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Monday, July 15, 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.”
  • 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.”
  • Horse Race: Westercamp to challenge Hill
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS - Embattled Attorney General Curtis Hill will have a convention opponent should he decide to seek reelection in 2020.  Zionsville attorney John Westercamp today formally announced his candidacy on Thursday. He described himself as a “pro-life candidate,” adding, “No life is safe as long as any life is threatened. As attorney general, I would defend Indiana’s right to protect all life.”  The campaign said that Westercamp’s vision for the attorney general’s office is to lead the state by collaborating with state legislators and the administration to advance conservative policies and uphold the rule of law. He also vowed to address the “overwhelming robo calls,” saying, “Too little has been done to address this issue.” Westercamp would collaborate with telephone providers to reduce the number of robocalls.
  • Sen. Harris, Buttigieg emerge in second Democrat debate
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS – California Sen. Kamala Harris and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg found traction in their first presidential debate Thursday night, potentially encroaching on frontrunners Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. Buttigieg’s big moment came midway through the debate when the topic turned to the immigration disaster on the Mexican border, culminating with the tragic photo of a Guatemalan man and child lying drowned in the Rio Grande. “For a party that associates itself with Christianity to say it is OK to suggest that God would smile on the division of families at the hands of federal agents, that God would condone putting children in cages, has lost all claim to ever use religious language,” Buttigieg said in one of the key exchanges in the debate in Miami.

  • HPI Analysis: Buttigieg's crisis played out as a nation watched

    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS - In presidential politics, it’s often described as that “3 a.m. phone call” that signals a crisis. For South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, he received that call in the midst of what has been seen as a credible presidential campaign and has spent the last week in the utterly conspicuous glare of local and national media attention. The shooting death of 54-year-old black man Eric Logan apparently as he wielded a knife by SBPD Sgt. Ryan O’Neill has thrust Buttigieg into a racially-tinged crisis coming in an era bookended by Ferguson and Charlottesville. 
    And it surface just as Buttigieg was poised to make his most conspicuous play for the Democratic presidential nomination with the second debate in Miami tonight. The backgrop has become an era of racial-generated politics, with the contrasting forces, be they white or black, Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative, moving beyond Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s clarion credo that what really matters is living in “a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

  • Atomic! Pete on race; Crouch & $5 million man; Mueller to sound off
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Indianapolis

    1. Mayor Pete on race: Here are your hump day power lunch talking points: Mayor Pete Buttigieg is emerging from his race crisis in South Bend to the national forum he’ll share with Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris and six others Thursday night in the second Democratic debate. MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle asked him if he should be back in campaign mode. Buttigieg’s response is likely to reveal the contours of his messaging moving forward: “We have to be able to do many things at once. This is a moment my community is in anguish. We’ve been on the ground working with community leaders, working with community members trying to make sure the facts emerge, but also recognizing that the anguishing that is happening is not only about a family who has lost a loved one, the family of Eric Logan, but also goes to another set of issues, both locally and nationally we have been dealing with, the feeling from black Americans that they are literally being policed to death. And making sure we have a way forward on that. This is not just a policy question, this is a moral question. Everything that all of us do is in the shadow of systemic racism that has poisoned the relationship between communities of color and police departments everywhere in the country.” Asked about his low polling support among black voters and the fact that 40% of them in South Bend live in poverty, Buttigieg said, “It’s a terrible inequality. I didn’t create it, but I’ve been working side by side with members of the community to address this. You can’t separate the role of race and poverty and what’s going on between the black community and the criminal justice system. It’s not always about justice."
  • Atomic! Final pre-debate polls; Pete updates; Hickory Holcomb
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Nashville, Ind.

    1. Final pre-debate polls: Here are your Tuesday power lunch talking points: The Democratic presidential debates begin Wednesday night and we have a final set of polls before the reckoning begins. Joe Biden maintains a big lead in a Morning Consult Poll  with 38%. The figures are broken out among Democratic primary voters nationwide and in early primary states, which includes just voters who live in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, or Nevada. Bernie Sanders came in at 19%, Elizabeth Warren at 13%,Mayor Pete Buttieig at 7%, Kamala Harris 6%, Beto O'Rourke at 4% and Cory Booker at 3%. The latest results are based on 16,188 interviews with registered voters, collected from June 17 – 23, 2019. The MoveOn Straw Poll out this morning has Sen. Warren leading with 37.8%, followed by Sanders at 16.5%, Biden at 14.9%, Buttigieg at 11.7% and Harris at 6.8%. What this tells me is that while Biden is a first time "frontrunner" in three bids, he's not locked in at all.  The Democratic base is malleable. Anything can happen.
  • Atomic! Hostile crowds; Pete's words; Pence on border, climate
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Indianapolis 

    1. Facing a hostile crowd: Here are your Monday power lunch talking points: Three times in my political reporting career I've witnessed public servants face an exceedingly hostile crowd. The first was a forum at an Elkhart Baptist church where local and legislative candidates were told to stand on a taped X on the floor during Eric Miller's Advance America event, then were surrounded and faced a barrage of questions from animated citizens. In 2005, BMV Commissioner Joel Silverman faced hostile crowds as he sought to carry out Gov. Mitch Daniels charge to reform that awful agency. In 2009, U.S. Rep. Joe Donnellymet with a Tea Party fueled town hall outside on a sultry night in Kokomo. I loaned him my sunglasses, which he quickly took off, preferring to make eye contact with citizens angered  about the coming Obamacare. On Friday and again on Sunday, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg faced perhaps the angriest crowds I’ve ever seen at his two town halls following a police action shooting (sans body cam) eight days ago. Facing a hostile crowd is a challenge for any politician. You can feel the heat in your face. You must keep your composure. One bad answer can reshape or terminate a political career.  You watch for that disturbed person in your periphery. In the case of Donnelly and Silverman, they weathered these angry sessions well. Donnelly was reelected despite his Obamacare vote in 2010, and then won a Senate seat. Hoosiers should be eternally grateful for Silverman’s courage, as BMV is a vastly better agency for his reforms. The public opinion jury is still out on Mayor Pete, but let’s just say that his efforts over the past week have been courageous. He hasn’t ducked the bereaved family, the issues or criticism. NBC News: Buttigieg became visibly emotional when asked whether it had been wise to hold the event given the communal shouting match it ultimately became. “I just think it’s my job,” Buttigieg said. “I don’t know if it’s smart or not. I don’t know if it’s strategic or not. But it’s my city.

  • Buttigieg's aspirations become mired in a local PD shooting
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS - This was supposed to be a potentially breakthrough week for South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and his presidential campaign. Until a week ago, his long-shot candidacy was ascendent, aimed at the Democratic debates that begin this week, and second quarter FEC reports due on June 30 where he is expected to post north of $15 million. But the shooting death of Eric Logan by South Bend Police officer Sgt. Ryan O'Neill has changed the dynamic. On a day when Buttigieg had planned to build bridges with South Carolina African-Americans at Rep. Jim Clyburn's famous fish fry, the mayor was back home, receiving a petition from angry residents who appeared intent on damaging his presidential campaign. At the Friday rally, the South Bend Tribune reported that at one point, a woman told Buttigieg, "You're running for president and you want black people to vote for you? That's not going to happen."

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  • Pence finds 'tough' conditions at overwhelmed border facility in Texas
    “I was not surprised by what I saw. I knew we’d see a system that was overwhelmed. This is tough stuff.” - Vice President Mike Pence, visiting an over crowded border facility at McAllen, Tex. According to the White House pool report, Pence saw nearly 400 men crammed behind caged fences with not enough room for them all to lie down on the concrete ground. There were no mats or pillows for those who found the space to rest. A stench from body odor hung stale in the air. When reporters toured the facility before Pence, the men screamed that they'd been held there 40 days, some longer. They said they were hungry and wanted to brush their teeth. It was sweltering hot, but the only water was outside the fences and they needed to ask permission from the Border Patrol agents to drink. 
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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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