City Council in Vice President Mike Pence's hometown.

  • Atomic! Mayoral decisions; Trump IN approval 52%; Penske buys 500
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Indianapolis

    1. Mayoral decisions today: Here are your Municipal Election Day talking points: We'll be watching to see if Republicans Tim Smith in Fort Wayne, Tyler Moore in Kokomo, Mark Seabrook in New Albany and Dan Ridenour in Muncie can flip city halls. The big one is Smith taking on three-term Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry in the state's second largest city. We moved that race into "tossup" last week and Henry began running negative ads. Another interesting election is happening in Terre Haute, where Republican Mayor Duke Bennett is trying fend off Democrat Councilman Karrem Nasser and independent Pat Goodwin. Turnout could be elevated there with the casino referendum on the ballot.
  • Atomic! Pete v. Liz; MC mayor indicted; Farm socialism
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Indianapolis

    1. Pete v. Warren: Here are your Monday power lunch talking points: First there was a spate of Iowa polling last week that had South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg in a four-way race withElizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and the fading Joe Biden. Then came Friday night's Iowa Liberty & Justice Dinner where Buttigieg provided a vivid and energized contrast with the Biden while setting up a confrontation with Warren. That prompted Mayor Pete to tell John Heilemann on Showtime's "The Circus"  Sunday night, "It's coming down to the two of us. Obviously there are a lot of candidates and a lot of things can happen, but I think that as that happens, the contrasts become clearer. The contrasts are real." His showdown with Warren came after she unveiled on Friday the biggest spending proposal in U.S. history, a $20.5 trillion Medicare For All policy behemoth, which theWall Street Journal  editorial board called a "fantasy" with about $10 trillion in missing funding.
  • Buttigieg provides vivid contrast to fading Biden in Iowa Friday
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS - Last week we cautioned Hoosiers to wrap their minds around the potential of a “President Mike Pence” as impeachment swirls around President Trump. After Pete Buttigieg’s Iowa Democratic Liberty and Justice Dinner speech Friday night - given in immediate contrast to fading frontrunner Joe Biden - it might be time to take a potential Mayor Pete Democratic nomination and give it viable credence. "I didn’t just come here to end the era of Donald Trump, I am here to launch the era that must come next," Buttigieg told more than 13,000 Iowans at the party's annual dinner, the same event that launched Sen. Barack Obama's improbable nomination victory over Hillary Clinton and John Edwards 12 years before.
    ?"Because in order to win and in order to lead, it’s going to take a lot more than the political warfare we have come to accept from Washington, D.C.," Buttigieg said in a room that had a distinct audible buzz that a man on the move produces. "We already have a divider in chief. I am offering a White House that you can look at on the news and feel your blood pressure go down a little bit instead of through the roof. I am asking you to picture that first day the sun comes up in this country and Donald Trump is no longer the President of the United States." Buttigieg was immediately followed by Biden, who gave a credible but unremarkable speech, with the audible buzz that moved the room just minutes before simply disappearing for the former vice president. 

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  • Parnas implicates Trump, Pence in Ukraine scandal
    “The announcement was the key at that time because of the inauguration and I told him Pence would not show up, nobody would show up to his inauguration. It was particularly Vice President Mike Pence.” - Lev Parnas, the indicted friend of President Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, in an interview on MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show, where he implicated Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Attorney General William Barr in the quid pro quo of the Ukraine scandal that prompted Trump's impeachment. Parnas said that Pence's attendance at Ukraine President Zelensky's inauguration was cancelled the day after Parnas called on Zelensky to announce an investigation of Joe and Hunter Biden, When asked if Pence was aware of the quid pro quo, Parnas said, “I’m going to use a famous quote from [Ambassador Gordon] Sondland. Everybody was in the loop.” 
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  • Pence, Holcomb, Buttigieg head 2020 HPI Power 50
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY in Indianapolis
    and MARK SCHOEFF JR., 
    in Washington

    As we unveil the 2020 version of the Howey Politics Indiana Power 50 List, Hoosiers appear to be relatively satisfied with their state government, unsure about the federals and specifically President Trump, and are most concerned about health care and the economy.

    These are the latest survey numbers from the We Ask America Poll conducted in early December for the Indiana Manufacturers Association. They accentuate the formulation of our annual Power 50 list headed by Vice President Mike Pence, Gov. Eric Holcomb, former South Bend mayor and Democratic presidential contender Pete Buttigieg, and the state’s two Republican senators who will likely sit in judgment (and acquittal) of President Trump in an impeachment trial later this month. 

    As Pence appears to be heading off thinly veiled attempts by Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump to get him off the 2020 ticket, Hoosiers by 47.4% approve to 47.7% disapprove of President Trump’s job performance. This is consistent with 2019 polling by Ball State University and Morning Consult. On the national right/wrong track, just 37% of registered voters in Indiana feel that the country is headed in the right direction, while a majority, 52%, say that things have gotten off on the wrong track, including 51% of independents and 26% of Republicans. Among female voters, the right/wrong track split is 29%/58%.

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