And We’re Back. Here is Our Take on Gov. Daniels’ Decision

We decided to take a little time off from our blogging duties. The weather got nice, the politics got stagnant and we decided to check out for a while.

Alas, the dust has settled from the roller coaster ride that was Mitch Daniels considering running for President.  We were sick of hearing about it months ago and are thankful it is finally over.  Obviously, you all already know he opted against a run.

We’re not going to lie. We were surprised he decided against it. That said, we understand the decision to some extent. The Real Clear Politics story shows there was going to be a lot of talk about the Daniels’ divorce and Cheri’s comings and goings. It is understandable that no one would want to relive that time in their lives.

Getting out of the race might take some attention away from the stories, but it won’t stop them. Anybody ever seen Primary Colors? (If you haven’t, go watch it. Right now. We aren’t kidding.) They might not hit it quite as hard but they’ll cover it if it will sell one newspaper. Might as well run for President if they are going to cover it anyway.

We think it is admirable that the Governor cared so much about his family’s feelings on a campaign for President.  We also think he probably shouldn’t have made it quite so clear that the ladies in the family vetoed a run and there wasn’t much he could do about it.  That isn’t exactly our idea of protecting your family–and it was totally unnecessary.

Regardless, the decision has been made and Mitch Watch 2011 is over.  We’re disappointed and looking to see who will step up from the Republican Party.  We’re looking at the field and we do not see a winner right now.  Feel free to tell us if you think we are wrong and push us toward your favorite candidate.

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.

Secretary of State Charlie White Indicted for Voter Fraud

The Indy Star’s Mary Beth Schneider reported on twitter that Charlie White has been indicted with seven felony counts including voter fraud, perjury and theft.  You can read the Star’s full article here.

In case you do not know the background, here it is from the Star:

White has admitted to voting in a district where he no longer lived. The registered address was a home he had shared on and off with his now ex-wife until 2009.

White, who served on the Fishers Town Council at the time, updated his voter registration after moving into an apartment in the same precinct, following his 2007 divorce. Around February 2009, he moved back into his ex-wife’s home, and in November of that year began splitting time between his ex-wife’s home and a newly purchased condo outside the precinct.

In February last year, White changed his voter registration back to his ex-wife’s address, claiming he was unsure when he would close on his new home. White blamed a whirlwind schedule for his failure to change his voter registration later to reflect his new condo’s address.

This is not good news for Charlie White.  If he is convicted, he will have to resign from his position as Secretary of State but we are guessing that he will be STRONGLY encouraged to end this fiasco as quietly as possible.  That would include resigning his position and dealing with the legal issues once out of office.   Abdul tweeted that his sources indicated White will fight the case as recently as a week ago.

We’ll see what Governor Mitch Daniels and Indiana Republican Party Chairman Eric Holcomb have to say about that.

It’s Official: Mourdock Vs. Lugar

Richard Mourdock made it official this morning and kicked-off his campaign for Senate against Senator Richard Lugar. You can read the entire speech here but we’ll give you some of the highlights.

First off, this is not going to be a friendly race.  While Mourdock started off saying how much he respects Sen. Lugar and what an honorable public servant he has been, his campaigns actions spoke louder than his words.  Right as the event was getting started, Mourdock’s twitter feed began promoting a video entitled “Obama’s Favorite Republican – Dick Lugar.” 

Second, Mourdock is using his normal historical references in this race.  The speech noted that the announcement was planned for George Washington’s Birthday for a reason.  Washington could have served as President for life but walked away because he knew it was time. This is a theme that we should all get used to hearing for the next year and a half since it appears to be Mourdock’s campaign slogan.

Third, Mourdock said that members of the Republican State Committee asked him to consider running as early as last summer.  We are told that several members of State Committee were at the announcement with 6th District Chair Ted Ogle introducing Mourdock.  Mourdock has released a list of 68 County Chairs who have endorsed his candidacy.   

The only thing we know for sure right now is that it is going to be a LONG 15 months.

Check Yes, No or Maybe: Gov. Mitch Daniels Checks Maybe for President

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it is hard not to see the similarities between Gov. Mitch Daniels coyness on the Presidential race and a rollercoaster, high school relationship.  But we’re not going to give him too hard a time about it because we understand. 

The Governor wants to focus on the legislative session but has to do a few things to make sure the national pundits don’t move on to other prospective candidates.  He doesn’t want to become a flavor of the week.  His advisors are doing a good job with the balancing act, moving from week to week with new ways to fire up or cool down the rampant speculation while keeping the focus on one question:  What will Mitch Daniels decide to do?

This week was a fire them up week.  Earlier this week, the Governor told Politico, “I’d have cash, support to win” as he spoke of big names attempting to pull him into the race.  Tonight, he’ll make an appearance at CPAC with prime placement at the Reagan Dinner the night before the Presidential straw poll.  And the current buzz in Indiana is whether Gov. Mitch Daniels steps down as Governor if he does run for President.  He responded, “There’s too many ifs in that question for me to answer it.”

Next week, we’re willing to bet there will be more buzz as a result of the CPAC speech and the Governor’s team will go back to the “focused on Indiana and the legislative session” talking points which flow perfectly with the responsible Governor we’re used to seeing. 

But don’t despair, Mitchies, and keep one thing in mind:  There is way too much effort being put into keeping everyone on the edge of their seats for the Governor to check “No” just yet.

Jim Wallace’s Letter to Republican Party Officers

We were able to track down a copy of Jim Wallace’s letter to Party leaders announcing his intention explore running for Governor.  Enjoy!

JIM WALLACE ANNOUNCEMENT REGARDING

2012 REPUBLICAN NOMINATION FOR GOVERNOR

FISHERS, IN – Jim Wallace, Indianapolis businessman, sent the following letter today to state, district, and county Republican Party officers and leaders regarding his intention to seek the Republican nomination for governor in 2012:

Republican Friends and Colleagues:

As a leader of the Indiana Republican Party, I know you’re aware of the great changes in the political landscape the past several years.  With the election of a GOP majority in Congress and both houses of the State Legislature, the next election will be critical in carrying through the fiscal conservatism that swept the new majorities into office.

Essential to this task is electing a governor that understands the work and business challenges in Indiana, and can lead the effort to build Indiana’s economy and quality of life.  Understanding the challenges and requirements is not enough—possessing the track record of successful business and executive leadership is fundamental to delivering on the promise for Indiana citizens.  Such experience is essential to being an effective ambassador for Indiana workers and businesses, and bringing high-quality, high-paying jobs to Hoosier families.

I am that leader.  From attending West Point and flying combat helicopters in the Army to graduating from Harvard Business School and working with companies around the country to create jobs, my background has trained me for the challenges of leading Indiana in the next decade.

Closer to home, my experiences as head of strategy at Anthem/Wellpoint, chief of staff of Conseco Health, and founding and building my own company, TWG Capital, from zero to $350 million in assets in ten years, uniquely position me for the economic challenges that lay ahead.

Most importantly, having worked with former mayor Steve Goldsmith and Governor Mitch Daniels on the Indianapolis SELTIC Commission, as well as having served on both the Fishers and Hamilton County Councils, give me the valuable perspective of being a true citizen-servant, as originally conceived by our Founding Fathers and embodied in our own Legislature.

With that in mind, I am exploring the opportunity to be your Republican nominee for governor in 2012.  With the support of a number of business and community leaders, I am embarking on a series of meetings to understand exactly what Indiana families, businesses, and communities need in the coming years, and how I might be uniquely suited to help.

I will be contacting you in the next few weeks to schedule a time to meet and get your perspective, and I look forward to hearing your feedback.

Thank you for your dedication and service to Indiana and the Republican Party.

Sincerely,

Jim Wallace

Fishers, Indiana

Lugar Takes Hits from the Right AND the Left

It has been a rough couple of days for Senator Richard Lugar.

An article from Politico that came out yesterday indicates that State Treasurer Richard Mourdock intends to challenge Senator Lugar in the 2012 primary.  We told you Mourdock was getting organized and we recently heard he was making calls to County Party Chairmen around the state.  Yesterday’s article indicated he was taking meetings in D.C. as well.  Overall, yesterday was probably not a great day for Indiana’s Senior Senator. 

Today, the Indiana Democrats decided to jump in the fun and attack Lugar on his vote to overturn Obamacare.

Dear Friend,

The crossroads of America has officially become the crossroads of the GOP.

Yesterday, we watched as U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar, long respected for his moderate views and votes, sided with right-wing Republicans in a party-line drive to overturn President Obama’s unprecedented health care package, which will deliver affordable coverage, cheaper prescription drugs and small business tax breaks to almost one million Hoosiers.

This is the same senior Senator who recently stood with President Obama to support a nuclear weapons treaty with Russia and access to citizenship for young immigrants who pledge to their allegiance to this country through education or military service.

Five years ago, I went on the record to say that “Richard Lugar is beloved not only by Republicans, but by Independents and Democrats.”

Times have changed.

Today, with Tea Party activists recruiting a candidate to challenge him, Lugar has been forced to the right – away from the values we cherish as a state of moderate, logical thinkers.

Washington Post political analyst Chris Cillizza said this morning that Lugar is rapidly emerging as the top Tea Party target next year. Taking him down in a primary would give their patchwork movement both credibility and momentum.

There’s only one message we can derive from this assault on a venerable public servant: There’s no room for independents or moderates in the new Republican Party.

Hoosiers have long believed that a political system marked by compromise and rational thinking achieves the best results. That’s why the state has embraced Lugar’s brand – alongside Democrats like Evan Bayh and Frank O’Bannon – for decades.

The growing Republican rift gives us an opportunity to showcase what Indiana Democrats have always believed: We are fiscally conservative, moderate on social issues and wholly committed to policies that improve education and create jobs.

For the sake of our state, I hope Richard Lugar sticks to the principles that have won him so many elections – and a place in the hearts of those in the heartland.

Indiana deserves leadership that reflects hard-working Hoosier values, not pandering to a group of fringe activists who are angry at America.

Our party has always fought for those Hoosier values, and we will continue to do so – united in our efforts – as we work hard this year and next year to elect Democrats across Indiana.

Thank you for your commitment to this state, our values and the Democratic Party.

Democratically yours,

Daniel J. Parker
Chair

We can’t say we are all that surprised that the Democrats have pounced on this opportunity to go after Senator Lugar.  We hope this will remind some of those Republicans who attack Senator Lugar with such zeal that there is an actual opposition Party and the Senator who voted against Obamacare is not a member of it.

Jim Wallace to Announce He Will Run for Governor

We cannot say we are surprised but several in the media are reporting on Twitter that Jim Wallace will announce he is running for Governor.  We are not surprised because there have been a few letters to the editor sent in saying he should run. 

These letters seemed to be the type a candidate gets people to send in to raise their name into speculation.  There is also a Facebook page called Families for Wallace.  The Facebook page has the below biography information. 

Jim Wallace has made a career of leading people and getting things done.  As son, father, employer, and friend, he has led by example, setting the bar high and helping everyone who knows him to aim higher and achieve more.

Jim’s experiences make him a perfect, family-oriented candidate to create jobs and improve the quality of life for all Hoosiers.

EDUCATION

Kankakee Valley High School, Wheatfield IN

Graduate, 1979.  National Merit Scholar, Top Ten Distinguished Graduate.

All conference, four-year letterman, football and track athlete; senior class president.

U.S. Military Academy, West Point NY

Bachelor of Science degree, 1983; National Merit Scholar and Dean’s List honors.

Football and track athlete.

Harvard University, Graduate School of Business, Cambridge MA

MBA degree, 1989; academic scholar, wrote thesis on successful economic growth strategies.

Elected president of student body.

MILITARY SERVICE

U.S. Army, Fort Hood TX

Captain, Combat Helicopter Pilot; deployed to Europe and Army Desert Training Center.

Received Army Achievement, Army Commendation, and Meritorious Service Medals.

Airborne and Air Assault qualified.

PROFESSIONAL 

Strategy consultant, Mitt Romney, CEO; Bain & Company, Boston MA

Director of Management Services, Mayor Steven Goldsmith; Indianapolis IN

Service, Efficiency, and Limited Taxation for Indianapolis Committee; Mitch Daniels, Chairman

Head of Strategy, Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield; Indianapolis IN

Developed and implemented Acordia Insurance IPO growth plan; created three new Indiana companies comprising $200 million in first-year revenues; negotiated and coordinated multiple Blue Cross-Blue Shield acquisitions resulting in nation’s largest health insurer (Wellpoint).

Chief Operating Officer, SpecialMed Inc; Indianapolis IN

Developed specialist physician company comprising over 500 physicians and 5,000 practice personnel; led day-to-day operations.

Chief of Staff, Conseco Health; Carmel IN

Directed marketing, strategy, and finance functions for $1.2 billion Health Division; coordinated oversight of all operations serving 1.4 million policyholders. 

Founder, President, and CEO, TWG Capital Inc; Indianapolis IN

Created merchant bank providing financial services to insurance professionals nationwide.  Direct origination and business development leading to growth of over 60% annually to $350 million in assets, $25 million annual revenue, and $21 million annual cashflow.

Students for Mitch Daniels Go Up on the Air for My Man Mitch

By now you may have heard that there is a Students for Mitch Daniels group that is trying to draft Governor Mitch Daniels into the 2012 Presidential Campaign.  They no doubt have gotten the idea from the 2003 efforts to draft Daniels into the running for Indiana Governor.  That group is otherwise known as Frugal Hoosiers and they were successful. 

These kids are aggressive and actually put a television ad up in Iowa.  The ad was aired on a Fox affiliate in the Des Moines media market during the Pro-Bowl game.  Here is the ad:

The students have said they plan to air the ad in New Hampshire and Indiana.  Here is a tip, guys:  Don’t waste your money in Indiana.  We’re pretty sure Republican primary voters here are all locked up.  He was Our Man Mitch long before anyone else knew his name.

Howey Says Pence Ruled Out Presidential Run

Color us not at all surprised.

 

By BRIAN A. HOWEY

iNDIANAPOLIS – U.S. Rep. Mike Pence has ruled out a run for national office and will tour the state in the next few months, multiple informed and relievable sources tell Howey Politics Indiana.

The sources say that Pence has not made a final decision about a run for governor, keeping open the option of running for reelection in the 6th CD. State law prohibits Pence from raising money in a gubernatorial race until the Indiana General Assembly’s sine die on April 30.

However, Pence gave up the No. 3 position in the Indiana House in November. Developing ….

Is anyone else starting to get Mike Pence fatigue?  We’re starting to feel like this is Lebron James all over again.  We still think Congressman Pence will announce he is planning to take his talents to the Statehouse in Indianapolis.

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