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Monday, April 20, 2015
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With U.S. Reps. Susan Brooks (second from left) and Jackie Walorski (lower right) out of the U.S. Senate race, all GOP eyes are on U.S. Reps. Marlin Stutzman (left) and Todd Young (upper right), along with House Speaker Brian Bosma and State Sens. Mike Delph and Jim Merritt. Eric Holcomb is the only announced Republican candidate.
With U.S. Reps. Susan Brooks (second from left) and Jackie Walorski (lower right) out of the U.S. Senate race, all GOP eyes are on U.S. Reps. Marlin Stutzman (left) and Todd Young (upper right), along with House Speaker Brian Bosma and State Sens. Mike Delph and Jim Merritt. Eric Holcomb is the only announced Republican candidate.
Monday, April 20, 2015 4:31 PM
By BRIAN A. HOWEY

INDIANAPOLIS - Indiana’s open U.S. Senate campaign took on a modicum of definition Monday when rising star U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks opted to a 2016 reelect. In tandem with U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski who came to the same conclusion, the one definitive element is that it won’t be a Republican to break the gender barrier for Senate offices that have always been occupied by white males over the state’s nearly 200 years of existence.

With Brooks and Walorski out, all GOP eyes are directed to the one candidate already in - former state Republican chairman Eric Holcomb - as well as U.S. Reps. Todd Young of Bloomington and Marlin Stutzman of Howe who are both “preparing” for a potential bid. Another, U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita is said to be weighing a bid, but multiple sources are telling HPI he is unlikely to enter. And with the sine die of the Indiana General Assembly on April 29, House Speaker Brian Bosma of Indianapolis, State Sens. Mike Delph of Carmel and Jim Merritt of Indianapolis can begin their decision making process along with Democrat State Rep. Christina Hale of Indianapolis. Delph, sources say, was holding off on the Senate race in case Brooks’ House seat opened up.

Brooks said on Monday, "I have concluded that the best way to have a positive impact for Indiana is to continue the work I have started in the 5th District, along with my service on the Energy and Commerce Committee and the Select Committee on Benghazi. For that reason, I have decided that I will not be a candidate for the United States Senate in 2016.”

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  • By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    NASHVILLE, Ind. – Over the past several years, we have witnessed a dramatic change in polling on social issues. It has happened nationally on the gay marriage, with a recent NBC/Wall Street Journal Poll showing 59 percent now approve of gay marriage. And it’s happening here in Indiana. In the Howey Politics Indiana Poll released this past week, we asked the question on whether the General Assembly should expand its civil rights code to include sexual orientation as a protected class. The results were emphatic: 54 percent approved and 34 disagreed. Proponents of the constitutional marriage ban and recently passed (and then “fixed”) Religious Freedom Restoration Act, including the political team of Gov. Mike Pence, knew that multiple state and national polls showed support trending away from their positions. For instance, the Pence campaign team had indicated to me last year that they had no interest in the constitutional marriage amendment to appear on the 2016 ballot when the governor is expected to seek reelection.

     
  • By MAUREEN HAYDEN
    INDIANAPOLIS – Gov. Mike Pence has a problem with women. That’s one takeaway from the new Howey Politics Indiana poll that shows the Republican suffered collateral damage when the divisive religious freedom law sparked howls of protest. The poll shows the first-term governor plunging by double-digits in likability and job approval, following his signing of the law and failed attempts in the national spotlight to defend it as something other than a license to discriminate against gays and lesbians. Supporters billed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act as needed protection for believers. Many of those polled saw it as an unneeded fight to pick – and one that will cost the state long-term economic damage due in part to a strong response from the business community. Almost 60 percent in the poll said the law wasn’t necessary. Less than half of those who identify as Republicans saw a need for it. The same was true for evangelical Christians. Among college-educated women, a whopping 73 percent said there was no need for Indiana to pass the law. Only a third of college-educated men said the same thing. “I was really struck by the tremendous gender gap,” said Christine Matthews, the Washington, D.C., pollster hired by Howey Politics Indiana. 
  • By JACK COLWELL
    SOUTH BEND – Is Mike Pence toast? Indiana’s governor popped out of the “freedom to discriminate” toaster, into which he had inserted himself, looking singed, maybe done. Done, said pundits in the national news media, referring to hopes by Pence of emerging as a serious contender, perchance the winner, in the contest for the Republican nomination for president. Chris Cillizza, the respected Washington Post analyst, began his evaluation this way: “Goodbye, Mike Pence!” Cillizza wrote of his amazement at how quickly Pence, about whom he had written as a dark-horse presidential candidate, suddenly became “radioactive after botching the signing of Indiana’s religious freedom law and its aftermath.” Joining a chorus now heard in Indiana as well, the Washington writer said that Pence, instead of concentrating on White House ambitions, now must spend all of his energy on “rehabbing his image in the state so he can win reelection.” 
  • By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS - Hoosiers know how to rebound. While it was Duke and our Badger rivals from Wisconsin on the Lucas Oil Stadium floor last Monday for a riveting NCAA men’s championship game, in the immediate surroundings in downtown Indianapolis and rippling out across our great state, Hoosiers (and Boilermakers, Irish and Bulldogs) stood proud, welcoming 70,000 fans. The folks I talked with from Kentucky, Wisconsin, North Carolina and Michigan were unanimous in their assessment: Indy knows how to throw a party. Hoosier hospitality is not just a slogan. Now the question is, will our leaders rebound? The fact is that Gov. Mike Pence and legislative leaders like House Speaker Brian Bosma and Senate President David Long either missed a sea change among the population when it comes to tolerance, or they chose to ignore an array of polling and actions among the people when they paved the way for the ill-fated Religious Freedom Restoration Act. NCAA President Mark Emmert explained of our political leaders, “They all grossly underestimated, to be polite, the reaction of the citizens of Indiana.”

     
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Hillary Clinton's 'Getting Started' Video
Democrat Hillary Clinton kicked off her 2016 presidential campaign with this video released on Sunday.
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  • Legislators grapple with needle exchange in festering HIV crisis
    By MAUREEN HAYDEN
    CNHI State Reporter


    INDIANAPOLIS — An Indiana doctor in the heart of the state’s HIV epidemic says the virus has likely expanded beyond the outbreak’s epicenter, transmitted by infected drug users and commercial sex workers. “There is no doubt in my mind that this has spread beyond the borders of Scott County,” said Dr. Shane Avery, a family physician treating some of the infected patients. “Scott County is not an island.” At a legislative hearing Monday, Avery called on state health officials to begin systematically testing drug users in neighboring counties as part of a larger response to contain the worst outbreak of the AIDS-causing virus in Indiana history.
     
  • Christine Matthews: Turning back time for Gov. Pence

    By CHRISTINE MATTHEWS
        
    WASHINGTON – Mike Pence was elected governor in 2012, despite the storm kicked up by U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock and the damage done to the Republican brand which some say contributed to Pence’s narrower than expected margin over Democrat John Gregg. Pence has governed, until lately, in a way that hasn’t been as polarizing as some had expected, given his congressional track record, and, as a result, has enjoyed widespread support and a 62% approval rating as recently as February. Now, staring down at a re-election, he has to wonder if he could just turn back time. This poll confirms there has been damage – quite a lot – from the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. However, even before RFRA, Pence began to have trouble with women voters due to the public tussles with Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz. The governor now has an image that is seriously polarized by ideology, religiosity, and gender.

     
  • Horse Race: Oesterle, Pelath roil 2016 gov race
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY  
        
    INDIANAPOLIS – While Gov. Mike Pence and legislative Republicans whistled past the graveyard this week, believing the RFRA “storm” had passed, the events of the past month have roiled the 2016 Indiana gubernatorial race with the potential entries of House Minority Leader Scott Pelath, Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard and Angie’s List CEO Bill Oesterle. The true bombshell came on Wednesday, when Oesterle announced he was stepping down as CEO, with the intriguing final sentence of the press release saying, “Mr. Oesterle has shared his intention to pursue other interests, including becoming more civically involved in the State of Indiana.” Oesterle told Howey Politics Wednesday afternoon about his stepping down as CEO,  “Here’s all you can draw from that. I love the state of Indiana. I love Angie’s List and the State of Indiana. I can’t do both. I had to take a leave of absence to help Mitch in 2004 and for eight years he did fantastic stuff. I am very concerned about what’s happened to the state. I am at the fortunate position where I can go out and do something. I honestly don’t know what that will be. “I would love to see Mitch take another run and be governor again, but it’s a virtual impossibility he would run against Pence,” Oesterle continued.
     
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  • Gov. Pence extends Scott County HIV emergency 30 days
    “We have no higher priority than the health and safety of our citizens. Today, on the recommendations of the Indiana State Department of Health and in consultation with Scott County officials and the Centers for Disease Control, I used my authority as Governor to extend the public health emergency in Scott County for an additional 30 days. While we’ve made progress in identifying and treating those affected by this heartbreaking epidemic, the public health emergency continues and so must our efforts to fight it.” - Gov. Mike Pence, in issuing a second executive order to continue the needle exchange program in Scott County, where there has been 128 confirmed cases along with 6 preliminary cases of HIV. See related story from the Indiana General Assembly below. 



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Straight ticket voting

Should the Indiana General Assembly pass and Gov. Pence sign legislation ending straight-ticket balloting?


 

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