Donnelly Announces for U.S. Senate by Video

Video announcements seem to be all the cool thing to do this year.  First, we had Congressman Mike Pence announce for Governor via video and now we have Congressman Joe Donnelly announcing he’ll run for U.S. Senate.

You can watch the video at the campaign’s new website, www.joeforindiana.com. The video is essentially a bio ad with a lot of talk about hard work and moving America forward but not much about how.  That said, Donnelly needs to introduce himself to the rest of the state outside the 2nd District and this video isn’t a bad start.

Gary Welsh, over at Advance Indiana, maintains that Joe Donnelly is really hoping to match up against  Senator Richard Lugar and not Richard Mourdock.  And people accuse us of a political spin!  There is no way Donnelly wants to match up with Senator Lugar.  Lugar has broad appeal especially in the General Election and the residency issue is more an issue of perception than a legal concern. 

The bottom line is there is no way Joe Donnelly would be running for U.S. Senate if there was not a Republican Primary.  The primary race will eventually get very ugly on both sides and Lugar will spend his $3 million cash on hand down to nothing if that is what it takes to win.  The eventual Republican nominee will be beat up and have spent a great deal of their money when they come out of the 2012 May Primary while Joe Donnelly will be spending his time raising money and gearing up for battle. 

Indiana is a Republican leaning state but this could interesting.

AP Says Congressman Joe Donnelly Will Run For U.S. Senate

We’ve been telling you this since mid-February but the AP reported on Sunday morning that U.S. Congressman Joe Donnelly will run for U.S. Senate. 

The announcement is said to be happening sometime today. 

Developing…

Mike Pence is Running for Governor

Today, Mike Pence has officially announced to supporters that he will be running for Governor. Pence held a conference call, sent out an email and released a video at a newly designed www.mikepence.com.   A formal announcement will be held June 11th in Columbus.

Speculation that Congressman Pence would run for Governor has been going on for nearly a year since Pence decided not to run for U.S. Senate against Evan Bayh. This was before now Sen. Coats got in the race and then Sen. Bayh got out of the race.  The Congressman spent last fall out on the stump, helping all the close Congressional races and building his team.

The announcement was supposed to be on Monday but was postponed due to the death of Osama bin Laden.  And, of course, there was the issue of premature announcement  yesterday when a pre-timed email was sent out by the campaign saying “Mike for Indiana” with blank text.  We are sure someone got into some big trouble for that one.

So where does this leave the race for Governor? 

First, it leaves us waiting for an opponent.  We do not believe there will be a viable primary challenger to Mike Pence.  On the Democrat side, it seems to be looking like John Gregg for Governor with Joe Donnelly opting for the U.S. Senate race.

Second, it leaves the race as a bit of a toss-up/leans Pence. Indiana is a Republican state but John Gregg is a conservative Democrat from the South and could potentially pose a threat.  The real question for us is if Mike Pence can find a message that works for the General Election.  While his strong, conservative stances on social issues have played well in conservative crowds nationally and here in Indiana, they may not be winning issues in a general election.  President Obama will be on the ticket so that could be a challenge– unless Mitch Daniels is the Republican nominee and that would greatly benefit Indiana Republicans. 

Let the games begin!

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.

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.

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.

Donnelly for Senate: Decision Looming, “Shared Hoosier Values” Message Forming

As many blogs have written this past week and we wrote back in February, it looks as though Congressman Joe Donnelly is going to be running for U.S. Senate.  The IndyStar had a more detailed article saying Donnelly plans to make a decision in the next few weeks.

What we found most interesting is the message themes Donnelly seems to be focused on.  He called it  “shared Hoosier values” and it centers on jobs, education and energy independence.  Jobs and education are no brainers and with the rising gas prices, energy independence could prove to be the right message at the right time.  It also gives him a chance to look tough on national defense.  That could be very important depending on who his opposition will be.   

The general thought has been that Donnelly will try to run as a pro-gun, pro-life Democrat who stood up to Nancy Pelosi.  He will likely be able to make the pro-gun stance stick.  He will, however,  have a huge issue on claiming to be pro-life.  Donnelly voted for the health care reform bill a.k.a. Obamacare and the pro-life groups view that bill as a litmus test.  We’ve seen this show before starring fellow named Brad Ellsworth–it didn’t exactly get rave reviews.  But based on the messages Donnelly is testing, it seems as though his team knows they’ll have to run on a lot more than just the typical Hoosier Democrat platform.

The article also noted, “Donnelly said any campaign wouldn’t be affected by the outcome of the GOP primary.”  While the campaign may not be affected by the outcome of the primary, you can bet the campaign was launched because of it.

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