Oh-Eight Money Race: Share It Fairly, But Don't Take A Slice Of My Pie

Fistmoney The South Bend Tribune's Ed Ronco takes a look at the mother's milk of politics in the gubernatorial race:

"The idealist in each of us would like to think that a good person can get elected to high political office based on ideas alone.

"But the reality of the situation is that it takes money, and lately, lots of it.

"A Tribune analysis of 2007 campaign contribution records showed Gov. Mitch Daniels slightly behind Democratic contender Jim Schellinger in St. Joseph and LaPorte counties last year, but Daniels is ahead in Elkhart and Marshall counties.

"And a political science professor has a warning: Don't think the money talks for itself. There's a lot of nuance in campaign financing, he says.

"Daniels is far ahead where actual dollars are concerned. The Indianapolis Republican received more than $4 million in campaign contributions during 2007, and at last report, had $6.8 million on hand. But his campaign committee also has been around since before the 2004 election./p>

"Democratic contender Jim Schellinger, whose campaign committee formed in March, raised $1.7 million in 2007 and had $1.8 million on hand at last report.

"Democrat Jill Long Thompson, a former member of Congress from Argos whose campaign committee formed in July, raised $285,000 in 2007. The money comes from eight separate contributions, including $200,000 from the Service Employees International Union. Her campaign had more than $437,000 on hand at last report.

"State Senate Minority Leader Richard Young Jr. abandoned his bid for the state's top job in October, but not before raising $68,987. At last report, the campaign had $31,993 on hand."

Stepping Out: Young Withdraws, Calls Guv's Political Style "Dictatorial"

Richardyoung_2Indiana Senate Minority Leader Richard Young officially withdrew from next year's gubernatorial race at a Statehouse press conference this morning. You can read the full-text of his speech after the jump.

Young delivered a solid speech about his reasons for getting into -- and subsequently out of -- the race. From a political standpoint, he did not endorse either of the two remaining candidates and said he would use any funds left from his gubernatorial bid to help elect Democrats across the state.

WRTV's Norman Cox shares his thoughts here.

WISH-TV's Jim Shella filed this noon story.

You can read the Niki Kelly's update for the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette here.

And Bryan Corbin of the Evansville Courier & Press pens this piece.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jill Long Thompson released this statement about Young's decision:

"I want to publicly thank and commend Senator Richard Young for the grace with which he conducted his campaign. Senator Young is a first-rate public servant and an honorable and gentle man. I enjoyed getting to know the Senator and his wife Ashira over the past several months. He brought to the campaign an important point of view and a commitment to making Indiana better. We share much, most importantly our mutual determination to put Indiana back on the right track. I intend to stay in touch with Senator Young and seek his advice throughout the campaign."

Continue reading "Stepping Out: Young Withdraws, Calls Guv's Political Style "Dictatorial"" »

Guv's Race: Young Expected To Withdraw From Oh-Eight Contest Today

RichardyoungdoxieState Sen. Richard Young is expected to bow out of the gubernatorial race this morning:

"State Sen. Richard Young of Milltown, a candidate for next year's Democratic nomination for Indiana governor, has called a news conference for this morning and is expected to leave the race.

"Young, 'will make a statement regarding his campaign for governor,' according to a campaign advisory for the Statehouse news conference this morning.

"A source close to Young, speaking not for attribution, said this morning that the senator is ending the campaign."

If you had the chance to talk to Young about his candidacy over the past year, you'd know there wasn't an ounce of ego in his bid for the state's top job. He truly believes we can do better -- and that we deserve real leadership, not the stubborn brand of arm-twisting and arrogance that's come out of Room 206 since His Mitchiness took over.

Young -- along with his wife, Ashira -- should be applauded for traveling the state and listening to Hoosiers express their frustrations with state government and their vision for our future. He's a great asset at the Statehouse, and TDW wishes him the best as he continues his career of public service.

P.S. Dachshund owners are awesome.

A Poll Is A Poll Is A Poll: Pros Reflect On WISH-TV Guv's Race Numbers

DonkeyphantMike Smith of the Associated Press dissects the WISH-TV gubernatorial poll numbers in his weekly take from the Statehouse:

"Robert Dion, a professor of American politics at the University of Evansville, said one could view those ratings either way. But he did suggest that the results show that Daniels 'has some work to do.'

"'Mitch Daniels might view the results as a wake-up call, and Democrats can look at it as an opportunity, that it's not an unwinnable race, but you wouldn't want to overstate the results,' Dion said.

"Dion said Daniels likely stirred some opposition by his aggressive style of seeking big changes, such as leasing the Indiana Toll Road and getting statewide daylight saving time enacted. Daniels said he didn't put much stock in polls but acknowledged that there is a faction of Hoosiers who don't like change.

"Dion and Brian Vargus -- a political science professor at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis who used to conduct political polls there -- both noted that Long Thompson enjoyed the most name recognition among Democrats so far. She was a congresswoman in northeastern Indiana from 1989 to 1995, and was in a high-profile congressional race in northern Indiana in 2002."

State For Sale: Guv's Plan To Privatize Indiana Will Be Hot 2008 Topic

Saletag The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette's editorial page takes a look at the issue of state government privatization and all the things the Guv has either sold off or tried to sell off since taking office:

"On his third day in office, Gov. Mitch Daniels told reporters his administration would conduct an inventory of state assets and consider holding a 'very large garage sale.' He slapped his first big 'for sale or lease' tag on the Indiana Toll Road.

"Sales, leases, contracts and proposals have followed ever since. Welfare services, prison contracts, the Hoosier Lottery – you name it, it has most likely been appraised and considered for outsourcing or an outright sale.

"If privatization wasn't a campaign issue in 2004, rest assured it will be in 2008. Jill Long Thompson, a candidate for the Democratic nomination for governor, has directed some of her first attacks on the governor's privatization efforts:

"'It is nothing more than a quick fix in which a handful of out-of-state and foreign investors are getting a better deal than the public is getting in return,' she said in announcing her candidacy. 'We know that with another four years, this administration would push to sell off additional Indiana resources and assets, such as public parks and roads.'"

Reflection Time: A Few More Thoughts On The WISH-TV Guv's Race Poll

ThoughtbubbleAnd now, a few more thoughts on the WISH-TV gubernatorial poll numbers, which some of you may have seen published or broadcast in this form:

"A majority of people surveyed in a statewide poll released Wednesday like the job Republican Mitch Daniels is doing as Indiana's governor, but that doesn't necessarily mean they would vote for him.

"A total of 79 percent of those surveyed in a WISH-TV Indiana Poll rated Daniels' performance as fair, good or excellent. Thirty-seven percent rated his performance as good, while 34 percent rated it fair and 8 percent said it was excellent. Thirteen percent characterized his performance as poor and 8 percent were unsure.

"However, when asked if they would vote to re-elect Daniels if the election were held today, nearly as many said they would vote to replace him (37 percent) as to re-elect him (39 percent). That difference was within the poll's margin of error of 3.5 percentage points. Another 21 percent said they would consider voting for another candidate, while 3 percent were not sure.

"The survey sample was 43 percent Republican, 34 percent Democrat and 23 percent other."

First things first: If you spend any time whatsoever parsing polls, you know that the lede on this story isn't really accurate. Both the Guv's approval rating (45 percent) and his re-elect number (39 percent) are under 50 percent, which means less than a majority like the job he's doing, and less than a majority would vote for him if the election took place today.

(Typically, "excellent" and "good" get lumped together for the positive number, while "fair" and "poor" get lumped together for the negative number.)

Also important to note is that only 8 percent of people think the Guv's doing an awesome job. In contrast, 13 percent think he's performing poorly.

Now, many of you glossed right over the extremely good news -- the Guv's low, low numbers -- and started bickering about the primary numbers.

As you know, TDW, both as the blogmistress and in real life, is like Switzerland in the gubernatorial and presidential primaries, but here are a few things to consider as you non-neutral types arm yourselves with this polling data.

First, this was not an informed primary survey, meaning respondents were only given the names of the three declared candidates and asked to make a choice. (If WISH-TV had focused specifically on the gubernatorial race, the poll might have included a brief description of each candidate's background and then asked people to pick. But likely because WISH-TV is not made of money, and this poll covered a number of areas and included two oversamples, this is what we have to work with.)

Along those lines, bear in mind that unless you live under a rock -- and chances are you don't if you (a) have a phone; and (b) took the time to take this poll -- you know who Mitch Daniels is. And you have a moderately to strongly opinionated view of him and his first three years in office.

When it comes to the three Democratic candidates, if you live in Northern Indiana, you may have heard of former U.S. Rep. Jill Long Thompson. If you live in Southeastern Indiana, you may have heard of Senate Minority Leader Richard Young. And if you live in Central Indiana, you may have heard of architect Jim Schellinger.

None of the trio has spent any money on paid media to date.

Which brings us to the head-to-head question pairing up Thompson and the Guv -- and the fact that we have no idea how Young or Schellinger would fare in a similar comparison.

What we do know is that Thompson is within eight points in this poll. That's good news because it shows a Democratic challenger within striking distance. And we should all be happy about that.

But at the end of the day, there are still a lot of unknowns out there, and it's impossible to predict what will happen when the Democrats in the race start spending money to publicly define themselves.

Now, for those of you who hate the idea of money in politics, sorry, but we won't win this race without it. You need look no further than the Guv's campaign report and supplemental filings to see that he's going to have plenty on hand to spruce up his image ("We've made tough choices, but we're moving in the right direction.") and create a new message ("Stand with me for another four years of progress.").

The Guv's campaign team is much weaker than it was the first time around, and he'll have three years of unpopular, poorly crafted policies on his record, but it would be a huge mistake to underestimate him, despite what these numbers show.

As we move forward, let's keep our eye on the prize: winning back the office and charting a better course for our state. Next November, someone is going to be well positioned opposite the Guv on the ballot, and that someone is going to need all of our support to get the job done. Let's limit our criticism to the guy who's been effing up our state since he took over in early 2005. Mmmkay?

Damage Control: WISH-TV Poll Shows Guv's Re-Elect, Approval In The Toilet

Thumbsdown_2 With re-elect and approval numbers like these, it's entirely possible that TDW could run against the Guv and win.

Okay, just kidding. Your friendly neighborhood blogmistress isn't old enough to run for the state's top job.

Even more than a year out, this is bad news for an incumbent who's made a habit of pissing off and on political allies and enemies alike.

They say it's trouble when your numbers dip below 50 percent, and the Guv's re-elect is at 39 percent. That number dips even lower in the Indianapolis metropolitan market, where he's counted on beaucoup support in the past. (Quick! Order up a few more roundabouts!)

TDW is heading out the door to celebrate Mom TDW's birthday. Do your thing.

Floundering Support: WISH-TV Poll Spells Trouble For Guv's Oh-Eight Bid

DanielscornWISH-TV's Jim Shella offers a preview on his blog of the poll numbers he'll be presenting tonight with respect to next year's gubernatorial race:

"Mitch Daniels is vulnerable as he begins his bid for re-election in 2008.

"That's the bottom line on findings in the WISH-TV Indiana Poll that will be presented on 24 Hour News 8 at six.

"His approval rating is below 50 and so is his automatic re-elect number. We'll also have horse race numbers for the Democratic primary and a first look at a fall matchup."

Couple that with the finding that one out of five Hoosiers blames the Guv for the property tax mess (that number goes even higher when you include those who point fingers at the Guv's Department of Local Government Finance), and you've got yourself a recipe for one helluva race next year.

This may be one corner His Mitchiness can't folksy his way out of.

Keeping Tabs: Some Press For Thompson And A 2008 Money Update

Jilllongthompson_2On the gubernatorial front, Democratic challenger Jill Long Thompson gets some ink in the Warsaw Times-Union for a recent stop there:

"Indiana Governor candidate Jill Long Thompson spoke on economic development, privatization, property taxes and education during Saturday night's Democrat Hall of Fame dinner.

"Approximately 50 Democrats attended the dinner at Bogey's Restaurant, Rozella Ford Golf Club, Warsaw.

"Long Thompson, 54, a Whitley County native, said she is running to lead Indiana in a new direction.

"'I am running for governor to foster economic development and provide new leadership to grow our economy,' Long Thompson said."

Thompson also spoke on Monday night in Grant County, according to this Marion Chronicle-Tribune piece:

"Sending Indiana in a new direction was the focus of a speech Monday night given by 2008 Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jill Long Thompson.

"'If you don't have a good tax structure and you don't have the right leadership at the state level, you can't create jobs,' Thompson said."

On the money front, Thompson filed a $10,000 supplemental yesterday; the individual contribution came from Barbara Lee in Cambridge, Mass.

Jim Schellinger, who picked up another UAW endorsement and a $5,000 check last week, also reported $10,000 from the Iron Workers Local in Hammond late last month.

Senate Minority Leader Richard Young has not posted any supplemental filings since June.

You can check out the Guv's latest big money donations here. Not unexpectedly, there are quite a few.

Rumor Doesn't Have It: Young Says He's "Working Hard, Raising Money"

RichardyoungdoxieWISH-TV's Jim Shella, via his blog, reports and kills a rumor that State Sen. Richard Young is backing out of the oh-eight gubernatorial race:

"Sen. Richard Young recently made a personal request to speak at the Marion County Democratic Chairman's Club monthly meeting and then sent a surrogate to speak on his behalf. The change came without prior notice.

"That fueled speculation that Young's campaign for governor may fold soon.

"Reached by phone this afternoon Young sought to quell the speculation. Young, who said he was on the way from a speech in Marion to an appearance in Rockport, said he is 'working hard, raising money.'"

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