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Friday, July 22, 2016
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Gov. Mike Pence with Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb after the latter was sworn into office last March at the Indiana Statehouse. (HPI Photo by Mark Curry)
Gov. Mike Pence with Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb after the latter was sworn into office last March at the Indiana Statehouse. (HPI Photo by Mark Curry)
Friday, July 22, 2016 2:13 PM

By BRIAN A. HOWEY

INDIANAPOLIS - Three days after Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb nominated Gov. Mike Pence for vice president, the governor has sent a letter to Indiana Republican Central Committee members endorsing his LG. Holcomb also picked up endorsements from U.S. Sen. Dan Coats and Republican National Committeewoman Marsha Coats, as well as from Senate President Pro Tempore David Long.

“As I prayerfully considered the group offering themselves to succeed me, I concluded that I made my choice several months ago,” Pence wrote. “When selecting my lieutenant governor in March, the primary factor was who would be able to best serve the State of Indiana in the event I could no longer perform my duties as governor. As I concluded before, there is no better individual to lead our state than Eric Holcomb.”

Pence continued, “When I asked Eric to take on this vitally important constitutional role, once again he answered the call. I’ve known Eric Holcomb for more than 20 years, and I believe he is one of the best prepared individuals in recent memory to take on the job of Governor. His range of service to our state and our nation makes him uniquely qualified to fill this role.”

Sen. and Mrs. Coats said, “We are excited to support Eric Holcomb and know he will make a great Governor.” Long added, “I'm announcing my support for Eric Holcomb to be our party's candidate for governor in November. Fortunately, Indiana Republicans have a deep bench of qualified candidates, including all of the individuals who have put their name forward for consideration. While I admire all of the candidates, I believe Eric is the right person to continue leading our state into the future.

The Pence letter was released to Howey Politics Indiana after multiple sources said they believed that U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks had picked up momentum in the race that evolved at the Hilton Gardens Hotel in Cleveland and at the Republican National Convention in what is a speculative and rapidly evolving race to win the nomination to face Democrat John Gregg. U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita and State Sen. Jim Tomes are also seeking the unprecedented nomination made for the first time in the state’s 200 year history by a party central committee. The caucus is set for 11 a.m. Tuesday.

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  • By BRIAN A. HOWEY
    CLEVELAND – Perhaps the most surreal year in Hoosier politics came to a head on the shores of Lake Erie when Mike Pence brought his career into a Trumpian twilight zone. Plucked by the mercurial billionaire Donald Trump from a gubernatorial reelection campaign in which even his most fervent stalwarts weren’t convinced he would win, Gov. Pence did what he is apt to do, which is to double down. In Trump, he found a political figure whom he compared to his political hero, Ronald Reagan. “To be around our nominee, as I had the privilege to be, not only the campaign trail, but out among his associates, people that he’s employed for years, and among his family, I have a sense of this man,” Pence would say from Westfield to Cleveland. “I have a sense of his heart. I have a sense of his hands-on style of leadership, and for all the world, he reminds me of Ronald Reagan.” Pence is in lonely company when it comes to equating the billionaire to President Reagan. This is where Rod Serling emerges behind the misty Cuyahoga silhouette that Trump presented on Monday night when he introduced his wife Melania. “Is Donald Trump the incarnation of Reagan?” Serling might begin. “This is a portrait of an exposed governor named Mike Pence, who feeds off his self delusion, who finds himself perpetually hungry for greatness in his diet. He searches for something which explains his hunger and why the world passes him by without saluting. It is something he looks for and finds at a national convention, in his twisted and distorted lexicon he calls it faith, strength and truth. But in just a moment Mike Pence will ply his trade on another kind of corner, at the strange intersection we call the twilight zone.”
  • By MAUREEN HAYDEN
    INDIANAPOLIS – Democrat John Gregg met with an influential group of black pastors on Monday with plans to sell them on his jobs and education proposals, two big items in his standard pitch. Their first question wasn’t about his campaign for governor but instead what he thought of Gov. Mike Pence’s debut as Donald Trump’s running mate on “60 Minutes” the night before. “I didn’t even know he was on ‘60 Minutes,’” Gregg responded with exasperation. “I’m too laser-focused on my campaign.” The former speaker of the state House of Representatives, now making his second bid for governor, wishes others were, too. Instead, in what Gregg described as a “media frenzy,” much of the attention over the last week has focused on his former opponent’s departure from the governor’s race.The campaign is now awash in speculation over who the GOP’s hand-picked replacement for Pence will be. As the governor flew on a private jet to Cleveland to attend the Republican National Convention, where he was scheduled to speak Wednesday night, Gregg was telling reporters back home that his campaign strategy is locked in place. “I’ve always been running for governor and never running against Mike Pence,” he said. “And that’s what I’ll be doing, if it was Mike Pence or whomever the Republicans pick in their smoke-filled back room.”
  • By RICH JAMES
    MERRILLVILLE – Lake County Sheriff John Buncich and Cook County (Ill.) Sheriff Tom Dart are taking their cooperation to new levels in the wake of the national tragedies of police shooting innocent blacks and blacks shooting police. At the heart of that effort, according to the two sheriffs, will be an increased effort to go after gang members who ignore state lines as they seek to control the distribution of drugs. And foremost among the two-state effort is to reduce the gun traffic from Indiana to Illinois, Dart said. Most of the illegal gun traffic originates at gun shows held quarterly at the Lake County Fairgrounds. The gun show loophole allows unlicensed dealers to sell firearms to those not legally allowed to possess firearms. “Indiana is the number two source of guns we find at our crime scenes in Chicago,” Dart said. “It’s stupid not to be aware of the fact gangs could care less about borders. As a matter of fact, they like them because traditionally (police) jurisdictions don’t have the ability to cross borders.”
        
  • By MORTON J. MARCUS
    INDIANAPOLIS – Back in the Reagan era (1984), as we emerged from the recession of those years, 73 of Indiana’s personal income was generated by non-farm employment. In this Obama era (2014), as we emerged from what we call the Great Recession, non-farm jobs accounted for 70% of personal income. Many will dismiss three percentage points as trivial, but that’s about $8 billion of 2014 income for Hoosiers. This shift of income is accompanied by an increase in the share of personal income represented by government transfer payments (Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid payments, plus Unemployment Compensation). In the U.S., this increase was about 3% over the past 10 years and 5% in the Hoosier state. As of 2014, nearly 20% of Indiana’s personal income was derived from government transfers. This is a core issue in our nation, particularly in this election year. Government transfer payments are considered by many people as excessive burdens imposed on higher income people by elderly, low income voters. At the same time, these government transfers are seen by those with little wealth as necessary components of a social safety net readily afforded by a wealthy nation.
  • By BRIAN A. HOWEY
    INDIANAPOLIS – In a chaotic year of anti-establishment populism and charges of rigged systems, through the smoke and dust churned by great anxiety, fear and loathing, in walks Evan Bayh. In a stunning turn of events that matched Bayh’s February 2010 bombshell that prompted him to retire from the Senate just as the Tea Party embers were flaring and an Obamacare vote stood just over the horizon, Democratic Senate nominee Baron Hill bolted the ticket on Monday, setting the stage for Bayh and his $10 million war chest to return to Hoosier electoral politics. Hill told WTHR-TV’s Kevin Rader, “This was something I decided. I hold the cards here. I’ve got the nomination. I don’t have to leave this race. I did this on my own. Nobody pressured me to do this.”
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  • Horse Race: Ground shifts under Young after Bayh entry
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    CLEVELAND – Republican U.S. Senate nominee Todd Young went from a 48-to-30% lead over Baron Hill in an April WTHR/Howey Politics Indiana Poll to trailing Evan Bayh 54-33% in a Garin-Hart-Yang Poll conducted for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Young went from $1.23 million cash on hand compared against about $350,000 for Hill, to an almost 10-to-1 deficit against Bayh. He went from facing an opponent who had no reasonable expectation of launching a statewide TV ad campaign until October, to one where Evan Bayh was launching a statewide TV ad campaign two days after finally “deciding” to enter the race. Bayh went from getting a phone call from Hill “last Thursday or Friday” to announcing he would get in on Tuesday, to running high production quality ads a week later. Through it all, the Todd Young campaign has taken an Alfred E. Neuman “what, me worry?” approach to what has been an unprecedented sea change. They’ve watched this “safe” Republican seat flip to “Leans Democrat” in less than a week. There is a stay-the-course mentality in the Young campaign, despite the political earthquake. “We’re getting Todd around the state right now,” said campaign manager Trevor Foughty.
  • Progress in 8th CD Democratic recount
    By THOMAS CURRY

    INDIANAPOLIS - Progress is being made in the recount of the 8th CD Democratic primary between Ron Drake and David Orentlicher, but Recount Director Phil Sicusso told HPI he “wouldn’t hazard a guess” as to when the recount would be completed. The recount started last Thursday and has already proceeded through three counties, including Vigo county; the second largest in the 21 county district. Sicuso expected to get through three or six counties next week and that there should be “some pretty quick movement” in the next few weeks. The recount director assured that the commission is working “as fast as they can.” Drake and Orentlicher are separated by a mere 51 votes, less than 1/10th of a percent of the total ballots cast. Drake, who currently holds the lead, has said that the recount has hurt his ability to campaign and that “every day that goes by is another day we lose to make our case.”
  • Brooks brings impressive resume to GOP gubernatorial race
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    CLEVELAND - She has worked with the mayor of Indianapolis on crime issues, led an 80-man U.S. district attorney office just after Sept. 11, run a small business and worked at Ivy Tech on workforce development and education issues. She’s a mom, raised $4.3 million in the last five years and she’s won every election with at least 58% of the vote. That is the pitch that U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks is making to the 22 members of the Indiana Republican Central Committee this week in Ohio for the open Republican gubernatorial nomination. Should she convince 12 of those voters next Tuesday, Brooks would become the first female GOP nominee with a real shot at breaking the ultimate glass ceiling on Nov. 8. And, she believes, her nomination would cause Democrat John Gregg to have to completely retool his campaign message. When interviewed Wednesday afternoon, Brooks was losing her voice. “I’ve visited with 11 of the 16 who are here so far,” the Carmel Republican said.
  • Holcomb counting on 12-year track record with GOP committee
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    CLEVELAND - The perceived front runner in Indiana’s unprecedented gubernatorial race, Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb, believes the relationships he’s forged over the past 12 years with the 22 Republican Central Committee members gives him an edge over a field that is still gathering, with a showdown set for 10 a.m. July 26. “I know them. We’ve worked on issues together. We’re not meeting for the first time,” said Holcomb, who will gain precious national exposure when he nominates Gov. Mike Pence for vice president tonight at the Indiana Republican National Convention. “We have a reference about something we’ve gone through with most of them. I’ve admired what they’ve done for years and years, and what they’ve accomplished.”

  • Rokita makes a fact-based, low key case for the shotgun gov bid
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    CLEVELAND - With the unprecedented Republican gubernatorial caucus just nine days away, wooing the 22 voting members of the Indiana Republican Central Committee will require a deft touch. Does the eventual winner pour it on and make an emphatic case? Or is the case made quietly on the various lounges, lobbies, cubby holes, alcoves and phone calls? U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita, at the urging of his wife, is taking the subtle approach. “It is unprecedented,” Rokita said of the replacement process for Gov. Mike Pence’s gubernatorial nomination that began a mere two weeks ago. “I’m just taking it day by day. I’m taking a relaxed approach to the tiny universe of voters that I have, that’s these 22 people. A nomination with 22 people and 12 votes. My wife, told me, now Todd, your nature is to be Type A, aggressive. Just relax, go have a beer. They’re all friends. I’ve known most of these folks for years, since my first days of running for secretary of state.

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  • Trump vows 'law and order' as well as protecting LGBT
    “The forgotten men and women of our country — people who work hard but no longer have a voice: I am your voice. I have a message to every last person threatening the peace on our streets and the safety of our police: When I take the oath of office next year, I will restore law and order to our country. Believe me. Believe me. I alone can fix it.” - Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Trump also vowed to protect LGBTQ citizens, saying, “As a Republican, I have to say, it is so nice to hear you cheering.” One of the loudest crowd responses came when Trump introduced his new running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, who has strong support among evangelicals and other conservatives. Pence opposed any expansion of LGBT civil rights while governor of Indiana.
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HPI Video Feed
Trump RNC acceptance speech
Donald Trump's RNC acceptance speech on Thursday.

Pence RNC acceptance speech
Gov. Mike Pence accepts the vice presidential nomination at the Republican National Convention on Wednesday.

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Trump taxes

Should Donald Trump release recent tax returns, like every major party nominee has done over the past 40 years?


 

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