Kennedy Campaign Staffer Violates State Election Law

Last week, Melina Kennedy’s campaign sent out an email discussing her pre-primary campaign events. We did not pay much attention to it since it was sent on Good Friday and, while we are political junkies, we spent the day focusing on other things.

Last night, we took a closer look at the email and noticed there was a picture of Melina Kennedy voting early in the Clerk’s office.  What we found more interesting, however, was a campaign staffer standing behind her in line to vote wearing a Kennedy campaign sticker.  The staffer appears to be Jon Mills, Kennedy’s Communications Director.

For those of you not familiar with state election laws, you are not permitted to express “support or opposition to any candidate or political party or expressing approval or disapproval of any public question in any manner that could reasonably be expected to convey that support or opposition to another individual” while in a voting location.  It is called electioneering. 

The Indiana Code goes through the specific locations including the poll, the chute or “within an area in the office of the circuit court clerk or a satellite office of the circuit court clerk established under IC 3-11-10-26.3 used by an absentee voter board to permit an individual to cast an absentee ballot.”  Pretty clear that this applies to the voting location in the County Clerk’s office.

Guess County Clerk Beth White didn’t feel like enforcing the rules since she endorsed Kennedy last year.

Mitch Watch 2011

With the legislative session set to close on Friday, all eyes have turned to Governor Mitch Daniels and whether he will make a run for President. We’re firm believers that no one really knows the answer to the question on most Hoosier politicos minds at this point.  We do believe, however, that Haley Barbour’s exit from the race makes it much more likely that Governor Daniels will get in.

The timing of Barbour’s exit is at least interesting. You may remember when Governor Daniels told WANE-TV in Fort Wayne,

“I think the decision has to come at the end of this General Assembly session, if not before. No later than that.  In fairness to people from all over the place – many of whom I’ve only read about before – who like this idea [of Daniels running for president], I owe them some kind of an answer.”

Is it possible that these two old friends made a deal that Barbour would test the waters and, if things took off, he would be the guy who ran?  If not, Daniels could step in and Barbour could help his campaign through fundraising and possibly some of the staff Barbour had collected through his early start.  Barbour had the ability to get in earlier while Governor Daniels had legislative matters to attend to here in Indiana.

We don’t have any answers but we’ll definitely be watching closely over the next two weeks.  May 12th could get interesting when First Lady Cheri Daniels will be the Speaker at the Indiana Republican Party’s State Dinner.  Who is introducing her?  Glad you asked.  None other than Mitch Daniels himself.

Congressional Fundraising Wrap-Up

This morning, we saw an article from the Journal Gazette on Congressman Marlin Sutzman’s fundraising for the quarter and it made us curious about the rest of the Indiana Delegation. 

Congressman Visclosky, District 1:  $73,568 raised, $469,547 cash on hand

Congressman Donnelly, District 2:  $363,288 raised, $338,286 cash on hand

Congressman Stutzman, District 3:  $59,937 raised, $33,184 cash on hand

Congressman Rokita, District 4:  $120,848 raised, $374,072 cash on hand

Congressman Burton, District 5:  $48,006 raised, $210,124 cash on hand

Congressman Pence, District 6:  $278,088 raised, $434,294 cash on hand

Congressman Carson, District 7:  $63,550 raised, $207,910 cash on hand

Congressman Bucshon, District 8:  $45,330 raised, $36,494 cash on hand

Congressman Young, District 9:  $154,283 raised, $140,070 cash on hand

A few things stood out to us.  First, Congressman Visclosky is in a strong financial position as well as politically.  The best time for a challenger, primary or general election, would have been in 2010 and the opportunity has passed.  We’re not sure if they can give him a crown but they may as well. 

Second, Congressman Donnelly has kicked up his fundraising.  We believe this is another indication he will be seeking the U.S. Senate seat in 2012 and we have been saying he will for months.  Third, Congressman Rokita is raising dollars and has significant cash on hand.  The question is why?  He is in a fairly safe seat and is known to be incredibly ambitious. We’ll be keeping an eye on it. Fourth, the worst kept secret in town is that Congressman Pence is running for Governor.  His fundraising and cash on hand seem to indicate he is getting his operation up and running.

Finally, Congressman Dan Burton is in the exact opposite position as Visclosky.  Burton’s cash on hand of just over $210,000 is the lowest cash on hand the year before an election year he has had in recent memory.  In 2009, he had $353,651 and he had $700,097 in 2007.  Granted, he has competition and has had to spend the money but he will likely have competition again this year.  A candidate that aggressively raises money could become a significant problem for the Congressman.  Politically, we’ve already discussed how the new district cuts out the areas where he is typically strongest.  This would be the year for someone to circle the wagons and win this district.

Ogden Knows Best: Bike Lanes

If you are a cyclist or you keep up with the news, you may have heard that Mayor Ballard announced the City plans to double the number of bike lanes by the end of the year. Indianapolis has already added 30 miles of bike lanes since 2008 and the long-term plan calls for a total of 200 miles within the next 15 years.

As usual, Paul Ogden found a reason to complain

First, Ogden says that the $10 million being used on bike lanes could have been used for other things and the City has misplaced priorities.  Apparently, Paul was too busy looking for something to criticize to READ the article.  The bike lanes are funded by a grant from the Department of Energy.  It is a part of the SustainIndy program and that is why the City received the funding.  The money could not have been spent on the library or the parking meters that Ogden mentions.

Second, Paul complains about the bike lane safety and wrote in his comment section on what an avid cyclist he is compared to the Mayor and “many of the people who go ga-ga over the bike lanes.”  We especially enjoyed the part of the rant where Paul talked about how fast he can ride his bike.   Apparently, Ogden would throw INDYCOG in the group of folks who don’t know what they are talking about as well.   

According to the IndyStar,

Cyclist Kevin Whited attended the announcement to show his support as a member of the non-profit group Indy Cog, which promotes cycling and bike safety.

He said Indianapolis can look to other cities like Minneapolis and Portland, where when bike lanes were added, bike ridership picked up.

“To me it’s very exciting as a bicyclist. Having infrastructure, having bike lanes just makes it easier to get around the city. I mean it’s a really exciting thing and it’s very cost effective,” said Whited, who bikes to work every day.

Note that Whited bikes to work every day.  But hey, we’re sure Ogden knows best.

Campaign Finance Reports: U.S. Senate Primary

The Moudock Campaign has reported raising $159,000 this last quarter.  As Hoosier Pundit notes, that is more than Mourdock indicated he would report a few weeks ago.  We disagree with Scott’s analysis on the mount of money being substantial for the amount of time State Treasurer Richard Mourdock had to raise the money.  And, like it or not, Donnelly’s finance reports matter since he is likely to be the Democrat nominee.  He raised  over $363,000 this quarter. 

 All that being said, the next quarter report is incredibly important for Team Mourdock to show they can raise serious dollars and are beginning to engage national TEA Party funding groups.

We already reported that Senator Lugar has nearly $3 million cash on hand and raised  just over $973,000 fo the quarter.  That alone is enough of a concern for Team Mourdock without the report from Brian Howey saying Lugar raised $145,331 in the last week while Mourdock raised just slightly more in the entire finance quarter.

Excuse Us,Who is Trying to Divide America?

Over the weekend, several of us noticed a lot of conservatives posting links to an article on Sarah Palin’s visit to Wisconsin for a tax day rally. At the event, Palin noted her support for Wisconsin Governor Walker in his much publicized fights with his state’s unions. We typically don’t pay too much attention to Sarah Palin. We think she has a lot of star power and can bring in a big crowd.  So can a lot of people…and we wouldn’t vote for any of them for President of the United States.

But here is the part that grabbed our attention:

Counter-protesters surrounded them, banging drums, bellowing into bullhorns and ringing bells. Bitter arguments broke out along the edges of the two groups over everything from the size of government to corporate power. At one point conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart took the stage and told the labor supporters to “go to hell.”

“I’m serious!” he screamed. “Go to hell! You’re trying to divide America!”

Seriously? You’re trying to tell us that others are the ones trying to divide America while you are telling a group of people to go to hell? 

Look, we know that amped up political rhetoric isn’t going anywhere–especially since it seems to be the only way to get through to the average voter. But maybe don’t try to convince us you aren’t a sheep in wolves clothing while you are doing it.

Ballard vs. Kennedy: Finance Reports and YouTube Fun

Jon Murray has the overview of the finance reports that were filed today.  Mayor Ballard raised $715,236 which brought his cash on hand to $2,039,201.  Kennedy raised $510,216 which brought her cash on hand to $1,272,335.  This leaves Ballard with a significant financial advantage of over $760,000. 

Much to Paul Ogden’s dismay, Kennedy outspent Ballard this time around and he won’t get to write a post on the burn rates of the Ballard campaign.  Kennedy spent nearly $180,000 to Ballard’s $150,000.  We’ve heard Team Ballard has a new fundraiser that is spending less and raising more which this report would seem to support.  

We’ve maintained that Kennedy is going to have to spend some money on this Democrat primary to make sure she gets to the General Election. The fact that she has two African-American males running against her shows some unrest in a key constituency.  Add in the fact that both of them are ahead of her on the ballot and one of them is a Carson, she really cannot afford to take the Primary race for granted.  How much she spends is a big question.  We’ve taken a quick look at her report and it appears she has waited to do any media purchases until after the reporting deadline which is what we would expect. 

In other mayor’s race fun, the Marion County Republican Party sent out a YouTube video hitting back at Kennedy’s attempts to discredit Mayor Ballard’s job commitment numbers.  You may remember we noted earlier this week that Kennedy was forced to pull her web ad down after breaking federal copyright law.  The GOP response is below.   Happy Friday!

We knew this would happen, but we didn’t know it would happen this early. 

Democrat Candidate for Mayor, Melina Kennedy, started running false, negative, misleading attack ads against Mayor Ballard…on April 2nd!  Kennedy has demonstrated that she’ll do anything to win and that’s why it is so important that we show our support for Mayor Ballard by telling the FACTS.

Click here to see a video that shares the facts about Mayor Ballard’s impressive record of creating jobs.  Please forward this email to your friends, and post this video on your Facebook page.  With your help, we can make sure that we keep moving Indianapolis forward with Mayor Ballard!

WSP Re-Districting Analysis: Congressional Districts

We’ve been meaning to get this post up for the last few days but, sadly, we do actually have real jobs.  We’re working on doing a full analysis on the implications of re-districting and will start with the Congressional Districts.  

The 1st Congressional District remains a safe Democrat seat for Pete Visclosky to sit in until he dies if he so chooses.  He is unlikely to have any serious opposition in either the Primary or General Elections.  In fact, its biggest impact is on the 2nd Congressional District.

The 2nd Congressional District was molded as a district for Jackie Walorksi.  The district has taken out the highly Democratic Michigan City and given it to the 1st District while Howard County and the Democrat area of Kokomo were drawn out completely. They also added some nice Republican spots in Elkhart and Kosciusko counties and all of Miami County. 

Will Jackie have a primary?  We’re hearing yes but we highly doubt anyone is going to beat her.  She is known as a tough campaigner and is putting together a campaign team that is already working with the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee.  We strongly believe Congressman Donnelly was already focused on running for U.S. Senate in 2012 and this district makes that more likely.  We’re not sure who the Democrats have warming up on the bench. 

The 3rd Congressional District, much like the 1st, has a bigger impact on the 2nd than on itself.  Several key Republican areas were sliced out of the 3rd and given to the 2nd.  Regardless, it looks to be a fairly safe Republican district provided Congressman Stutzman does not make any major mistakes.

In the 4th Congressional District, we have a very nice Republican map.  Unfortunately for Congressman Todd Rokita, it does not include his home. This is not an issue as we have heard for some time that Rokita planned to move to Hendricks County.  It is a good thing since Rokita has about as many friends in the Legislature as we have in the Kennedy for Mayor HQ.  The Congressman made a lot of enemies by putting out his own re-districting plan last year when he was Secretary of State.  No better way to piss off the legislature than messing with the maps.  Ironic that they used re-districting as a way to get back at him, huh?

The 5th District is interesting but, as usual, it is due to Primary implications rather than General election races.  Congressman Dan Burton has a good district for the General but not so much for the Primary.  The northern portion of the old 5th is where Burton got his votes and it was put in the 3rd District.  If you think his dustup with Messer was close in 2010, check out the numbers if this had been the district.  The race would have come down to a few hundred votes rather than a few thousand.  Burton was able to use his friends in the legislature to push Shelby County, Messer’s home county, out of the 5th.  David McIntosh, however, is based in Madison County and that is in the 5th District.  Will McIntosh take Burton out?  God, we hope so because someone should. 

The 6th district looks to be fairly Republican but not so Republican that a poorly run race would be guaranteed victory.  Congressman Mike Pence is all but declared to run for Governor.  We expect he will announce sometime after the legislative session ends so he can start fundraising.  Luke Messer is said to be taking a close look at the district and we expect he will run.  McIntosh is said to be interested as well.  While McIntosh is registered in Madison County, the new 6th has several of the counties he used to represent. We’re not all that enthused about a McIntosh return to Indiana…unless it is to finally rid our delegation of Dan Burton.  There are a few other names being tossed around but none that should cause too much of an issue if Messer goes all in.

The new 7th District is a bit of a mystery.  Democrats say it is solidly Democrat while the Republicans seem to be split.  We’ve heard some say it is a lock for the Democrats and some who are hopeful that the addition of the Republican Southside will make the district competitive.  Either way, we think you’ll see a much more energized race there in 2012 than usual.  Congressman Carson will crush any opponent in the Primary and the General could be interesting if the Republicans can get a legitimate candidate.  Marvin Scott, this is not a request for you to throw your hat in.  The likelihood of getting a strong Republican candidate could be impacted by the 2011 Mayor’s race.

The 8th District lost some key Republican areas to the 4th and 9th Congressional districts and may well become the Bloody Eighth of  the past. Congressman Bucshon should be safe in the Primary election.  The General will really depend on who the Democrats can get to run.  Democrats appear to be courting Brad Ellsworth for a curtain call but we don’t see it happening.  He just got a great gig  and he lost his home congressional district to Coats in his U.S. Senate bid.  If John Gregg is the Democrat Governor candidate, it could make things interesting in the 8th  (and 9th as well) but we still don’t think the Democrats have a candidate to beat Congressman Bucshon.

Finally, the 9th District looks a bit better than it use to for Congressman Todd Young.  Since this district has been tossed back and forth between the two parties like a hot potato, it is not surprising that Republicans decided to clean it up some.  The district is more Republican than in the past and it looks much more favorable for Young to fend of Primary challengers.  Many of the counties drawn out were won by his 2010 Primary opponents. The district does still include Jackson County where former Congressman Baron Hill resides.  We would think Hill has had enough of fighting for this district for a decade but you never know.  We would say the 9th is more Republican than before but by no means a lock.

Local Campaign Finance Reports: Ballard vs. Kennedy

Campaign finance reports for local races are due this Friday and we, along with a few other bloggers, are waiting with bated breath.

We are expecting a big report from Melina Kennedy this quarter.  After all, she raised nearly $900,000 last year when she was working at Baker & Daniels.  Since she is campaigning full-time now, we would guess she will raise a substantial amount of money and should pull even with Mayor Ballard’s fundraising this quarter. 

Since Kennedy has a primary where she will need to spend some money, she needs a big quarter to not end the primary with a substantial cash deficit.  We’ve also heard she has been aggressively pursuing Ballard donors from last year.

For Mayor Ballard, we aren’t so sure what amount he will post.  He already has a cash advantage and will maintain that even with a strong quarter from Kennedy.  There also seems to be some debate over how much Ballard raised at a large event held at the J.W. Marriott.

Indianapolis Times has posted in the past that they don’t believe Mayor Greg Ballard’s campaign brought in $500,000 at the event.  In fact, Terry said they raised “less than half  of the money that was anticipated.”   We’re going to guess they don’t have a great source since Ballard supporters are not exactly clamoring to talk to Terry Burns or any of the other bloggers (Sorry Paul and Gary!) who claim to have insight into the Ballard Re-Elect Team.

Then yesterday, Burns posted that the Mayor raised $500,000 at the J.W. event and, in order to have a successful fundraising quarter, he needs to have raised another $500,000 for a total of $1 million.  Which one is it, Terry?  Did he raise the $500,000 or not? We don’t claim to know but we try to not give completely conflicting “facts”.

We also aren’t sure why Terry thinks the Mayor will raise $1 million this quarter.  That is more than Ballard raised all last year.  It is crazy to think he will raise that much in one quarter so far off from the election. 

Another thing to file away in your “Things that Make You Go Hmmm” folder is the strange highlight in Burns’ post.  Looks to us like maybe someone (READ:  the Kennedy Campaign Staff) was making some edits to the post. 

Between those two things, we’re guessing the Kennedy Campaign is trying to play the expectations game.  We’ll find out tomorrow if they have a reason to be.

Lugar Raises Nearly $1 Million; Mourdock Between $125,000 and $150,000

Yesterday, Senator Dick Lugar’s campaign released their campaign finance information saying they raised $973,853 in the last finance quarter and will report having $3 million cash on hand at the end of May.  Mourdock is said to have raised between $125,000 and $150,00 in his first quarter.  

Mourdock had an impressive start with his county chair endorsements but $3 million is going to be tough to overcome.  We would have thought his campaign would have done more to recruit out-of-state funding from larger national groups with an ax to grind with Senator Lugar to show some financial strength. 

We aren’t sure how this will turn out but what we do know is Mourdock needs to raise some serious dollars to have a  chance.  Money isn’t everything–unless you don’t have it.

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