Congressional Fundraising

Blue Indiana has a handy chart listing Congressional fund raising number for the quarter. Of note:

Indiana’s 2nd, 7th, and 8th appear locked up for the freshmen Democrats, Donnelly, Ellsworth, and Carson, respectively, in those seats. Their challengers have not raised any money to speak of.

Baron Hill seems to be doing very well in Indiana’s 9th with $684k on hand compared to Sodrel’s $263k.

In Indiana’s 3rd District, Mike Montagano has a disturbingly low cash on hand of $31k compared to Mark Souder’s $450k. However, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has been putting money into this race, so that might explain why his cash on hand has been allowed to get low and provide him with money to finish strong.

In Indiana’s 4th District, Nels Ackerson has put up some solid numbers, but he has his work cut out for him with $100k on hand compared to Buyer’s $800k. In fact, I received a copy of Buyer’s press release which states his intent to “own” the airwaves. We’ll see if his PAC money can buy this thing or if Ackerson has enough money to make a run for it.

Visclosky (IN-01), Burton (IN-05), and Pence (IN-06) also seem to have things locked up fairly well based on a comparison of their war chests to the money of their challengers.

IN-09: Debate Oct. 12 in Jasper

The candidates for Indiana’s 9th Congressional District will debate on October 12, 2008 at 7 p.m. EDT in Jasper, Indiana. The candidates are incumbent Democrat Baron Hill; challenger and former incumbent Republican Mike Sodrel; and Libertarian challenger Eric Schansberg.

The lede for the Evansville Courier Press story amused me a bit:

Democratic incumbent Baron Hill of Seymour, Ind., and two other candidates for Congress from Indiana’s 9th District will debate Oct. 21 in Jasper.

But, fear not, the story got around to naming the other debaters in the third paragraph.

(Says the guy with a free blog who probably butchers format and syntax every other paragraph.)

IN-09: Nice Article on Libertarian Eric Schansberg

Dale Moss, writing for the Louisville Courier Journal, has a nice write-up on Libertarian Candidate Eric Schansberg who is running in the 9th Congressional District. Schansberg is a professor of economics, blogger, libertarian, evangelical Christian, and, on occasion, even comments at these humble environs.

He is polling at 5% in his race which, at the least, means that people are more receptive to his message than they have been in the past. Electoral success is tough for third-party candidates with fewer resources than Republican and Democratic candidates. But, I think the candidacy of Schansberg and those like him are a healthy thing for our democracy because it’s one more way for ideas to get into our public discourse.

IN-09: Sodrel Lifeless, Schansberg Active

According to an article in the Louisville Courier Journal, Democratic incumbent Baron Hill is running strong. What’s more surprising is that Mike Sodrel is apparently running a lifeless campaign in this re-re-rematch. Libertarian Candidate Eric Schansberg has ads running where “Millionaire Mike” Sodrel does not.

The lone public poll in the race — by Survey USA, which uses recorded voices to ask questions — shows Hill with an 11-point lead over Sodrel. It had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.

Of the 603 likely voters surveyed Sept. 8-10, 50 percent said they planned to vote for Hill, 39 percent said Sodrel and 5 percent said Schansberg, with the rest undecided.

As a third party candidate — no matter how compelling his platform — Schansberg isn’t going to close a 40 point gap as a Third Party Candidate. (Sorry Dr. Schansberg). But, what I would love to see is for Schansberg to eat into a huge chunk of Sodrel’s base; and not so much because this would also help Hill. I want a Democratic Congress this year, but Hill isn’t my favorite Democrat. The dynamic I would like to see is for the major parties to see that libertarian principles are attractive to voters. Usually this results in a shift by one or both of the parties to co-opt those principles. We’ll never see anything like pure libertarianism — and I’ve reached a point where I realize that I personally wouldn’t want to — but a shift in that direction would be welcome. The larger the percentage Dr. Schansberg is able to rack up in this election, the less likely his positions will be ignored in future elections.

Incidentally, I’ve taken Steve Buyer to task for not debating Nels Ackerson. I have to do the same for Baron Hill who says he won’t debate until Sodrel “apologizes” for his childish antics during the transition when Hill beat Sodrel. Sounds like a pretext to me. The Ninth District deserves a debate (though, not as much as the Fourth District for whom meaningful Congressional debates have been absent for a long time.)

Hill catches flack over Memorial Day Speech

The Associated Press is reporting that a veteran’s group is unhappy with Baron Hill’s (IN-09) comments at a Memorial Day speech. Apparently the politician made remarks that the group deemed political. Specifically, he indicated confusion over Bush’s rejection of the GI bill that the Democrats pushed through Congress. The group says that they didn’t want the event to be political.

Hill, D-9th District, said at the county Veterans Council’s observance on Monday that President Bush planned to veto a new GI Bill passed by Congress. He encouraged the crowd to ask the president to let the legislation become law.

“I don’t want to make this political, but the president has said that he is going to veto this bill. For the life of me I don’t understand why,” Hill said in his speech. “And I hope that you’ll take the time, in honor of our veterans, to write to the president of the United States and ask him to change his mind.”

Congressional Matchups

The Lafayette Journal & Courier had an article a few days ago primarily focused on the upcoming match up in the 4th Congressional District between 8 term incumbent, Steve Buyer and Westfield attorney Nels Ackerson. Ackerson sports an impressive resume and the ability to raise money that might give Buyer his first serious challenge; though it’ll be tough sledding in the heavily Republican Fourth District.

Other races in Indiana will be:

IN-01: Pete Visclosky versus Mark Leyva. Hard to think Visclosky is vulnerable.
IN-02: Joe Donnelly versus Luke Puckett. I think Tony Zirkle got like 5,000 votes.
IN-03: Mark “term limits” Souder versus Mike Montagano.
IN-05: Dan Burton v. Mary Etta Ruley.
IN-06: Mike Pence v. Barry Welsh.
IN-07: Andre Carson v. John Elrod.
IN-08: Brad Ellsworth v. Greg Goode.
IN-09: Baron Hill v. Mike Sodrel. The re-re-re-match. It’s like Groundhog’s Day down there.

Indiana (and North Carolina) Primary Day: VOTE!

It’s primary day in Indiana and North Carolina. Whatever your preference*, get out and vote. It’s good to get in the habit. Here in Lafayette, turn out seemed strong. Until today, I had never waited in line to vote in an Indiana primary. I waited for 3 or 4 minutes at 6:45 a.m. this morning.

*When I typed that, I recalled Mike Kole, Libertarian, and his practice of going to the polling place, signing the book, and leaving because the primary is stacked in favor of just Republicans and Democrats. That made me think of the Blues Brothers scene:

Elwood: What kind of music do you usually have here?
Claire: Oh, we got both kinds. We got country *and* western.

I suppose primaries are kind of like that for any third party.

My footnote kind of ate up the initial post here. Still, get out and vote.

The Lafayette Journal & Courier is doing an election day notebook. As of about 2:45 p.m., about 30,000 people had voted in Tippecanoe County’s primary. I don’t know what the record is/was for the county, but according to the J&C, 1996 had about 22,500 and that was the highest primary turnout from then to now.

State Jefferson-Jackson Dinner

I’m tired, and it’s late, so this will be a short post, but I just got back from the Jefferson-Jackson dinner in Indianapolis. It was like a 7-fer for a political junkie: Evan Bayh, Lee Hamilton, Jill Long Thompson, Jim Schellinger, Hilllary Clinton, Barack Obama, and, my favorite, Howard Dean. One of my favorite lines of the night was from him, saying something to the effect of, maybe if we were keeping the money we were spending in Iraq here at home, we wouldn’t have to sell off our highways.

I was surprised at how many names I recognized on name tags. I guess if you consume the vast amount of state political media that I do, names will eventually seep in. I was particularly happy to see Dave Crooks again. He was just always very pleasant to me when I was a rookie staffer at the Legislative Services Agency. I also exchanged a few words with Baron Hill, Joe Donnelly, Russ Stilwell, and the brother and father of Michael Montagno.

My name tag was misspelled “Mason” instead of “Masson,” but even that was a little funny since the woman who handed me my name tag recognized my name from the blog and apologized for the typo. On a number of occasions, folks would indicate some familiarity with this site, and it was always vaguely surprising. I went with “T” who comments in these parts. His wife accused me of blushing whenever someone would mention the site. I’m not sure I went that far, but I’m a little self-deprecating by nature; so, I’m never quite sure how to handle the odd compliment.

Anyway, it was a lot of fun. Hopefully Amy can salvage some of the pictures I took. I suspect most of them are backs of heads and a speck of a speaker off in the distance.

Update Not much of an update, but I noticed that I forgot to thank Chris Coyle with Indiana Progressives who got me a ticket to the dinner.


The Courier Press is reporting that the 4 year old daughter of a 9th District Congressional Candidate was killed after being struck by a car in a parking lot. Demiah Bottorff, daughter of John Bottorff, was walking with her family in the parking lot of a K-mart in Jasper, Indiana. Jerome Kline, an 89 year old man, had pulled out of the space but then started forward without adjusting his course.

Klein then became confused and accelerated instead of braking, striking Demiah. Klein’s 2002 Ford Taurus reportedly then struck a parked vehicle and continued forward over a concrete slab, hitting another parked vehicle and sideswiping a concrete post.

Just horrible. I can’t even imagine what that must be like for the Bottorff family.