Thursday, May 31, 2012

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

IMPD Handling of Bisard Evidence "Non-Issue" to Ballard

Mayor Greg Ballard
Greg Ballard sure comes off as arrogant sometimes.

When it came to light that the blood evidence in the David Bisard case was mishandled by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, there was a press conference and an investigation was launched.  Chief Paul Ciesielski resigned, and people across media and political lines were calling for more heads to roll.  It was only a short time before Public Safety Director Frank Straub announced he would be stepping down in August.

One of the people with the most right to be angry in this case, besides the victims and their families, was Terry Curry.  The mishandled evidence at least could have helped his case against Bisard.  Instead, since the blood evidence was moved without authorization and left unrefrigerated for five months.

In a recent letter to Ballard, Curry took IMPD to task for not following orders and mishandling the evidence.  He suggested the removal of Straub immediately and the removal of other officials, according to WRTV.

When Greg Ballard, the Mayor of Indianapolis, the man whose self-proclaimed job has been to make public safety job one, was asked for a comment about the case by WRTV, he said, "I've got to tell you honestly, this is really a non-issue to me. I don't think this is an issue. I'm afraid we're hurting the families to be honest with you by keeping this sort of thing in the headlines."

This follows a pattern of other recent flippant and  blasé quotes from the Mayor.  In this case though, it seems particularly cruel.  Ballard's IMPD mishandled this evidence, and that evidence can now not be used in the Bisard case.  That could mean that, one way or another, justice will not be served.  The nerve this Mayor must have to invoke "the families" involved in this case.

Yes, the families of Eric Wells, Mary Mills, and Kurt Weekly have suffered enough.  When Bisard smashed his patrol car into them, Eric Wells lost his life and the lives of Mills and Weekly were altered permanently.  They deserved to have IMPD conduct the best investigation possible, and Ballard's IMPD appears to have botched the case at many levels by its own admission.

Saying that "the families" don't deserve a proper investigation or swift action from Mayor Ballard to remove people that had responsibilities to make sure that investigation occurred is arrogant and disappointing at all levels and only feeds the perception that something untoward happened in this case.

It's pretty apparent that Ballard doesn't want to know the truth and doesn't have the necessary intestinal fortitude to take decisive action to prevent further mishandling of evidence in the future.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Ellspermann Primary Vote Raises Questions for Pence

Rep. Sue Ellspermann
Closet Democrat?
I'm not trying to make a big deal about this, but the revelation that Sue Ellspermann voted in the Democratic Primary in 2008 should raise some eyebrows.  How much did Mike Pence "vet" his running mate?

Ellspermann has said that the vote was "her personal choice" as a voter, but, in 2010, when she was running for office, she couldn't remember voting as a Democrat in 2008.  Likely, she crossed over as thousands of Indiana Republicans did and voted in the Democratic Primary because of the hotly-contested Presidential race.  She probably didn't know she'd be asked to be Mike Pence's running mate.

It makes you wonder if Pence looked into the voting records at all.  I mean, this could be something that could be used against him by the conservative base he covets so much.  If there's one thing the current Republican Party hates...it's a possible Democrat.  The only thing they hate more...a moderate.

Maybe it was a calculated choice or maybe it was just Mike Pence acting unilaterally without all the evidence.  The only people that know probably won't tell us.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Lugar's Decision Not to Campaign for Mourdock Fits His Principles

Richard Lugar announced on Sunday that he does not plan to actively campaign for Richard Mourdock.  I don't blame him.
Senator Richard Lugar refuses
to play nice.

Listen, I didn't expect Lugar to get out there on the stump and go to every corner of the state for Mourdock, and I don't believe Mourdock would have wanted him to do so.  Still, it would have been nice for the soon-to-be former U.S. Senator to put his arm around Mourdock and give him his blessing in some way.

He did do that in his concession letter, but he pretty much said that the only reason he supports Mourdock is that he's a Republican.  He then spent the rest of the letter tearing apart Mourdock's ideology and brand of conservatism and pretty much endorsing Joe Donnelly, the Democratic candidate, without actually doing it.

Let's face it, for a vanquished candidate, Lugar still wields a pretty big stick.  No one, for example, really gives a rat's patootie what David McIntosh or John McGoff say now in Indiana's 5th District race.  They could rail against Susan Brooks, and it's not going to make a difference, but when Richard Lugar talks about the U.S. Senate race, people will still listen.  That's because many people on both sides of the aisle maintain a certain level of respect for Lugar not only for his service but for the kind of record he has built as an international statesman.  When Lugar says that he's not going to actively campaign for Mourdock, it makes news.  

I just can't understand why Republicans are so upset that Lugar is being so coy.  What did they expect him to do?  He did nothing wrong for 35 years in the Senate.  He maintained a voting record of a conservative.  For years, he earned issues ratings from conservative organizations that were impeccable.  Suddenly, in 2012, he was too liberal?  One or two votes were taken out of his long record and that made him a "friend of Barack?"

Yeah...Richard Lugar is not your puppet folks.  He's not going to play nice.  He's not going to just simply forget that you tossed him aside for someone that has a radical ideology that will bring gridlock back to Washington.  That's what Richard Lugar worked against for over 35 years, and Republicans fired him for it. 

Sorry 'bout your luck, Mr. Mourdock.

Let's Remember Our Soldiers This Memorial Day

Thursday, May 24, 2012

In Memoriam: Paul Ricketts

Mayor Paul Ricketts
Late word tonight that the former Mayor of Lawrence, Paul Ricketts, is dead at 58.

Ricketts had not been in good health recently and passed away, according to media reports, at his home earlier today.

Defeating Deborah Cantwell in 2007, Ricketts returned the Office of the Mayor of Lawrence to the GOP after the Democrats took it in 2003.  In 2011, Ricketts lost a bid for a second term to current Mayor of Lawrence, Dean Jessup.  In reaction to the death of his rival and predecessor, Jessup released this statement:
“I am saddened to learn that Mayor Ricketts passed away this evening. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife Karen and the entire Ricketts family. Paul was a committed leader for Lawrence who served as Lawrence Township Assessor before his election as mayor in 2007. The city of Lawrence has lost a friend and a dedicated public servant.”
The Marion County Republican Party released this statement:

"The Marion County Republican Party is deeply saddened to announce the passing of long-time public servant and Republican Party stalwart, Paul Ricketts. Ricketts passed away this afternoon surrounded by family and friends. 'This is a very sad day for the many people whose lives were touched by Paul. He was a great friend and mentor to so many people, including me. He will be greatly missed.' said Marion County Republican Chairman Kyle Walker."
My thoughts are with Mayor Ricketts' family at this difficult time.  Paul Ricketts left us too soon.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Gregg to Pick Simpson

According to almost every major Indiana political reporter, Democratic Gubernatorial nominee John Gregg is set to make Senator Vi Simpson his running mate tomorrow on the steps of the Indiana Statehouse.
Senator Vi Simpson

Simpson considered a run for Governor last year, but she dropped out to make room for Gregg.  Ironically, Gregg actually endorsed Simpson for Governor when she ran for the office in 2004.  Simpson dropped out of that race when Governor Joe Kernan entered.

Simpson has been in the Indiana Senate since 1984.  For the past several years, she has served as the Minority Leader in the Senate for the Democratic Caucus.

Not only will Simpson be an excellent campaigner with a wealth of experience, she will appeal to the liberal wing of the Indiana Democratic Party which is something that just doesn't happen too often at the state level.  Simpson's presence on the ticket should help with fundraising because she can definitely raise money from a wide variety of sources.

To be honest, I was on the fence about whether I would go to Fort Wayne for the Indiana Democratic Convention in June (as I am a delegate).  It's a long drive.  When I heard that Simpson was to be Gregg's running mate, I immediately booked my room and will be paying my delegate fee, and I have a feeling I'm not alone.  Simpson is the kind of candidate I want to work for, and she will inspire the base to work hard to get John Gregg elected.

Pence Chooses Ellspermann; Gregg Plans "MAJOR" Announcement Tomorrow

Rep. Sue Ellspermann
GOP Lieutenant Gubernatorial nominee
Mike Pence made his choice for a running mate, and there's late word that John Gregg will be making a "MAJOR" announcement tomorrow.

Pence chose freshman State Representative Sue Ellspermann.  The GOP legislator will join Pence on the ticket with a very strong resume that shows public and private entries.  It's a strong choice for Pence, who becomes the second-straight GOP nominee to choose a female Lieutenant Governor candidate.

Ellspermann seems to be a political moderate which pulls Pence's ticket more to the center.  She defeated longtime Democratic Rep. Russ Stilwell in 2010 despite being out raised by the then-incumbent.

I'm sure Ellspermann will receive criticism for her lack of experience with just a two-year term in the Indiana House, but she is a business owner and holds a BS, MS, and PhD in Industrial Engineering from Purdue and Louisville, respectively.  Ellspermann is a business owner is the Founding Director of the University of Southern Indiana's Center for Applied Research.  On top of that, she is a mother of four.

Late this afternoon, I received word that John Gregg will be making a "MAJOR announcement" tomorrow at the Indiana Statehouse.  Gregg has said that he will name his Lieutenant Governor nominee prior to the June 8 filing deadline set by the Indiana Democratic Party.  Could we find out who will join Gregg on the ticket?

Sounds like a big one!  The release from the Marion County Democratic Party:

Dear Democrat:

Please join our Democratic Gubernatorial Nominee John Gregg TOMORROW at 2:00 p.m. on the Southside of the State Capitol for a MAJOR announcement important for all Democrats and all Hoosiers. I know I’ll be there, and I hope to see you at 2:00 p.m. tomorrow, Tuesday, May 22 on the Southside of the State Capitol Building.

Democratically Yours,
Ed Treacy 
Hammond Mayor
Tom McDermott
David Becker
Jim Schellinger
Lots of speculation out there centering around Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott and architect Jim Schellinger.  I have also heard local businessman David Becker may be in the running.  Becker has a business background which fits right in with the Lieutenant Governor's job.  It's possible it could be one of these three or none of the above.

Libertarian Rupert Boneham has previously nominated Brad Klopfenstein for that party's Lieutenant Governor position on the ballot.

UPDATE:
Egg on my face here.  WISH-TV is reporting that Senator Vi Simpson is being named as Gregg's running mate.  My sources did not mention Simpson.  I guess we'll find out for sure tomorrow!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

In Memoriam: Robin Gibb (1949-2012)

We lost Donna Summer a few days ago.  Now, there's more bad news from the world of entertainment.

Robin Gibb, one fourth of the Gibb brothers and one third of the Bee Gees, succumbed today after a long battle with cancer.  This means that his oldest brother, Barry, has now buried his three brothers before the age of 65: Andy, Maurice, and Robin.

Another great voice has been silenced.  Robin Gibb is gone at 62.

Friday, May 18, 2012

I Got Nuthin'

A little blogger break is necessary.  I'm going to take a few days off to deal with some stuff here in the real life realm.  The real job commands my full attention, and I honestly feel my posts are becoming repetitive.  Thus, I'm going on hiatus for just a few days.

I'm not going anywhere.  Just have to keep my nose to the grindstone and work some other things out.  I don't think it will be long break...and, as always, I will come back online if anything breaking happens.  I'll be back after Memorial Day with my daily postings.

Sorry for any inconvenience.

For now, I leave you with the late, great Donna Summer.  See you in about a week!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Pence Wasting No Time in Naming Lt. Gov. Candidate

According to media reports, Mike Pence is on the verge of naming his candidate for Lieutenant Governor.

Pence has until May 25 to name his running mate.  Who will it be?  Well, no one really knows.  Typically one tries to balance the ticket either ideologically or geographically.  That would mean a moderate Republican from Northern Indiana or Central Indiana.  Since there are really no moderate Republicans left, it likely will be a double down on the far right conservative.  Wouldn't want to anger the Tea Party!

Unfortunately, Pence has been light on the details of really anything so far.  We are in the awkward position of having his first ad on the air as well as his Lieutenant Gubernatorial candidate named BEFORE we actually have an idea on anything he wants to do.

John Gregg got some press yesterday by announcing he wanted to cut corporate taxes for businesses that choose the State of Indiana to base themselves.  Gregg would also need a Northern Indiana or Central Indiana Democrat to fit the traditional mold of ticket balance.  My nominee would be someone like State Rep. Jeb Bardon, a father and a small business owner who is very popular.  I really have no idea who he will pick.

Rupert Boneham already has his running mate for the Libertarians in restaurateur Brad Klopfenstein.

We'll see soon who Pence picks.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Pence Launches Air Campaign for Governor

Mike Pence wasted no time in opening up his air campaign for Governor of Indiana.

 

Pence’s first ad, embedded above, began airing yesterday, and it underscores what will be a huge advantage for the Congressman…his campaign war chest. Yes, Pence will have the money, and he will raise a lot of it. John Gregg and especially Rupert Boneham will find themselves at a disadvantage all the way through the campaign.

By opening his air campaign this early, Pence truly shows he’s taking nothing for granted in this election year. I think he knows what a good candidate he’s up against in Gregg. He also knows that Boneham is potentially a guy that can siphon off a lot of votes with his strong philanthropic background and celebrity appeal.

The ad itself is a feel good piece telling the great story about how Pence met his wife in her own voice.  It also allows Mrs. Pence to introduce Mr. Pence to Hoosiers who may or may not know much about the Congressman.  It also goes heavy on the Hoosier trying to dispel the idea that Pence is an out-of-touch Washington bureaucrat.  It's a strong ad that opens the campaign between his two competitors in a positive manner.

John Gregg has been hitting Pence hard with web ads so far targeting Pence's decision to live full time in Virginia (his young children apparently attend school there), and tries to paint him as out of touch.

Gregg's first air ad is probably not too far away, but he's been trying to score points on the campaign trail and earned media circuit. He’s excellent at retail politics. With a motivated Democratic electorate, Gregg likely won’t be hurting for money in the General Election, either. He just can’t spend in a one-to-one ratio with Pence. He’s going to have to be creative and make sure that he doesn’t run out of campaign cash like Jill Long Thompson did in the weeks leading to the election.

Pence can’t rely on his fundraising advantage to deliver himself a victory, either. Ads aired now are nice, but they likely aren’t going to mean much later on in the race. It’s important to be out on the fish fry and county fair circuit right now. You know that all three candidates will do that.

The air campaign, however, is officially underway. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

First Poll Says Senate Race Close

Congressman
Joe Donnelly
The first poll in the 2012 General Election U.S. Senate battle here in Indiana shows a close race between Congressman Joe Donnelly and Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock.

The Global Strategy Group poll, released by the Donnelly campaign, shows that Mourdock and Donnelly are locked at 40 percent each with a large number of undecided voters (20 percent).  Libertarian Andy Horning was not included in the poll.  While the poll was released by the Donnelly camp, political commentators like Abdul say that the poll's "scientifically sound."

Buried in the polls results is some actually pretty interesting things.  For example, Mourdock starts the campaign with a 37 percent unfavorability rating.  36 percent have a favorable view of the Treasurer of State.  That's good news for Donnelly.  The bad news?  Only 40 percent of the people have any familiarity with Donnelly while 70 percent of the 602 people surveyed by phone knew Mourdock.

Treasurer
Richard Mourdock
Mourdock's partisan message didn't fare well vs. Donnelly's message of bipartisanship.  Bipartisanship won that battle 41-28 percent in the poll.  The Tea Party Movement also has 44 percent unfavorability rating with just 34 percent viewing the movement as positive.

The poll broke down to a 31-30 spread favoring Republicans with 39 percent of those interviewed saying they were independent.

I'm not sure what this poll means exactly, but I think it's mostly pretty good news for Donnelly.  He can use this result to raise money.  Then again, so can Mourdock.  It's still very early.  Heck, the ink isn't even dry on the Primary results.  This is just a momentary glimpse of what will probably be a very long and nasty race.  We'll see how it develops in the coming weeks.

Extrapolating this out, I think this is excellent news as well for John Gregg.  If he could successfully tie Mike Pence to Mourdock and the message of divisive government, it could pay major dividends in November.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Four Women on Indiana Congressional Ballot in 2012

Jackie Walorski
Four women are nominees of the two major parties this year in Congressional races.  All of them run on the conservative side, regardless of political party.

Jackie Walorski won the Republican nomination in Indiana's 2nd Congressional District up to the north.  Walorski is a previous candidate for Congress and a former State Representative and television reporter.  When the Republicans redistricted the 2nd, it made it a lot easier for someone from their own party to win.  She will face Democrat Brendan Mullen in November and Andrew Straw is also in the race as a Green Party candidate.
Tara Nelson

In the 4th District, Tara Nelson won the Democratic nomination for Congesss.  The IT Professional Project Manager will challenge incumbent Republican Todd Rokita in November.  This district does not favor a Democrat at all...even one as conservative as Nelson seems to be.

Susan Brooks
Susan Brooks just nipped David McIntosh to claim the Republican nomination in the 5th Congressional District.  Brooks is the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana.  She's also a past Deputy Mayor of Indianapolis and a former college administrator.  Brooks' 5th District actually became a bit more blue than it was in 2010, but Dan Burton was always had one of the safest Republican seats in Congress, and it will still be an uphill climb for Democrat State Representative Scott Reske and Libertarian Chard Reid in this campaign to knock off Brooks.

Shelli Yoder
The 9th Congressional District also nominated a woman on the Democratic side.  As WISH-TV's Jim Shella predicted, Shelli Yoder won the Democratic nomination to face Republican Todd Young in the fall.  Yoder, a non-profit organization leader, is a former Miss Indiana and lives in Bloomington.  The redraw of the 9th District has made this a very steep uphill climb for her.  Jason Sharp is the Libertarian nominee.

The last woman to represent Indiana in Congress was, of course, Congresswoman Julia Carson who served from 1997 until her death in 2007.  Carson was just the fifth woman to serve Indiana in Congress.  The full list includes Virginia Ellis Jenckes (Democrat) 1933-1939, Cecil Murray Harden (Republican) 1949-1959, the recently deceased Katie Hall (Democrat) 1982-1985, Jill Long Thompson (Democrat) 1989-1995, and Julia Carson (Democrat) 1997-2007.  To date, there have been no female Senators from Indiana.

For more information on the remarkable women that have served in Congress, visit this great website from the United States House of Representatives.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

It's Mother's Day Again!

Happy Mother's Day to all of my readers!  Enjoy this special day with your mom or with the memories of her.  This is me with my mother, Marjorie Easter.  Love ya momma!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Workhorse Tour Kicks Off Campaign

Congressman Andre Carson
In front of 175 or so concerned Hoosiers, John Gregg, Joe Donnelly, and Andre Carson kicked off the 2012 General Election campaign at the Friendship Center for Excellence Saturday morning.  City-County Council President Maggie Lewis served as the Master of Ceremonies for the event where Carson, Gregg, and Donnelly spoke in a rally-type atmosphere.

Carson was up first, and he got the rally kicked off right with a rousing speech that contrasted the Republican agenda with the Democratic agenda.  Carson's message was that turning Indiana blue again is something that will make government work for middle class Hoosiers and working families.

John Gregg
Gregg took the podium next.  For Gregg, his message was targeted more towards Mike Pence and featured a lot of Tea Party references.  For instance, Gregg targeted Mike Pence and Richard Mourdock as Tea Party insiders.  He also made issue of Pence's residency in Virginia.  "Hoosiers have had enough of people that live in Virginia trying to run for office in Indiana," said Gregg.  His message wasn't all filled with barbs.  Gregg said that as Governor, he will work on Indiana's economy to put Hoosiers back to work and improve education by listening to teachers, principals, and superintendents.

Gregg's biggest applause line from the entire speech was about his position on abortion and how that relates to the defunding of Planned Parenthood.  That's something that Pence favors, but it's something Gregg opposes even though he is pro-life.  Gregg said the question isn't about being pro-life or pro-choice, but he said that it is about the right of women to have affordable preventative care to prevent disease.

Congressman Joe Donnelly
Donnelly was third on the docket.  Dressed in a button down shirt and jeans, he contrasted with Carson and Gregg who opted for suits.  Donnelly told the crowd that he had been urged to put a suit in the car just in case Carson and Gregg dressed up for the occasion by his wife, but he told her, "Nah.  Johnny and Andre would never do that to me."  It drew a great laugh.

His rhetoric took aim at the extremism of Richard Mourdock.  He quoted the Washington Post saying that columnist Dana Milbank called Mourdock "dangerous for America" and brought up the point that Mourdock said his idea of bipartisanship was that the Democrats come over to the Republican point of view. "That's not going to happen in Congress," said Donnelly.

Fired Up Hoosiers
Donnelly said that a good Senator must be able to work across the aisle, and he cited a sit down conversation he had as an new legislator with Senator Richard Lugar as an example.  He said that when he came to Washington that he was very green.  He walked over to the Senator's office and tried to get a meeting with him.  The next day, Lugar called him and invited him to breakfast.  Over breakfast, Lugar promised to help Donnelly in way that he could, and he told him that legislators don't work for parties but, "We work for the American people."  Donnelly thanked Lugar for his long service and said he would continue to serve in that mold.

After speaking, Carson and Donnelly stuck around for pictures and to speak with voters.  I talked to Donnelly briefly about his position on marriage equality.  He made it clear to me that he would not support same sex marriage.  Donnelly told me, "I can't go there."  He did say that he was open to looking at other avenues for same sex people to be joined in some sort of union.

It was a strong event and a solid kickoff for the General Election campaign in 2012.

Lugar Will Be Free in January: Top Ideas for Future

Richard Lugar has spent a lifetime in the public eye, and I believe he's going to have a hard time stepping away from it so easily even at the advanced age of 80.  Perhaps if a certain current Secretary of State decides to hang it up for Obama's second term, as she has said she might, maybe the Prez can make a phone call to Senator Lugar.  I can't really think of a better candidate.

But, just for fun, I made a list of a number of things that Senator Lugar can now do to relax and let his hair down a bit if he decides to get away from the public eye.

  • Invest in Bermuda shorts, long black socks, slip on shoes, a straw hat, and a cabana shirt and buy a mobile home in a retirement trailer park in Florida
  • Grow out his hair and a beard and become a professional Gandalf impersonator
  • Become a cast member on Betty White's Off Their Rockers
  • Nose piercing with a navel chain
  • 3:00 a.m. daily prank calls to the home of Richard Mourdock
  • Just randomly walk around the city and keep saying, "I'm Richard Lugar, and I approve this message."
  • Two words: Wal-Mart greeter!
  • Buy a new car and drive around in the fast lane slowly with the left turn signal on.  Preferably on stretches of road where there are only two lanes of traffic.
  • Start practicing for Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest
  • Become a Spokesman for Life Alert
  • Develop a New Game Show for former World Leaders called "Let's Make an Arms Deal"
  • Sleep in until 6:30 a.m. and go to bed after Jeopardy!
  • Finally get around to writing that romance novel
  • Use skill as shrewd arms negotiator on America's Got Talent
  • Begin every sentence with, "BACK IN MY DAY."
  • Get that detailed tattoo of the Senate Chamber on his back
  • Try to qualify for the Indy 500
  • Start a gang with other ex-Senate friends called the Upper Housers
Any suggestions you have for the soon-to-be former Senator?  Keep them civil.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Ballard Not At Wrong Polling Site

Winnie Ballard
(photo by Gelone Broadnax via Facebook)
The Indianapolis Star's Jon Murray reports that the First Lady of Indianapolis, Winnie Ballard, was not at the wrong polling site when she was photographed looking frustrated on Tuesday.  I posted about that here on Election Day.

Murray says that Ballard apparently was at the wrong precinct within the polling site when she attempted to sign in to vote.  He said that the Mayor's Office called it partisan gamesmanship.

Perhaps it was, but I think it's fair to point out that even the Mayor's own wife was confused on Election Day about how to cast her vote.  Even though the was at the right polling site, she went to the wrong precinct.  From there, it appears the Mayor's Office wants to lay this at the feet of the poll workers.  It apparently took a few phone calls to figure out the problem and the First Lady successfully cast her ballot in that polling site at another precinct that was voting there.

I guess this is kind of like getting the right neighborhood but walking up to the wrong house and knocking on the door then going back and seeing that the house you were trying to visit was right next door. Maybe I'm just loopy after a long week.

One way or another, the record is straight now.

Rally Kicks Off General Election Campaign for Gregg, Donnelly, Carson


Rep. Andre Carson
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is coming to life for another great month of May that will culminate with the Indianapolis 500.  Just a mile or so down the street to the east, the push for November also starts its engines.

John Gregg
The Workhorse Tour, a joint rally between Democratic Senate nominee Joe Donnelly, Congressman Andre Carson, and Gubernatorial nominee John Gregg, will take place at the Friendship Center for Excellence on Saturday, May 12.  The doors will open at 10:30 a.m. and the rally runs from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  Refreshments and hot dogs are on the menu.

Rep. Joe Donnelly
As you know by now, both Donnelly and Gregg were unopposed for their nominations, and Congressman Carson easily outdistanced the competition for the Democratic nomination in the 7th Congressional District.  Donnelly is the current 2nd District Representative, and Gregg is the former Indiana Speaker of the House.

The Friendship Center for Excellence is located at 3131 W. 16th Street.  Hope to see you there.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

In Case You Were Wondering...Donnelly's Anti-Marriage Equality

Joe Donnelly wants to put your family to work.  That is unless you are a family with a mommy and a mommy or a daddy and a daddy.  Then, he doesn't think you guys should be married.

It's no shock really.  Donnelly has expressed this position before, and, now, he's on the record again.

Donnelly has a checkered record on LGBT issues.  Not only does he not believe someone should be able to marry the one they love, he's also voted against adding sexual orientation to the hate crimes bill as well as a laundry list of other important issues to liberal Democrats.

Between this and his votes to defund planned parenthood, his opposition to the DREAM Act and his quizzical "redefining rape" vote...you have to check the little party initial by his name sometimes.

I know, I'm being a hypocrite.  I'm criticizing Joe Donnelly for voting against his party when I praised Richard Lugar.  Maybe I am.  But, like I've said before, I'm not going to spend the next six months bashing Donnelly for what he's not.  He is what he is.  That's better by far than Richard Mourdock.  Still, I feel shortchanged.

I started feeling shortchanged in 2012, but I talked face-to-face with Brad Ellsworth, and he was delightful.  He wasn't going to make the leap to supporting gay marriage, but he said he would concede on other things important to LGBT families and support those things.

I wonder if a similar conversation with Donnelly might alleviate my fears.  But, for now, I have to say...Come on, though, Joe.  Really?  I hope he realizes that a vote for Horning isn't a vote for Mourdock either, but I think Donnelly needs his base on this.

So, on Saturday, when I attend the rally with Donnelly, John Gregg, and Congressman Andre Carson, a Muslim that supports gay rights, I may have to remind the future Senator Donnelly (and Governor Gregg) that if Carson can do it, so can you.

Only One Gubernatorial Candidate Favors Marriage Equality

Libertarian Gubernatorial Nominee
Rupert Boneham
As President Obama's views have ultimately evolved into support for gay marriage, other politicians are still struggling with the issue even as more and more Hoosiers and Americans come to support marriage equality.  Neither Republican Mike Pence nor Democrat John Gregg supports marriage equality for LGBT Hoosiers, and that may push those voters and those that care about them to Libertarian Rupert Boneham as they look for the candidate that best represents their own views and their own hopes and dreams because Rupert is standing up for them.

Boneham has released a video that says he will not only fight for LGBT Hoosiers, but he will do everything to block the marriage amendment that will come up for a vote if it passes the Indiana General Assembly again in 2013.  He also said that he will push for the repeal of Indiana's version of the Defense of Marriage Act.

John Gregg nor Mike Pence will make statements like this though Gregg said that he wished that those on the right wouldn't make wedge issues out of things like this.  Thanks John. But these kinds of cop out answers are not what many in the LGBT community want to hear especially when there is now cover from the President of the United States.

Mike Pence
In reality, if I recall correctly, there's not much the Governor of Indiana can do to block anything like the marriage amendment.  Once it passes, it goes, I believe, straight to the voters.  That means that there could be an election in 2013 after all, and it will likely be the only thing on the ballot unless there is some referendum.  Can you imagine the nasty that is about to befall this state?

John Gregg
Passing the buck on the issue is not something Democrats can afford to let John Gregg do.  It's already an issue, and Vice President Biden's statements last Sunday shined a major light on it.  Now, I really like John, and I plan to vote for him, but he needs to understand that his views on this matter are just not acceptable to scores of Hoosiers on both sides of the aisle.  He needs to understand that we expect Mike Pence to have these kinds of issues, but we cannot afford to have our party's standard-bearer in the state to have the same exact position on the matter.  This is no longer so cut and dry.

At least Rupert gets what many of us know.  When it comes to civil rights, it should not be a personal matter of choice for someone.  These are not issues for voters to decide.  Unfortunately, it looks like that's what we're stuck with until reality finally strikes.  One way or another, thanks to Boneham for standing up for LGBT families and individuals in Indiana.

Here's Rupert's video:

Donnelly Embodies Lugar's Success Plan in Senate

U.S. Senate Democratic Nominee
Rep. Joe Donnelly
Maybe inadvertently, maybe intentionally, but Richard Lugar may have given Joe Donnelly some political ammunition to use in the fall against Richard Mourdock.

If you haven't yet read Lugar's 1,400 word concession statement, you really should.  Lugar really lays out his opinion of how politics is working in this country today, and it really isn't pretty.  In fact, I think it's one of the most honest and pointed insider looks at modern Washington that I've read.  Lugar's point is that divisiveness is not where it's at and that bipartisanship is not a bad thing when it comes to dealing with the nation's biggest problems.  While he endorses Mourdock mostly because he's a Republican, he really doesn't endorse Mourdock's concept of what a U.S. Senator should be.  Instead, he indirectly endorses the kind of Senator Joe Donnelly might be.

Richard Mourdock is on the record in saying that he's going to Washington to push a conservative agenda at all costs.  He told Fox News that his idea of bipartisanship is for Democrats to come over to the Republican way of thinking.  That's just the sort of thing Lugar argues against.

Lugar wrote:
"If Mr. Mourdock is elected, I want him to be a good Senator.  But that will require him to revise his stated goal of bringing more partisanship to Washington.  He and I share many positions, but his embrace of an unrelenting partisan mindset is irreconcilable with my philosophy of governance and my experience of what brings results for Hoosiers in the Senate.  In effect, what he has promised in his campaign is reflexive votes for a rejectionist orthodoxy and rigid opposition to the actions and proposals of the other party.  His answer to the inevitable roadblocks he will encounter in Congress is to merely campaign for more Republicans who embrace the same partisan outlook.  He has pledged his support to groups whose prime mission is to cleanse the Republican Party of those who stray from the orthodoxy as they see it. 
Senator Richard Lugar
"This is not conducive to problem solving and governance.  And he will find that unless he modifies his approach, he will achieve little as a legislator.  Worse, he will help delay solutions that are totally beyond the capacity of partisan majorities to achieve.  The most consequential of these is stabilizing and reversing the Federal debt in an era when millions of baby boomers are retiring.  There is little likelihood that either party will be able to impose their favored budget solutions on the other without some degree of compromise."

He continued:
"Unfortunately, we have an increasing number of legislators in both parties who have adopted an unrelenting partisan viewpoint.  This shows up in countless vote studies that find diminishing intersections between Democrat and Republican positions.  Partisans at both ends of the political spectrum are dominating the political debate in our country.  And partisan groups, including outside groups that spent millions against me in this race, are determined to see that this continues.  They have worked to make it as difficult as possible for a legislator of either party to hold independent views or engage in constructive compromise.  If that attitude prevails in American politics, our government will remain mired in the dysfunction we have witnessed during the last several years.  And I believe that if this attitude expands in the Republican Party, we will be relegated to minority status.  Parties don't succeed for long if they stop appealing to voters who may disagree with them on some issues. 
"Legislators should have an ideological grounding and strong beliefs identifiable to their constituents.  I believe I have offered that throughout my career.  But ideology cannot be a substitute for a determination to think for yourself, for a willingness to study and issue objectively, and for the fortitude to sometimes disagree with your party or even your constituents.  Like Edmund Burke, I believe leaders owe the people they represent their best judgment."
Lugar goes on to point out how Ronald Reagan worked across the aisle and had to do some things he didn't necessarily want to do to save social security and pass his agenda.  He says that bipartisanship isn't giving up your closely held beliefs and that very liberal or very conservative people can still compromise and practice bipartisanship to move forward.

U.S. Senate GOP Nominee
Richard Mourdock
Richard Mourdock believes that bipartisanship has gotten us to this tipping point that we are at today, but it actually is what Lugar points out.  It's the LACK of bipartisanship that has us here now.  It's the fact that we can't pass anything out of the Senate right now without 60 votes.  It's the fact that the House will pass things it knows the Senate won't and vice versa.  It's the disingenuous manner that politicians on both sides of the aisle point fingers when they know that gridlocks exist right now.

In short, the Richard Mourdocks of the world are the problem.  They aren't the solution.  The Joe Donnelly's of the world would more seem to fit the mold of the type of candidate that gets things done in the Senate.  Donnelly isn't perfect for me as a candidate.  I have trouble reconciling many of his votes, but I know he can work across the aisle.  I don't think Mourdock can or has any interest in doing it.  That's this campaign:  Partisan vs. Bipartisan...Obstruction vs. Cooperation...Pessimism vs. Progress...Mourdock vs. Donnelly (and Andy Horning, too).

I salute Richard Lugar for his service, and I hope he uses his bully pulpit while he has it to continue to spread this word about what's wrong with Congress and Washington, in general.  It's not just the Republicans.  This problem is systemic.  It's time to tell the Richard Mourdocks of the world That's Enough Already!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

No Joke...This Was Posting Tomorrow...


Today, we learned that President Barack Obama has declared his support for same sex marriage in an upcoming interview with Robin Roberts taped for Good Morning America.

Earlier this week, I penned this blog post and almost posted it on Tuesday, but I thought it would get lost in the shuffle.  Thus, I scheduled it for Thursday.

Well, President Obama has beaten me to the punch.  I'm going to post it here anyway, now.
-------------------------------
President Obama, it's time to come out in support of same sex marriage.

This past week, your Vice President, Joe Biden, and your Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, have come out in support of marriage.  It's time for you to take that next step as well.

This may be used against you in the General Election.  That's true.  We know that far right conservatives have never met a wedge issue that they couldn't exploit, but I believe that people will respect you for your views.

Again, I know it's tough for you, and I respect that you are evolving.  I say it again, though.  It's time.  It's time to draw the line, Mr. President.  While everyone is paying attention to you, you can stand up and say that you are the President of the United States, and you support marriage equality.  It may or may not change the reality across the country, but it never hurts to have the President in your corner when you're fighting discrimination.

President Barack Obama
Time is changing minds.  Positive LGBT role models in the public eye are changing minds, raising families, and more than contributing to society.  We are moving fast, and the margin between people that support marriage equality and those that oppose it is broadening by the year.  It's time to close the deal in your historic Presidency.

It has been an historic Presidency for LGBT Americans.  You have stood up for LGBT Americans by refusing to enforce DOMA.  You have stood up by ridding our military of that Don't Ask Don't Tell policy that has ended the careers of good, loyal military heroes.  Why not finish the deal and support marriage equality.  It's simply time for equality and the next step forward.

It's time, Mr. President.  Don't be left behind.



----------------------------------------
Little did I know, the President would actually take the bold step before I got a chance to ask him.  After last night's ballot initiative that passed in North Carolina banning not only same sex marriage but civil unions and domestic partnerships, too, Obama's stance is more courageous.

It may or may not change anything, but I have rarely been more proud of a public official.  All I can say is...THANK YOU.

Setting the Federal Stage in Indiana for November

President Barack Obama
I think I have a pretty good handle on the federal races here in Indiana now that will be taking place in the fall, and things are actually going to be pretty interesting.

Of course, you have the battle at the top of the ticket.  President Barack Obama will be taking on Mitt Romney here in Indiana with Gary Johnson as the Libertarian.

Congressman Joe Donnelly
What is now a race with no incumbent features Democrat Joe Donnelly trying to turn a seat blue for the Democrats against Republican Richard Mourdock and Libertarian Andrew Horning for U.S. Senate.  This will be a nationally-watched race.

In the U.S. House races, looks like Pete Visclosky, suddenly the Dean of Indiana's Congressional delegation, will be battling Republican Joel Phelps in District 1.  In District 2, Republican Jackie Walorski will try to pick up a seat for the Republicans against Democrat Brendan Mullen and Libertarian Joe Ruiz.  Green Party candidate Andrew Straw is expected to be filing for ballot access.  In District 3, Incumbent Republican Marlin Stutzman will face Democrat Kevin Boyd.  District 4 features incumbent Republican Todd Rokita against conservative Democrat Tara Nelson.  Those are the easy ones.  Now, let's dive into the rest.

It looks like Susan Brooks, the former U.S. Attorney, has upset the favorite, David McIntosh to win the Republican nomination in District 5.  Brooks will face Democrat Scott Reske, a state legislator, in the fall.  Libertarian Chard Reid will take another bite at the apple this year just as he did in 2010.

Congressman Andre Carson
In District 6, Lobbyist Luke Messer won the Republican nomination, but he didn't win by as many votes as I thought he would.  Travis Hankins, for the second election in a row, surprised gathering just under 30 percent of the vote.  Messer will try to hold Mike Pence's seat for the GOP against Democrat Bradley Bookout.

It was no contest for Democrat Andre Carson in the 7th District.  He easily pummeled Bob Kern and the other challengers getting 90 percent of the vote.  Republican Carlos May had a surprisingly difficult time pulling away from Lt. Col. Cat Ping despite all the support of the Marion County GOP.  Looks like he's going to hold on and win to face the Congressman in the fall.

District 8 should be a barn burner between Republican incumbent Larry Buschon and former State Rep. Dave Crooks, the Democratic nominee.  This could be a pickup opportunity for the Democrats.  Bart Gadau is the Libertarian in the fight.

And, in District 9, Republican Todd Young, the incumbent, ran unopposed for the GOP nomination.  Shelli Yoder won the Democratic nomination defeating several Democrats including Robert Winningham and Brigadier General Jonathan George.  The Libertarians field Jason Sharp in this race.

It's a long way to November, but it will be here before we know it!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Federal Election Breakdown Posts at Midnight

Looks like enough races are going final that I can take a look at the Indiana federal election landscape at midnight tonight.  I'll be looking at the local races including the Governor's race in the coming days.

Stay tuned...

Senator Lugar Promises to Fight on for Next Eight Months

Mourdock Ousts Lugar in U.S. Senate Race

Richard Mourdock is the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Indiana in 2012.  Joe Donnelly is the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate in Indiana in 2012, and Andy Horning is the Libertarian nominee for U.S. Senate in 2012.

Here we go for November.

By a shockingly wide margin, Republican voters have ousted longtime Senator Richard Lugar.  His long career will end in January of 2013.

More election results and reaction to come as the night continues.

Polling Site Change Apparently Confuses Ballard

David Brooks changed the precincts and Mayor Greg Ballard changed the polling sites, but look who apparently had problems figuring out where she voted.
First Lady of Indianapolis Winnie Ballard at the wrong polling site.
(Photo by Gelone Broadnax via Facebook)

The First Lady of Indianapolis, Winnie Ballard, allegedly showed up at the wrong polling site today to vote.

Sorry for the inconvenience, Mrs. Ballard.  If you have a complaint, contact the Mayor's Action Center, 327-4MAC.   You can avoid the same problem by going here to the Voter Information Portal.

Operation Chaos 2.0?

I won't be surprised if the race between Richard Mourdock and Richard Lugar seems a big closer than the polling data tonight.

An informal sampling of Facebook friends would seem to show that many Democrats may have become Republicans today to vote for Senator Richard Lugar and play in the Republican Primary.  This could not only have ramifications beyond the Senate race, but it could hurt some Democrats down the ballot.

When I voted this morning, I was nearly handed a Republican ballot, but the Democratic clerk caught the Republican clerk's mistake before the ballot was given to me.  I did not cross over, and, as a Democrat, I fought the real urge to do so.  That doesn't mean that I didn't really consider it for a few seconds.  Knowing the Democratic clerk at the polling site as well as I do, she probably would have slapped me.

Anyway, that should make things interesting tonight.  We'll see if it's Operation Chaos 2.0.

It's Election Day!!!


The polls are open from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.! Get out and vote (if you haven't already done so)!  Results and reaction and other fun stuff to come!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Lugar to Tea Party: GET OFF MY LAWN!

Senator Richard Lugar
Politico reports that Senator Richard Lugar is accusing members of the Owen County Tea Party of hopping a fence and putting "Retire Lugar" signs on his Decatur Township Farm.

There is a picture online that appears to be a number of activists holding signs that say "Retire Lugar" actually on or very close to Lugar's farm property.  Freedomworks claims responsibility on Twitter.







So, there you go.  I am shocked Lugar wasn't home to chase them off with his rifle.

Election Day Eve Thoughts

At 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, another Primary Election will be in the books, and the landscape of Indiana politics will probably look a lot different than it did at 6:00 a.m. when the day will start.

Richard Mourdock
Of course, the marquee race is the battle for Indiana's U.S. Senate seat.  Indiana icon Richard Lugar is trying to hold on by his fingernails over the surging Richard Mourdock.  It looks increasingly like Mourdock is going to defeat the sitting Senator to claim the Republican nomination.  I think the race will be tighter than the 10-point margin predicted by the Howey Depaw Indiana Battleground Poll, but I agree that Lugar is going down.  I will predict a win by Mourdock with 54 percent of the vote.  Lugar pulls in 46.  Joe Donnelly is unopposed for the Democratic Party nomination.
David McIntosh

Another interesting race to watch is in the newly-drawn 5th Congressional District where several Republicans and two Democrats are trying to gain their party's nod.  I'm going to take Scott Reske to win the Democratic nomination.  On the Republican side, it's not that easy.  Four big name candidates are slugging it out in a nasty, gut-churning battle.  Wayne Seybold, the Mayor of Marion, has kept himself above the fray keeping things positive in his campaign. The other three candidates are battling like Itchy and Scratchy on the Simpsons.  David McIntosh, John McGoff, and Susan Brooks have taken this race deep into the mud.  McGoff has more been dragged in by McIntosh, but McIntosh and Brooks are launching bombs at each other head on.  McIntosh has tried to deflect criticism of his residency by coming up with odd charges against McGoff and Brooks.  Seybold's support in the northern part of the 5th cannot be overlooked.  In this race, I predict that McIntosh slides through by a couple of percentage points over Seybold.  McGoff and Brooks will battle for third with the rest of the field bringing up the rear.  
Carlos May

In other local races, Bob Behning will shake off a Lunch Pail Republican challenge to him in House 91.  I'm predicting Tim Motsinger to win the Republican nomination in House District 92.  He will, in my view, face Karlee Macer in the fall.  In Senate District 35, Mike Young will hold off Daniel Kinnamon for the Republican nomination.  In the 7th Congressional District, Carlos May had to wait two years, but he will finally get his chance to take on Andre Carson in November.

I think that covers it.  Now, we'll see tomorrow how wrong or right I was.


Saturday, May 5, 2012

This Is It for Lugar

Senator Richard Lugar
Richard Lugar is a man that I've known all my life, but I've only met him a few times.  He's a man that I've admired and followed since, frankly, I could probably understand anything about politics.  Unless there is some major movement in the Senate race, Lugar is probably through in the Senate in January.

Unbelievably, Richard Mourdock has captured lightning in a bottle and is, if you believe almost every recent poll, going to defeat Lugar on Tuesday perhaps bringing about the beginning of the end of a remarkable life in politics.

Lugar began his political career on the Indianapolis Public Schools Board of School Commissioners.  From there, he would be elected Mayor of Indianapolis where he made a ton of change and laid the groundwork for Indy's move from Naptown to the Super City we know today.  After that, it was on to the Senate where he has built a solid record as a statesman and foreign policy expert.  He ran for President briefly in 1996.  In all that time, however, Lugar has continued to be a strong voice for Indiana farmers.

At the heart of it, if you look at what Lugar has done over his career, he really has been one of the most accomplished Hoosiers in history.  It's very sad to see the state turn its back on him.  I can't say that I blame Republican voters, though.  Lugar really has not helped himself.

I am perplexed as to why this man thought it was a good idea to live in Virginia and only stay in hotels when he was here in the state.  I am perplexed as to why Lugar would not maintain some sort of residence here in the state.  These were poor choices.  I think it was also a poor choice for Senator Lugar to go so negative so fast in this race.  I believe the campaign misread this election.  Rather than explaining his record and accomplishments, Lugar's camp decided to deride its critics.  That was not smart.

In the end, it looks like retirement from the Senate is coming perhaps six years early.  If the Senator loses on Tuesday and leaves the Senate he loves in January, I want to thank him for everything he's done for Hoosiers.  I want to thank him for all the students he's helped and for the many thoughtful letters he's sent to constituents.  I want to thank him for all the pictures he's taken and hands that he's shaken.  I thank him for the miles he's run for charity and the way he has stood up for farmers.

Most of all, I want to thank Senator Lugar for being someone Indiana could, regardless of party, be proud of in the Senate.  Richard Lugar may lose on Tuesday, but the kind of respect and clout he's brought to our state because of the way he's conducted himself in office is not measurable.  Thanks for being someone I could look up to for these 36 years, Senator Lugar.

Disclaimer

All written content copyright of Jon E. Easter or the individual guest poster.

Reader comments are moderated.

The views expressed on this blog are the views of the individual contributor and are not necessarily the views of any Democratic organization, school district, or neighborhood association.

This blog is not affiliated with the Democratic National Committee, the Indiana Democratic Party, or the Marion County Democratic Party.