INDIANA ELECTION UPGRADE WON'T BE DONE BY 2020: A big upgrade of voting machines is taking place around the state, but it won’t be finished before the 2020 election, when Hoosiers will choose a president, governor and other down ballot candidates (Indiana Public Media). Some Hoosier voters worry their votes aren't protected, and critics say a larger effort to safeguard votes is needed from the state. There are two types of machines for counties to use during elections in Indiana: Direct Record Electronic (DREs) and Optical Scans, which utilize a paper ballot. Valerie Warycha, the Indiana Deputy Chief of Staff says the state is providing four DRE counties -- Bartholomew, Boone, Hamilton, and Hendricks -- with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trails (VVPAT) by 2020. A VVPAT is a device that attaches to the machine and prints out a paper copy of an individual vote that can be reviewed in the course of an election audit. A law that went into effect in July requires all counties to use voting machines that provide a paper trail audit by the beginning of 2030.

YOVANOVITCH TO TESTIFY TODAY: As Democrats enter the second day of public impeachment hearings, Marie L. Yovanovitch, the former ambassador to Ukraine, will testify publicly on Friday about the campaign by the president’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani that led to her ouster and her shock and anger about the effort to get her fired (New York Times). The former ambassador will deliver what Democrats hope will be moving testimony as she recounts her abrupt ouster after a relentless smear campaign by Mr. Giuliani. Ms. Yovanovitch, who goes by the nickname Masha, has already described how Mr. Giuliani and Trump allies accused her of undermining the president during the 2016 election, something she calls a scurrilous lie. In Ms. Yovanovitch’s telling, Mr. Giuliani saw her as an impediment to his agenda, which included pushing Ukraine to investigate Hunter Biden, the younger son of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. An immigrant and a diplomat with more than 30 years of service, Ms. Yovanovitch was told to “get on the next plane,” a move she has said was based on “unfounded and false claims by people with clearly questionable motives.” Democrats expect her to describe the personal trauma she endured as the administration’s traditional diplomatic establishment in Ukraine collided with a rogue foreign policy operation run by Mr. Giuliani.

WHITE HOUSE BUDGET OFFICIAL TO TESTIFY: Mark Sandy, a senior White House budget official, is prepared to testify Saturday to House impeachment investigators about his knowledge of President Donald Trump's decision to halt nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine, his lawyer indicated Thursday (Politico). Sandy's lawyer, Barbara Van Gelder — who is also representing former National Security Council aide Tim Morrison — said Sandy intends to testify if he receives a subpoena from lawmakers, a step Democrats have repeatedly taken with other cooperative witnesses to sidestep orders from the White House to refuse to testify.

DEMOCRATS CONCEDE PUBLIC OPINION NOT MOVING: House Democrats are publicly holding out hope that historic impeachment hearings will persuade a vast majority of the American public that President Donald Trump committed high crimes and misdemeanors — but privately many acknowledge that it's unlikely to happen (CNN). In a private meeting this week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her top lieutenants were skeptical about the prospects of a dramatic shift in opinion even as public impeachment hearings began this week, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter. The upshot, the sources said: Democrats need to move forward with impeachment proceedings even if the politics are murky, noting that even during Richard Nixon's presidency most of the public was divided until soon before he was forced to resign.

13.8M WATCHED IMPEACHMENT HEARINGS: [I]t's impossible to estimate how many people watched or heard Wednesday's hearings across all platforms. But the Nielsen #'s give us some insight ... Nielsen said that 13.8 million people were watching across 10 networks at every average minute of the hearing (Politico Playbook). The TV audience skewed older -- 10.6 million were ages 55+. I think younger viewers were more likely to stream the hearing."

PENCE PUSHES USMCA IN DEM DISTRICTS: For months, the White House has put pressure on freshman Democrats who won in districts that Trump carried in 2016 and where he remains relatively popular (Axios). Vice President Pence "participated in 35 events in the U.S. and Canada calling for USMCA passage," per his office, and traveled to 15 districts held by Democrats to push the trade agreement.

GOV. BEVIN CONCEDES IN KENTUCKY: Republican Gov. Matt Bevin conceded to Democratic archnemesis Andy Beshear on Thursday, putting an end to Kentucky's bitterly fought governor's race and setting the stage for divided government (AP). Bevin, an ally of President Donald Trump, made the dramatic announcement outside his statehouse office on the same day election officials across Kentucky double-checked vote totals at his request. Bevin, who trailed by several thousand votes, acknowledged the recanvass wouldn't change the outcome.

ZODY TO SEEK STOOPS' SENATE SEAT: Indiana Democratic Chairman John Zody announced Thursday he would seek to replace Democratic Sen. Mark Stoops of Bloomington, who said last week that he wouldn’t seek a third term (AP). Incumbent state Sen. Mark Stoops, D-Bloomington, announced earlier this month that he plans to retire from the Indiana Legislature at the conclusion of the 2020 session. District 40 covers the majority of Monroe County, including the city of Bloomington and the town of Ellettsville. Zody says running for office won’t interfere with his role as the Democratic Party Chair (Indiana Public Media). “I’ve already taken action on some of those things, making sure that I as a candidate am not conflicted in any way with my role as chair and the authority I have there if another candidate entered the race - we’d make sure that we’re impartial,” Zody says.

WEINZAPFEL SEEKING EVANSVILLE COUNCIL ATTORNEY JOB: Former Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel is among at least three lawyers competing to be the new Evansville City Council's lead attorney (Evansville Courier & Press). Members of the new 7-2 Democratic majority City Council that will take office in January said Weinzapfel has sought their support for the position. But so have Josh Claybourn, who has held the job since shortly after the 2015 city election, and state Rep. Ryan Hatfield, who represents Evansville in the Legislature. The choice between the three prominent attorneys left new City Council member Kaitlin Moore Morley confronting a tough choice just a week after she was elected. Moore Morley, a Democrat who won an at-large seat, joked that she hasn't even been paid yet in the part-time job. Weinzapfel's departure from Ivy Tech was widely interpreted as a prelude to his eventual re-entry onto the political scene -- but the former mayor, who is notoriously closemouthed about his political plans, has declined to comment on that.

SUPT. McCORMICK RELEASES AGENDA: The state’s schools chief has announced what she plans to prioritize during her final year in office. Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick released her legislative agenda for the State Department of Education Thursday (Indiana Public Media). McCormick’s priorities include things like increased accountability for virtual and brick-and-mortar charter schools. She also plans to push for measures addressing student vaping, and streamlining how the state collects data from schools. “Our 2020 legislative priorities build upon past successes with a focus on areas in which we can improve to better serve students and educators,” McCormick said in a statement. “Our goal remains to create safe learning environments that academically prepare students for life beyond high school through providing educators the tools necessary to be successful in the classroom. This has been the department's focus since day one of my term. As Indiana’s last elected state superintendent, I will continue to advocate in the best interest of kids.” Another core piece of McCormick’s plans for 2020 focus on teacher needs. Part of her teacher-based priorities include giving more special educators access to teacher bonus grants and making a new career awareness license rule optional.

ND HOME SELLOUT STREAK ENDS: Jack Swarbrick can live with some bald spots on Notre Dame Stadium home football Saturdays as long as the golf clap never returns as the signature response to what’s going on down on the field. Even if the vacant seats represent a piece of history absconding (South Bend Tribune). And that’s exactly what is happening Saturday, when Notre Dame (7-2) and Navy (7-1) clash for the 93rd consecutive season — the Notre Dame home sellout streak will end at 273 games. It’s the second-longest in NCAA history, with Nebraska’s run of 373 No. 1 and still active heading into Saturday’s matchup with Wisconsin.m“It was never sort of important to me to keep it alive, but I understand why other people thought so,” said Swarbrick, ND’s athletic director since 2008. “It’s a point of distinction to a lot of people and our fans. “For me it’s always been: What’s the stadium environment like? Are we creating a great environment for our team and for our student-athletes? That you can say it’s also sold out is sort of a byproduct of that. “But if my choice is (77,622) people in an environment that’s not really good versus 75,000 in a raucous environment, I’ll take the latter every time.”

HPI DAILY ANALYSIS: So Notre Dame’s home football sellout streak ends. Here’s a prediction: Urban Meyer will be on the sidelines when the Irish open the 2020 season. He wanted the job when Brian Kelly got it and he’s available now. - Brian A. Howey


MAYOR BENNETT HAD BIG MONEY LEAD: While incumbent Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett won re-election to a fourth term with a close margin at the ballot box, he dominated fundraising (Greninger, Terre Haute Tribune-Star). Republican Bennett had four times as much as money to spend in the election year as Independent Pat Goodwin, who finished second by a little more than 200 votes. Bennett had six times more money than Democrat Karrum Nasser, who polled third. Unofficial vote totals showed Bennett at 5,178 votes (41.76%); Goodwin at 4,962 votes (40.02%), Nasser at 2,142 votes (17.28%) and independent candidate, Shane Meehan, tallied 117 votes (0.94%). From Jan. 1 to Oct.11, Bennett brought in $209,269, which includes cash on hand at the start of the year. Goodwin raised $50,998 since January, which includes cash on hand at the start of the year. Nasser raised $33,087, including cash on hand at the start of the year. Meehan did not file campaign finance reports. In the pre-election campaign finance reporting period of April 13 to Oct. 11, Bennett raised $67,337, Goodwin raised $28,357 and Nasser $28,600.

Presidential 2020

PATRICK GETS LUKEWARM WELCOME IN NH: Deval Patrick thinks his road to the Democratic presidential nomination starts in New Hampshire. Granite Staters think it ends here (Politico). Several Democratic operatives who have worked on winning Democratic presidential primary campaigns in the state, from Gary Hart to Bernie Sanders, said they do not see a path to victory for the former Massachusetts governor. As much as polling suggests the electorate is largely undecided, there is no clear constituency for Patrick, according to Andy Smith, the University of New Hampshire’s pollster. If anything, voters are looking for candidates to leave the race, not join it. Primary voters here have shown they are largely looking for a more progressive nominee, as Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders dominate in poll after poll. In the latest survey of New Hampshire Democratic voters, the two garnered a combined 40% of support and were the top two most-liked candidates, in terms of favorability. Smith said both were relatively unknown when they first started running for president but have spent years cultivating a following here.

PATRICK DISCUSSED RACE WITH OBAMA: Mr. Patrick and former President Barack Obama have been political allies for more than a decade and have remained friendly. In recent weeks, Mr. Obama has told people he thinks highly of Mr. Patrick but that his entry into the race was coming 'very late,' according to two people who have spoken with the former president. Mr. Obama sees building a strong organization, especially in Iowa, as a kind of compulsory exercise for a serious candidate, these people said (New York Times). Discussing the race with Mr. Patrick, the former president covered the same talking points he had in his conversations with other candidates who have sought his counsel, according to a person with knowledge of their interaction: Campaign outside your political base, stay true to your beliefs and keep beating Mr. Trump in front of mind. "He didn't ask for anybody's blessing,' said Valerie Jarrett, the former senior adviser to Mr. Obama, referring to Mr. Patrick. Ms. Jarrett, who is friends with Mr. Patrick and publicly urged him to run last year, praised him as an 'outstanding leader' but stopped short of offering an endorsement — taking care to note that he's entering 'an already strong Democratic field.

WARREN GAINS WITH BLACK VOTERS: Sen. Elizabeth Warren is narrowing Joe Biden's longtime lead with black Democrats in the crowded 2020 primary field, Axios' Alexi McCammond reports. Since 1992, no Democrat has won the party's presidential nomination without a majority of the black vote. Black voters are expected to cast one in four primary ballots in the 2020 election, per an NBC News analysis. Last week, a group of more than 100 black female activists (Black Womxn) endorsed Warren, saying her policies, record, and understanding of structural inequality speak directly to black voters.

General Assembly

REP. CHYUNG SEEKS TO LOWER CANDIDACY AGE: An Indiana legislator wants to lower the age required to seek a state office to encourage more young people to take part in the state’s lawmaking process (Statehouse File). State Rep. Chris Chyung, D-Dyer, announced his proposal Thursday to lower the age to run for either the Indiana House or Senate to age 18, a change that will require an amendment to the state constitution. Currently, the age to run for a seat in the Senate is 25 while the age to run for a seat in the House is 21.


GOVERNOR: FARMERS PRAISE HOLCOMB'S PROPANE TRUCKING DECISION - Gov. Eric Holcomb has declared a propane shortage emergency and issued an executive order designed to help boost supply (Indiana Public Media). The governor’s first executive order of the year will ease restrictions on hours of service for truck drivers who deliver the fuel. And after a challenging planting season due to spring flooding, the lack of propane is hurting many farmers even more. Farmers rely on propane to dry out grains before they can store and sell it. Indiana Farm Bureau national government relations director Bob White says Holcomb’s order will help prevent the more severe shortages other states in the Midwest are facing. “In Indiana, the governor is being proactive. He’s seen this happen before in the state, and so just to be one step ahead,” says White.

GOVERNOR: HOLCOMB SCHEDULE - Below find Gov. Eric J. Holcomb’s public schedule for November 15, 2019. Infosys Beam Signing Ceremony, Gov. Holcomb and Indiana Secretary of Commerce Jim Schellinger. The governor will deliver remarks, 2 p.m., One America Tower – Third Floor, One America Square, Indianapolis.

DNR: FIREWOOD PERMITS AVAILABLE AT SHADES, TURKEY RUN - The public is invited to cut certain downed trees at Turkey Run and Shades state parks for firewood (Terre Haute Tribune-Star). Trees eligible for firewood have fallen as a result of natural causes or have been dropped by property staff. They are along roadsides or in public areas such as campsites and picnic areas. Permit sales will continue through March 15. The cost of one pickup-truck load is $10. All proceeds will be used for resource management and restoration efforts, including replacement of trees in campgrounds and other public areas. A firewood permit must be obtained for each load at Turkey Run’s office, Nature Center, or entrance gate between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Permits are not available on observed state holidays. Wood may be cut and removed between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. daily. For more information, call 765-597-2635. Firewood cut at Turkey Run or Shades state parks is for personal use only and cannot be sold.

INDOT: MORE INDY AREA INTERSTATE WORK - The Indiana Department of Transportation is winding down the construction season. This weekend, contractors will be out in four different work zones in Marion County. INDOT wants to remind drivers to pay attention and slow down in work zones. Plan ahead and find alternate routes (Howey Politics Indiana).  Some work is weather dependent. Please follow @INDOTEast on Twitter and INDOT East Central on Facebook for updates to the schedule.

Lane Restrictions: I-65 NB from Southport Rd. to I-465, Right lane closed, Overnight work Friday to Monday, I-465 ramps will not be affected  I-465 NB/SB from I-70 to I-65 (Southeast side), Intermittent rolling stops during lane striping, 9 p.m. Friday to 9 p.m. Sunday. I-465 NB/WB from 56th Street to U.S. 31 (Northeast side), 1 lane open, 7 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Monday. I-465 EB/WB from Ditch Rd. to Springmill Rd., 2 lanes closed in each direction 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Ramp Closures: I-65 NB to Southport Rd., Intermittent nightly closures, 9 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Monday, I-65 SB to Southport Rd. Intermittent nightly closures, 9 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Monday, Shadeland Ave. to I-465 NB, 7 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Monday, Keystone Ave. to I-465 WB, 7 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Monday, NB Martin Luther King Jr. St. to I-65 SB, 9 p.m. Friday to 11 p.m. Saturday


WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP ASKS SCOTUS TO RULE ON TAX RETURNS - President Trump asked the Supreme Court on Thursday to bar his accounting firm from turning over eight years of his tax returns to Manhattan prosecutors (New York Times). The case, the first concerning Mr. Trump’s personal conduct and business dealings to reach the court, could yield a major ruling on the scope of presidential immunity from criminal investigations. Jay Sekulow, a lawyer for Mr. Trump, said a federal appeals court had committed a grave legal error in allowing the accounting firm to provide the tax records. “We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will grant review in this significant constitutional case and reverse the dangerous and damaging decision of the appeals court,” Mr. Sekulow said in a statement.

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP/PENCE SCHEDULE - President Trump will deliver remarks on transparency in health prices in the Roosevelt Room at 2 p.m. Vice President Mike Pence arrived in California Wednesday for a two-day visit to support President Donald Trump and tour a NASA facility. After stops in Huntington Beach in Southern California and Monterey, Pence continued on to Moffett Field in the Bay Area, landing at the airfield at about 6:45 p.m. Pence and second lady Karen Pence were greeted by about 75 cheering supporters at Moffett Field. At one point, the crowd chanted "U-S-A" and then "Four more years."

MEDIA: SUNDAY TALK - CBS "Face the Nation": Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.). Panel: Ed O'Keefe, Rachael Bade, Ramesh Ponnuru and Molly Ball. "Fox News Sunday": Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.). Panel: Jonah Goldberg, Marie Harf, Gillian Turner and Juan Williams. NBC "Meet the Press": Deval Patrick. Panel: Jeff Mason, Peggy Noonan, Danielle Pletka and Eugene Robinson. CNN "State of the Union": Panel: Jen Psaki, Scott Jennings, Mia Love and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.). CNN "Inside Politics": Mike Bender, Julie Hirschfeld Davis, Karoun Demirjian and Nia-Malika Henderson.


BLOOMINGTON: CLIMATE ACTIVISTS PROTEST AT COUNCIL - Climate activists came to listen and make public comment at Bloomington City Council’s Wednesday night session on the Unified Development Ordinance (Indiana  Public Media). Many speakers were part of activist groups, Bloomington Housing4All and the Golden Bicycle Extinction Rebellion. Dave Warren is an instructor at the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs who attended the session. He is a member of Bloomington Housing4All. He says multiplexes are a more environmentally sustainable way to add housing options in the city. “If cities develop more compactly, those cities emit less carbon dioxide, or at least the people living closer in emit less carbon dioxide," he says.

PENDLETON: TOWN SEEKS TO PREEMPTIVELY BAN MARIJUANA - The town of Pendleton is looking to preemptively ban marijuana within town limits as town leaders expect recreational pot to be legal in Indiana in the near future (WIBC). An ordinance being pushed by Pendleton town judge George Gasparovic, who moonlights as a leader of the Drug-Free South Madison County Coalition, would ban the use, manufacturing, and even lab testings of marijuana within the town's limits. The ordinance did not receive any opposition from any of the four Pendleton Town Council members or from anyone else from the public who attended last night's meeting. Gasparovic is convinced that marijuana is a gateway drug and needs to be banned in Pendleton in the event state lawmakers legalize it statewide. "My concern is that there are going to be a lot of lives lost that could have been saved [if recreational marijuana is legalized in Indiana]," he told WISH-TV.