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Friday, May 27, 2016
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State Rep. Christina Hale (top photo) speaks after Democrat John Gregg announced her inclusion to the ticket in Tuesday. Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb (right, lower photo) with Gov. Mike Pence after he was sworn into office last March. (HPI Photos by Mark Curry)
State Rep. Christina Hale (top photo) speaks after Democrat John Gregg announced her inclusion to the ticket in Tuesday. Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb (right, lower photo) with Gov. Mike Pence after he was sworn into office last March. (HPI Photos by Mark Curry)
Thursday, May 26, 2016 10:34 AM

By BRIAN A. HOWEY

NASHVILLE, Ind. - The tickets are set. Democrat John Gregg brought rising star State Rep. Christina Hale into the fore as his lieutenant governor nominee three months after Gov. Mike Pence replaced Sue Ellspermann with Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb. So what do Hale and Holcomb mean to the Pence/Gregg rematch between now and November? The modern LG nominee is more like salt and pepper, as opposed to a key ingredient in the political stew which is going to be a referendum on Pence. They are selected to stoke a particular demographic group, whether it is with the broader electorate or to soothe part of the political base.

With Holcomb, Pence reached out to a former aide to Gov. Mitch Daniels and U.S. Sen. Dan Coats as well as a past state Republican chairman under both governors. After Pence ignited a simmering feud between the GOP’s social conservative wing and the economic “Daniels wing” with the disastrous Religious Freedom Restoration Act last year, Holcomb was seen as a bridge between the two spheres.

Some believe that Holcomb will be sunny Pence’s “attack dog,” which does not comport to his genial manner. What we’ve heard from Holcomb at the GOP’s spring dinner in April and at the campaign kickoff earlier this month is an indictment of the past, based on fact. Holcomb laid out some themes that will be used in the coming months, reminding Republicans that Democrats left the state in $800 million debt in 2005, owing local governments and schools tens of millions of dollars, raiding the Teacher Retirement Fund and at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, “It took seven hours, not seven minutes” to get a license or register a truck. Gregg’s tenure as House speaker will be woven into that argument, Holcomb promised.

Gregg’s selection Hale is designed to signal and reach a wider electorate. Hale is a bright face fronting a probing, practical mind. She caught my attention when she pondered a U.S. Senate candidacy in the spring of 2015, observing that some 350,000 Hoosier children live in food insecure homes; one in six girls are sexually assaulted by the time they get in high school; and household income has been declining since 2000. These on top of the HIV/opiod epidemic that had surfaced in Scott County a few months earlier, which Hale framed as “third world problems” festering in her home state.
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  • By BRIAN A. HOWEY
    INDIANAPOLIS  –  Good policy makes good politics, right? So if you’re Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke or Elkhart Mayor Tim Neese or even South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, finding your city on Gov. Mike Pence’s itinerary over the past couple of weeks is a good omen. Thanks to Gov. Pence’s Regional Cities Initiative, he has been showing up in three regions of the state, attending ribbon cuttings for local project as part of a $126 million financial package designed to encourage cities and counties to work together on common goals. On May 11 he was in South Bend to begin the $165.7 million Renaissance project at the former Studebaker Factory campus. In Elkhart, it will mean improvements to the city’s Market District. In Evansville the regional airport terminal will be renovated. There was a political aspect to this. The original Regional Cities legislation provided for two regions of the state to land $42 million raised by a second tax amnesty program. When that program brought in more than $120 million, Pence added a third region.
  • By CRAIG DUNN
    KOKOMO – Okay, let’s cut out the bull and talk about what the presidential primary results were all about. The Trump, Cruz and Sanders campaigns were all about revolution. The masses are damn angry and they have made their voices heard. That’s how we do revolutions in a democracy. Rebel at the ballot box! It is unarguable that the Trump, Cruz and Sanders campaigns were about battling the status quo. Although each candidate found a somewhat different set of elements to assail, each of their campaigns was born from an anger that had been building for close to 50 years. Just like an earthquake fault line, the longer the interval between pressure relieving quakes, the greater the magnitude of the tremor. The current political situation is somewhat akin to linking the San Andreas fault to the New Madrid fault and watching the United States political scene go shake, rattle and roll. The typical Donald Trump supporter that I’ve met is terribly angry about what they perceive as the decline of American greatness. They long for a time when we were the only big kid on the block internationally. Trump supporters are tired of not finishing and winning wars. They want an end to wars fought with no clear definition of victory. They love the middle class and have been sickened by the steady outsourcing of jobs to Mexico, China, India and everywhere else.
  • By SHAW FRIEDMAN
    LaPORTE – To hear giddy Republicans like Craig Dunn tell it, they think that Donald Trump is the second coming of Ronald Reagan in his appeal to white, working-class voters and his supposed ability to steal away “Reagan Democrats” this fall. As Lee Corso so often says on his ESPN College Gameday predictions, “Not so fast, my friend." There’s no question that Trump’s rather simplistic saber-rattling against admittedly weak trade deals has won him some initial converts, but I predict we will win at least  the necessary 40 percent of white working-class voters across the country most experts say is necessary to carry our presidential ticket this fall, in addition to the overwhelming numbers expected from African-Americans, Hispanics, women and younger voters. See, the problem for Republicans is that in the hard glare of reality and the brutal testing of a true general election campaign, either one of our Democratic candidates has a better record of standing up for working families to take to the voters than carnival barker Trump, and a far stronger record on Wall Street accountability and financial reform than Trump.
  • By RICH JAMES
    MERRILLVILLE – There are those who contend that this could be a pretty good year for Republicans in Lake County. Yeah, believe it or not, Republicans in Lake County are feeling pretty good about themselves. Foremost for the GOP is the possibility of winning one of the three county commissioner seats, each of which is held by a Democrat. If Republicans can’t win one of the three seats this year, they have no one to blame but their own. The Indiana Election Commission, which is controlled by Republicans, redrew the 2nd County Commissioner District to give the GOP an excellent chance to win the district. It wasn’t a matter of responding to population changes revealed in the 2010 Census as some would have you believe. No, this had everything to do with politics. What the state did was remove some heavily Democratic precincts from the district, and add some precincts that produce a strong Republican vote. What the election commission is trying to do is make up for the mistake it made following the 2000 Census.
  • By MAUREEN HAYDEN
    INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana’s senior senator, Dan Coats, has openly been skeptical of the notion of Donald Trump as the leader of the free world. He’s never met the reality TV star, though he has tweeted about him, chiding Trump for putting “bombastic rhetoric over sound judgment.” So, Coats was surprised last week when he found his name floated as Trump’s perfect running mate. As reported in the inside-the-Beltway media outlet, Politico Playbook, by chief political correspondent Mike Allen, Coats is a favorite of unnamed GOP insiders for the job of Trump’s vice president. “I was as surprised as you, or probably anybody else was,” Coats said. Coats isn’t a reader of Politico Playbook, an online report that bills itself as the source for the most important political stories of the day. But his staff is. And since Allen is considered one of the best-connected reporters in D.C. – the New York Times described him as “The Man the White House Wakes Up To” – Coats’ staff figured there must be something to it.
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  • 8th CD Democrat recount approved, but date undetermined
    By THOMAS CURRY

    INDIANAPOLIS - There will be a recount in the 8th CD Democratic primary where David Orentlicher trails Ron Drake, the Indiana Recount Commission decided on Thursday, but when it will occur is unknown, which drew the ire on the leading vote-getter  A second recount will take place in Senate District 36, where Jesse Kharbanda trails Sean Gorman by 37 votes for the Democratic nomination.  Drake holds a narrow 53 vote lead overOrentlicher to be the Democratic nominee to face off against Republican Larry Bucshon in November. Both Kharbanda and Orentlicher were represented by attorney Bill Groth, who repeated throughout the commission meeting the “inevitably of human error” that is inherit in the vote counting process.
  • Gregg elevates Rep. Hale to the Democratic ticket
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS - Democratic gubernatorial nominee John Gregg used his first critical decision of the post-primary campaign to bring State Rep. Christina Hale to his ticket, seeking to exploit Gov. Mike Pence’s poor standing with women as well as to tap into a new generation of leadership in the party. Hale, a two-term Indianapolis legislator who was born and raised in Michigan City, vowed to use a position of influence in state government to work on paycheck and the exploitation of Hoosier women and girls, one in six who face sexual assault before reaching adulthood. Last year, Hale contemplated a U.S. Senate candidacy before opting to seek reelection.

  • INSen: Todd Young talks Trump and his rematch with Baron Hill
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY
        
    INDIANAPOLIS – Democrat Baron Hill plans to hold his Republican U.S. Senate opponent Todd Young “accountable” is issues raised by presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump. Young has said he will support the Republican nominee. Young told Howey Politics Indiana on Tuesday, “As I’ve said before, I don’t think we can afford a third term for Barack Obama. That’s exactly what we’d get if Hillary Clinton is the next president. I’m going to support the Republican, but at the same time I’m going to be focused on holding onto this U.S. Senate seat. It could come down to control of the U.S. Senate. Frankly, I’m not spending a lot of time discussing other races.” HPI asked Young about Trump’s proposal from last December, which apparently has morphed into a “suggestion” that Muslims be banned entry into the United States. Does he agree with the Trump stance?
  • HPI Interview: Baron Hill surveys big dollar race against Young
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY
        
    INDIANAPOLIS – Twenty-six years after he ran a close race against U.S. Sen. Dan Coats, Democrat Baron Hill is making a second run for the upper chamber. In the intervening quarter century, the Citizens United decision has dramatically altered the political finance system and the former congressman faces the man who defeated him in the 9th CD six years ago in Todd Young. We sat down with Hill in the HPI offices on Tuesday, giving him the opportunity to survey the political and financial landscape in a race that may have already crested the $10 million mark, coming on the heels of the last U.S. Senate race in 2012 where $50 million was spent. Hill said that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has just elevated his race to its priority list.
  • Hammond, Bopp rematch for Indiana RNC post
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS - A rematch is taking shape for one of the Indiana Republican National Committee slots as former committeeman Jim Bopp Jr., will challenge current Committeeman John Hammond III. He confirmed to HPI on Wednesday that not only will he seek the post again, but will support Donald Trump for president. Last year, Hammond had called Trump “unfit” for office. Hammond told HPI he can better influence events by seeking the post again and supporting Trump. He said he has surveyed the CD chairs and vice chairs. “I feel real good about the support,” said Hammond, who defeated Bopp in June 2012. Bopp had suggested a “litmus test” for Republicans prior to that contest. In an email he sent to Indiana Republican Central Committee members on Wednesday, Bopp wrote, “I believe that our Nation and our Party face one of the most critical challenges in our history.
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  • Frank Luntz on 'angry' Hoosier voters
     "A good illustration occurred a few days before the decisive Indiana primary when Donald Trump crushed the remaining, flailing opposition to his candidacy. I hosted a GOP focus group of Republican voters for The Kelly File. What happened below never made air, but it should have: I asked, ‘Be specific with me. Are you 'MAD'... or 'ANGRY' at what's going on in both parties?’ ‘ANGRY!’ they shouted, without hesitation and in near unanimity. ‘Why? What's the difference between 'angry' and 'mad?' ‘Because angry is way more than mad. Angry is what happens you've been kicked around like a dog for too long, and you're ready to fight back,’ said a female Trump voter. Remember, these were Hoosiers. The people of Indiana are among the friendliest, most gentle-natured people in America (Bobby Knight excluded). But when it comes to politics in '16, the mood is anything but gentle: Everyone's angry, everyone has a target for that rage—and everyone wants revenge.’” - Pollster Frank Luntz, writing in TIME, describing an Indiana focus group.
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HPI Video Feed
Trump completes gun transformation at NRA
Donald Trump completes his evolution on guns, from agreeing with President Obama's call for reforms following the Newtown massacre in 2012, to this appearance at the NRA convention in Louisville on Friday.

2nd Pence TV ad
This is Gov. Mike Pence's reelection campaign's second TV ad, where he talks about record investment and vows to "keep his head down" and keep going.

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2 videos
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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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