Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Baron Hill Will Run for US Senate

Five-time Democratic congressman Baron Hill from Indiana's hotly contested 9th District told a Columbus Jefferson/Jackson dinner audience that he plans to run for the Senate seat being vacated by the retiring Dan Coats. He will make a formal announcement in June. In Hill's 1990 Senate campaign against Coats he famously walked the length of Indiana to build his statewide name recognition, and he says he might consider doing it again. But he expects his main focus to be economic: "Wages have fallen way behind, so I want to focus like a laser beam on what we can do to get those up." Read more from ABC News here.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

John Gregg Will Run for Governor Again, and So May Glenda Ritz

Here's a brief Fox News interview with John about running.

It is possible that others may enter the race on the democratic side, including Superintendent Glenda Ritz. "After this [legislative] session, there's absolutely nothing off the table," Ritz says. She will make a decision in June. Read more about a possible Ritz run here or hear her statement on the subject here.

Lafayette City Council Incumbents Advance in Primary

The only contested race in yesterday's primary was for the at-large seats in the Lafayette city council. Two Democrats, Dewayne Moffitt and Matt Swisher, did not generate enough votes to unseat any of the incumbents, Lon Heide, Kevin Klinker, and Nancy Nargi. The incumbents will, however face a Republican challenger in the fall election. Mayor Roswarski and 6th District councilman Bob Downing will also face Republican opponents in the fall. First District Republican incumbent will be opposed by Democrat Linda Shriner. Lafayette Democratic council candidates Ron Campbell, Perry Brown, Lauren Ahlersmeyer and Melissa Weast-Williams will run unopposed, as will City Clerk Cindy Murray. West Lafayette cancelled its primary because there were no contested races. Read more about the primary in the J&C here.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Republicans Will Spend Millions to Repair the Damage Done by RFRA

The Senate's budget guru, Luke Kenley says the Senate's Appropriations Committee will add $2 million to the budget to help repair the damage done to Indiana's reputation by the RFRA fiasco. Half of it will go to tourism funding and the other half will go to an entrepreneurial program called Launch Indiana. Read more here.

Meanwhile Gov. Pence has declared the RFRA matter officially behind us and that the state is ready to move on. And he also has announced that his administration had hired a public relations firm to strengthen Indiana's brand as a “welcoming place to live, visit and do business.” Read more here.

Too bad no Republican thought about the possible outcomes of RFRA before they passed it.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Poll Shows RFRA Damaged Pence

A new poll commissioned by the Human Rights Campaign shows that Gov. Pence has been politically damaged by the controversy surrounding the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. 75 percent of likely voters said the controversy was bad for Indiana business; independent voters felt the fight was damaging by 72-12 and Republicans agreed by a margin of 64-13. 53 percent of voters said the RFRA fight gave them a less favorable impression of Pence while 38 percent say it left a more favorable impression. Best of all, the poll shows Pence in a 47-47 tie with Democrat John Gregg! Read more about the poll at

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Committee Passes Bill to Deny Superintendent the Chair of State Board of Education

With the RFRA fiasco behind them, the Republican supermajority is ready to get back undermining Superintendent Glenda Ritz wherever and whenever possible. Now the House Education Committee has passed a bill that would deny the Superintendent the automatic role of chair of the State Board of Education, thus further diluting the power of her office. The Chicago Tribune notes that this agenda dates back to to former Superintendent Tony Bennett's defeat by Ritz:
Many programs at the epicenter of these arguments were championed by former Superintendent Tony Bennett, who Ritz unseated after receiving more supporting votes than Gov. Pence. "The voters had made it clear that they did not agree with Superintendent Bennett," said Vic Smith, of the Indiana Coalition for Public Education. "According to this bill, the voters are wrong."
Read more from the tribune here.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Pence's Private RFRA Signing with Anti-Gay Activists

If anyone tries to claim that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act had nothing to do with discriminating against the LGBT community, share this photo with them and ask why Gov. Pence invited these three anti-gay activists to his private signing ceremony for the bill.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Pence Refuses to Answer Whether RFRA Makes Discrimination Legal

Eight times Gov. Mike Pence refused to answer George Stephanopolous's yes/no question about whether the new Religious Freedom Restoration Act makes discrimination against gays and lesbians legal in Indiana during his disastrous appearance this morning on ABC's This Week. And the Governor said that making gays and lesbians a protected class was "not on my agenda." The Governor argued that discrimination was not an issue because "Hoosiers don't believe in discrimination." Case closed.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Religious Freedom Act on Hardball

Chris Matthews took on Indiana's new Religious Freedom Restoration Act on Hardball Friday night. You can see it here.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Sen. Dan Coats Won't Seek Re-Election in 2016

Dan Coats says he won't run for re-election to his Senate seat in 2016: "I have concluded that the time has come to pass this demanding job to the next generation of leaders." Coats's decision inspired speculation on whether his seat could become competitive for Democrats who need to gain just five seats to control the Senate again. Brian Howey notes that Hillary Clinton, who put considerable effort into Indiana in 2008, could focus a spotlight on our state again, which could impact a Senate race. Howey asks, "Could they pull off an Obama and make Indiana competitive?"

Speculation is already gravitating toward Evan Bayh, who has a $10 million war chest from his previous campaign. Coats succeeded Bayh in 2010 when Bayh opted not to seek re-election. Read more here.