Political Notebook

  • GOP treasurer candidate leaving state post
    Republican State Treasurer candidate Kelly Mitchell is leaving her position Friday as director of TrustINdiana in order to focus more time on her campaign.
  • GOP finds Bayh, Hogsett, unrecognizable
    Indiana Republicans recently sent their intern out to have a little fun with the possible candidacies of Democrats Joe Hogsett for Indianapolis mayor and Evan Bayh for governor.
  • Hamilton honored by ex-Congress group
    Lee Hamilton recently received the 2014 Distinguished Service Award of the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress.
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Pence clarifies goals for legislative session

– Gov. Mike Pence invited reporters to his office Wednesday to define his leadership style and clarify his legislative agenda.

The move came after House Democratic Leader Scott Pelath last week criticized him for not being out front on issues and general confusion inside the Statehouse on what bills the governor’s office was pushing.

Pence updated his “Roadmap for Indiana” on Wednesday, including listing bills that contain key priorities. This includes bills to expand school vouchers, to establish regional works councils, to address dropout prevention and to increase college affordability.

His biggest priority – cutting the state income tax – is in budget negotiations.

“I am not legislator in chief,” Pence said. “My view of executive leadership is to cast a vision, articulate goals and prioritize policies to advance the goals.”

He said he will focus on jobs and a few other items.

“There are a broad range of legislative initiatives we won’t have much to say about unless they get to that desk,” Pence said, pointing to his Statehouse desk.

For instance, he has no position on a bill moving to aid the gambling industry or an effort to repeal Indiana’s involvement with states that follow Common Core education standards.

Pence does have to weigh in eventually when he must decide whether to accept or veto bills.

Early bird gets cash

It apparently is never too soon for a political candidate to start raising money for his next race.

Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., has reported the collection of nearly $90,000 in campaign contributions in the last 35 days of 2012.

Donnelly, who won his seat in November, won’t run for re-election until 2018.

Donnelly’s money total is less than what Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., reported raising in the 39 days after his election in 2010 to Indiana’s other Senate seat. Coats received more that $120,000 in contributions, according to a report filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Donnelly’s predecessor, Republican Sen. Richard Lugar, raised a mere $35 in the last five weeks of 2006. He had been unopposed for re-election to a sixth term that year.

Coats’ predecessor, Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh, attracted $9,250 in the last 39 days of 2004, after his election to a second term.

Donnelly’s most recent report shows he received about $64,000 from political action committees in the final weeks of last year. Much of that money came from energy and medical interests.

By comparison, Coats received more than $113,000 in PAC donations from a variety of business interests in the last weeks of 2010.

In all, Coats has raised more than $501,000 in campaign contributions two years into his six-year term, according to his latest FEC report. He has almost $242,000 in cash on hand. Donnelly reported $94,000 in available cash.

Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-3rd, who next stands for re-election in 2014, collected about $1,200 in campaign contributions in the last weeks of 2012. He has nearly $159,000 in cash on hand.

Lugar hits the circuit

Former U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., will make his first public speech since leaving office when he appears Tuesday at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy in Durham, N.C.

The Republican from Indianapolis will speak about the country’s divisive political climate, according to his spokesman. His speech can be viewed online at www.ustream.tv/Duke-University.

Lugar left the Senate on Jan. 3 after a 36-year career on Capitol Hill. He lost last year’s Republican primary election to State Treasurer Richard Mourdock, who was defeated in the general election by then-Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-2nd.

To reach Political Notebook by email, contact Brian Francisco at bfrancisco@jg.net or Niki Kelly at nkelly@jg.net. An expanded Political Notebook can also be found as a daily blog at www.journalgazette.net/politicalnotebook.

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