Elections & Politics

K. Latham / https://www.flickr.com/photos/programwitch/

The ACLU says an Indiana law barring voters from taking pictures of their ballot in the voting booth violates the First Amendment, but the state is countering that the legislature is trying to prevent voter fraud. 

Each side presented their arguments in a federal court hearing Tuesday.

The state offered several potential problems the so-called “ballot selfie” law seeks to prevent: taking photos of one’s ballot could help facilitate buying and selling votes.  Barring pictures of a ballot could also help prevent voter intimidation and coercion. 

Todd Rokita / http://rokita.house.gov/serving-you

Indiana Congressman Todd Rokita (R-4th) predicts the chaos surrounding the election of a new House speaker will benefit Congress in the long run.

The government runs out of spending authority December 11 and is also approaching its debt ceiling, but Rokita notes outgoing Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has said he'll stay on the job until a replacement is chosen.

Hamilton County Proposes Voter Check-in Via iPads

Oct 12, 2015
Leon Lee / https://www.flickr.com/photos/leondel/5745569156

Hamilton County may join the growing number of Indiana counties that use iPad check-ins for voters at their polling places.

Elections Administrator Kathy Richardson – who’s also a state representative -- says a total of about 20 counties, including Allen and Lake, already use or are planning to employ so-called "electronic poll pads." Voters sign in by swiping their drivers licenses.

Richardson says the pad system - which needs Hamilton County Council approval - would speed up the process.

House GOP / https://www.flickr.com/photos/republicanconference/9412207764

Sixth District Congressman Luke Messer says John Boehner's successor as House speaker needs to find a way to unite Republicans.

Messer acknowledges the present GOP is a “divided party.”  He says House Republicans need to focus on balancing the budget, boosting the economy and opposing what he calls "overreach" by President Obama.

Tom Sugar Facebook

Former Evan Bayh chief of staff Tom Sugar will not run for governor.

Sugar had been flirting with a bid for the Democratic nomination, to be centered on the issue of redistricting reform. Sugar founded the nonprofit Lead or Leave to campaign for independently drawn districts, and is serving on a legislative study committee reviewing the issue.

Joe Gratz / https://www.flickr.com/photos/joegratz/

Marion County’s system of electing judges has been deemed illegal after a federal appeals court ruling; which leaves the unanswered question of what will replace it.

Last week the appeals court unanimously ruled the system denied voters a genuine choice.

For 40 years, Marion County has allowed Democrats and Republicans to nominate half the year's Superior Court candidates to all but ensure an evenly split bench. The major-party slates have not been challenged by a third-party candidate since 2002.

Republican Candidate Enters State Superintendent Race

Sep 15, 2015
Dawn Wooten / http://www.dawnwooten2016.com/home.html

Republicans have their first candidate for state school superintendent in next year's election.

Dawn Wooten is an adjunct English instructor at IPFW, Indiana Tech and the University of Saint Francis. She accuses Democratic incumbent Glenda Ritz and the Department of Education of failing to reach out to local schools to address concerns about testing, discipline and academic standards.

Jack Sandlin / http://www.jacksandlin.net/

An Indianapolis city-county councilor is the first entry into the race for an open state Senate seat.

Republican Jack Sandlin is emphasizing his two decades with the Indianapolis Police Department, including a stint as deputy chief. He says he can bring an important perspective to debates over how to control spiraling meth and heroin traffic.

Sandlin says the state needs to go after heroin suppliers while making it easier for users to get treatment. He says the latter has too often been neglected.

Indiana Public Media / https://www.flickr.com/photos/wfiupublicradio/8409284742

The Democratic races for president and for governor have clear frontrunners -- and prominent candidates considering late entries into the race.

John Gregg's strength pushed two rival candidates out of the race for governor, but two more, former Evan Bayh chief of staff Tom Sugar and Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott Jr., are considering jumping in.

IPFW political scientist Andy Downs says it's not too late, but the real deadline is a month or two before the official one of Feb. 5. He says a candidate with good donor access could still catch up to Gregg's $1.8 million war chest.

Boston Public Library / https://www.flickr.com/photos/boston_public_library/8094088202

Donald Trump would be the first presidential nominee with no political or military experience since the last Hoosier nominee.

Elwood native Wendell Willkie was a utility executive who'd gained national prominence through his clashes with President Franklin Roosevelt over the Tennessee Valley Authority.

At the 1940 Republican convention, spectators roared their support for Willkie, and a grassroots campaign of thousands of "Win With Willkie" telegrams vaulted Willkie into the lead on the fourth ballot. He clinched the nomination two ballots later.

Tom Dermody / http://www.indianahouserepublicans.com/members/leadership/tom-dermody

The chairman of one of the most powerful committees at the statehouse won't run for a sixth term next year.

House Public Policy Chairman Tom Dermody (R-LaPorte) says Republicans have talked to him about other offices, and doesn't rule it out in the future. But he says it's time to step aside for now after 10 years, especially since his son will be a senior in high school next year.

Former Indiana Judge Seeks Attorney General Bid

Aug 19, 2015
Judge Lorenzo Arredondo Justice Center / http://arredondojusticecenter.org/photo-gallery/

A former judge from Northwest Indiana is seeking the Democratic nomination for attorney general. 

Judge Lorenzo Arredondo was a Lake County circuit court judge for more than three decades. He was also the first Latino judge elected in the state of Indiana and the longest serving elected Latino state trial judge in the U.S. when he retired in 2010.

Arrendondo hasn’t made an official campaign announcement but has filed the paperwork to form a campaign committee.

Karen Tallian Out Of Governor's Race

Aug 18, 2015
Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

A second Democratic candidate is leaving the 2016 Indiana governor’s race.  In a statement released Monday, State Sen. Karen Tallian (D-Portage) says she is withdrawing and now supports John Gregg. Gregg was the 2012 Democratic gubernatorial nominee and is the only announced candidate left in the race.

In an interview with Indiana Public Broadcasting earlier this year, Tallian said because her senate seat wasn’t up for election in 2016, she could make a run for governor with “nothing to lose.” 

John Dickerson campaign

Indiana’s U.S. Senate race to replace Dan Coats will feature two contested primaries next spring after a longtime advocate for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities announced Saturday he will join the Democratic primary.

John Dickerson says he was first urged to run months ago by longtime friend and former Lieutenant Governor Kathy Davis, before Dan Coats had even decided to retire. 

Hammond Mayor Considering Challenging John Gregg

Aug 11, 2015
City of Hammond

One potential candidate for governor needs to get through this year's elections first.

Thomas McDermott, Jr. hasn't been mentioned much in gubernatorial discussions since announcing he'd run for a fourth term as mayor of Hammond. But he never ruled out back-to-back races, and says he's still pondering what his next political step should be.

McDermott had said he wouldn't run if one of the candidates already running took firm control of the race.