Confessions of a Hoosier Democrat

Blogging Indiana Politics and the 2008 Presidential Race.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Camp Bayh invades Iowa

Tucked away in a sidebar in the Des Moines Register was this little nugget:
Sen. Evan Bayh, an Indiana Democrat taking steps toward running for president, said his political action committee will pay for 23 campaign staffers to help Democratic candidates in Iowa in this fall's elections.

Bayh's All America PAC has held training sessions for more than 100 campaign workers, with the idea that they would also be willing to work for Bayh, should he move forward with a presidential campaign next year.

"We thought this was in some ways better than just giving people a check," Bayh said.

Bayh is among eight prospective presidential candidates, Democrats and Republicans, who have operatives on the ground in Iowa. Iowa is expected to host the leadoff nominating caucuses in January 2008.
So while Warner and Feingold have 1 or 2 operatives on the ground... Sen Bayh is sending 23. From what I heard the Camp Bayh Full Immersion was slated to accept 50 interns, sending them out across the country to assist in campaigns. So 23 of them are going to Iowa, and you have to figure a significant portion are going to stay here in Indiana to assist the Indiana 3: Joe Donnelly, Brad Ellsworth and Baron Hill. So that'll leave... maybe 10 interns for other states... Three guesses what states they'll go to? New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

2nd Quarter Campaign Finances

June 30th was the end of the 2nd Quarter which means campaigns are sending into the FEC their campaign finance reports. Here's a synopsis (courtesy of the FEC and

Cash on hand

1st Congressional District
Dem Peter Visclosky (I) - $1,168,760
Rep Mark Leyva - $231 1Q - 2Q not filed yet.

2nd Congressional District
Dem Joe Donnelly - $435,215
Rep Chris Chocola (I) - $1,554,483

3rd Congressional District
Dem Tom Hayhurst - $147,758
Rep Mark Souder (I) - $68,358

4th Congressional District
Dem David Sanders - $5,920 1Q - 2Q not filed yet
Rep Steve Buyer (I) - $311,848

5th Congressional District
Dem Kathrine Carr - $243 date unknown - 2Q not filed yet
Rep Dan Burton - $924,588

6th Congressional District
Dem Barry Welsh - $2,909 1Q - 2Q not filed yet
Rep Mike Pence - $714,466

7th Congressional District
Dem Julia Carson (I) - $301,621
Rep Eric Dickerson - $367

8th Congressional District
Dem Brad Ellsworth - $676,475
Rep John Hostettler (I) - $195,146

9th Congressional District
Dem Baron Hill - $973,305
Rep Mike Sodrell (I) - $1,138,911

US Senate
Rep Richard Lugar - $4,011,244

Dem Evan Bayh - $10,363,520
All America PAC - $1,303,341

Money Raised

1st Congressional District
Dem Peter Visclosky (I) - $1,243,454
Rep Mark Leyva - $7,025 1Q - 2Q not filed yet.

2nd Congressional District
Dem Joe Donnelly - $592,397
Rep Chris Chocola (I) - $1,924,963

3rd Congressional District
Dem Tom Hayhurst - $206,989
Rep Mark Souder (I) - $171,247

4th Congressional District
Dem David Sanders - $250 1Q - 2Q not filed yet
Rep Steve Buyer (I) - $445,492

5th Congressional District
Dem Kathrine Carr - $1,731 date unknown - 2Q not filed yet
Rep Dan Burton - $385,741

6th Congressional District
Dem Barry Welsh - $$22,832 1Q - 2Q not filed yet
Rep Mike Pence - $1,152,522

7th Congressional District
Dem Julia Carson (I) - $208,514
Rep Eric Dickerson - $32,032

8th Congressional District
Dem Brad Ellsworth - $1,036,348
Rep John Hostettler (I) - $284,142

9th Congressional District
Dem Baron Hill - $1,171,727
Rep Mike Sodrell (I) - $1,741,804

US Senate
Rep Richard Lugar - $5,216,408

All America PAC - $2,845,646

Money Spent

1st Congressional District
Dem Peter Visclosky (I) - $1,168,760
Rep Mark Leyva - $7,413 1Q - 2Q not filed yet.

2nd Congressional District
Dem Joe Donnelly - $151,848
Rep Chris Chocola (I) - $567,663

3rd Congressional District
Dem Tom Hayhurst - $59,230
Rep Mark Souder (I) - $125,976

4th Congressional District
Dem David Sanders - $233 1Q - 2Q not filed yet
Rep Steve Buyer (I) - $328,769

5th Congressional District
Dem Kathrine Carr - $1,571 date unknown - 2Q not filed yet
Rep Dan Burton - $438,598

6th Congressional District
Dem Barry Welsh - $19,922 1Q - 2Q not filed yet
Rep Mike Pence - $634,134

7th Congressional District
Dem Julia Carson (I) - $208,920
Rep Eric Dickerson - $20,813

8th Congressional District
Dem Brad Ellsworth - $359,873
Rep John Hostettler (I) - $90,553

9th Congressional District
Dem Baron Hill - $208,231
Rep Mike Sodrell (I) - $626,961

US Senate
Rep Richard Lugar - $1,614,119

All America PAC - $1,925,648

Friday, July 14, 2006

Five Questions with Barry Welsh

Running against a conservative icon can't be easy. But it's a challenge that Barry Welsh has taken on with dedication and vigor.

Barry Welsh is running for the Indiana's 6th Congressional Seat. Barry is currently the pastor at the Laurel United Methodist Church and previously was a high school teacher at New Palestine and an on-air personality at WIFE 100.3FM in Connersville. As a pastor, Barry is committed to serving the people of his community and congregation which has increased his knowledge and compassion with those less fortunate. "Nobody likes to be poor, nobody wants to admit that they are poor... Seeing how the dignity of people is compromised by situations beyond their control is heart-wrenching and motivating." As a former public school teacher Barry knows the importance of our public school system and the problems facing it. "Public Schools are the springboard of opportunity for any kid who has a dream."

Barry was nice enough to take the time to answer Five Questions... so here they are.

1. What is the biggest issue facing citizens of the 6th District and what can the US Representative do to help?
The single biggest issue facing citizens of this district is the price of fuel. As this cost goes up and more funds are required to go toward the gas tank, those funds are not there for discretionary spending in many cases, and in some extreme cases, some of the necessities of life.

The current representative could have voted to enforce price gouging legislation and to remove the tax breaks and corporate welfare given to big oil. He chose to vote for the oil companies and against the people. I would have made the opposite choice and listened to the citizens.
2. Which US Congressman do you think you'd most be like when you're elected?
When I am elected this November, the people of this district will find that I share the traits of many fine Indiana Democrats; I have the same priority for the future of our planet that Former Representative Phil Sharp holds, that I share the concern for Homeland Security that Former Representative Lee Hamilton voices, that I have the genuine best interest of the people as my focus as does current Indiana Representative Julia Carson, and that the Working Familes of Indiana must be protected and strengthened which is a Bayh Family legacy.

So the people will find that I am yet another in a long line of compassionate, caring, committed, public servants to represent our great state.
3. Much has been said about the Democrats lack of a voice in Washington, since they hold neither the House, Senate nor the White House. How can Democrats do a better job at getting their message out and their goals accomplished?
That's a great question Rob, as are all of these. We must take back the House and the Senate and put true oversight back into the vocabulary of the Washington D.C. daily language. Our first goal as a party on the national level has to be to bridle the current administration's all out War on the Middle Class.

During the time leading up to this election, they will show moderation, but we can not trust that to extend past election day without taking back the one branch of government where it is possible, the Congress.

The Democrats have many voices, Our own Senator Bayh among them, and all of our voices will be heard between now and 2008.
4. DNC Chairman Howard Dean recently paid you a visit. Did he give you any advice for your campaign?
I want to be above board on everything Rob, and Governor Dean did not visit me individually, but rather visited the state, and spent some time one on one with me. He told me to keep doing what we were doing, and that is to take what he started in 2004, and tailor it to our district. It was good advice and it is working.
5. Mike Pence has been in the news recently for his immigration proposal. What do you think is the best and worst part of his proposal?
I am glad you asked that Rob, and that I have a chance to speak about this.

I understand the desire for a better life, and the chance for a new beginning. America offers that, and many enter legally and take advantage of this land of freedom and dreams. The problem is some did not wait their turn and came across the border in violation of the law. This has been going on for a number of years and only when it is out of control does it draw attention. This in itself speaks volumns about the priorites of the Corporate Republicans.

I believe we need real border security, and the Bush/Pence plan does not come close to adaquately addressing this. I believe the Bush/Pence plan gives a blanket pardon to Big Business which provides the incentive through illegal employment opportunites to encourage illegal immigration. These businesses are undermining our economy and the future of our children and they should not be fined, they should not be allowed to do business any longer.

I believe the Bush/Pence plan and the proposal for foreign "Kelly Services" type stations that advertise jobs available in America will increase illegal traffic, not stop it. LEGAL immigration should be allowed and is a vital part of our nation's history and thus it's future, but to punish the legal immigrants that play by the rules by rewarding those that chose illegal activity is not just.

The best thing about the Bush/Pence plan is that it does not call for the mass deportation of those that are here. I do not agree with the Bush/Pence amnesty masked in carefully crafted words, but amnesty none the less. But I do not agree with mass deportation either. We must take away the incentives for being here illegally and begin to humanely turn back the tide.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

The Associated Press on Bayh

The AP has published two articles in the last few days which has been picked up by papers across the country.

The first article, Indiana Senator Bayh keeps strong presence in Iowa, was seen in the Boston media. The second, Sen. Bayh seeks edge in Democratic field, has been seen in places like Roanoke, VA. Mike Glover is the author of both articles.

The first article talks about how it's Sen Bayh's 5th visit to Iowa and mentions his support for Sen Lieberman (which is probably why it's in the Boston Globe).
"I've raised money for him and I've supported him," Bayh said. "If Joe asks, I absolutely would go up there" to campaign for Lieberman.

Democrats who have supported Lieberman will face a tough choice if he loses in the primary. Lieberman has taken steps to run as an independent if he loses, which would put him against another Democrat in the election.

Bayh would not say what he would do in that case.

"That's a hypothetical question that I think isn't going to happen," Bayh said. "I think that Joe is going to win. He has a good record and a progressive record on many issues."
It's nice to see Sen Bayh being nice to his friend but f course anyone with half a brain can tell you what he would do if Lieberman lost.

The article also has a quote from the Iowa Republican Party Executive that tries to paint Sen Bayh as a liberal, something the liberals in the party would howl at.
Iowa Republican Party Executive Cullen Sheehan said Bayh repeatedly voted against Bush's tax cut proposals and supports an estate tax.

"The fact that Sen. Bayh supports these measures proves that he is out of touch with what the people of Iowa want," Sheehan said.
Obviously Mr Sheehan hasn't heard anything that Sen Bayh has said about the estate tax and is just parroting Republican talking points.

The 2nd article is by far the more interesting one. It talks about Sen Bayh is starting to make inroads in Iowa.
In a quiet, methodical style reflecting his Midwestern roots, Sen. Evan Bayh is laying the foundation for a presidential campaign and prompting some Democrats to talk about a candidate with a realistic shot.

"The chatter that you hear is that he's a good guy and nice and he has that honest, Midwestern feel to him, kind of like Harry Truman," said veteran Democratic strategist Dane Strother. "That's all appealing."
Bayh's close attention to retail politics has earned him high marks as Iowa Democrats head into a competitive election with an open governor's race, toss-up House races and a legislature that's virtually tied. Bayh planned to attend eight events raising money for local candidates.

"He is making inroads here," said former Iowa Democratic Chairman Gordon Fischer. "He is doing what it takes to be successful in the Iowa caucuses, and that is a lot of retail politics."

Tom Courtney, a state senator from Burlington, Iowa, was getting some help from Bayh.

"When I'm around town, I'm starting to hear Bayh's name mentioned," Courtney said. "Democrats are looking for somebody who is new and fresh."

Friday, July 07, 2006

The Lieberman Question

"The Lieberman Question" or "What do you do when your friend tries to rebel?"

It's no secret that many Senators, including Senator Bayh, are good friends with Senator Lieberman. Because of this friendship it is only right to expect that they would back him during his current primary battle with Ned Lamont. It's a matter of being loyal to your friend during his primary campaign.

But what if Lieberman loses the primary and then goes and tries to run for the seat as an Independent? Where should loyalties lie? Should they stay with the friend who is not rebelling against the system or should they stay with the party who has selected someone else as the standard bearer?

In my opinion the loyalties MUST remain with the party, the general public and the person they've selected to be their candidate. To do otherwise would be to completely undermine the primary system for selecting candidates.

I wish Joe Lieberman the best and I support his candidacy. But like any good Democrat, after the primary votes are counted we must rally around that candidate regardless of our personal loyalties. That is what the primary system is all about. Any true friends Joe has should be taking him aside and telling him as much. "Joe, I love you man, but this run as an Independent is just crazytalk. I'm sorry but I have to respect the wishes of the electorate and support whoever wins the primary." If they not saying it now, it's probably out of respect for Lieberman. But if he tries to play the sore-loser and run as an Independent, don't expect that to carry over.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The President and the Baron

Sorry for the delay and the poor quality of the pictures...

Yesterday I had the privledge of attending the fundraiser for Baron Hill featuring former President Bill Clinton. The fundraiser at the Marriott downtown featured Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson, Representative Julia Carson (D-IN 7), the candidate himself and of course former President Bill Clinton.

After nice light lunch the speaking program began. Mayor Peterson was the first to speak. He thanked everyone there for coming out to support Baron and staying involved in the political process. He then talked about how what made President Clinton a great President is that he did things that work. He used a policy of common sense rather than being one of the "51% people", people who only want to please just enough people to get them 51% of the vote to get re-elected.
"True leaders believe that they are elected to represent everybody, including the folks and maybe even especially the folks that didn't vote for them."
Mayor Peterson then went on to talk about Representative Julia Carson, praising her as the best thing to happen to Indianapolis and described her as the next "Mailman" (a la Karl Malone) because she delivers for the City of Indianapolis. Mayor Peterson then went on to talk Baron Hill. He talked about how Baron Hill brought common sense to the 9th District. "Things just seemed in control when Baron Hill was in office."

Julia Carson was then introduced. The emcee for the event talked about how he'd been watching the World Cup and knew that you can't achieve superstardom until you're known by only one name. Based on the yardsigns he's had in his yard, Julia, is truly a superstar. Representative Carson came on to talk about how she isn't apologetic to "have the unmitigated gall to say No" to the Iraq War resolution in 2002. She doesn't hate George Bush, but she hates his policies. She then went on to praise Baron Hill as one of the best Congressmen she's ever served with. She talked about how Baron Hill knew the difference between right and wrong and how could see right through Republican election year tactics of bringing up same-sex marriage and the like.

Baron Hill and President Clinton were then introduced. Baron Hill spoke for a couple of minutes. He said that President Clinton was the first Democratic President to come to a political event in Indiana since John F. Kennedy. Baron talked about how he had the privledge to support President Clinton's fiscal policy which resulted in balanced budgets, budget surpluses and tax cuts. But then the fiscal policy changed and the surpluses vanished and deficits ballooned.

Baron introduced the President who thanked the crowd for the warm welcome. He thanked various people in attendance, Joe Donnelly, Judy O'Bannon and Julia Carson.

President Clinton talked about how people ask him about his economic plans. It seems President Clinton the revolutionary idea of "arithmetic". "We had this dumb idea that if 2 and 2 was 4 in Little Rock and Indianapolis, it probably was in Washington." He said that he admires Baron Hill because even though in HS he was a track star, in Congress he was the marathon man, never giving up. President Clinton talked about how Hillary had come to Indiana in 1976 to campaign for Jimmy Carter. He talked about how the omlete principle should apply to Iraq, if you are given some eggs and you break them, it's your responsibility to try to make an omlete. It's our responsibilty to try to make democracy work in Iraq. He said he supported the Reid-Biden amendment to have some framework for a withdrawl.

President Clinton said that Washington Republicans are very different than the Republicans that you and I know, they're a narrow slice of the Republican Party that have been in control of the Government since 2001. In the 8 years that President Clinton was in office, the Democratic Party was dedicated to opportunity for every responsible citizen, an inclusive community and an America working with other country to build a world with peace, freedom, security and prosperity. We believe that the middle class is the key to the economic prosperity and our national greatness. We believe that we should be prepared to act alone, but whenever we can build relationships to work together. We believe in a government that is open and accountable. We believe that we must take some time to invest in our future. We believe that evidence is more important than ideology. We believe that compromise is an honorable thing. Consider the difference between that and the philosophy of the government since 2001. Their values are not equal opportunity, shared responsibilty and inclusive community. They believe in concentrated wealth and power in the hand of the right wing elite. They believe in a divided community in which both have been deprived. They believe that the key to economic growth and national greatness are the wealthiest Americans. In foreign policy, they believe we should act alone whenever we can because we're a great country and we got the juice. In politics, they favor ideology over evidence and attack over argument.

President Clinton talked about the 1% Solution, the theory that if there is even a 1% chance of something could happen you have to plan for it, and how people who subscribe to that theory call people like President Clinton "reality-based". The 1% Solution says that if you take action on that 1% you can change reality. Well that might be fine for something, but it shouldn't be a basis for everything. The people who believe this really do believe that concentrated wealth and power is a good thing. They believe that a secret unaccountable government is a good thing. They believe that we should be fully unencumbered by alliances and cooperative organizations as much as possible. They really do believe that ideology is more important than evidence.

President Clinton talked about how you can protect the environment and grow the economy. With regard to the tax break for alternative energy techology, he said that he told Newt Gingrich that one of his greatest accomplishments was finding a tax cut that he opposed.

President talked about how the deficits in our country are being financed by people we can't trust, China and Saudi Arabia. Yet these are the people who we're buying from hand over fist. He talked about the "Bill Clinton" tax cut (he calls it that because people in his tax bracket are the ones getting the tax cut) and how even though he supports the troops (and told a story of a friend who is a veteran with sons about to be deployed) he isn't supporting them because of the Bill Clinton tax cut. He talked about how supposedly one of the priorities of the Republicans was national security, yet they blocked the Democrat's attempt to invest in technology to scan every cargo container in our ports which would cost about $600mil. Yet the first priority of the Republicans was repealing the estate tax, which cost $200bil over 10 years. So we can afford to repeal the estate tax for 1% of the population, but we can't afford to protect 300 million American.

President Clinton then went into talking about how ridiculous the Medicare drug plan. It's illegal for Medicare to bargin with drug companies for bulk discounts, even though the Veteran's Administration and just about every major company does so.

When people say that Democrats don't stand for anything, don't believe it. It's hard for you to get the message out when the Republicans hold the White House, the House and the Senate.

This next election is about our children and grandchildren.

After President Clinton finished the mass of people crowded the rope line where he and Baron Hill shook hands. I was able to get my obligatory "across three people-no look-grab any hand" handshake.

I wanted to thank Chris for getting me and thank Indianapolis Deputy Mayor Steve Campbell for being welcoming at the table.

President Clinton works the ropeline

Baron Hill

Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson

President Clinton greets a supporter

Monday, July 03, 2006

Five Questions with Joe Donnelly

Two years ago Joe Donnelly waged a great campaign against incumbent Chris Chocola in the Indiana's 2nd Congressional District. Despite being on the losing side of a Republican wave, Joe only lost 54%-45% in an election year that saw Indiana lose the State House, the Governor's Mansion and the Indiana 9th.

Joe's back this year and given the current climate in Indiana, the Indiana 2nd is ripe for the picking.

Joe was gracious enough to answer Five Questions...

1. Why do you want to be a Congressman?
I want to be a Congressman because we need change in Washington. I will be an independent voice who will represent the people of the 2nd district - not the wealthy oil and pharmaceutical companies that have bought our Congress and are running our country. We need leaders who will stand up for good jobs, a better prescription drug plan for our seniors, and a real energy plan that will work to drive down skyrocketing gas prices.

2. You lost to Chris Chocola 54%-45% two years ago. What has changed in the last two years that makes you confident you'll win this year?
People across the district and across the country want change. They have had enough of the Washington style pay-to-play politics and policies that benefit only the wealthiest Americans. In the last two years, we have seen more jobs leaving Indiana, more seniors struggling to pay for the prescriptions they need to stay healthy, and more families struggling to fill up their gas tanks. As average Hoosiers struggle, the GOP controlled Congress continues to prove they are out of touch. The people of this district have had enough of these policies and will elect a Congressman who represents their values. I am confident I will win in November.

3. What is the biggest thing a Congressman can do for residents in the 2nd District?
The most important thing I will be able to do in Congress is to listen to the people and vote based on what I know is right. I will stand up for Hoosier values and represent the voters of the 2nd district, not party leaders or special interests.

4. What do you think is the worst bill to come out of the House in the past term? What do you think is the best bill?

Joe's still working on this question. I gotta admit it's not the easiest off the cuff answer. I'll update it when I get the answer.

5. What has been your best experience so far in the campaign?
My experience on the campaign trail has been encouraging and rewarding. What I enjoy most is meeting voters at their doors or out in the community. This is a diverse and interesting district and I learn more about what the voters want in their representative everyday.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

News Items

Thurgood Marshall Jr has joined All America PAC as a senior advisor. Marshall, son of the legendary Supreme Court Justice, has served as a cabinet member in the Clinton administration and was legistalative director to ex-VP Al Gore. National Journal's Hotline broke the story.

Maureen Groppe of Gannett News has written a story regarding bloggers supporting Sen Bayh. So far the Louisville Courier-Journal and the Indianapolis Star have run the story. Yours truly is mentioned in the article...

And is running a poll based on how many buttons have been purchased for various candidates. Sen Bayh is running second to....... Rep Matt Santos of NBC's The West Wing. To be perfectly honest, I'd probably vote for Santos of Sen Bayh too...