John Gregg Joins the Fun: Campaign Video Week

Today, John Gregg decided he should join the fun and put out a campaign video too.  We’re hearing the email his campaign sent out was sent to a list obtained from the Indiana State Democratic Party.  This makes sense since they have made no secret that John Gregg is their man.  If it were us, we would maybe be a little more careful.  Surely, the IN Dems haven’t forgotten the 2008 Jill Long Thompson debacle.

Back to the video.  Besides reminding us all what cities are in the state of Indiana, Gregg makes sure to put in a few jabs though we’re not sure he lands the punch.  Gregg says,  “We need a leader who cares more about the next generation than the next election” and has graphics saying “From Indiana, In Indiana, For Indiana”  with a waving Indiana flag in the background.  

Gregg’s team is clearly trying to put some focus on the thought that Pence may have his sights on higher office and give a little snipe at Pence for announcing his campaign via video while he was in D.C.  Nevermind the fact that Pence is a Congressman and was serving his constituents by actually showing up and voting.  We really don’t expect the State Democrats to respect that type of service anyway since they supported the 2011 Walkout stunt by House Democrats.

Gregg ‘s email also has a fundraising appeal asking people to “Invest in the Campaign.” 

 Two things seem clear to us. First, Gregg appears to be chasing Mike Pence and hoping to keep up.  Mike Pence, the clear front-runner for the Republican nomination for Governor, put out a campaign video a few days ago. Now, John Gregg puts out a video.  Mike Pence has raised over $300,000 just in major donor contributions since officially getting in the race.  Now, John Gregg has to focus on fundraising. 

Second, we are going to enjoy watching this race play out, if only because we are fascinated by John Gregg’s mustache.  We don’t think he needs a running mate – just make the mustache the Lt. Governor.

Random Updates on 2012 Races

This week had a few interesting tidbits on the upcoming 2012 campaigns.

Mike Pence released what his team is calling his first campaign video.  We’d say it is the second video since he announced with a video but we digress.  The video is a pretty typical bio spot and appears to have been shot during his Columbus campaign kick-off.  Also, it has been reported that Pence has raised $300,000 from major donors alone since making his campaign official.  The Gregg campaign said they are actively fundraising but didn’t report a number for comparison.  This is a big boost for Team Pence and should start the freight train rolling.  Pence isn’t unbeatable yet–but he is putting himself in strong position to make himself unbeatable.

The Indiana Senate race appears to be much of the same with a few blips about poor staff decisions on the Mourdock campaign.  It seems they need some classes on how not to deal with people harassing your candidate.  Rule #1:  Don’t touch anyone or their camera.  That said, to say that the blogger was assaulted is a stretch and this is really a non-story in the grand scheme of things. 

We are far more interested in the campaign finance reports that will come out in a month.  We’ll be watching to see if Mourdock has brought in the national donor groups and boosted his fundraising.  If he hasn’t, it is bad news for the Mourdock crew.

In a somewhat related note, there was a poll going around northeast Indiana with a ballot match-up between Lugar, McIntosh and Mourdock.  McIntosh has been rumored to be considering the 5th and 6th Congressional Districts and the poll led many to believe he was also considering the U.S. Senate Primary.  McIntosh cleared it up yesterday with a phone call to Jim Shella saying he is only considering the 5th Congressional District.  Looks like Congressman Burton continues to have a target on his back.

Finally, the 6th Congressional District is starting to become a little clearer.  McIntosh indicated he is no longer looking at the district.  Matt Strittmatter, former Wayne County Sheriff, got out of the race and has backed Luke Messer.  That leaves the 6th with Messer, Don Bates and Travis Hankins.  We’ll be keeping an eye on this one for more developments.

 

Congressional Races Heating Up

Now that we have that little announcement about the Governor’s race out of the way, the Congressional races decided they wanted in on the fun.

Jim Shella and Matt Tully have both reported that Luke Messer issued a statement following Mike Pence’s announcement for Governor. Shella indicates Messer will hold a formal announcement in the next few weeks. Messer is from Shelby County and was drawn into the 6th.   We have heard of a few other people being interested, including Wayne County Sheriff Matt Strittmatter.  That said, we would expect to see some pretty big hitters come out behind Messer after an impressive effort in the 5th Congressional District against Dan Burton.

Another interesting development  just reported by Hoosier Access is that Congressman Marlin Stutzman may be behind the push for a primary challenger to Jackie Walorski in the 2nd District.  State Senator Carlin Yoder is speculated to be weighing a challenge to Walorski but our friends at Hoosier Access hear that rumor is being pushed by Stutzman and his staff and is not based on actual actions by Yoder.  We’re unsure why Stutzman would want to wade into this since so much effort was put into drawing a Republican district and Walorski is rumored to already be working with the NRCC on her race. 

We’re not sure if there is some kind of a feud we do not know about playing here.  We do know that Stutzman wanted to keep some of Elkhart County and it was given to Walorski.  Still, that seems like a small reason to jump into a race that should be an a quick and easy primary with a focus on the general election.

For the Democrats, all seems to be quiet at this point outside of the 8th District where Bucshon has two Democrats fighting it out in a primary for a chance to go against him in the fall.

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!

Pence Announcement Postponed

Congressman Mike Pence has postponed his announcement this morning in light of the recent events. 

We hear it will be later this week and we’ll let you know when we hear more.

Pence Announcement at 10AM Tomorrow

This afternoon, the buzz on the interwebs was that Congressman Mike Pence could be making an announcement Sunday evening. 

Now, the unofficial Pence for Governor Twitter account says an announcement is looming tomorrow at 10am.

We’ll be keeping an eye on it so we can all know the obvious as soon as it is official.

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.

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.

Dan Parker’s March Madness

It is March Madness so let’s play in metaphorical terms.

Coach Dan Parker looks down his bench for some substitution relief. His starters haven’t exactly been getting the job done. Bayh quit on the team before the clock ran out, and when fans thought Ellsworth would be an All-Star he busted like Greg Oden in the NBA. With the clock ticking Coach Parker has got to be worried. His roster lost in a blowout in 2010. Players like Baron Hill and Trent Van Haaften went down hard, along with every statewide candidate on the Democrat ticket.

Options for the 2012 matches seem to be slim. We could see John Gregg or Joe Donnelly run in statewide races but if those are your two strongest contenders off the bench then you may be in for a long season. If Joe Donnelly decides to run for statewide office in 2012 Coach Parker now has to play tough defense in a congressional district they could barely hold in 2010. Who comes off the bench to go head-to-head versus someone like Jackie Walorski? No strong names come to mind.

John Gregg may have been a giant in state politics, but that was nearly a decade ago. If he runs for Governor, he’ll most likely be battling the GOP team’s current MVP, Rep. Mike Pence. That isn’t exactly a fun matchup for Coach Parker. I’m sure Coach Parker and his team won’t back down from a tough game, then again about 39 players on their team currently have.

When all is said and done, the vulnerability of the Democrat team in 2012 is very apparent. We could potentially see another massive blowout resulting in the pickup of a congressional seat, more gains in the General Assembly, and four more years of a GOP controlled executive branch. Coach Parker is scrambling to sub players in who can contend. Unfortunately, it’s hard to score when you’re always on defense.

Word on Washington Street: Democrat Side of the U.S. Senate Race

While a lot of attention is being paid to the Republican side of the U.S. Senate race, several Democrats are quietly working to get their side of the aisle in line. 

Many have said that U.S. Congressman Joe Donnelly would be an ideal candidate for Governor but we are hearing he is taking a long look at the U.S. Senate seat.  We cannot say we blame him.  This seat could be competitive for the first time in a few decades and the Republican Party Primary is likely going to leave the eventual nominee in a precarious financial condition.  Besides, who would want to match up against Mike Pence for Governor at this point.

We’ve also heard that Dr. Woody Myers may be planning to throw his hat in the ring as well.  Myers has served as Indiana Health Commissioner and has run for office in Indianapolis several times including a losing bid in Democratic primary prior to the special election to fill Congressman Julia Carson’s 7th District seat.

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