Wednesday, February 10, 2016

More Really Bad News For Todd Young On Ballot Challenge

It's not just the Indiana Democratic Party saying U.S. Rep. Todd Young lacks enough signatures to be on this year's May Republican primary ballot for U.S. Senate. Four news organizations joined together to conduct a count and came up with 497, which is one one less certified signature in their count for the First District than the Democratic Party found. Young needs 500 certified registered voters in each of Indiana's nine congressional districts. Game over?

UPDATE: The Indiana State Republican Party just released a statement from the party's executive director, David Buskill, blasting Democrats for filing a challenge against Young's candidacy. The gist of the statement is that the Democrats should confine their objections to candidates of their own party.
"The attempt by the Indiana Democratic Party today to remove a Republican candidate from a Republican primary ballot is a new low for dirty politics in Indiana. While the Indiana Republican Party may not endorse candidates in primaries, we do expect the Democrats to focus on their own party's races instead of trying to disenfranchise voters in ours. This is the sort of civility missing in politics today, and why so many voters are fed up with politics as usual.”

Carrier Closing Indianapolis Plant, Moving 1,400 Jobs To Mexico

This is a major economic blow to Indianapolis' struggling manufacturing sector. One of the City's largest employers, Carrier, announced it's closing its manufacturing facility on Indianapolis' west side, eliminating 1,400 jobs. The layoffs will begin in 2017 and be spread over three years according to the Indianapolis Star. Carrier's president of HVAC systems, Chris Nelson, says the move is part of the "continued migration of the HVAC industry to Mexico, including our suppliers and competitors, and ongoing cost and pricing pressures driven, in part, by new regulatory requirements." Let me guess that more than a few of these workers at this Carrier plant who are about to lose their jobs will be casting ballots for Donald Trump this year.

UPDATE: Also, Fishers gains two new corporate headquarters at Indianapolis' expense. Stanley Security is moving 300 jobs to a new headquarters in Fishers. Braden Business Systems is also relocating from Indianapolis to Fishers and adding more jobs. Both the Indiana Economic Development Corporation and Fishers are offering incentives to the companies to relocate. So we're now providing incentives to poach businesses to relocate from one city to another. Smart economic development practices, eh?

Young Lashes Out At Democrats Over Ballot Access Challenge

A complaint filed by the Indiana Democratic Party to keep U.S. Rep. Todd Young off the May Republican primary ballot for U.S. Senate has drawn a strong reaction from Rep. Young. He sent out an e-mail missive to financial supporters accusing the Democrats of "playing dirty politics" and described their challenge as an "attempt to disenfranchise Hoosier voters." Young continued:
Rather than actually defending their out-of-touch liberal ideas, the liberals are trying to disenfranchise the Hoosier voters that put me on the ballot. They know that I'll beat Baron Hill -- just like I did in 2010. Rest assured, we will win this fight and remain on the ballot. Evidently, election-year silly season has begun. While politicians play games, Marines fight--and the Indiana Democrat Party just picked a fight with the wrong Marine.
The e-mail goes on to solicit campaign contributions for the "fight for conservative values." Indiana Democrats maintain that the petitions Young's Senate campaign filed for Indiana's First District contained only 498 of the minimum 500 valid signatures of registered voters each candidate is required to submit for each of the state's nine congressional districts in order to appear on the Indiana ballot. Young's campaign insists his campaign submitted 501 valid signatures for the First District, providing a razor-thin margin to make the May primary ballot. The issue will be decided by the Indiana Election Commission, which is comprised of two Democrats and two Republicans. In the event of a tie, Secretary of State Connie Lawson, a Republican, would cast the deciding vote.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Sanders And Trump Crack The Granite State

The first-in-the-nation presidential primary election in New Hampshire saw a record number of voters go to the polls today, and the two big outsiders running against their party establishment came out the big winners. Bernie Sanders scored a more than 20-point victory over Hillary Clinton, defeating her by a 59-38% margin with half of the votes counted. Donald Trump easily out-distanced his nearest Republican opponent with 34% of the vote.

Sanders' victory comes on the heels of a virtual tie he pulled off in the Iowa Caucus last week, which many observers believe he actually won but for all of the party chicanery that took place in individual precinct caucus votes by party leaders who backed Clinton to prevent an outright victory for Sanders. Sanders' challenge becomes greater in future primary contests where there are more minority voters. Conventional wisdom says Hillary does better among those voters, but Sanders could prove the pundits wrong as he's already done.

Trump's win in the Republican primary in a crowded GOP field with a number of heavy weights was impressive by any measure. His 34% share of the vote easily outdistanced his nearest opponent and is similar to the victory margins enjoyed by Mitt Romney in 2012 and John McCain in 2008, both of whom went on to win their party nominations. Gov. John Kasich, who pulled a surprising 16% of the vote ahead of others expected to outperform him. Sen. Ted Cruz, the winner in Iowa, is beating former Gov. Jeb Bush by the narrowest of margins for third place. Cruz is capturing about 12% of the vote compared to Bush's 11%. Sen. Marco Rubio, who finished third in Iowa is close on Bush's heels in fifth place with 10% of the vote with just a few hundred votes separating him and Bush. Chris Christie is in sixth place with just 8% of the vote, below the 10% threshold required to win any delegates. He's expected to drop out of the race after tonight's poor showing. Only Cruz is positioned currently among the leading candidates to seriously contest Trump in the next primary election on tap in South Carolina.

The delegate count is the only vote that counts for each party's nomination. Sanders is capturing 13 delegates in New Hampshire compared to 12 delegates for Clinton, a minuscule difference given Sanders' large double-digit win. Eight of the state's 32 delegates are super delegates claimed by party leaders, who overwhelmingly back Clinton's candidacy. Trump has won at least 8 of the 23 delegates to be awarded tonight on the Republican side. Kasich has claimed two votes so far in the counting. It appears Cruz, Bush and Rubio will all achieve the 10% delegate threshold required to claim at least one delegate each tonight.










Democrats Plan To Challenge Todd Young's Signatures For Indiana Ballot

U.S. Rep. Todd Young (AP Photo)
It seems somebody in the campaign of U.S. Rep. Todd Young miscounted the number of signatures it submitted in the 1st District. According to a Politico report, hand counts of the petitions Young's campaign submitted to qualify for the Indiana Republican primary vote came up at least two vote shorts in Indiana's First District. He needed at least 500 valid signatures in each of Indiana's nine congressional districts; he submitted just 498.

The Indiana Election Division's hand count for the First District had 501 valid signatures submitted by Young's campaign in the First District, still perilously close to the cut-off requirement. The Election Division cautioned Politico that their signature report is not "gospel."

Indiana Democrats filed a formal challenge to Young's primary petitions. In addition to falling short of the 500 required valid signatures of registered voters in the First District, the Indiana Democrats are contesting 88 petition signatures submitted by Young's campaign in the First District. If Young failed to make the ballot, that would leave U.S. Rep. Marlin Stutzman as the lone candidate in the race, allowing him to win by default.

Young's campaign is dismissive of the allegations contained in the Democratic challenge. "Todd Young has clearly met the requirements to be listed on the ballot," Trevor Foughty, Young's campaign manager said. "Our campaign submitted more than enough ballot petition signatures in each congressional district. Further, clerks in all 92 counties verified the validity of those signatures. At this point, any attempt to disenfranchise voters would be unfortunate, underhanded, and ultimately unsuccessful."

We've seen these kinds of challenges before. If you're a candidate the establishment of both parties decides shouldn't be on the ballot, you will be bounced. Look at Jim Wallace's ouster from the 2012 Republican gubernatorial primary, giving Mike Pence a free ride to the nomination. Young is quite different than Wallace. He's establishment all the way with the most powerful forces in this state in his corner. Yeah, I know it's supposed to be based on the law, but this is Indiana, after all.

Remember, Democrats challenged McCain's petitions in 2008, claiming he failed to submit enough signatures in two congressional districts. He was ultimately ruled eligible for the ballot. We later learned that someone on the Republican side should have been checking the Democrats' petitions in the Second District where Democratic leaders in St. Joseph County forged signatures to make Barack Obama eligible for the Indiana ballot. Five individuals were ultimately prosecuted and convicted of that crime, including the long-time St. Joseph County Chairman and 2nd District Chair Butch Morgan.

Here's a statement released tonight by Marlin Stutzman's campaign on Young's predicament: Campaign Manager Josh Kelley stated.
“Todd Young’s inability to gather sufficient signatures is a real concern to countless Republicans our team has spoken with today.” Kelley added, “Todd Young’s team has seemed more focused on garnering establishment support in DC and raising money from corporate interests than in meeting with Hoosiers and engaging in a meaningful grassroots effort here in Indiana. Either Young is not focused, or he simply fails to connect with voters. Either way Young is not prepared to run a statewide campaign.” Kelley is confident in Stutzman’s campaign regardless of how the Democrat challenge to Todd’s candidacy is resolved. “Congressman Stutzman had the ground game to gather the most signatures statewide of any candidate in this race. Our team is hitting on all cylinders and ready to deliver in May and in November.” said Kelley.

That Time Barack Obama Called John Kass For Advice

Chicago Tribune political columnist John Kass (you know, the type we're missing here in Indianapolis) recalled in his column today a telephone call he received from a little-known state senator asking for suggestions from the hard-hitting columnist about what he should include on a state ethics bill he was preparing to introduce in Springfield.
Obama wasn't president years ago, when he called me about what to include in his ethics bill. Yes it was obvious, clumsy flattery -— the guy wasn't always so smooth.
I didn't take notes but when I asked him if his call was a joke, Obama said something like this:
"No joke. I'm serious. I want your input on what I should include in my ethics bill."
I told him that state law should mandate that all subcontractors and every guy behind the guys on each and every state contract must list the following:
Cost of materials, the price of every sack of concrete, every truckload of asphalt, and all trucking and labor fees, and all political contributions made.
And it all should be easy to read for federal prosecutors and taxpayers.
"Thank you," he said.
He never called back. But then, if he actually followed my advice, he'd never have been elected to the U.S. Senate. And who wants to get in the way of history?

A Quid Pro Quo Endorsed By The Indiana Media

OUT WITH THE OLD, IN WITH THE NEW Eric Holcomb, left, with Gov. Mike Pence
Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann
Four years ago, Mike Pence picked a Democrat, Sue Ellspermann, to be his running mate. The two never really thought much of the other and Pence had to find a way to "ditch the bitch" so he had his politically-appointed trustees at Ivy Tech tell its president, Tom Snyder, that he had to resign so he would have a job to allow Ellspermann to go quietly from the State House without throwing stones at him on the way out.

The Mitch Daniels' cronies, meanwhile, were waging war on Pence because he was only letting them make 98% of the decisions regarding Indiana state government rather than the 100% they demanded. They threatened to run one of Mitch's bitches against him in the primary before settling on the appointment of Eric Holcomb to take Ellspermann's old job, primarily as a way to block Marlin Stutzman from getting the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate by Holcomb dropping out of the Senate race. If Pence is found unresponsive, lying on his back in a hotel room closet like former Gov. Frank O'Bannon in the coming months, well, these things just happen. Holcomb, by the way, was one of those guys trashing Pence behind his back to the media for his handling of RFRA and other issues. Why does Pence think the media likes Holcomb so much?

It goes without saying the State House media couldn't be happier. The Indianapolis Star declared Holcomb, who was defeated in the only election where he previously faced voters, "a seasoned political operative with a lot of cache among Republicans--someone who could help the governor bridge a gap between social conservatives and business-oriented Republicans." The Star should have added that he has the sinister, dark circles under his eyes as proof of the skulduggery he's capable of accomplishing behind the scenes. There will be no questions about quid pro quos and other illegalities. By narrowing the Senate Republican primary to just two men, the establishment is confident they can vanquish U.S.Rep. Marlin Stutzman with their choice, U.S. Rep. Todd Young. This is all approved by the powers that be, and everyone is supposed to just shut their mouths and accept this bastardization of representative government.

Ellspermann's statement delicately addressed the fact she's giving up her elected office before the Ivy Tech board of trustees have even completed their nationwide search for Snyder's replacement and had a chance to formally act on the appointment:
The Governor and I fully respect the careful process that the Ivy Tech Trustees are following to make this critically important decision. In the same way, I respect the needs of governing through transition, the responsibility of the Legislature, and the election process. For those reasons, I have decided that now is the appropriate time to plan my transition out of the office of Lieutenant Governor.
I am pleased that Governor Pence has selected Eric Holcomb as his recommendation to succeed me as Lieutenant Governor. Eric has had a distinguished career in public service with two of Indiana’s outstanding leaders. He understands State government from his work as Governor Daniel’s deputy chief of staff and the Federal government as Senator Coats’ state chief of staff. Further, his service in the Navy demonstrates his commitment to our nation. I look forward to working with Eric as we implement a seamless transition over the coming weeks.
Perhaps this is a more honest explanation of her departure now:

Here's Pence's statement explaining why he naming as his light governor a man who has been a part of the incessant backstabbing of him by the Daniels wing of the party for the past year:
“I’m pleased to announce my intention to name Eric Holcomb as my nominee for lieutenant governor for the state of Indiana,” said Governor Pence. “I have known Eric for nearly 20 years, and his integrity, character, and experience make him uniquely qualified for this new role. He is a man of character and distinction and I am confident he will serve Hoosiers well as we continue our work to make Indiana a great place to live, work, and raise a family.
“I would like to thank Lt. Governor Ellspermann for her service and unmatched enthusiasm for our state. Sue has served Hoosiers and our administration with integrity and distinction. Throughout her tenure she steered numerous economic development initiatives including convening a Rural Broadband Working Group to pursue increasing internet connectivity throughout our state and leading an agricultural trade mission to Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. She also served as Vice Chair of the Indiana Career Council.”
“Janet and I could not be more excited and grateful to Governor Pence for this opportunity that will allow me to champion the kinds of policies that continue to strengthen our great state, ” said Eric Holcomb. “As we build upon our state’s economic momentum and confront the complex challenges before us, I look forward to working alongside Governor Pence as Indiana’s lieutenant governor to craft Indiana solutions to improve the lives of Hoosiers and move our state forward.”
“It has been a special honor for me to serve alongside a great Governor and share in all that we have accomplished to benefit the people of Indiana,” said Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann. “As I look forward to other opportunities for service, I am pleased that Eric Holcomb will become the next Lt. Governor. Eric has a distinguished record of service to his nation and his State. He understands State government from his work as Governor Daniels’ Deputy Chief of Staff and is ready to be a valuable partner with Governor Pence leading our State to even greater months and years ahead.”
A happy Todd Young:

An accurate picture of what just transpired:

Former Angie's List CEO Bill Oesterle and fellow Daniels' alum turns on his old pal for selling out:

Library CEO's Pay Bumped To $154,000

All of the scams she helped former Mayors Bart Peterson and Greg Ballard pull on the taxpayers of Indianapolis while Jackie Nytes served on the Indianapolis City-County Council has sure paid off for her. The Indianapolis Library CEO got a nice pay raise effective at the start of the year, raising her annual salary to more than $154,000 a year. That's $25,000 a year more than she was making when she first started the job five years ago, a nearly 25% increase in salary. This is the same woman who constantly blames property taxpayers for local governments not having enough money to pay for public services. She thinks you're getting off too easy because the Indiana Constitution caps your property taxes at 1% of the fair market value of your home. Nytes also pulls down another $25,000 a year to serve on Citizens Energy's board where she's helping them heap double-digit rate increases on us year after year. As long as all is well in the Nytes household, Indianapolis residents can just pound smoke.

Indy Land Bank Bit Player Gets Nine Years In Prison

Indianapolis' African-American community should be angered at Mayor Joe Hogsett right now, who ignored all of the big-time corruption scandals in the Ballard administration, including those committed by Ballard himself, and chose to prosecute a single, minuscule corruption scam involving two black members of his administration. That was the Indy Land Bank scandal prosecuted by our former federal prosecutor, which conveniently failed to bring charges against the real players directing corruption throughout Ballard's two terms as Indianapolis mayor.

A federal judge handed down a 9-year sentence to Reggie Walton for his role in the Indy Land Bank scandal during which a few thousand dollars in bribes exchanged hands. Walton's co-defendant, David Johnson, was sentenced to 5 1/2 years in prison in December. Contrast that to the mere 40-month sentence that former City-County Councilor Lincoln Plowman, a high-ranking IMPD officer, received for soliciting a bribe from an undercover FBI agent. Hogsett didn't even bother to prosecute Plowman for the actual bribes he accepted, let alone look into why he was accompanying a prominent Indianapolis businessman on frequent trips to Costa Rica on his private jet.

As only this blog has pointed out, Hogsett used the U.S. Attorney's Office to leverage his way into the mayor's office. Ballard and key members of his administration engaged in crimes involving tens of millions of your tax dollars, which were swept under the rug by Hogsett in exchange for Ballard's agreement not to seek re-election. The Marion Co. GOP essentially agreed to throw the mayor's race by picking a recent Chicago transplant who had never sought office before or participated in any civic activities, let alone attend a single council meeting, before Republicans slated him as their candidate for mayor while discouraging other more qualified candidates from seeking the office.

"The citizens of Indianapolis deserve better from their public officials," U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler said in a statement. "Betraying the public’s trust and wasting tax dollars is a crime we take very seriously. Those who choose to ignore federal law will be held accountable, just as this sentence holds Mr. Walton accountable." Cut the BS, Minkler. You and your predecessor, Mr. Hogsett tell whistle blowers reporting big-time public corruption to f_ _ _ off. Don't take down two low-level black employees who were peanuts in a massive public corruption scam and tell us you care about people betraying the public's trust and wasting our tax dollars.