Sunday, July 31, 2016

Today Marks Eight Years of the Indy Democrat Blog

Today marks the eighth anniversary of the Indy Democat Blog.

Thank you so much for reading.  While I've fallen in and out of love with blogging at times, I continue to be humbled each time I look at the data and realize that people keep reading this little experiment I started just to scratch a journalistic itch I had after leaving freelance journalism behind.

I thank you all for your continued support.  Here's to another eight years.  As always, Keep Calm and Read Indy Democrat!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Clinton Accepts Nomination in Philadelphia

Hillary Clinton's long career of public service opened up another chapter last night.

In a policy-heavy speech that covered much ground, Hillary Clinton accepted the Democratic Party's nomination for President of the United States.  It was a strong speech with plenty of substance and some direct political shots at Donald Trump.

Honestly, the speech was not the best speech of the week, but the bar was set very high by Michelle and Barack Obama as well as President Bill Clinton.  The speech was inspiring, and it was very appropriately delivered.  She passed the Presidential test with flying colors and with a much more rosy outlook on our country's future than the Republican outlook revealed last week.

Below is her speech in its entirety.  Hillary has done everything she needed to do, and it's off to November.

Courtesy PBS

It's been an historic week in Philly. Great job to the City of Brotherly Love!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Wednesday Night at DNC Brings Heavy Hitters; President Hits Hardest

Wednesday night at the Democratic National Convention was a night of heavy hitters and heavy hits on Donald Trump.

Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-Independent Michael Bloomberg attacked Trump calling him a "dangerous demagogue."  Joe Biden took on Trump's claim of fighting for working people "malarkey."  Tim Kaine impressed with his ability to speak more than one language.

The stage, however, was cleared for the President of the United States whose victory lap speech handed "the baton" to Hillary Clinton   He also, if the American people listened carefully, laid waste to Donald Trump's divisive and ridiculous campaign.

It was a skillful speech that soared in its defense of Clinton as Obama called her, with apologies to President Bill Clinton, the "most qualified" candidate for President in history.  He defended Hillary against her critics by citing her 40 years in public life and her accomplishments.

There were so may memorable lines, but the one that resonated with me is one the President has used before.  When the convention-goers started to boo Donald Trump, Obama said, without missing a beat, "Don't boo. Vote."

That line boils down this election to its very basic level.  Don't sit this one out on the sidelines.  We must get to the polls on Election Day and vote.

At its finish, President Obama talked about the next chapter of his life as a private citizen again.  He talked about leaving the Democratic Party in the hands of Hillary Clinton and others who will move the cause forward. "My time in office hasn't fixed everything. As much as we've done, there's still so much more I want to do."

"Thank you for this incredible journey. Lets keep it going," said Obama at the end of his speech before being joined by Secretary Clinton for a post-speech hug.

President Obama was brilliant.  His speech hit all the right notes.  I think this entire convention up to this point has been brilliant after its rocky first steps.  It hasn't been easy.  There have been protests and walkouts, but we are Democrats.  This is what we do.  Our tent is so big that we sometimes eat our own.  That said, we have a lot to fight for this election cycle.

Last night's speakers put everything into perspective.  The stage is clear for the woman who might be the first to be called Mrs. President come January.

Pence's Quick Exit Leaves Replacement Scrambling to Catch Gregg

John Gregg
Listen, I don’t know how the Governor’s race is going to play out from here, but I know this. Mike Pence did his ballot successor, Eric Holcomb, no favors by taking the golden parachute out of a tight reelection campaign to join the Donald Trump campaign as his Vice Presidential nominee.

The Indy Star has reported that the financial backing Pence promised for Holcomb may not be so easily acquired leaving him with a fraction of the money John Gregg has raised. Gregg has over $5 million to spend. The Star puts Holcomb’s total at about $20,000.

Now, Holcomb will raise money, there is no doubt. Depending on if the Republican Governors’ Association decides to jump in whole hog on this race again, he could benefit from their resources. The fact of the matter is that polling Susan Brooks did showed Holcomb trailing Gregg. 

It’s even more of a reason why right now John Gregg needs to flood the airwaves with his ads. He needs to exploit his beneficial financial advantage because, frankly, it doesn’t happen to Democrats not named Evan Bayh very often in Indiana. 
Eric Holcomb

If I were Gregg, I’d keep it positive, but I’d keep hitting the message that his campaign is about substance and that he has a plan for Indiana’s future. I’d also keep hitting the campaign trail with the message that he’s wanted to serve as Governor since he entered this race and that he doesn’t just want to be the Governor of Indiana to step his way to another office.

Once Holcomb gets money, because we all know he will (someone will write him a big check), I still think this race will become competitive. Problem for Holcomb is that this is going to be a grind for a while. Pence left the state in a hurry it seems. Many of those staffers that would have been in place went with Pence on his national VEEP campaign.

The good news for the GOP is that the Indiana Republican Party is very well organized, and Eric Holcomb knows it from the inside. He knows exactly who to go to after having served as the party’s chairman. In that way, it’s an advantage for him.

Gregg has the wind at his back right now thanks to Governor Pence’s exit. Seems as if he’s doing his best not to squander the opportunity.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Wrapping Night #2 of the DNC

The 42nd President of the United States took the stage at the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday night, and he was in the mood to talk.

Bill Clinton, certainly one of the top 10 orators ever to serve as POTUS, skillfully reintroduced the world to his wife, Hillary Clinton.

The speech was brilliant starting from the moment they met to the closing argument that laid out why the world needs Hillary and why the United States needs to elect her.  In many ways, it personalized Hillary in a way, many have said, never has been done before.  It definitely painted the portrait of a devoted mother and wife who was really the driving force in the Clinton family.  It talked about Hillary's sacrifice of her own career.  Now, she's in the prime of it.

The night was also highlighted by the Mothers of the Movement.  The mothers in the organization had lost children to gun violence or in police action/incarceration.  Survivors and first responders talked about Hillary and how she fought for them in the aftermath of 9/11.

Day three of the convention is tonight with POTUS and VPOTUS on the schedule.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Holcomb To Fill Ballot Slot Vacated By Pence

Lt. .Governor Eric Holcomb
It was dramatic.

All four gubernatorial candidates running to replace Mike Pence on the ballot stood behind Indiana’s Republican Party Chairman, Jeff Cardwell. Three of the four knew their candidacy was over, but, for the fourth, it’s just about to really begin.

It took multiple ballots, but the Indiana Republican Party Central Committee nominated Lieutenant Governor Eric Holcomb as their nominee for Governor of Indiana. The former GOP Party Chair, Mitch Daniels staffer and behind-the-scenes political operative outlasted the other three candidates on the ballot: Susan Brooks, Todd Rokita and Jim Tomes. We’ll find out August 1 who will replace Holcomb as the GOP’s candidate for Lieutenant Governor.

What a whirlwind 2016 it’s been for Holcomb. In February, he exited the race for Indiana’s U.S. Senate seat after disappointing fundraising and a general lack of support dogged his run. A month later, he was being sworn in as Indiana’s 51st Lieutenant Governor when Sue Ellspermann moved on to become President of Ivy Tech after rumored disagreements with the Pence Administration. When Donald Trump plucked Mike Pence to be his Vice Presidential nominee, a slot opened up on the ballot for Governor.

Holcomb worked quickly to shore up support. He sent a letter to the Central Committee promising Pence would back him financially and with an endorsement. Pence delivered on his promise…at least with the endorsement, and we will see if he puts the check in the mail.

A long time ago, a former Indiana Democratic Party Chair told me that being a party chair is typically a disqualifier to run for public office.  We'll see if the deals and machinations cooked up back under Holcomb comes back to hurt him.

John Gregg arrives on the other end fairly in the same place he was before.  There are tons of places he can attack Holcomb.  If I were him, I would try to quickly define Holcomb as Mike Pence's best friend before Holcomb has a chance to get his organization underneath him.  I'd go right after him with no honeymoon period.  We're already hearing Gregg pivot.

Today, Gregg was on TV saying he wanted to "serve" as Governor and that Holcomb wanted to only "be" Governor.

Rocky Start Makes Fantastic Finish to Democratic Convention Day One

After the first day of the Democratic National Convention got off to a rocky start, I had written one blog post talking about what job Hillary Clinton had to unite her party and pull this all together in the face of scandal.

Thankfully, my script changed about the time Al Franken and Sarah Silverman stepped on the stage.

Silverman, the always provocative comedian who has been outspoken in her support of Bernie Sanders, exchanged some scripted humor with Franken, the Minnesota Senator that used to be a comedian in his past life.  The point was to make a symbolic rhetorical bridge between Sanders and Clinton supporters and then introduce Paul Simon to sing "Bridge Over Troubled Water".

When Simon wasn't quite ready to begin, Franken and Silverman had to stretch and the "Bernie or Bust" folks began to chant.  Silverman directed her comments right at them and lowered the boom, "To the 'Bernie or Bust' people, you are being ridiculous."

At that moment, the night changed.  The loud boos and jeers over every speaker diminished, and, despite a few interruptions, the night continued.

Four speeches really stood out on his first night with one perhaps ascending to the pantheon of great convention speeches, and I'm not the only one saying it.

First Lady Michelle Obama's speech was clear, concise, emotional and perhaps the best endorsement of Hillary Clinton I've heard.  Drawing on her experiences in the White House, Obama was able to show how transformational moments like the election of her husband signify this country's greatness.  Along the way, she subtly at times and directly at times launched attacks at Donald Trump and the GOP rhetoric about our country.  She also gave a new narrative for Hillary.  One that no one will deny.  That's that Hillary Clinton has been the crucible of politics since she stepped into public life, and she's tough, tested and will not back down.  It was a truly brilliant speech.

Senator Cory Booker's speech also made its rhetorical marks.  The New Jersey Senator got in some good uppercuts on Trump and the GOP, but his speech was about unity and rising together.  He also emphasized the idea of love.  "Patriotism is the love of country," Booker said.  "But you can't love your country without loving your countrymen and countrywomen."

Following those two speeches and following directly after the First Lady, Elizabeth Warren had a tough task.  The Massachusetts Senator experienced a few shouts and catcalls from the audience about her endorsement of Clinton, but she mostly just continued on a brilliant and focused political attack on the Republicans and Trump.

The last speech of the night was Sanders himself.  After spending most of the first half of his speech on some of his greatest hits from the campaign, Sanders floated some new stuff too.  While he gave little ground, Sanders made the case that the only way to continue the revolution begun by his supporters was to make sure to go out and work to elect Hillary Clinton in November.

I have a feeling this convention will continue to be rowdy, but the first night ended on a high note for the presumptive nominee.  We'll see if the unity note continues on Tuesday with the 42nd President, Bill Clinton taking the dais in primetime.  We all know that Bill can spin a yarn.  It's a very unique and historic moment for a former President to make the case for his wife to be the future President.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Dems Rally in Philly to Officially Nominate Clinton

It's the big week for the Democrats to make their big impression on America about our party's vision for America.

I trust that it will be a different version than the one put forth by the Republicans last week in Cleveland.

Things get kicked off early this week with Michelle Obama and Bernie Sanders due to speak on Monday.  Bill Clinton headlines Tuesday night.  Joe Biden, Barack Obama and Tim Kaine speak on Wednesday, and that clears the stage for Hillary Clinton on Thursday.

I have to admit, I'm a little nervous.  I think many of Bernie Sanders's supporters have gone rogue and are no longer listening to even their candidate.  We'll see how and if that presence is felt in the arena.  I hope that the party doesn't come apart at the seams as the Republicans did on Wednesday night when Ted Cruz spoke.

The email scandal that has taken down Debbie Wasserman Schultz has been a tremendous distraction that Hillary Clinton really didn't need, and it also puts the DNC in a very bad light.  Good to see that interim Chair of the party, Donna Brazile is encouraging the party to own up and move on differently.  I hope that she is given a chance to lead the party on a permanent basis.

Still, this week is about celebrating the diverse organization that is the Democratic Party.  It's a party that includes everyone from Joe Donnelly to Bernie Sanders and everyone in between.  To the delegates, let's make sure there's no party like a Democratic Party!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Clinton Makes Solid VEEP Pick with Kaine

Tim Kaine
I had such a busy Friday on the blog that I just am now getting around to commenting on the selection of Tim Kaine as Hillary Clinton's running mate.

I can sum it up in one word: solid.

Kaine has long been the frontrunner in the VEEP nominee derby, and, if you watched his introduction to the ticket on Saturday, you can see why.  He's smart, surprisingly interesting and completely qualified to serve in the office.

There were more progressive choices that Clinton could have made, and it's impossible to know what exactly her thought process was or what advice she was getting.  Kaine, however, makes a lot of sense and "checks a lot of boxes".  He does have some negatives, but I think they are far outweighed by his positives.  I do believe he adds value to the campaign team.

He's got a great resume in politics spanning over the last 22 years.  He has spent time as a city councillor and a mayor.  Kaine was elected Lieutenant Governor and then Governor in tight races. In 2012, he was elected to the U.S. Senate replacing Jim Webb.  Kaine was on the shortlist to be Barack Obama's VEEP nominee in 2008.

Kaine's record is middle-of-the-road when it comes to many issues.  He's no liberal, but he has shown an evolution to more progressive positions since leaving the Governor's Mansion.  In a time where the Latino vote means so much, Kaine spent time in Central America as a missionary and is fluent in Spanish.  Kaine also comes from the important swing state of the Commonwealth of Virginia.  It goes without saying that Clinton needs that state in her column on November 8.

By all accounts, he's well-liked on both sides of the aisle and is a hard working member of the Senate.  Hopefully, he will bring that attitude with him on the campaign trail.  Kaine seems to be the kind of VEEP.  He will be loyal and will not overshadow the nominee, but he will be ready to step in at a moment's notice if necessary.

So it's Trump/Pence, Johnson/Weld and Clinton/Kaine.  Time will tell if Kaine is able to push Clinton over the top.

Wasserman Schultz Must Resign Now

Debbie Wasserman Schultz
For Democrats across the country, it's supposed to be a time of celebration of our party's candidates, values and vision as we head into the Democratic National Convention this week.

Instead, we head into Philadelphia on defense and combating a number of problems brought on by inept, corrupt and unethical leadership by those in charge of the Democratic National Committee.

Never in my life have both major political parties been led at the national level by such poor leaders as Reince Priebus and Debbie Wasserman Schultz.  I can handle Priebus because he's not our problem as Democrats.  DWS is our problem, and she should have stepped down months ago.

In 2008, Howard Dean set the standard for what a national party head should be, in my opinion.  Dean managed to successfully navigate the minefield between two big dog candidates in Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.  Then, in the end, he helped mend the fences and gave the Obama campaign all the backing and support it needed to wipe the floor with John McCain.

In 2012, Debbie Wasserman Schultz had an easier task.  She needed to simply reelect a President.  The nominee was clear from the start, and she successfully provided the necessary support to get that done.

Somewhere after that point, things began to unravel.  It has degenerated to the point that hackers were able to hack the DNC's email servers and pass along that information to Wikileaks.  That information is now being used to torpedo Hillary Clinton's chances and elect Donald Trump.  Wasserman Schultz's leadership has allowed all of this to happen.

That is only part of the problem.  The contents of these emails is simply shocking to me.  It's clear that the DNC did not play the part of fair arbiter trying to find the best nominee for the party.  Instead, they favored Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders.

The race to the bottom was swift even going to the low of questioning Sanders's faith.  These sorts of tactics are not in bounds for any campaign to select a party's nominee.

First of all, in 2016, it should not matter what someone's faith is or is not.  We should be able to support, as a party, candidates from any faith background all he way across the spectrum to atheist.  We are the Democratic Party, and the fact that our shared values differ from he Republicans on this particular issue is one of the many reasons why I am a Democrat.  When the DNC gets personal like this, it should make all Democrats sick and mad.

I believe that the DNC could have played this all right down the middle and Hillary Clinton would have come out the other end of this process as the nominee.  Because of the clear behind-the-scenes machinations by the leadership of the DNC and its chairwoman, the Clinton campaign is now having to answer questions it never should have been forced to answer.  It's an unforced error by the Democrats that could help the RNC elect the most dangerous man ever to be nominated by a major party.

Bernie Sanders should get whatever he wants now from the Democrats.  I've heard him in interviews, and, instead of being bitter, Sanders sounds energized and committed to electing Hillary Clinton President of the United States.  With that said, it's time to flush the DNC out at the leadership level and allow Senator Sanders and his fresh perspective to lead the party.  That's different from the way we Democrats have done business in the past, but I think the ineptitude of Wasserman Schultz's leadership has led us to this point.  Thankfully, we won't hear her speak at the convention.

Usually Hillary Clinton would get to pick the next Chair of the party, and I have some thoughts about who might make a great successor, but, with everything that's happened, I think it should be Senator Sanders selecting the next Chair.  Yes, I understand that he's a "new Democrat" and perhaps a risky choice, but I think that a strong signal needs to be sent that this is the way Democrats do business.  When we see injustice, we do everything we can to make it right.

As for me, I'd love to see someone like Donna Brazile be named the next Chair of the party.  I think she has a good head on her shoulders, has class and common sense and is tough-as-nails.  Though she has ties to Clinton, I think she is impartial enough to know that we have to do business differently as a party going forward.

The reforms need to start immediately.  The house should be cleaned from top to bottom at the leadership level, and it's time to get to rebuilding our party's process of nomination.

First thing's first...Debbie Wasserman Schultz must resign immediately.  Then, the DNC needs to issue a full and complete apology for the treatment of Senator Sanders and for the way its leadership has conducted itself in this process.

Let's mend fences and move forward united.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Future Remains Bright for Bayh with November Win

Evan Bayh
No surprise, but Evan Bayh was chosen by the Indiana Democratic Party Central Committee to fill the ballot vacancy created when Baron Hill pulled out of the U.S. Senate race on July 11.

Bayh, the son of former U.S. Senator and Hoosier legend, Birch Bayh, will now appear on the ballot on November 8.  Republican Todd Young and Libertarian Lucy Brenton will be Bayh's two opponents.

It's the latest move in Bayh's Hoosier political journey.

At the age of 30, Bayh was elected Secretary of State in 1986. Two years later at just 32, he was elected Governor of Indiana defeating popular Lieutenant Governor, John Mutz. Bayh was reelected in a landslide in 1992 defeating Attorney General Linley Pearson.  After he served two terms, he handed off the reins of state government to one-time rival turned good friend, Frank O'Bannon in 1996.

After keynoting the 1996 Democratic National Convention, Bayh became a national name.  At the age of just 42, he was elected to the U.S. Senate by a wide margin over Fort Wayne Mayor Paul Helmke.  By building a carefully crafted moderate record in the Senate, Bayh became a common name on the Vice Presidential vetting list in 2000 and 2004 and was nearly selected by President Barack Obama in 2008 to be his running mate.  He even toyed with running for President on his own in 2008.

Bayh was to stand for reelection in 2010, and the early polls showed that he was going to be in a tough fight.  Citing family concerns and frustration over the climate of Washington politics, Bayh withdrew from the Senate race.  For the first time in a long time, Bayh was a private citizen.

In moves that enraged some Democrats, Bayh took a job with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and worked as a lobbyist.  He also became a contributor on Fox News Channel.  Just last year, purchased a new house in Georgetown, D.C. while reportedly keeping a home in Indiana as well.

Bayh passed on runs for Governor in 2012 and 2016, and he seemed to be on the road to elder statesmanship until, at the age of 60, he decided to reenter politics and run for his old Senate seat again in a move that shocked the Hoosier political world.

He released his first ad just last week, and the early returns are encouraging. A poll released this week by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee showed Bayh with a 21-point lead on Young.  That brings us to today's news.

It's a new chapter in Bayh's storied career.

In writing this new chapter, Bayh now has a chance to prove to Hoosiers and perhaps even the nation at large that he still has much to offer in his political life.  After all, he could conceivably still run for President or find himself a major player in politics for the next 20 years by Richard Lugar's clock.

If Bayh is elected in November, it will be interesting to see where he places himself politically this time.  It will also be interesting to see if he begins angling for 2024 when, at the age of 68, he could still run for President.

Yes, there's still an abundance of political life left in this Indiana legend.

Central Committee To Choose Between Bayh or Kern Today

Bob Kern
Evan Bayh's big day is today as the Democratic Central Committee gathers to nominate Baron Hill's ballot replacement for U.S. Senate, but it's not a clear path to the ballot even though it would be a shock if Bayh's candidacy is not unanimously approved.

So, who else is running?

If you said Bob Kern, you are correct.

The perennial candidate of all perennial candidates, last seen running for U.S. Congress in House District 9, threw his hat into the ring for U.S. Senate by filing the appropriate paperwork with Secretary of State Connie Lawson 10 days ago.

It's definitely Kern's right to run, but his chances of beating Bayh are frankly smaller than Donald Trump's hands.

Kern, who in 1998 won the Democratic nomination for U.S. House in then-District 6, has run for Congress in a variety of different districts and ran for U.S. Senate in 2010 when Bayh removed himself from the race.  Brad Ellsworth won that spot on the ballot.

The Central Committee meets at 5:00 pm at Indiana Democratic Party Headquarters.

Thoughts on the Republican National Convention

I was going to try to go back and try to make some sense out of this week's Republican National Convention in Cleveland, but I really find it difficult to seriously go about doing so.

The Republican Party is on fire.  It truly is, and there's part of me that finds it sad.

When I was in high school and began to become aware of politics, I was coming out of the Reagan Administration and into the 1990's.  My parents were Republicans, and I was raised in that kind of traditional fiscal conservative and socially libertarian household.

I went to college and it coincided with the rise of the Clintons and the rise of Newt Gingrich and the Contract with America Republicans.  The party was moving further and further to the right, and I figured out that I wasn't really a Republican.  In 1996, I voted for the first time, and I voted for Bill Clinton.

I say all of this because I think I've seen a complete collapse of what used to be the Republican Party under Ronald Reagan.  While he's often cited as someone that is the father of the modern conservative movement, Reagan would never recognize this version of conservatism pushed by Donald Trump.

To a certain part of our country, this Trump conservatism resonates.  That's why the Republican brand as it is now still can definitely propel him into the White House and why it's more important than ever to stop it.

Overall, the convention was a disaster.  It started gloomy on Monday night, and it ended gloomy with Trump's awful speech.  Along the way, the lies flew about Hillary Clinton, and the repeated attacks that have been rebuffed by facts were repeated again.  Ted Cruz refused to endorse him, and, perhaps the highlight of the convention, was Mike Pence's speech on Wednesday.

All-in-all, this race was where it was a week ago. Those loving Trump love him more.  Those hating Clinton still hate Clinton.  Those hating Trump probably dislike him even more.  I don't think Trump's speech played at all well to those in swing states.  In fact, in that regard, it might have hurt Trump.

The polls will shake all this out in a couple of weeks.  For now, it's off to Philadelphia where there ain't no party like a DEMOCRATIC party!

One winner in all of this was the City of Cleveland.  Congratulations to Cleveland for an excellent job hosting the RNC mess.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Taking Stock of Indiana's Gubernatorial Race

Indiana Governor's Office
The Indy Star's Matt Tully is in Cleveland, and he says he's been talking to some of the 22 people that will make the decision as to who will receive the Republican nomination for Governor of Indiana.

Those 22 folks are the Indiana GOP Central Committee, and they have four candidates to choose from when they meet back here in Indy on Tuesday.  The vote will be by secret ballot.

Lieutenant Governor Eric Holcomb, U.S. Representatives Susan Brooks and Todd Rokita, and State Senator Jim Tomes are the four names in the hat.

According to Tully's reading of the situation, Brooks is the frontrunner followed very closely by Holcomb.  Rokita and Tomes are the also-rans.

His reading is very close to mine.  I flip Brooks and Holcomb, but I think one of those top two will be the nominee, and I think it will be close.

I've heard that Holcomb enters that meeting with nine solid votes.  One of those votes is Clark County Sheriff Jamey Noel.  The Times of Northwest Indiana's Dan Carden noticed this tweet by Noel.

So, that's one solid vote for Holcomb if you're counting votes.  We'll see how this one breaks down over the next few days.

Tully cautioned...

As far as John Gregg's campaign goes, he's still up on the air with ads and is moving forward.  He rolled out his education plan in this spot.

By the way, I'll post my final thoughts about the Republican National Convention on Friday.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Laws Make It Way Too Easy for Rokita, Brooks to Pursue Gubernatorial Nod

I have a beef.

It's way too easy for Susan Brooks and Todd Rokita to get back on the ballot if their runs for the Republican nomination for Governor are unsuccessful.

The Indianapolis Star reported yesterday that Brooks and Rokita simply need the vote of precinct committee persons in their districts to rejoin the ballot.  Both have expressed their willingness to return to the ballot if they lose the GOP State Central Committee vote on July 26 for the gubernatorial nomination replacing Mike Pence.

There are candidates interested in the seat, but the Star reports that most are only interested if Rokita and Brooks stay out.  

Brooks has a Democratic opponent that could make some headway out of this decision.  Dr. Angela Demaree can take some heart in this situation because it gives her a line of attack against Brooks in a district that was won by Senator Joe Donnelly in 2012.  Still, the district is drawn to be heavily Republican as it rates a +11 on the Cook Political Report's ratings in favor of Brooks and the GOP.

While John Dale is giving it his all in the 4th Congressional District, the Cook Political Report rating on the 4th is a +13 for the Republican.  Rokita is likely safe in his seat even if he would, let's say, reduce the eligibility for kids to get free school lunch.  Wait...he did that?

My beef is with the laws that allow these candidates to simply drop out of their races and jump back in if they lose.  They should have to sit out this time around if they drop out.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

News Bad for Young in First Snapshot of Senate Race with Bayh

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee released a poll on Monday, and, if you believe it, the news is not good for Todd Young.

The Indiana Congressman trails Bayh by 21 points in the poll, and Bayh is over 50 percent.

It is early, and you can take the poll for what it's worth seeing as the DSCC put it out, but it's definitely a moment for Todd Young.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Bayh's First Spot Trumpets Reason for Comeback

Evan Bayh's first ad is very strong.

The 30-second spot seemingly ready to go almost on cue with Bayh's announcement that he was re-entering the fray is positive in nature and is successful in establishing the former Governor and Senator's reasons for mounting his comeback.

This ad shows that Bayh hasn't lost his game or his brand.  Whether Hoosiers will buy it is up to the voters.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Gregg's Strong Campaign Merely Needs to Pivot with Pence Moving On

John Gregg
Well, Mike Pence is gone.

Thanks to Donald Trump, the Governor of Indiana is the next nominee for Vice President of the United States for the Republican Party.  This changes EVERYTHING in the 2016 Governor's race in our state.

The Republicans will duke it out to see who replaces Pence on the ballot, and it's not going to be simple.

Four Three big name Republicans have reportedly stepped forward or will step forward to replace Pence.  They include Indiana Speaker of the House Brian Bosma, Congresswoman Susan Brooks, Lieutenant Governor Eric Holcomb, and Congressman Todd Rokita.  Each carries their own positives and negatives and will make things extremely interesting.

Indy Democrat has learned from multiple sources that Eric Holcomb has the inside track to being the GOP's nominee, but that doesn't necessarily mean that he will get it.  As former Party Chairman, he starts with an inherent advantage.  It remains to be seen if my sources are correct or not.

On the Democratic side, John Gregg and Christina Hale will wait to see how everything shakes out, but they can't rest on their laurels.  Sure, the work they've done to tear down Mike Pence's support has gone out the window.  The tactics need to change back to substance.  Thank goodness that Gregg can lean on not only his experience as Speaker of the House but his plans for the office.  This still is very much a Gregg agenda vs. the Republican agenda kind of race.  Gregg can still hang things like RFRA and other actions that have harmed our state's reputation on the GOP majority at the Statehouse.

Gregg's tactics now have to change in the interim to show that no matter who the Republicans decide to go with that he's the best choice to lead Indiana in 2016 and beyond.  I think the argument is a simple one to make.

In some election years, a move like this would have dealt a fatal blow to the opposition, but this race now becomes a race more on the issues rather than a referendum on Mike Pence.  Because John Gregg has run such a great campaign so far, it becomes a simple pivot for him.  I'm sure his campaign strategists will have some sleepless nights, but the important thing now is to keep bashing the free and earned media buttons as well as hitting those biographical ads.

Gregg must remind people that he's the guy that has wanted to serve as Governor and has dedicated himself to the issues of our state now for two election cycles.

Brian Bosma stayed in the House District 88 race.  This means he can't run for Governor.  The appropriate edit has been made.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

France Attacked on Bastille Day

Terrorism has apparently raised its ugly head again in our world.

Tonight, we get word of another attack in Nice, France on Bastille Day.   

The details still are murky, but a commercial-sized truck plowed through crowds of people in the beautiful coastal city.  The death toll and injury toll is massive.  The video is hard to watch.

To attack France on Bastille Day is particularly evil.  To attack a city like Nice is really sickening. 

The attack came as tourists, residents and families celebrated French independence.  A fireworks display brought people out into the streets.  As the display ended and people started to return home or to their hotels or to the bars and parties, terror struck.  

It's been a particularly tough summer.  Attacks across the globe and in the United States have made us question everything from our faith to our humanity to both.  

I just don't have any answers.

I only have condolences.  I send my heart to those in France and around the world dealing with terror.  I hope or a world where love will conquer hate.

Trump Selects Pence: Pence Polarizing in Indiana, but I Wish Him Well

 So, Mike Pence is the man to fill Donald Trump’s running mate role.
That’s apparently the word from media sources today across Indiana and the United States. An official announcement was expected tomorrow in New York City, but the horrible events in Nice, France have changed that.

I honestly didn’t believe Trump would select Pence, a political lightweight with dubious negatives, but that’s Trump for you. He’s made a mockery out of the Presidential election process so far, why stop now?

Trump selects a man who has polarized Indiana. Mike Pence is now Donald Trump’s problem, and Indiana is glad to be rid of him.

On the other hand, if there ever was anyone groomed to be Vice Presidential in the old sense of the word, it’s Mike Pence. After all, Pence’s Congressional record is lighter than a cottonwood seed floating on a summer breeze. He looks nice and sounds good but is transparent and says next to nothing. Pence adds nothing to the ticket for Trump except for perhaps shoring up his support among evangelicals.

While some see Pence as a safe choice for Trump, I think it’s really just a sad choice when you look deeper, and the press will vet him and see what a poor choice this has been.

All of that said, I guess I should congratulate Governor Pence for putting Indiana on the front page of the newspaper for this news cycle. This is an opportunity for him to show a different side of the Hoosier State and perhaps an opportunity to show a Mike Pence that we have never seen.

Since we are all represented by the Governor of Indiana, I just ask Pence not to embarrass us any more than he has in the past. It is an honor to be selected no matter who puts you on that ticket. While I do not support Governor Pence, I wish him well despite our disagreements.

Winds of Change Could Blow to Transform Indiana Politics

It still seems like a long way off, but Indiana politics could look a lot different in January than it does right now.  Frankly, it's not that far away!

For one, Hoosiers could see two U.S. Senators from the Democratic Party for the first time since 1977.  Evan Bayh's entry into the Senate race changes it completely.  Todd Young and the Republicans are already launching negative attacks at Bayh showing that they are concerned.

Secondly, the Hoosier U.S. House delegation could look quite different with two or three more Democrats going to Washington.  Shelli Yoder's race in the 9th Congressional District with "Tennessee Trey" Hollingsworth is being targeted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's red to blue list.  Lynn Coleman's race is going well in the 2nd Congressional District, and, with Donald Trump at the top of Indiana's Republican ticket, the 5th Congressional District, won by Joe Donnelly in 2012, could be in play with Angela Demaree taking on Susan Brooks.

Mike Pence could be on his way to Washington, on his way home to Columbus, on his way back to the Governor's Mansion, or watching John Gregg taking the oath of office as Indiana's 51st Governor.

Eric Holcomb, Brian Bosma and a slew of other Hoosier Republicans might see their futures change as well depending on what happens with Pence and Donald Trump.

All of this might happen as well as Hoosier voters repudiating the GOP in the General Assembly by voting for Democrats across the state and ending the Republican supermajority in the House.  There are also potential Senate seats to gain for the Democrats as well.

On top of all of this, voters in the United States are about to make history and make Hillary Clinton the first female President in the history of the country.

Libertarians might see record numbers in a Hoosier Congressional race up in District 3 with Pepper Snyder battling Jim Banks.  Democrat Tommy Schrader has been disowned by his own party there.

The chances of seeing a different Indiana after November in at least some of these areas are pretty good.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

For Hoosiers to Buy-in, Bayh Needs to Get to Work...FAST

Governor Evan Bayh celebrates
the largest tax cut in Indiana history.
Only time, a declaration of candidacy and the Indiana Democratic Central Committee are standing in the way of Evan Bayh deciding he wants to get back into the political sphere here in Indiana.

GOP Senate nominee Todd Young and the Republicans have already begun attacking Bayh, who isn't even officially running yet.

Bayh's saber rattling has gotten the GOP's attention, but, among a segment of my Democratic friends, the possible return of one of the party's greatest politicians and most electorally successful campaigners has been greeted tepidly.

For this reason, I don't think Bayh can expect just to waltz back in to Indiana, spend some money on some flashy TV ads and have people anxious about joining his campaign.  

He's actually going to have to work for this one.

Now, please, don't misunderstand me.  Evan Bayh is a Hoosier political legend.  He's undefeated, and he's part of one of the preeminent families in Democratic and Hoosier politics.  Bayh's father, Birch, served as one of the most well-regarded Senators not only in Indiana history but perhaps the history of the U.S. Senate.  

Having a father with that kind of regard sometimes makes it difficult for a son to find his own way, but Evan was an extremely successful Governor who built a record of tax cuts, reform, education gains, and balanced budgets.  He left office in 1997 with money in the bank and an extremely high approval rating.  He took that popularity and turned it in to two terms in the United States Senate.  His record there put him in the middle of the road, and some on the left question Bayh's credentials as a true Democrat as he sometimes came out to the right of Indiana's senior Senator at the time, Republican Richard G. Lugar.

Evan Bayh shocked Hoosiers when he announced he would not seek reelection in 2010 and would retire from the Senate at the end of his term in 2011.  The announcement was timed only days before the deadline to withdraw as a candidate for the primary election.  With no qualified candidate on the ballot, Democrats named Brad Ellsworth to fill the ballot vacancy to take on the Republican winner of the nomination.  That turned out to be Dan Coats, a former U.S. Senator from Indiana who had worked as a lobbyist.  Coats blitzed Ellsworth in November of 2010 in what was a very very bad year to be a Hoosier Democrat.

Here we are six years later.  Coats, of course, announced he would not seek another term in the Senate. 

Evan Bayh, 2016
In those six years since he announced he was leaving the Senate, Evan Bayh has been a Fox News analyst, worked for the United States Chamber of Commerce and has been a lobbyist.  Just last year, he bought a home in Georgetown near Washington, D.C.  He did all this while keeping a loaded campaign war chest.  Still, it seemed like Evan was done in politics as he passed up two chances to run for Governor of Indiana and a chance to run for the same United States Senate seat he retired from...until now.

Suddenly, Hoosiers are just expected to welcome him back like he's here on his horse to save the day?

Evan Bayh will be better for Indiana than Todd Young.  He's not as ideological.  He's more consensus-driven, and he has a wealth of experience that appeals to people on both sides of the aisle.  This is not about that.

Evan Bayh has to make his case now and explain why he's suddenly over the malaise that drove him from politics and into private life.  He has to answer why this was worth Baron Hill moving aside in a race that was slowly turning more purple so that he could try a comeback.

Evan Bayh also has to show that he's moved to the left on LGBTQ+ issues.  He has to reassure Democrats and moderate Republicans as well as independents that he's had time to regain energy and that he won't resign halfway through his term for some other opportunity.

For the first time in a long time, Evan Bayh needs to reintroduce himself to Hoosiers because to some, he's just a name spoken by some political person in the family.  To others, he's a guy who was mad at the Senate when he left it.

At 60, he still has a potentially long future ahead of him in politics, but that ends if he somehow loses this race to Todd Young.  Republicans would finally vanquish Evan Bayh.

To avoid that, he's going to have to work this state like he hasn't since 1988. Time's ticking.

Evan Bayh has filed the necessary paperwork to enter the Senate race, and he has also scheduled his first TV ad per WTHR.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Zody Outlines Process for Replacing Hill on Ballot

John Zody
Last night at the Decatur Township Democratic Club, John Zody, the Indiana Democratic Party Chair, had a lot to talk about.

First of all, Zody could not say anything official on Evan Bayh. The candidate selected to fill the empty spot on the November ballot vacated by Baron Hill will be voted on by the state's Democratic Central Committee.  Zody was quick to point out that Evan Bayh or another Democrat could, in theory, be selected to fill the ballot slot.

He did outline the process.  The caucus to fill the empty spot on the ballot will be July 22, and candidates will have to file by Tuesday, July 19.  That means an official statement from Bayh about his candidacy may still be up to a week away.  Democrats leave for Philadelphia on July 23.

The state Chair did praise Hill for his run.  Zody served with Baron Hill as his Chief of Staff for four years when the Southern Indiana Democrat was in Congress.  "Nothing changes as far as our philosophy goes.  Baron Hill was going to fight for the middle class in the U.S. Senate, and Evan Bayh or whoever our candidate is will fight for the middle class in the Senate."

Zody did address a possible ballot opening on the Republican ticket for Governor.  He said, "If Mike Pence is named the running mate of Donald Trump, John Gregg will still be the Democratic candidate for Governor the next day."

In the state's legislative races, Zody said he hopes to pick up a few seats in the House and Senate, "I think we can do away with the supermajority this year."  He said that chipping away at the Republican numbers and finding good candidates is key.  Zody said Democrats found 53 challengers for Republicans to go with 29 candidates in Democrat-held seats.  In total, Democrats were able to fill 82 of the 100 Indiana House seats and 23 of the 25 Senate seats on the ballot this year, according to Zody.

So, circling back to the U.S. Senate vacancy, we should know by this time next week who the new candidate will be.  In response to the Bayh interest, Roll Call has already changed the seat's rating from "likely Republican" to "tilts Democratic".  Todd Young is the Republican nominee.

What a difference a day makes in Indiana politics.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Bayh Mounts Comeback

Evan Bayh
Evan Bayh has reportedly decided to make a comeback and run for the Senate seat he gave up six years ago.

I know that Republicans are probably letting out a long stream of curse words right now, and I get it.  I also know know that as a Democrat I'm supposed to feel all warm and tingly inside and party like it's 1988 again.  I have to say that I feel a little better as a partisan about the race, but, as an LGBTQ+ community member, I'm restraining some giddiness.

Credit Joe Donnelly, John Gregg, and a number of Indiana Democrats.  They have evolved on issues that are close to many within my community.  Even Baron Hill this time around was a different Democrat.  Will Evan Bayh evolve?

Then, there's also a question about what Bayh has been doing since he left office in 2010.  If you recall, Bayh abruptly left the race in February of 2010 leaving Democrats with Brad Ellsworth as their candidate.  At the jump off point, Bayh was in a 50-50 race with Dan Coats.  In 2012, Bayh toyed with a comeback and eventually decided not to run for Governor.  In 2016, it looked like he was content with being a retired Senator as he declined to run for his old seat and Governor again.

For work, he's been a Fox News commentator, worked as a lobbyist, and he has worked with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  All problematic for liberals.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   That said, he has $10 million in the bank, and you had better bet he will raise more.  The race has moved from the Republican column to a toss-up or better.  Todd Young has to be very disappointed that he left his job in the House to run for Senate now.  Still, he's not going we think.

Now, here we are again. What a moment this is in Indiana politics!

Don't Hand Pence VEEP Nod Yet

Donald Trump
If you believe what you read, Mike Pence is all but announced as Donald Trump's nominee for Vice President.  Abdul's Cheat Sheet and now the Washington Times are reporting that the Indiana Governor will almost certainly be Donald Trump's Vice Presidential nominee.

I have to say that I'll believe it when I see it.

That could be Tuesday here in Westfield when Trump holds a rally after a private fundraiser downtown in Indianapolis's famed Columbia Club.

There's a good chance that the reports are right, but Trump is a showman. The showman always has something up his sleeve.  I agree with my friend and fellow political observer, Alex Kirby, that there's more to this story than meets the eye.

Unlike Kirby, I'm not a Trump supporter, but I do like the way he's thinking.  Kirby believes that Trump is leaking these stories about Pence to keep the story alive and well, and that's pretty Trump-ian.  He thinks Newt Gingrich is the better choice, and I agree that Newt would be a far more capable VEEP or Vice Presidential candidate than Governor Pence.

If you look at this rationally, Pence doesn't help Trump much at all.  In fact, Pence is not popular in his own state.  He won't move the needle with women, independents, or moderates.  He doesn't draw in any minority votes.  His divisive views have pushed people apart.

As far as his record goes, Mike Pence has built his resume largely on a do-nothing 12 years in Congress an on the back of the work of his predecessor, Mitch Daniels, and President Barack Obama.  While he is telegenic, Pence's not good on his feet answering questions, and he will get handily defeated in the Vice Presidential Debate later this year. The only place Pence helps Trump is with the evangelicals, and many of them are disappointed with the Hoosier governor.

Trump is unpredictable.  I think that there's still a chance Trump gets up on that stage and selects Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, his hair dresser, his daughter, his 10-year-old son, Tom Brady, or even Florence Henderson.  After all, he did once host the Celebrity Apprentice with Gary Busey as a cast member.

We'll see what happens this week, though.  If nothing else, it should be interesting.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Hill Begins Walk Across Indiana on Monday

Baron Hill
On Monday, Baron Hill will start a journey he's done before...a walk across the state of Indiana.

The Democratic candidate for Senate will begin a 500-mile trek from South Bend on Monday and will, over the course of the next month, walk 10-12 miles until he reaches the Ohio River in Evansville.  Along the way, he's going to meet and talk to Hoosiers in many different communities.

Hill, a former Congressman, is going to face Republican nominee, Congressman Todd Young.  So far, Young has been taking it easy on the campaign trail frankly not doing much.  Young's campaign derisively calls Hill's attempt to talk to voters a publicity stunt, but this is a journey that Hill has made before.  In 1990, Hill ran for U.S. Senate losing by just seven percentage points to incumbent Dan Coats.

In his Congressional campaigns, Hill also made it a point to walk his district and make lots of voter contact.

The Indiana Senate race is rated by most experts as one that the Republicans have the upper hand in, but the uncertainty at the top of the ticket has given Democrats hope that they can pick up some of the offices further down the ballot.  With Donald Trump as the Republican leading the ticket on that side, anything is certainly possible.

Rather than flippantly writing off Hill's walk as a stunt, Young might be well-served to copy the Democratic nominee. After all, he's not so well known outside of Southern Indiana.  Hill can make this a more than competitive race.  If Joe Donnelly can win and Glenda Ritz can win, then an experienced man like Baron Hill certainly can s well.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Who Wants to be the Governor?

Should Donald Trump select Mike Pence to be his running mate, it could shake up not only the Governor’s race, but it could cause some shifts down the ballot, too.

WRTV’s Katie Heinz reported on Twitter earlier today that the GOP State Central Committee has been contacted by “8-10” people interested in jumping into the 2016 gubernatorial grind. 

Among those particularly interested you’d figure Eric Holcomb would be the easiest choice. Pence could even help Holcomb if Trump selects him by resigning as Governor and giving the Lieutenant Governor the reins to state government now. It would allow Holcomb to run as the incumbent rather than as the state’s number two.

Two U.S. Representatives have shown at least some interest in the job. Todd Rokita released a statement saying that if Governor Pence becomes the Vice Presidential nominee that he would be interested in taking over on the ballot for him. Susan Brooks has also said she’s been encouraged to run by supporters, according to Heinz. If Rokita or Brooks would be selected, they would no longer stand for reelection to Congress and those ballot slots would have to be filled for the GOP.

Jobless former U.S. Representative Marlin Stutzman has been mentioned by some to be a possible candidate as have outgoing Attorney General Greg Zoeller and current Auditor of State Suzanne Crouch. Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma is another possibility, but he would again no longer stand for reelection to an Indiana House seat he’s served in since 1986. Bosma’s facing perhaps one of the toughest opponents he’s ever faced this year in Dana Black, the Democratic nominee for the seat. Senate President Pro Tempore David Long is in the same situation as Bosma as he is on the ballot this year.

An intriguing possibility would be former Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard. Ballard has been out and about recently much more, but he might be far too liberal for the taste of some Indiana Republicans. After all, Ballard, in one of his best moments as Mayor, stood up against the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. 

Other possible candidates off the top of my head of people that certainly might be interested include State Senator Mike Delph, former Lieutenant Governor Becky Skillman, Purdue President Mitch Daniels, and maybe even some other names we haven’t heard of yet.

I have a feeling it will be one of the names identified in this post. I think the frontrunners to replace Pence should he be selected as the Vice Presidential nominee for the GOP are likely Ballard, Bosma, Brooks, Holcomb and Rokita. Someone like Daniels can clear the field, but he clearly seems to be enjoying his position at Purdue.  Abdul-Hakim Shabazz's take is here.  (He adds Jim Merritt as well to the list).

All will become much clearer in the next 35-40 days for sure.

In the meantime, if you’re John Gregg, your job is to make sure with the money you’ve raised to keep your name on television, on the radio, on the internet and in the newspapers as much as possible. Keep telling Hoosiers how he has wanted to serve as Governor since the beginning of the campaign.

Gregg Launches First Offensive Attack on Pence

While Mike Pence continues to be in a holding pattern regarding his future as a potential Vice Presidential candidate, John Gregg is plowing forward in his campaign to be Governor of Indiana.

Gregg released an ad that launched a scathing attack that Pence fiddled while Carrier made arrangements to leave Indiana taking its jobs with it to Mexico. 

The ad starts out very strong by making its claims against Pence. It gets a little muddled to me when Gregg takes over.

I tend to like it when candidates speak in their own ad, but Gregg’s script isn’t that strong. The audio is also a mess. It sounds like perhaps Gregg’s microphone is buried in a fold of his shirt or something. It’s something that should have been recut.

Still, the attack stands though Governor Pence’s campaign says it’s inaccurate. The Pence campaign claims the Governor engaged others to try to help the Carrier workers. As I remember it, Pence was too busy blaming Washington and was caught flat footed by the move by the longtime Hoosier employer.

Nevertheless, this ad marks the first offensive attack by Gregg in the campaign. It shows that he’s not going to sit back and wait while Pence and Trump make up their minds. It appears Gregg still wants to be Governor of Indiana. That’s questionable for Pence right now.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Clinton Needs More Than Statement To Put E-Mail Issue Behind Her

Hillary Clinton
The FBI recommended yesterday that no charges be filed against Hillary Clinton in the inquest into her use of private e-mail servers to do work when she was Secretary of State.

It came as little shock to me.  I never thought the FBI would charge Secretary Clinton in the case, and I doubt that the Department of Justice will override the FBI.  In essence, the scandal over Hillary Clinton's e-mail use has come to an end, and it will be up to the voters to make sense of everything.

No shock.  Hillary is no criminal.  She's not going to jail. She's moving on, and her campaign issued a statement saying as much.

I hope I can suggest a different course of action for our party's presumptive nominee.

Given what was in FBI Director James Comey's statement, I don't think Clinton can simply sweep this under the rug and put something heavy on top of it.  This is instead a stain that will soak through that rug.  I think any criticism she gets for the handling of sensitive information is completely fair and warranted.  I also think its completely fair that voters should take a critical look into how Clinton used e-mail.  At the minimum, it was certainly not a very careful way to handle important information, and that goes to the heart of what the President's job entails.

Whoever sits in that chair behind the Resolute Desk knows things that many of us probably would rather not know, and there's a reason for it.  The amount of power that comes from that position and office is immense, and I don't have to elaborate.  Every decision could literally mean life and death to some.

Clinton needs to come clean with the people of this country, and we need to hear exactly what she has learned from this entire episode.  We need to hear how much this will change how she handles information in the future.  It's a time for the Secretary to, as President Ronald Reagan once said, "Shine a light on (her) problem."

As is well-known by now, Hillary Clinton's problem is that people, for whatever reason don't trust her.  In some ways it's not fair. Some of the reason people don't trust her is frankly bunk.  It's a result of the vast right wing conspiracy surrounding both Hillary and Bill Clinton for years.

This is different.  Unimagined scandals like this play directly into the narrative that already exists about the Clintons.  Donald Trump and his supporters certainly will be playing to it because it's all he has to play to.

While Trump is the worst candidate put up in years by a major party, I'm not saying this campaign is over. The polls say we're still close.  I think that the polls will change once people start paying more attention.

If elected, Hillary Clinton won't get Donald Trump in 2020 to run against.  You had better believe that Republicans and others will watch her every move in the Oval Office just waiting for a hint of a scandal or slip-up if she makes it there.  These lapses of judgment or mistakes such as the ones demonstrated in the FBI report simply cannot happen when Secretary Clinton becomes President Clinton.

I am so with her.  I am enthusiastically a supporter, and I will work to get her elected.  At the end of the day, Hillary Clinton is by far a better, smarter, and more reasonable choice than Donald Trump.  She is a better choice given her experience than Gary Johnson or Jill Stein or any other candidate running.  With all her flaws, she's the most ready candidate to be President of the United States on day number one.

She's still tough.  She's still tested.  I just hope she doesn't try to run away from this.  She needs to respond and reassure the voters that she understands her mistake and is not going to repeat it.  If she gives a satisfactory answer to these questions, she can take this issue off the table...permanently.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Gorman to Face Sandlin in Senate District 36 Battle

Sean Gorman
The race in Senate District 36 was finally settled as of June 30.  It will be Democrat Sean Gorman battling GOP nominee Jack Sandlin.

Both candidates took hard-fought paths to the nomination.  On the Democratic side, it was a razor-thin margin between Jesse Kharbanda and Gorman.  Just 37 votes was the margin.  Republican Sandlin defeated former City-County Councillor Jefferson Shreve by 414 votes.

Republican Brent Waltz is vacating the seat because he decided to pursue the 9th District Congressional position.  He lost in that race to "Tennessee Trey" Hollingsworth, who many believe is, of course, the carpetbagging candidate out to buy a seat in Congress.

Jack Sandlin
Gorman spoke briefly at the Perry Township Democratic Club meeting on June 30.  He said he's excited to move forward, but the close primary result and the subsequent recount have made him play catch up to Sandlin.

Sandlin is a former law enforcement officer and Perry Township Trustee.  He has served on the City-County Council since 2010.

As a candidate, Gorman brings plenty of experience.  He is a veteran of state government having worked for the Department of Natural Resources, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, and he served as the Director of the Indiana Board of Nursing.

A father of four, Gorman lives on the Southside of Indianapolis.  He holds a Bacheleor of Science in Public Affairs as well as a Juris Doctorate from Indiana University.

In 2012, Waltz took 53 percent of the vote in defeating then-state Rep. Mary Ann Sullivan.  The district is targeted by Democrats because of the way the district is drawn with most of the district in Marion County and a small, gerrymandered arm jutting into Johnson County.

Many Hoosiers See Pence Differently Than National Media Narrative

Gov. Mike Pence
Who is this Mike Pence some pundits in the national media are talking about?

As Donald Trump determines who will sink beside him on his campaign ship in November, the national media talking heads are abuzz about how Mike Pence is a popular communicator with strong legislative and executive experience that can deliver the Midwest for Trump.

This is far from an honest look at where the Governor stands unless he's someone we aren't seeing.  It can't be the same Mike Pence that we've come to know in Indiana, can it?

Can it be the Mike Pence who, despite having a reasonably good economic situation to run on, finds himself at less than 50 percent in the polls and languishing behind Democrat John Gregg in fundraising?

Can it be the same Mike Pence who, in a very red state, needed a bailout from the Republican Governors Association?

Can it be the same Mike Pence who has made enemies of many Hoosier women, many Hoosier teachers and LGBTQ+ Hoosiers?

Can it be the same Mike Pence who couldn't stand up to simple yes or no questions on This Week with George Stephanopolous?

Certainly, these "experts" have not studied or looked at the 2016 Gubernatorial race at all in this state.  If they had, they would likely be telling the nation the truth.

That truth is that many here in Indiana would LOVE to see Donald Trump select Pence to be his running mate.  That would get him out of Indiana!  Furthermore, Pence not repudiating Trump and showing a willingness to be on his ticket could work against the Governor and in Gregg's favor in November should the GOP nominee select another candidate other than Pence to be his number two.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Friday, July 1, 2016

It's July 1st...Time for New Laws...

Here's an article and a soundtrack for you to read it along with...hat tip to Bill Maher's "New Rules" segment, here are Indiana's new laws!  Follow this link.

Trump Selecting Him as VEEP Nominee Could Be Good for Pence

Governor Mike Pence
Donald Trump could save Mike Pence from himself, at least temporarily.

Speculation among those in the know claims that Trump, for whatever reason, is considering Governor Pence for the Vice Presidential slot.  Trump isn't likely to pick Pence, but, if he does, it could change the Indiana Governor's race.

Right now, it's a head-to-head battle between Pence and Democratic nominee John Gregg with Rex Bell representing the Libertarians.  If Pence stepped out of the race to run for Vice President, as he would be required to do under Indiana Code, Republican Party Chairman Jeff Cardwell would get to select Pence's replacement since it is after June 30.

So, let's have some fun.  Let's say Lying Crooked Donald picks Pence.  Who would Cardwell pick to fill the ballot vacancy?

Eric Holcomb would be the obvious candidate.  Holcomb has been a loyal soldier so many times, and this would give him a chance to seek the top office in the state's executive branch.  I'd say he would be the favorite.

Another Republican possibility would be former Lieutenant Governor Becky Skillman.  The former legislator had ambition to succeed her former boss, Mitch Daniels, but she stepped aside citing health concerns allowing Mike Pence to easily claim the GOP nomination in 2012.

Yet another possibility might be former Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard.  Cardwell served on the City-County Council before he joined the Pence Administration.  Now, he's a business owner and party chair.  He worked with Ballard to make the "Gateway South" corridor a reality.

Former Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann is the current President of Ivy Tech and has just a month on the job, but, depending on her ambition, she might be interested in running for Governor.

Richard Mourd...oh nevermind, even Jeff Cardwell isn't that crazy.

Whoever it is would have a battle with John Gregg to fight for possibly statewide name recognition and would have to raise funds in a hurry.

As for Pence, he would get to avoid a possible loss to Gregg.  Of course, most of the polling currently shows that Donald Trump is trailing Hillary Clinton nationally.  He could be dooming himself to four years with nothing to do.  All of this is putting the cart way before the horse.  Trump, again, isn't likely choosing Pence to complete his ticket.

It's fun to speculate about on a summer afternoon.

Abdul-Hakim Shabazz said on Facebook this morning that the GOP can only fill the ballot vacancy if it happens by 7/14.  That is unless Pence moves or well, we won't talk about the other reason.

Also, I left a really big fish out of my possible replacement pond.  He's perhaps the biggest fish of them all.  Mitchell E. Daniels.