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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.  
  • Horse Race: GOP Secretary of state race volatile; Sullivan, Morales trade shots
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS –  Indiana Secretary of State Holli Sullivan is a conservative Republican who has spent her entire career checking off all the right political boxes as she made her way from Evansville, to the General Assembly and then the southeastern corner second floor Statehouse office. On June 18, she hopes to secure her own nomination for a full term in a convention field that includes perennial candidate Diego Morales and Knox County Clerk Dave Shelton. Her biggest liability? It may be the fact that she was appointed to the office by Gov. Eric Holcomb. Yes, the same Gov. Holcomb who won reelection with a record 1.7 million votes in 2020; who secured 56.5% of the vote, just a shade under what his mentor, Gov. Mitch Daniels, did in 2008 at 57.8% (and just 1.56 million votes). The same governor who inspired the challenges to 25 House Republicans by the Liberty Defense PAC that claimed just one victory over an incumbent not facing another incumbent.

  • Holcomb's transgender bill veto easily overridden by General Assembly super majorities
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana General Assembly overrode Gov. Eric Holcomb’s veto of HEA1041 which bans transgender athletes from playing female sports. The House voted 67-28 while the Senate voted 32-15. The ACLU filed a suit against the new law set to take effect on July 1 on Tuesday. “I want to thank the overwhelming support from Hoosiers across the state on this important matter. HEA1041, the purpose of this bill is to maintain fair competition in girls sports now and in the future,” said State Rep. Michelle Davis, R-Whiteland, who authored the bill and defended it on the House floor Tuesday. 

  • Atomic: Correcting 'technical corrections'; A 'cruel summer' & monster hurricanes aim at pump; Foreign formula to Indiana; Gov to Davos; Oxford honors Dr. Ruckelshaus
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Kokomo

    1. Correcting the 'technical corrections': Tuesday is "Technical Correction Day" in the General Assembly. That the super majority GOP will override Gov. Eric Holcomb's veto of HEA1041 - the female transgender athletics bill - is a fait accompli. There will be rampant talk of how to proceed once the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down Roe v. Wade. There will be talk about the skyrocketing property tax assessments. And there will be speculation how suspending the state's 74.4 cent a gallon gas, which was being propagated by the paltry Democrat caucuses but has now spread into the GOP, with State Rep. Jim Lucas being asked by WIBC if a suspension is possible. "Absolutely, and that’s one of the things we’re working on," Lucas said. Dan Carden of the NWI Times: As recently as June 30, 2017, the state's gasoline tax rate was just 18 cents per gallon, according to the Department of Revenue. That year, the Republican-controlled General Assembly, led by State Rep. Ed Soliday, R-Valparaiso, and Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb, hiked the gasoline tax by 10 cents per gallon, and authorized annual 1 cent inflation adjustments through 2024, to fund a massive road construction program. But the biggest news could come with Republicans seeking to adjust "technical corrections." There is lot of hallway buzz about a “substantive” change in the “technical corrections" bill. David Bottorff of the Indiana Association of Counties considers it "substantive" because it doesn’t correct a code cite or address a code conflict. It basically undoes a provision of a bill that was passed in waning hours. Advocates for the change in the tech corrections bill say that the final bill that was passed didn’t reflect “intent.” The PD of the bill draft is on the Indiana General Assembly website, listed on the Legislative Council meeting scheduled for May 24. The bill summary on this contested provision says, “Provides that a statute added by HEA 1260-2022 applies to property tax assessment appeals filed after March 20, 2022." Stay tuned.
  • Atomic! The new (& obsolete) USS Indianapolis; Braun votes against Ukraine aid; The Hoosier condition; Sec. Pete on traffic fatality 'crisis'
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Indianapolis

    1. The obsolete new USS Indianapolis: The last two survivors (out of 317) of the 1945 USS Indianapolis (CA-35) sinking - Harold Bray and Cleatus Lebow - are gathering today in Fredericksburg, TX, joining family and friends of the crew. This comes as the current USS Indianapolis (LCS17), which was commissioned at Burns Harbor in 2019, is due to be scrapped by the U.S. Navy. The fourth USS Indianapolis is a Freedom-class littoral ship designed to be highly maneuverable for missions such as mine-clearing and anti-submarine warfare. But Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Michael Gilday told the House Armed Services Committee last week that the USS Indianapolis and eight other new anti-submarine ships could not perform their primary mission. "I refuse to put an additional dollar against a system that would not be able to track a high-end submarine in today's environment," Gilday said. As China builds its naval forces, the new ship has already been declared obsolete. Gilday added that the main reason for the early retirement was that the anti-submarine warfare system on the ships "did not work out technically,” CNN reported. The decommissioning of the ships would save the Navy approximately $391 million, according to the service's proposed FY23 budget. As painful as it is to say, this will become  the Pentagon’s 21st Century version of the $700 hammer and the $2,500 toilet seat.

  • HPI Analysis: The evolution of the U.S. and Indiana abortion debate in post-Roe world
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS – When the U.S. Supreme Court voted 7-2 in the 1973 Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion, Lt. Gov. Robert Orr had been a contributor to Planned Parenthood. When a young Republican named Mike Pence first ran for Congress in 1988, the abortion issue wasn’t a campaign hallmark. As the nation grappled with the fallout of Roe, it was Northeastern Catholics who mounted the initial vanguard against legalized abortion. After the 1994 Republican Revolution, the pro-life bulwark shifted to the South and Midwest, helping to create the red center of the nation, while the coasts (along with Illinois and Colorado) became blue. In the 1990s in the Indiana General Assembly, Republican House Speaker Paul Mannweiler and Senate President Pro Tem Robert Garton were pro-choice, while Democrat House Speaker John Gregg was pro-life.
  • Horse Race: If Hollingsworth drops $15M, does he win GOP INGov?
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS – Word on the street is that U.S. Rep. Trey Hollingsworth is planning to pump up to $15 million into his prospective 2024 Republican gubernatorial nomination contest. It’s a race that could pit the retiring congressman against U.S. Sen. Mike Braun, who loaned his 2018 U.S. Senate campaign $5.5 million which helped him defeat U.S. Reps. Luke Messer and Todd Rokita, giving the Jasper businessman a decisive early spending edge. By the time Braun had defeated U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly in the general election, FEC reports revealed he had raised $19.6 million while loaning his campaign $11,569,962. So the 2024 race is poised to be an unprecedented self-funder event. The race is expected to draw Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, Fort Wayne businessman Eric Doden, former state senator Jim Merritt and possibly U.S. Rep. Jim Banks, Attorney General Todd Rokita and Republican Chairman Kyle Hupfer.
  • HPI Horse Race: Houchin poised for Congress; Green wins 1st CD GOP nod
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS – Of the two new Republican congressional nominees, both Erin Houchin in the 9th CD and Jennifer-Ruth Green in the 1st CD had embraced Donald Trump and had campaigned on that fact on their way to emphatic victories in multiple-candidate races. Houchin told Indiana Public Media the district voters benefited from former President Trump’s policies. Though, she said there weren’t plans to join him at this weekend’s Kentucky Derby. “I believe his policies were good for America,” Houchin said. “We were certainly better under President Trump than we have been under the Biden administration.” She faces Bloomington teacher Matthew Fyfe, who beat Isak Asare and Liam Dorris in the Democratic primary with 56%. “I’m a teacher, I’m going in tomorrow at 8 a.m. to teach these students and that’s the number one priority of this campaign,” said Fyfe. “We need to make sure that we have great schools.” There was no anti-incumbency trend in Tuesday’s Indiana primary, from evidence in the first of the new super majority maps that were drawn and signed into law last October.

  • Houchin, Green win CD nominations; Sen. Byrne defeats Boehnlein; Reps. Snow, Borders prevail
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS - Erin Houchin is poised to become the newest Hoosier in Congress after winning the Republican 9th CD nomination in a district that is rated R+30. In the 1st CD race, Jennifer-Ruth Green had a huge early lead over former LaPorte mayor Blair Milo. Green will likely face Democratic U.S. Rep. Frank Mrvan. Green declared victory, saying, "I am honored and humbled that northwest Indiana Republicans have placed their trust in me to be their nominee for Congress. Frank Mrvan pretends to be a moderate Democrat, but his record tells a different story.  Frank Mrvan has rubber-stamped the failed economic, energy, immigration and public safety policies of Biden and Pelosi that have led to soaring inflation, crushing gas prices, a border crisis and skyrocketing crime rates. In fact, Mrvan has voted for the radical liberal agenda of Nancy Pelosi 100% of the time. It’s time for him to come home.”
  • HPI Analysis: It's time to reform the 1887 Electoral Count Act
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS – When I was growing up, if the Peru Tigers lost to the Marion Giants or the Logansport Berries, we accepted the verdict on the court. Those who didn’t were labeled “poor sports” or “bad losers.” These days we are witnessing Republican U.S. Senate debates in Georgia, Ohio and Pennsylvania where candidates are relitigating Donald Trump’s empirically proven loss to Joe Biden in 2020.  Dr. Mehmet Oz was asked if it was time to move on from this “Stop the Steal” mode, and he responded, “I have discussed it with President Trump and we cannot move on. We have to be serious about what happened in 2020.”

  • HPI Horse Race: Milo, Houchin eye CD wins; McGuire onslaught v. Rep. Jacob; HRCC lines up for Rep. Snow in race v. Rep. Nisly; Boehnlein favored in SD47
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana primary voters go to the polls next Tuesday for the first time with new maps forged last October. At stake are two Republican congressional seat nominations, with the 9th CD winner being tantamount to election in November given the GOP-tilted maps. The GOP winner in the 1st CD race between former LaPorte mayor Blair Milo and newcomer Jennifer-Ruth Green could represent the lone takeover opportunity in a November race with freshman U.S. Rep. Frank Mrvan. While we see Rep. Mrvan as leading in a fall matchup, the 1st CD has just a D+7% advantage. The next closest is CD5 where freshman Rep. Victoria Spartz runs for her first reelection in a R+22 district.  Also coming to a head will be three incumbent v. incumbent General Assembly races, including two in the Indiana House where legislators were drawn (or moved) into the same districts while in SD47, State Sens. Kevin Boehnlein and Gary Byrne are slugging it out for a full term after both were appointed by caucus to seats in SD46 and SD47. In HD22, the House Republican Campaign Committee is actively backing State Rep. Craig Snow, who is trying to fend off State Rep. Curt Nisly, with $80,000 in late money.

  • Atomic! Daniels says it's time for female gov; Lavrov nuke rattling; Media moves; Mayor Uran to head Lake tourism
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Indianapolis

    1. Daniels says it's time for woman governor: Purdue President Mitch Daniels spoke Monday at the Lugar Series luncheon recognizing this year’s class of the series at the Indiana Roof Ballroom. He noted that the last three elected lieutenant governors - Becky Skillman, Sue Ellspermann and current incumbent Suzanne Crouch - were were graduates of the series (Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb had been appointed by Gov. Mike Pence). Daniels noted that four of Indiana’s state-wide office holders are also Lugar Series graduates. He then said that it is high time that Indiana elect a woman governor and that she should be a graduate of the series. Lt. Gov. Crouch said in Brazil, Ind., earlier this month, "My experience at the state and local level in the executive and legislative branches have prepared me to be a lieutenant governor and work alongside the governor. I also believe that God puts us in places for a reason, I think I'm in a place for a reason and you can expect an announcement later this year." There have been 45 female governors elected in the U.S., but Indiana is one of 19 states which has never elected a female. Indiana has just had one major party female nominee, Democrat Jill Long Thompson in 2008.

  • HPI Analysis: Rep. Spartz sees Ukraine war going global
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS – It is rare that Ukrainian-born U.S. Rep. Victoria Spartz and Russia’s state-backed media are on the same page. This past week, both suggested that World War III has already begun. “We cannot be naive and not acknowledge that a major world conflict has already started,” said Spartz in a Tuesday statement after returning from a visit to Kyiv and the atrocity site of Bucha. “China and Russia are using a hybrid and multimodal strategy around the world to destabilize and control, which will require leadership and smart policies from the United States now more than ever.” Last week, following the embarrassing sinking of its Black Sea flag ship Moskva, Russian state TV presenter Olga Skabeyeva implored Rossiya 1 viewers to “recognize” that the country was now “fighting against NATO infrastructure, if not NATO itself. One can safely call what it has escalated into World War III. That’s absolutely for sure.”

  • An Indiana 4/20 day like no other in history
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS – When the 2012 gubernatorial debate turned to the topic of legalized marijuana, Libertarian nominee Rupert Boneham decried decades of prohibition. “It’s a plant,” he said as Republican Mike Pence and Democrat John Gregg looked on. “It’s a plant.” A decade later – on Wednesday 4/20 – Republicans, Democrats and Libertarians gathered at an American Legion post on 54th Street all advocating marijuana reform. It was the most conspicuous and across-the-spectrum demonstration of support ... ever for ending reefer madness that fills our jails and denies medicinal pot to those in pain. Democrat U.S. Senate candidate Thomas McDermott Jr., secretary of state candidate Destiny Scott Wells, Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears, former Republican state senator and future gubernatorial candidate Jim Merritt and Libertarian Chairman Evan McMahon gathered amongst American military veterans to advocate for this “plant” that is keeping many of them off opioids.

  • Horse Race: Sodrel, Green open CD money leads
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS  –  Mike Sodrel in the 9th CD and Jennifer-Ruth Green in the 1st CD held fundraising advantages in two competitive Republican congressional primary races. Sodrel, the former one-term congressman, posted $467,370 raised during the first quarter in his FEC filing, though he loaned his campaign $425,000. Former state senator Erin Houchin raised $377,204 while Stu Barnes-Israel posted $366,324 in what has turned out to be a three-way 9th CD race. In the 1st CD, Green posted $276,575, while former LaPorte mayor Blair Milo reported $208,239. The big news out of this race is that Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball moved the race from likely Democratic to leans Democratic as freshman Democrat Rep. Frank Mrvan seeks a second term. Mrvan reported $559,909 in receipts, expenditures of $246,240 and had an ending cash balance of $427,896.
  • HPI Analysis: Looming Ukraine tank battles conjure echoes of World War II
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS -– Flying from Frankfurt to Moscow in the summer of 2007, I pondered the three waves of World War II invasions that occurred over the vast steppes and plains below. There were three great tank battles, that included the Wehrmacht's Operation Citadel on the southern side of the Kursk salient, and the Battle of Prokhorovka, both occurring in 1943 as a prelude to Stalingrad and the ultimate pivot of the war. While Ukraine won the opening stage of this war, fending off a Russian assault on Kyiv during the first two months, the Kremlin has recalibrated, moving the theater to the east. The terrain is vastly different, situated more like Kansas than the rivers, marshes, forests and suburbs surrounding Kyiv.
  • HPI Interview: Sen. Young on Putin, China, his Endless Frontier and reelection
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS – U.S. Sen. Todd Young expressed confidence about his reelection bid, saying he has united the Indiana Republican Party. He reported raising $1.1 million in the first quarter and has a war chest of $6.1 million. In an HPI Interview conducted at his downtown Indianapolis office late Wednesday afternoon, Young said he has access to classified information on Russian President Putin and believes that the U.S. should send to Ukraine anything “that shoots.” He also believes his Endless Frontier Act will pass a rare congressional conference committee which could create technology hubs in Indiana.

  • Horse Race: Houchin posts $375k; Sodrel mum on how much he'll spend
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS  –  In less than three months as a Republican 9th CD candidate, Erin Houchin raised over $375,000 in the first quarter of 2022. A key rival, former congressman Mike Sodrel, won’t say how much of his own money he’ll pump into his campaign. “I’m humbled by the outpouring of support from across the district from those who have chipped in to fund this campaign and the more than 150 local conservative leaders and GOP officials who have endorsed our effort,” Houchin said. “As the only proven conservative fighter in this race, I look forward to bringing the fight to Washington, pushing back against the runaway reckless spending, weak and detrimental handling of our southern border crisis, and bringing energy independence back to America.” 
  • Atomic! Holcomb v. Legislature; Veto override could be impacted; Crouch '24 plans coming; Pink Floyd returns for Ukraine
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Indianapolis

    1. Holcomb v. General Assembly

    The constitutional showdown between Gov. Eric Holcomb and the General Assembly took place before the Indiana Supreme Court on Thursday. Richard Blaiklock, attorney for the governor: "To be clear, Gov. Holcomb is not here saying that it's good or bad public policy to have the dual ability of the Legislature and the governor to be able to call a special session. But that question is left for a proper constitutional amendment for the decision to be left to the voters of Indiana through that process. Because HEA 1123 circumvented that process, and tried to give the Legislature authority to do so through ordinary legislation, it's unconstitutional." Indiana Solicitor General Thomas Fisher arguing for the General Assembly: "Nothing in the text or history of the Constitution suggests some exclusive power of the governor is compromised here. There is an abstract question about the constitutionality. That’s not the role of courts to decide abstract questions, it’s to resolve real legal disputes."  This case may have unintended consequences, potentially impacting the scheduled May 24 override of Holcomb's veto of the transgender bill. WIBC's Eric Berman: That law has never been challenged since its passage in 1995, and Fisher says the same power which authorized those sessions makes the new emergency-session law possible. Justice Geoffrey Slaughter warned that argument could backfire, suggesting the two laws “rise or fall together.” Fisher agreed, and argued invalidating technical corrections day would “weaponize” the governor’s special session authority by allowing him to prevent review of vetoes for seven months or more. 
  • The greatest political speeches in Indiana history
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS – With the advent of war comes great prose. Just as May 1940 found Prime Minister Winston Churchill rallying his nation at the beginning of the blitz in the Battle of Britain, we have witnessed great oratory from Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky. In his speech to the British House of Commons on May, 8, Zelensky said, “The question for us now is to be or not to be. Oh no, this Shakespearean question. For 13 days this question could have been asked but now I can give you a definitive answer. It’s definitely yes, to be. And I would like to remind you the words that the United Kingdom have already heard, which are important again. We will not give up and we will not lose. We will fight until the end, at sea, in the air. We will continue fighting for our land, whatever the cost. We will fight in the forests, in the fields, on the shores, in the streets. I’d like to add that we will fight on the banks of different rivers and we’re looking for your help, for the help of the civilized countries.” There has been great, enlightened oratory over the centuries here in Indiana, from President-elect Abraham Lincoln’s stops in State Line City, Lafayette, Thorntown, Lebanon, and Zionsville before speaking to 20,000 Hoosiers in Indianapolis in February 1861, to U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy’s speech the night of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination in 1968, to President Ronald Reagan’s address before the General Assembly in 1982.
  • Horse Race: Milo, Green, Houchin begin TV ads
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS – Republican 1st CD candidate Jennifer-Ruth Green began her TV ad campaign on Wednesday, joining Blair Milo on the air. This ad is running on Fox News, streaming services, and digital ads district wide as the first part of a six-figure advertising campaign. “I’ve served this country and defended our values in uniform and in combat,” Green said. “I’m ready to continue my service by defeating Frank Mrvan, helping retire Nancy Pelosi and putting an end to the failed economic policies, woke-ism and weakness that threatens America at home and abroad like never before. In Congress, I’ll fight for jobs, energy independence and fiscal responsibility while defending the 2nd Amendment, protecting life, and advancing President Trump’s successful America First policies.”
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  • NRA donations to Sens. Braun and Young
    "Horrified by the senseless murder of 14 children and a teacher in Texas. My heart is with the parents and the community bearing this unimaginable anguish. We have to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill, which is why I support Indiana’s red flag law, which works well when it is utilized." U.S. Sen. Mike Braun, tweeting after 19 students and two teachers were murdered in their Uvalde, Tex., school on Tuesday. According to Brady United, Braun has received $1.249 million from the NRA, while U.S. Sen. Todd Young has received $2.89 million from the NRA.
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