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Tuesday, September 18, 2018
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Thursday, October 15, 2015 9:20 AM
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.”
  • Atomic! Kavanaugh allegation, denial; youthful indiscretions
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Indianapolis

    1. Kavanaugh allegation & denial: Here are your Monday power lunch talking points: Our first reaction to the anonymous high school era accusations leveled at Judge Brett Kavanaugh was akin to an assertion by former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert and the notion of “youthful indiscretions”  providing a scandal shelf life. Lord help many of us if we had to answer various prep and collegiate behaviors in a by-gone era as society has evolved. Over the weekend the accusation, with all three principle characters allegedly wasted at the time or keeping the allegations silent for four decades, seemed difficult to validate. But withChristine Blasey Ford stepping forward and describing the assault and willing to testify at Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing, this case may take as extreme of a twist as we saw with the Hastert legacy (he served 13 months for a sexually related bank fraud conviction dating back to when he was a high school wrestling coach and then a blackmail attempt).

  • HPI Interview: 2nd CD Democrat Hall talks reform, tariffs

    INDIANAPOLIS – Howey Politic Indiana spoke briefly with 2nd CD Democratic candidate Mel Hall Wednesday evening to get a sense of where his campaign stands and to hear about his vision for congressional reform. Just prior to the interview, Hall had hosted a town hall session in Walkerton to announce his “Reform Plan to Clean Up Congress,” emphasizing that his reform plan reflects the attitudes of voters in the 2nd District and his own “relentless pragmatic approach.” We also touched on several other points, including Democratic leadership, President Trump’s tariffs and health care. 

  • HPI Analysis: Holcomb's taxation and transparency

    PERU – Driving back from Lake Michigan on Labor Day, the need to finish the U.S. 31 freeway was apparent, as traffic stacked up at each of the four traffic lights in Miami County, and others in Tipton and Hamilton counties. And Indiana’s highway spine courses through sorghum-slow broadband areas. So on the face of it, Gov. Eric Holcomb’s announcement of a new $1 billion investment called Next Level Connections in highways, ports, international flights and universal broadband seemed prudent. With one exception: On the highway aspect, many of us felt that HEA1002 from 2017 had set up the state’s highway funding for the next two decades. We pay 10 cents more a gallon of gas, and we were supposed to get better roads. But it is coming up short. So much so that Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett and the City-County Council had to float $120 million in bonds this week to deal with the capital city’s cratering streets. We figured that multi-billion dollar effort – accomplished with gas and diesel fuel taxes along with others on electric cars – would pay for Section 6 of I-69 and the U.S. 31 stops. But it didn’t. It’s kind of a bait and switch. If you’re an Indianapolis gas consumer, you’re now getting double-dipped. And why doesn’t HEA1002 cover Section 6?

  • HPI Analysis: Independents fleeing Trump, GOP

    INDIANAPOLIS – To win elections, a candidate has to carry 90% or more of his or her base. And then there are the independent voters, a group growing as polarization encroaches on the two major parties. With a gangbuster economy and middle class wages finally going up, conventional wisdom would be that President Trump would be a mid-term Midas. But the cascading controversies have become the new norm with President Trump just two weeks after he journeyed to Indiana to campaign in the U.S. Senate race. The question  less than 60 days out from the mid-term is whether this new norm would impact voters on Nov. 6. Two polls this week, by CNN and Quinnipiac - suggest that they will. They come just as Pulitzer Prize-winning author Bob Woodward began making the first of dozens of TV interviews on his new book “Fear,” which reveals a White House in disarray and chaos, with Trump trusting only a shrinking inner circle.
  • Horse Race: Donnelly's 'knife fight' with Braun

    INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Senate race is a “knife fight,” in the words of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. His remarks came before a Fox News Poll showed Mike Braun leading U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly 45-43% and after Donnelly took a 44-41% lead over Braun in the NBC/Marist Poll (with Libertarian Lucy Brenton getting 8%) while a CNN Poll shows President Trump’s approval is in free-fall with vital independent voters. The Fox News Poll released Wednesday found President Trump still had a 54% approval in Indiana. It found that 33% said they will cast their Senate vote to show support for Trump while 31% said they will vote to express opposition. One in three voters said they could change their mind before Election Day. “Arizona, Nevada, Tennessee, Montana, North Dakota, Missouri, Indiana, West Virginia and Florida. All of them too close to call, and every one of them like a knife fight in an alley; I mean, just a brawl in every one of those places,” McConnell told reporters in Louisville.
  • Horse Race: Republicans ducking CD debates

    INDIANAPOLIS - Eighth CD Democratic nominee William Tanoos became the latest Democratic nominee to say incumbent Republican congressmen are ducking debates, once a traditional staple of Hoosier fall campaigns. He joins 3rd CD nominee Courtney Tritch, 6th CD nominee Jeannine Lee Lake and 9th CD nominee Liz Watson in alleging that U.S. Reps. Larry Bucshon, Jim Banks and Trey Hollingsworth won’t debate along with 6th CD Republican nominee Greg Pence.  Tanoos said that WNIN and the Evansville Courier & Press offered three dates for debate: Oct. 22, Oct. 24, and Nov. 1. “This is a basic part of the democratic process. It is not partisan. It’s about providing the voters with an informed choice, and I think it is very important to have a debate,” said Tanoos about his disappointment that Dr. Bucshon declined. 
  • Atomic! Debate duckers; GOP losing independents
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Indianapolis

    1. Republicans fear debating: Here are your Tuesday power lunch talking points: 8th CD Democratic nominee William Tanoos became the latest Democratic nominee to say incumbent Republican congressmen are ducking debates, once a traditional staple of Hoosier fall campaigns. He joins 3rd CD nominee Courtney Tritch, 6th CD nominee Jeannine Lee Lake and 9th CD nominee Liz Watson in alleging that U.S. Reps. Larry Bucshon, Jim Banks and Trey Hollingsworth won’t debate, along with 6th CD Republican nominee Greg Pence. All the Republicans are heavy favorites in the HPI Horse Race. Tanoos said that WNIN and the Evansville Courier & Press  offered three dates for debate:  Oct. 22, Oct. 24, and Nov. 1. “This is a basic part of the democratic process. It is not partisan. It’s about providing the voters with an informed choice, and I think it is very important to have a debate,” said Tanoos about his disappointment that Dr. Bucshon declined. 

  • Atomic! Trump/Pence lunch; Capt. Queeg revisited; Bob warns
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Indianapolis

    1. Pence’s surreal Sunday: Here are your Monday power lunch talking points: To be a fly on the wall at the White House around noon today when President Trump has a power lunch with Vice President Mike Pence. It comes after two surreal Sunday talk show interviews Pence had following another head-spinning week  for the president. We watched Pence say: 1. He’s willing to take a polygraph test  on the anonymous NYT op-ed article (and we can’t think of another veep ever making such an offer); 2. He doesn’t believe any of his staffers were involved  (but he didn’t ask any of them because he trusts them, which is afascinating deflection); 3. Believes the DOJ should investigate the op-ed source, even though there doesn’t appear to be a crime; and 4. He’s willing to sit for an interview with Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Pence also told Face the Nation moderator Margaret Brennan that he hasn’t considered invoking the 25th Amendment: "No. Never," Pence said, adding, "Why would we be, Margaret?"

  • HPI Analysis: Trump, loathing and fear

    MICHIGAN CITY – Believe me, Hoosier Trumpers, I hear you. I understand. You voted for Donald J. Trump because you wanted him to shake up Washington. And if there was any place on earth that needed to be shook, stirred, kicked, turned inside out and placed in a Waring blender, it was The District. I keep waiting for President Trump to grow into the job, like Truman, Kennedy and Clinton did after entering the White House as novices or discovering blind-siding events. There are worthy aspects of the first two years of the Trump presidency. Some of the onerous EPA regs have been pared back, much to the relief of my many business friends. After eight years of President Obama, he is adding conservative jurists to the courts, which brings balance. Justice Neil Gorsuch and Judge Brett Kavanaugh are more than credible and deserve to be on the high court, though withholding 100,000 pages of Kavanaugh documents is puzzling. The economy is going gangbusters, even with the tariffs. Trump’s willingness to meet with North Korean despot Kim Jong Un was a vastly better approach than the sabre rattling of 2017. That’s the kind of president I want to write about. And then, there were these past 10 days or so, beginning with the death of U.S. Sen. John McCain. As I traveled across Indiana over Labor Day weekend, it was subtly striking to see American flags lowered to half staff from Peru, to Michigan City, Long Beach, Hesston, The Pines, Porter and Chesterton. The folks who lowered the flags didn’t need an edict from the president or governor. They knew a patriot when they saw one, and John McCain fit the bill: A Navy pilot, POW, congressman, senator, contrarian and the 2008 Republican nominee for president. Underscore Republican.
  • HPI Interview: 3rd CD Democrat Tritch defies the 'liberal' label

    INDIANAPOLIS – If there ever was an uphill political battle, Democrat Courtney Tritch is seeking to climb that mountain in her 3rd CD challenge to freshman Rep. Jim Banks. It hasn’t been represented by a Democrat in nearly quarter a century. It’s a +18 Republican on the Cook Partisan IndexThe last time a Democrat even crested 40% came in the 2006 Democratic wave election year when Republican Rep. Mark Souder defeated Fort Wayne Councilman Thomas Hayhurts 54-45%. Tritch hasn’t attracted the “red to blue” support from the DCCC, but she has out-raised Banks in the last two FEC quarters. From April 19 to June 30, Tritch raised $168,786.39, with 97% coming from the 3rd CD, while Banks reported $165,849.00 in contributions.
  • Atomic! Treason & deep esophagus; Pence & lodestar; reveal & resign
    By BRIAN A.HOWEY, in Indianapolis

    1. 'Treason' comes to the White House: Here are your final power lunch talking points for a strange, strange week channeling the rock band Supertramp: “Now they’re planning the crime of the century … well, what will it be? Read all about their schemes and adventuring … It's well worth a fee … Who are these men of lust, greed, and glory? Rip off the masks and let see.”  Tweeted President Trump: “TREASON?” That was his response to the anonymous publishing of a a New York Times op-ed on Tuesday.  So the specter of “treason,” once consigned to Vice President Aaron Burr, the Rosenbergs and spooks like Aldrich Ames, comes to the White House. The White House. “Does the so-called ‘Senior Administration Official’ really exist, or is it just the Failing New York Times with another phony source?” Trump asks. “If the GUTLESS anonymous person does indeed exist, the Times must, for National Security purposes, turn him/her over to government at once!”

  • Horse Race: Ford, Gambill begin TV ad campaigns

    INDIANAPOLIS – SD29 Democrat J.D. Ford began his TV ad campaign on Wednesday, going up a month earlier than he did during his 2014 challenge to State Sen. Mike Delph. The ad is titled “Bright Future” and features Ford’s bio. “Growing up, my parents taught me that you can’t expect results if you don’t work hard for them,” says Ford in the ad, which examines JD Ford’s working family background, his focus on the community, and his vision for District 29.
  • Atomic! Kavanaugh's 'mob rule' hearing; Senate polling

    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Indianapolis

    1. Kavanaugh's 'mob rule' hearing: Here are your first autumnal power lunch talking points: The confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh seemed like a slam dunk a week ago and it still will likely be. Then we learn that President Trump has ordered some 100,000 pages of documents related to his tenure on the White House staff withheld from Congress. And on the eve of his confirmation hearing which began about an hour ago, some 40,000 pages of docs were dumped, giving almost no time for review. Democrats moved to adjourn the hearings or push for an executive session and Chairman Chuck Grassley repeatedly said, “The motion is denied.”  Sen. John Coryn likened this morning's hearing as one of "mob rule."

  • Atomic! Trump lauds miners, Braun; Pence eulogiezes McCain
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Chesterton, Ind.

    1. Trump boosts Braun in Evansville: Here are your get away for Labor Day talking points: President Trump found an adoring, full house at the Ford Center in Evansville Thursday night, praising Hoosier coal miners and Republican Senate nominee Mike Braun. Trump called Braun “a special guy” who will be a “truly great senator.” U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly reacted, saying, “Hoosiers still want a senator who always puts them first before any politician or political party. They know that’s what I’ve been for them, and it’s what I’ll continue to be as their senator next year.”

  • Atomic! Welcome back, Mr. President; Pence, Daniels & McCain
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Nashville, Ind.

    1. Welcome back to Indiana, Mr. President: Here are your Thursday power lunch talking points: Welcome back to Indiana, Mr. President. We know you will receive an enthusiastic reception from our friends in Evansville at their fabulous Ford Center. It’s called “Hoosier Hospitality.” It’s our calling card to the world. And the world has responded, with Japanese, Chinese, Indian and British companies bringing plants to Indiana where we manufacture some of the world’s most sophisticated durables. Hoosiers love it when their presidents come to visit, and so do I, even if you’ve branded me and my colleagues “enemies of the people.” The Community Newspapers have posted online polls this past week, asking readers if they agree we are the “enemy.” It’s chilling to reporters, editors and photographers to see that in Kokomo – home of the Perspective  and Tribune  – 71% agree with you.

  • HPI Interview: Rep. Banks sees Trump holding off blue wave

    INDIANAPOLIS – Intertwined in the publishing legacy of Howey Politics Indiana is 3rd CD Republicanism. At our founding in 1994 in Fort Wayne, Mark Souder was on the precipice of upsetting U.S. Rep. Jill Long and is now a content contributor today. This Republican bastion has been the launching pad of other astute political strategists, most notably former Vice President Dan Quayle and National Intelligence Director Dan Coats. U.S. Rep. Jim Banks is very much out of the same mold. The modern northeastern Indiana Republican congressman brings a cunning type of conservatism to Washington. It is one of practicality, pragmatism and understanding the world around them. In Banks case, he has applied nose-to-grindstone to learn and then champion the state’s defense sector as a member of the House Armed Services Committee. It is a sector which has been in atrophy over the past generation. To follow Banks is to find him showing up at Muscatatuck, Atterbury, Crane, and air reserve wings at Fort Wayne, Peru and Terre Haute. He’s built vivid relationships with National Guard Adjutant Gen. Courtney Carr and knows the execs and the strategic plans for Rolls-Royce, AM General, General Dynamics and other Hoosier defense contractors.

  • Horse Race: Indiana Democrats avoiding the 'I' word

    WASHINGTON – Last week, President Donald Trump’s legal woes reached a new depth when his former personal lawyer pleaded guilty to breaking campaign-finance laws and implicated Trump. But Democrats running for Congress in Indiana are avoiding the issue of impeachment. “That’s not something I’m hearing about on the campaign trail,” Liz Watson, who is running for the 9th CD seat held by Rep. Trey Hollingsworth, said in an HPI interview.
  • Horse Race: Braun praises Trump on Mexico 'deal'

    INDIANAPOLIS - Republican Senate nominee Mike Braun praised President Trump for forging a bilateral trade deal with Mexico on Monday.  “For too long, Hoosiers have felt the pain from career politicians like Joe Donnelly’s failure to put America first and renegotiate bad deals like NAFTA,” Braun said. “Unlike Senator Donnelly, who said President Trump’s trade negotiation ‘needs to end now,’ I applaud the President’s strong leadership on negotiating this deal,” said Mike Braun. “Joe Donnelly tells Hoosiers what he thinks they want to hear on trade, but in his 12 years in Washington the only thing he’s accomplished is cashing in on outsourcing American jobs.”
  • Atomic! Trump announces Mexico trade pact: McCain tributes
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Indianapolis

    1. Trump announces trade pact with Mexico: Here are your Monday power lunch talking points: President Trump announced a NAFTA deal with Mexico late this morning as he chatted with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, who even suggested a tequila toast. “It’s an incredible deal,” Trump said from the Oval Office as reporters watched. “Our farmers are going to be so happy. Our farmers have stuck with me. Your representatives have been good and my representatives have been fantastic. Many people from the beginning said this was something that couldn’t happen. We made it much simpler and much better for both countries. I like to call this the United States Mexico Trade Agreement. NAFTA had a lot of bad connotations for the country. Working with you has been a pleasure.” Trump vowed to pick up negotiations with Canada in the near future.

  • Atomic! Pence-on-Mute; lonely Trump; Hogsett's 100th
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Milroy, Ind.

    1. Pence ain’t talkin’

    Here are your final power lunch talking points for the week: Mike Pence essentially quit talking to Indiana media in May 2016 as his veepstakes aspirations ramped up. He feared questions about Keith Cooper, ignoring the East Chicago lead crisis, his bicentennial cell tower lease deal, and the P-3 I-69 fiasco between Bloomington and Martinsville. Since joining Donald Trump on the ticket, and then as vice president, there are three schools of thought on Pence-on-Mute: 1. Talking to anyone but friendly media (i.e. Fox, CBN) would make Trump paranoid and undermine his loyalty standing; 2. He needed to remain “loyal” to Trump in order to help keep him within the guardrails; 3. With Indiana media, he’s gone nationwide, he’s too big for us Hoosiers. Now with the Andrea Neal book published, Michael D’Antonio and Peter Eisner’s“The Shadow President: The Truth About Mike Pence,”  hitting the bookstands next Tuesday, and Tom LoBianco’s book under construction, the common thread is, well, Pence still ain’t talkin’. None of these authors has access to Pence, though some allies are speaking. The dilemma for Pence is that in these initial drafts of his history, his perspectives and viewpoints are MIA

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  • Chairman Brown still in critical, but making progress
    House Speaker Brian Bosma is in regular contact with House Ways & Means Chairman Tim Brown’s family, and Bosma reported today that Dr. Brown remains in critical but stable condition at the hospital in Ann Arbor. Brown was injured in a motorcycle accident near the Mackinaw Bridge in Michigan. The family also conveyed that he has made positive progress since the accident.
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  • Bloomberg ponders 2020 presidential run as a Democrat

    Chalk this one up in the what-goes-around-comes-around category. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is pondering a 2020 presidential run as a Democrat, telling the New York Times“It’s impossible to conceive that I could run as a Republican — things like choice, so many of the issues, I’m just way away from where the Republican Party is today. That’s not to say I’m with the Democratic Party on everything, but I don’t see how you could possibly run as a Republican. So if you ran, yeah, you’d have to run as a Democrat.”

    Should he win the Democratic nomination, the billionaire Bloomberg would likely face President Trump, a billionaire Manhattan Democrat who turned Republican and has said he will seek reelection. - Brian A. Howey, publisher

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