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.

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.

Food for Thought: Initial Congressional District Vote Breakdowns with New Boundaries

We ran some quick numbers from the 2010 Congressional candidate election results on the new Congressional District boundaries.  We put counties where their majority is which does not give a completely accurate picture of the districts but it does provide estimates. 

There are a few key things to note.

For District 1, we included the Michigan City portion of LaPorte County.  In District 2, we included all of Kosciusko County.  That means District 3 did not get any of it.  For District 4, we did not include any the portions it received in Morgan or Howard County.  Those would probably offset each other and it is a pretty Republican district regardless. 

In District 5, we included all of Howard County and Washington, Lawrence and Pike Townships in Marion which will likely make it a bit more Democrat leaning that it will turn out to be.  In District 6, we did not include the portion of Scott County slotted to be there.   District 7 does not include the sections we gave to District 5 which will in turn make it seem slightly more competitive than it actually will be. 

District 8 did not receive any of Crawford County that it is slotted to receive.  Finally, District 9 received all of Scott and Crawford counties when it will receive half of each.

CD DEM % LIB % GOP %
1 60.4% 2.8% 36.8%
2 41.9% 5.0% 53.1%
3 33.2% 4.4% 62.4%
4 28.4% 5.6% 66.0%
5 37.9% 8.9% 53.2%
6 30.3% 5.7% 64.1%
7 46.8% 5.2% 48.0%
8 39.1% 4.9% 56.0%
9 37.2% 5.3% 57.6%

Hear It Here First: The Congressional District Maps

Over at WSP, we’ve been working the phones for the last few weeks to get an idea of the maps.  Here is what we’ve found out.

1st District:  Lake, Porter, a small portion of LaPorte County

2nd District:  Remaining LaPorte, St. Joseph, Elkhart, Stark, Marshall, Part of Kosciusko, Pulaski, Fulton, Miami and Wabash

3rd District:  LaGrange, Steuben, Noble, Dekalb, Part of Kosciusko, Whitley, Allen, Huntington, Wells, Adams, most of Blackford, Jay

4th District:  Newton, Jasper, Benton, White, Cass, Warren, Tippecanoe, Carroll, Part of Howard, Fountain, Clinton, Montgomery, Most of Boone, Putnam, Hendricks

5th District:  Hamilton, Northern portion of Marion County, Madison, Tipton, Grant, Howard and a sliver of Blackford 

6th District:  Delaware, Randolph, Hancock, Henry, Wayne, Shelby, Rush, Fayette, Union, Bartholomew, Decatur, Franklin, Jennings, Ripley, Dearborn, Part of Scott, Jefferson, Ohio, Switzerland  

7th District:  Most of Marion County excluding the very northern portion of the district

8th:  Vermillion, Parke, Vigo, Clay, Sullivan, Owen, Greene, Knox, Daviess, Martin, Gibson, Pike, Dubois, Posey, Vanderburgh, Warrick, Spencer, Perry, a portion of Crawford

9th:  Most of Morgan, Johnson, Monroe, Brown, Lawrence, Jackson, Orange, Washington, part of Scott, most of Crawford, Harrison, Floyd, Clark

Watch the press conference live today at 11:30 H/T Capitol & Washington.  We’ll post this afternoon with our analysis of the maps.

UPDATE:  Sounds like the Senate GOP maps will match the House GOP maps.  Here are links for the Congressional map and the Senate map from Senate Republicans.  H/T @indgop.

Amateur Hour: Kennedy Campaign Violates Federal Copyright Law, Forced to Pull Negative Web Ad

You may or may not have noticed last week that the Kennedy campaign launched an attack ad on the interwebs on Mayor Greg Ballard. 

The ad was regarding job commitment numbers released by the Ballard administration and used portions of the RTV6 “news” report from Kara Kenney.  The campaign publicized the web ad by advertising on several news websites including the IndyStar, Indianapolis Business Journal and Jim Shella’s political blog.

Not surprisingly, RTV6 told the Kennedy campaign to pull the web ad.  This is Campaign 101 so we are really suprised the campaign made the mistake.  Even worse, their candidate is a LAWYER.  Now we know it was made blatantly obvious in the 2006 Prosecutors race that Melina Kennedy has absolutely no courtroom experience but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have a clue about the law.  This incident, on the other hand, seems to indicate that she doesn’t.

Add this to the fact that the Kennedy campaign has now officially gone negative in April, more than seven months before the election, and we’re declaring it amateur hour over at Kennedy campaign headquarters.

Back to Reality: The Gay Marriage Amendment

As most of you are probably aware, earlier this week the Indiana State Senate did as expected and passed the constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.  It didn’t stop there though since banning something that is already illegal wasn’t quite enough.  The bill also makes sure to get rid of civil unions and really any benefits associated with marriage. It now needs to pass through the next elected legislature after the 2012 elections with the exact same language and then will be voted on by Indiana voters most likely in 2014.

Matt Tully penned an interesting column trying to put a positive spin on the situation saying this gives Hoosiers a chance to send a message against discrimination with a vote striking down the amendment in 2014.  He urges sympathetic political leaders, gay rights groups and the business community who view this amendment as anti-business to work together and get ready for the big vote with grassroots efforts and fundraising. And he reminds us that with each passing day, more and more Hoosier see this legislation as spiteful discrimination.  These things, in our opinion, are all true.

But we also think that Tully’s column is full of wishful thinking and is based in a dream world rather than the reality here in Indiana.  While many Hoosiers do believe this is discriminatory nonsense that should not be put in our state constitution, there are a great many who believe it is critical to protect families and marriage. We’re frankly not sure who or what they think is threatening it but they certainly believe it to be true. 

In 2014, these individuals will be worked up into a frenzy by Right-wing advocates like Micah Clark and Eric Miller.  Unfortunately, many Republicans and Democrats will begin to pile on to the issue and use it as a wedge in their close elections. And the amendment will most likely pass. 

If people want to stop this amendment from moving forward, it needs to be done by kicking the can down the road and ensuring the bill does not pass the next legislature.  While all the preparation for a possible 2014 vote is important, the best chance for success is getting a legislature that will not allow this legislation to pass the second time around and will focus on other issues. 

Right now, we have an extremely conservative State Senate that will absolutely pass this bill and there is little chance of changing the dynamics in the upper chamber.  Even more disheartening is that the likely Republican nominee for Governor, Mike Pence, will surely use this issue as well.  The best hope is shaking things up in the House which will be difficult particularly with Pence on the ballot and the TEA Party running around scaring away moderate candidates.

This isn’t a scenario we like very much since we do lean to the Right and typically the folks that support this bill do too. We aren’t advocating to toss Republicans out the door and give the House to Pat Bauer.  Frankly, he voted for the amendment this year in the House session so that is not a solution. 

The only real solution is for the people who care about this issue is to work within BOTH Parties to find and support candidates based on where they stand on this particular issue.  All the groups that Tully mentioned need to begin candidate recruitment and be ready to play in both the Primary and General elections in 2012. 

Gay rights advocates have been used and abused by both political parties.  This is a human equation, not a partisan one.  Until advocates factor that into their strategy, they are going to have a hard time keeping this rock from rolling down the mountain.

District Maps? Who Needs Them? The 2012 General Election Has Begun.

Today, Jackie Walorski announced she will be running for Congress in the 2nd District, wherever that may be, in 2012. One side effect of the ridiculous two-month legislative walk-out from Democrats is the lack of district maps for the 2012 election cycle.  It is tough for a candidate to announce they plan to run in a district they do not even know the lines for but they cannot exactly just wait on the sidelines. 

Walorski, however, is better positioned to move forward in announcing her campaign since her home is fairly safely in the 2nd District.  That and the fact that it has long been rumored that a Congressional District will be drawn with her in mind in exchange for her willingness to run against Donnelly in 2010. 

There is a reason Joe Donnelly is interested in the U.S. Senate seat–his Congressional District will be fairly cozy for a Republican in 2012.

Below is Walorski’s announcement email.

Dear Supporter,

As one of my loyal supporters I wanted you to be one of the first to know that I am running for the United States Congress.

I am running because I believe we need to get our country back on track. We need to get our economy moving again so businesses can create jobs; and I believe it’s time to stop the reckless government spending that drives up the federal deficit while passing on massive debt to our children.

The current leadership in our country has failed us. They have promised more jobs, and less spending, but we continue to see record deficits, and unemployment in North Central Indiana still remains over ten percent. In the State House, I stood up to the big spenders to cut waste and balance the budget without raising taxes, and I understand that we need to keep taxes low and regulation less burdensome so that our small businesses can grow and create jobs.

I pledge to you that in Congress I will vote to cut spending and get our nation on track to balance its budget. It’s going to require tough decisions, and the ability to stand strong for what you and I believe in, but that is what leadership is.

I have been humbled by the outpouring of support and encouragement by my friends, volunteers, and Hoosiers across our district. I want you to know that no matter what the district map ultimately looks like, or who my opponent eventually is, I couldn’t be more committed to the 2nd District, and fighting for a smaller more responsible government and a strong economy.

 You have stood with me before, and I ask you to stand with me again as we, together, work to make the changes necessary in our country.

Yours truly,

 

Jackie Walorski

Word on Washington Street: Illinois State Legislature Looking to Tax Democrats in Exile?

We’re hearing rumblings that some folks in the Illinois State Legislature are looking to start taxing some of the Democrat legislators who are holding up legislation from exile. 

The thought is that these legislators are conducting business from the state of Illinois and should have to pay some taxes on it.  Just one more reason the House Democrats should come back to Indiana and get some work done.

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