Indiana political overview and predictions 2010- It’s going to be a fun year!

Sorry about the title, I was going for something more creative and that is a bit blah. However the title does explain the overview of this diary. This election cycle was expected to be as boring as can be for Indiana yet a series of retirements and resignations changed it. Indiana contains many important elections and promises to be an entertaining year. I will try and provide an overview of all of our elections and even provide predictions. I hope you enjoy!

IN Senate

When Evan Bayh announced just days before the filing date that he would not seek re-election I was furious. However his timing was actually brilliant. It ensured that none of the big name Republicans who would love the job like Pence or Daniels got on the ballot. Instead the Republicans got stuck with washed up former Senator Dan Coats. Coats has been gaff-tastic and is a seriously flawed candidate. While he had a bloody fight to get his parties nomination over a bunch of nobodies we quietly nominated top tier candidate Congressman Brad Ellsworth. Ellsworth is the absolute best person to take on Coats. He is young, energetic and actually lives in Indiana. He is running as an outsider as well, instead of talking about his tenure in Congress he focuses on his time as Sherriff. Ellsworth is solidly against gun control whereas Coats seems to favor it. Ellsworth will likely get a solid number of Republicans who are dissatisfied with Coats. This race has yet to truly take off yet but when it does it will be close, very close. Please do not write Indiana off. Go ahead and give it a Republican lean for now if you want but understand a lot will change when the campaign begins. Please read Ellsworth’s campaign report that includes some encouraging poll results.



Ellsworth -50%




Pete Visclosky disgusts me. He is corrupt and genuinely slimy if you get my drift. I have been hoping for a primary challenge for years but to no prevail. It would be nice for him to just retire and take a cozy lobbying job yet he loves Washington too much. He is progressive enough (although the sleaze-ball voted against wall street regulation) however he is very corrupt. Trust me the day will come when his ways catches up to him and he is forced out in disgrace. He is pretty much guaranteed a 14th term to Congress though because the Republicans have yet again nominated a perennial candidate who has no chance of winning. He has ran in every race since 2002. So don’t expect a William Jefferson set of events to happen because trust me Mark Leyva is no Joseph Cao. I just hope next cycle he is booted out in the primary. This guy is an embarrassment and trust me a primary here would be the best thing possible for us.




(Not sure if there are any third parties running. If so give the Lib 2 and take one away from Visclosky and Leyva respectfully)


Joe Donnelly is a nice enough guy. I have only met him once but he seemed friendly. Indiana’s second CD has a Republican tilt to it but I think Donnelly will win by a solid enough margin all the same. He actually beat a somewhat solid candidate in 08, garnering nearly 70% of the vote. Republicans are smart! They nominated a woman who actually goes by Wacky Jackie (although we just nominated Alvin freaking Greene so we probably shouldn’t talk). Jackie is a state representative and former reporter. Do to the nature of the district it is not impossible for Jackie to pull an upset but I highly doubt it. I would put it at lean D.





I have never been fond of Mark Souder. He has always came off as an ass to me. During his time in Washington he always fought for family values, about as social of conservative as they come. Yeah Mark Souder resigned a bit ago after admitting to having an affair with a staffer, who ironically made a tape with him about abstinence only sex ed. You are supposed to expect anything in Congress but I did not expect that. None the less I was glad he resigned because I was plain and simply glad to see him away from Washington. He had a somewhat close primary to a rich teabagging car dealer owner. However right after all of the affair shit broke and he resigned. So the Republicans chose a nominee at a convention of delegates. Not surprisingly they chose state senator Marlin Stutzman who just ran a very impressive campaign against former Senator and lobbyist Dan Coats. Personally I think Stutzman would have been stronger than Coats but all the same this is a nice parting gift for Stutzman who defeated a hullabaloo of candidates at the convention. I have nothing against Stutzman, while I disagree with him ideology he seems like a nice guy and will be much better than Souder at any rate. We have a great candidate in the district and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Former city councilman Tom Hayhurst is running. Hayhurst was the nominee in 2006 and ran a great campaign. He is known for his fundraising ability. If this was 2006 or 2008 I would put this at lean D but Stutzman is too popular and the district too conservative. I know some say that the supporters of his convention opponents won’t show up but I don’t buy that argument, I just don’t. The one positive is that Stutzman primary supporters will probably show up greater in November and may still be mad enough their guy lost to Coats that they may vote Ellsworth.  





Steve Buyer does not actually have a squeaky clean reputation but I have never particularly disliked him all the same. He is not seeking re-election this year and do to his wife’s illness. I believe his involvement in the frontier education foundation probably contributed but I want to believe he is retiring solely to spend more time with his wife who is not in good condition health wise. Term limited Indiana SoS Todd Rokita jump at the chance of an upgrade. He also considered a potential Senate run but passed. Rokita is not that bad, while he will be a mostly conservative vote he really does seem reasonable like Dick Lugar, who is also conservative but still has an independent streak. We have no chance here come November. Some dude David Sanders is our nominee.





Republicans are so freaking stupid. I am not talking ideology here but pure horse race politics. Dan Burton is the most corrupt politician in the state. He is a royal douche who, I feel, is way out of touch with his district and reality. He is an avid golfer who has actually missed votes to golf with lobbyists and goes on expensive golfing trips. He was also avid on spreading the Vincent Foster conspiracy during Clinton’s days. He has been in Washington too long and everyone hates him and knows he is an ineffective legislature. He was a prime target to be primaried but no, the Republicans fucked it up. About a gizillion people jumped at the chance to knock him out. Had the number of challengers been knocked to single digits he would have lost. But no, name recognition got him a pathetic 30 percent of the vote, barely enough to squeak by former Republican Party chair Luke Messer. 70% of Republicans voted against this sleaze bag but no he still gets a 15th term. Republicans/Teabaggers get your shit together next time! We nominated a real life teabagger Democrat. Yes a teabagging Democrat. I know a lot of people have wondered if the baggers and everyone will unite behind the Democrat, well it ain’t going to happen. Crawford is not a politician and has no skill and while I would rather have a teabagging Democrat than Burton it is not going to happen. Maybe next year they will do it right or maybe Burton will even retire. This is one of those rare moments when teabaggers and Democrats share a same goal.  





Mike Pence is a savvy politician who has a real future in politics. I wish he was a Democrat because believe me he has skill. I am willing to bet that his next term in Congress will be his last, especially if we retain Congress. He will either run for Governor, Senate or President. The only thing that could get him to stay would be the possibility of being speaker someday but I highly doubt it happens. We have put up, once again, minister Barry Welsh. Barry is a good guy but does not have what it takes to make this race competitive.


Pence- 72%

Welsh- 28%


Andre Carson is the most progressive elected politician in Indiana. He is only the second Muslim currently in Congress. I really like him and I think he has a real future in the house. Perhaps he will even reach leadership someday. Carson won a special election back in 2008 when his grandmother, a really decent person and effective Congresswoman, passed away. He was elected to a full term by a large margin and will face perennial candidate Marvin Scott in November. Scott was the 2004 nominee for Senate against Evan Bayh, receiving 37% of the vote. He has ran for this seat several times, actually coming close in 1994. Carson has his job in Congress until he does not want it anymore. Scott will be crushed.





Brad Ellsworth is universally known and loved in Indiana’s eight congressional district, however he will not be running for Congress this year but will instead be running for US Senate. We got one of the best possible candidates we could have gotten in state representative Trent Van Haaften. Van Haaften is very popular. People seem to forget that when rating this district. Larry Buchson is the essence of generic R in my view. He offers nothing. He won a very unimpressive primary win, much less than I had predicted. The Tea Party does not like him and I am sure some of them will refuse to vote for him. Van Haaften has even reached out to some of the upset Tea Party members. I could see him getting a lot of Republican votes. No matter how you think the Senate race will turn out it is obvious that Ellsworth will clean up in his own district and that will likely provide coattails for Van Haaften. Fellow Indiana SSP user notanothersonofabush made a good point the other day about The GOP having other priorities and it is very true, the Republicans have there eyes set on the Senate seat and possibly knocking out Hill and this is not at the top of their to do list.  


Van Haaften-53%



Baron Hill is my Congressman and I have the utmost respect for him. He has represented the district well and I have always been fond of him. His only “easy” election was last year when the Republicans nominated retread Mike Sodrel again. Sodrel originally ran in 2002 and was defeated yet he successfully ran in 2004 but was defeated again by Hill in 2006 and very soundly again in 2008. You would think he got the message but no, he once again ran this year and he came in third place in the Republican primary. The Republicans nominated Bloomington attorney Todd Young. Young is nothing special but is a step above lunatic Travis Hankins and Sodrel. I mean at least Young has a higher education than a high school diploma for one. Young is not free of controversy though, he received money from Massey energy, a mining company which is now under scrutiny for unsafe conditions it puts it’s workers through. Hill did one thing uber stupid though. During a town hall one of these Republican activist with a video camera bated the Congressman and got what she wanted with him telling her that it is his town hall and he makes the rules. He is referring to his ban of video camera’s but it did not look good. It makes an excellent attack add. Like I said Hill has never really been given a free pass and this is shaping up to be a much more conservative year than he has faced in the past and the Republicans nominated someone much better than Sodrel. So it will certainly be no cake walk but Hill is used to tough elections and he knows how to handle himself. A lot of people say his vote on health care reform hurt him but I actually think he would be worse off had he voted against the legislation. He needs high turnout in Bloomington and he needs to keep progressives happy there. Also please do not take the poll taken by fire dog lake seriously. They were against the health care reform bill and I believe it was there tactic to poll tough districts to scare members of Congress out of voting for the legislation. The poll in question was highly questionable as it contained many gottcha questions and such. Mike Sodrel even released an internal poll showing him leading by one so it is pretty obvious that poll was highly inaccurate when a Republicans internal shows better news for Hill. Tough but Hill has it in him.






Incumbent Secretary of State Todd Rokita is term limited. The Democrats will nominate Vop Osili  or Tom McKenna for the job and the Republicans nominated Charlie White. I do not know the dynamics of the race, although I consistently receive emails from Vop and he sounds like a serious candidate. I do not know this race enough to make a prediction though, maybe my fellow Indiana SSP users could make the call.

Auditor and Treasurer

Berry and Mourdock are safe. I do not know a lot about the races but they are scandal free so they will probably be fine.

IN State House

We were supposed to lose the state house last year but we managed to cling onto it. I do not think we will be as lucky this year. We have many competitive elections and not a lot in our favor. I am predicting we lose but narrowly. I am going to predict that the Republicans get 52 seats and we get 48. I hope I am wrong.

State Senate

The Republicans will have no problems retaining the state senate.

Please let me know what you think. I welcome all feedback, positive or not. I would especially like to hear from my fellow Indiana SSP users. Thanks!!!!

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SSP Daily Digest: 10/16

NV-Sen: John Ensign’s once potent fundraising has gone decidedly flaccid in the wake of the Hampton affair, dwindling approval ratings, and a likelihood of not coming back in 2012. He raised less than $33K in the third quarter (and managed to spend more than that, on various legal fees and consultants).

PA-Sen: Joe Sestak’s fundraising for the third quarter was half of what Arlen Specter raised: $758K for Sestak (also less than half of his 2Q number), vs. $1.8 million for Specter. Take out the money that Obama raised for Specter at their fundraiser, though, and they’re close to parity on last quarter’s numbers. Meanwhile, the allegedly fiscally-disciplined Pat Toomey raised $1.6 million in 3Q, but has been burning through cash quickly, spending $861K and ending up with $1.8 million CoH.

IL-Gov: This is good news for John McCain… ‘s former media guy. State GOP chair Andy McKenna made clear he’s going to, if nothing else, spend a lot of money on his gubernatorial campaign. He just hired ad guru Fred Davis, creator of the infamous “Celebrity” ad last summer. President McCain, of course, will confirm how well that one worked out for him.

PA-Gov: Rasmussen polled the Democratic and Republican fields in the gubernatorial race, finding what most other pollsters have seen: AG Tom Corbett is mopping up on the GOP side, while nobody has a clue who the Democratic candidates are. Corbett leads Rep. Jim Gerlach 54-10 (with 6 for some other and 30 not sure). For the Dems, “not sure” is kicking ass at 37, followed by Allegheny Co. Exec Dan Onorato at 19, state Auditor Jack Wagner at 14, ex-Rep. Joe Hoeffel at 11, Scranton mayor Chris Doherty at 6, rich guy Tom Knox at 4, and “some other” at 10.

VA-Gov: One last look at how the candidates are faring financially in the Virginia governor’s race. Bob McDonnell and Creigh Deeds raised about the same amount in September ($3.8 mil for McD, $3.5 mil for Deeds), but McDonnell enters the home stretch with a lot more cash on hand ($4.5 mil for McD, $2.8 mil for Deeds).

FL-08: Among the contributors to liberal firebrand Rep. Alan Grayson’s one-day haul of $60K at the end of the fundraising quarter (and after his “die quickly” speech) were two prominent Blue Dogs: Reps. Bart Gordon and Collin Peterson.

FL-19: State Sen. Ted Deutch wasted no time. The leading contender to take over FL-19 in the wake of Rob Wexler’s departure officially entered the race yesterday.

IN-01: Nobody has really regarded long-time Democratic Rep. Pete Visclosky as vulnerable in his bluish district, but he’s laboring under an ethical cloud from his role in the PMA lobbying firm scandal, and now out $100,000 in legal fees resulting from subpoenas in the matter. He’s sitting on $916K CoH, down from $1.47 mil at this point in the 2007-08 cycle.

NY-15: Rep. Charlie Rangel, facing some ethical problems of his own, may face another primary challenger with a famous family name: Assemblyman Adam Clayton Powell IV (who previously ran against Rangel in 1994). With a former staffer already in the race, though, this could fracture the anti-Rangel vote and inadvertently let Rangel slip through again.

NY-19: Looks like the free-spending Ophthalmologists’ PAC has one sure target for their largesse this cycle: Nan Hayworth, a Westchester County eye doctor, says that she’ll run for the GOP nomination. This is despite the presence of a high-profile (if somewhat questionable and controversial) recruit in the field already, Assemblyman Greg Ball. Hayworth starts with $318K CoH, half from her own wallet and half apparently from her eye doctors friends, giving her a sizable edge over Ball’s $213K CoH. The winner will face off against incumbent Dem Rep. John Hall.

NY-20: Thursday was the official Last Day of Tedisco. Assemblyman Jim Tedisco, the loser of this year’s special election filed a notice of termination of his exploratory committee, seemingly ending any plans for a re-run in 2010.

NY-23: Dinged by reports that the RNC wasn’t getting adequately involved in the 23rd (or involved, period), Michael Steele announced that the RNC will be making an unspecified “six-figure” contribution to the NRCC in support of efforts in the 23rd, as well as $85K to the state party. Also seeking to quell reports of civil war, Newt Gingrich — who passes for the GOP’s voice of sanity these days — went ahead and endorsed Dede Scozzafava, which may not move many votes on the ground but may move some Beltway dollars into her kitty.

OH-16, 18: Biden alert (again)! The VP will be heading to Ohio to host a joint fundraiser for sorta-vulnerable Democratic Reps. John Boccieri and Zack Space in several weeks.

SC-02: Rob Miller got a huge boost in his fundraising in the wake of “You lie!” and pulled in $1.7 million. Unfortunately, he seemed to peak early after an initial outpouring of support, with little follow-up with the netroots; contrast that with Rep. Joe Wilson, who continued to push his newfound celebrity with the GOP base and, despite being initially outraised, wound up the quarter with $2.7 million.

NY-St. Sen: State Senator Hiram Monserrate was convicted yesterday of assault, but instead of the felony charge that was sought, he was only convicted of a misdemeanor — which means that he isn’t automatically out of the Senate. That means Dems are stuck with the coup-joining convict until next year’s primary… unless he resigns, something that fellow Sen. Liz Krueger is already pushing, or is expelled.

Mayors: In not much of a surprise, Shelby County mayor A.C. Wharton won the special election to take over as Memphis mayor. His 60% share (against 24 other opponents) is pretty impressive, though. Wharton argues his margin is a mandate for his pet project, uniting Memphis and Shelby County governments into one entity.

Polling: Greenberg Quinlan Rosner has a fascinating polling memo titled “The Very Separate World of Conservative Republicans” out, based on focus groups of GOP base voters in Georgia that look at what’s driving the accelerating freakout among the hard right. The diagnosis seems to be acute paranoia with persecution complex: while few couched their viewpoint in an explicitly racist way (which may surprise some), there is a sense among them of being a “mocked minority” and a overarching sense of an Obama administration “secret agenda” to bankrupt the country and exert government control over all aspects of our lives. I don’t know if Ed Kilgore had advance knowledge of this study, but it dovetails exactly with his remarkable piece earlier this week focusing on how the roots of the screamers and teabaggers isn’t so much overtly racist as motivated by a growing out-of-control sense of loss of the ‘old ways’ (i.e. replacement of small-town, homogeneous, traditional America with a multiracial, globalized future).