Posts Tagged ‘Indiana’s 2nd Congressional district’

Donnelly and Puckett to debate twice

October 8, 2008

from the Kokomo Tribune:

Donnelly, a Democrat who represents Kokomo, will debate Puckett, a Republican, in a studio at WNDU-TV in South Bend Oct. 25. A station anchor will moderate. Representatives of WNDU, the St. Joseph County League of Women Voters and Indiana University South Bend will ask questions of the candidates.

The next debate will be held at Rochester High School Oct. 29. Sponsored by the Rochester Sentinel, it will be moderated by a high school student.


Puckett’s campaign manager resigns

September 4, 2008

from WSBT:

The Donnelly campaign declined to comment on Bailey’s resignation.

Bailey said he resigned because of concerns about his health and the amount of time he is focusing on his family.

“I went to the doctor last week, and after hearing a description of my lifestyle, the hours, the eating habits, and the stress of it all, the doctor told me that I was working my way right up the political ladder to an early grave,” Bailey wrote in an e-mail to The Tribune.

But the main reason had to do with family, he said. Bailey’s sister is a volleyball player at Lynn University in Florida, and she called him Saturday after playing in her first collegiate game, which the team won.

“This was one of the biggest days of her entire life, I forgot about it, she called to tell me about it, and I wasn’t able to take her call because I was on a conference call,” he wrote in his e-mail. “I felt less than an inch tall, it and it hit me like a ton of bricks. After I listened to her message, I knew I was going to resign.”

Bailey’s resignation makes him the second Puckett campaign staff member to step down suddenly. Treasurer Art Willis resigned Aug. 18 after errors in bookkeeping resulted in multiple overdraft charges to the campaign from Lake City Bank.

Bailey left of his own will and on great terms, Puckett said.

“I feel like I’m losing my right arm right now and losing my brother that I traveled all over the district with,” Puckett said. “This is a tough one.”

Until further notice, campaign Chairman Juan Manigault will also step into the manager’s role, Puckett said.

RealClearPolitics on Indiana’s 2nd District race

July 23, 2008

from RealClearPolitics:

Indiana 02: Freshman Joe Donnelly has one of the more conservative voting records in the Democratic caucus, and his chances of keeping this northern Indiana district are mounting. Donnelly raised $248,000 in the Second Quarter and had $993,000 on hand, while his Republican challenger, businessman Luke Puckett, has yet to even file his report (A pre-primary report for Puckett showed he’d raised just $33,000 and given himself $150,000). Puckett is one of the GOP challengers headed to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and if he can make oil exploration an issue, he may stay competitive.

Donnelly breaks with mainstream Dems (again)

June 15, 2008

(from the South Bend Tribune with bold type by DW)

Article published Jun 15, 2008
Hoosier Blue Dogs don’t heel on command

Tribune Columnist

As the fate of a $3.1 trillion budget proposal was hanging in the balance, Congressman Joe Donnelly was hanging out in the House gallery.

But it wasn’t dereliction of duty. The Democrat from Granger, who represents Indiana’s 2nd District, already had voted “no,” doing his duty as he sees it to be a Blue Dog with a bite.

As House members continued voting on the floor below, the running tabulation showed that the budget measure backed by the Democratic leadership was in trouble. All Republicans were voting against it. And Donnelly wasn’t the only Democrat belonging to the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition to vote “no.”

The two other freshman Democrats from Indiana elected in 2006, Reps. Baron Hill and Brad Ellsworth, also Blue Dogs, also voted “no.”

Since Donnelly was next to me in the gallery, explaining some of the drama down on the floor, I asked an obvious question: “If Nancy Pelosi needs one more vote, would you switch?””No,” Donnelly said. “That’s why I’m up here,” he added, laughing.

Not really. There are other “safe” places. But the floor, as the final tally approaches in a close and crucial vote, is not one of them for any member viewed as possibly susceptible to arm-twisting or offers from either side.

Actually, Donnelly said, the leadership knew he was voting “no” and wouldn’t switch.

Final tally: 214-210 for passage.

House Speaker Pelosi and the rest of the Democratic leadership did gain support of a majority of the Blue Dogs, a necessity to avoid defeat of the budget plan, a plan that already had survived a close Senate vote. An analysis by the Capitol Hill publication Roll Call found that of the 47 members of the Blue Dog Coalition, only nine voted against the budget — only the three Indiana members and six others. In all, 14 Democratic House members voted in opposition.

Roll Call also pointed out that all three of the Democrats elected in recent special elections in what had been regarded as “safe” Republican districts voted “no.”

This brings up a trend that could have profound effect on what Congress could or would pass after the election this fall, no matter whether there is a President Obama or a President McCain.

Increasing Democratic membership in the House — with projections for more increases this fall — is coming through election of moderate Democrats with fiscally conservative views in districts where Republican incumbents have lost favor.

Congressman Rahm Emanuel, the Illinois Democrat who masterminded the successful ’06 effort to gain a House majority, knew that targeted GOP incumbents in districts with basically moderate voter makeup, though vulnerable, still would likely beat a liberal challenger.Thus there came the successful challenges by Donnelly, Hill and Ellsworth, moderates who defeated Republican incumbents in Indiana, and similar results elsewhere.

The three Hoosiers and other freshmen Democrats joined and strengthened the Blue Dogs. They often bark loudly, sometimes forcing a change in course by Pelosi and the rest of a leadership that would prefer to lead in a more liberal direction.

Some of the Blue Dogs who voted for the budget plan, which also maps spending priorities for the next five years, thought their barking had forced improvements. More pay-as-you-go provisions. More emphasis on an eventual balanced budget. And the promise of hearings on the looming problems of Social Security and Medicare.

Others still thought it was necessary to bite, to vote “no” because of the spending and deficit levels, and the avoidance of decisions on changes in taxation, Medicare and Social Security.

All Republicans voted “no,” reflecting their position in the minority, even though most had voted “yes” for huge deficits accumulated by the Bush administration while they controlled Congress. The president had proposed a $3.1 trillion budget, but with some different priorities.The Blue Dogs are in the tradition of congressional coalitions with colorful monikers. Their coalition was formed after Republicans gained control of both houses of Congress in the 1994 elections.

According to the group’s Web site, founders were mostly from the South and picked the name with sarcastic reference to “the South’s longtime description of a party loyalist as one who would vote for a yellow dog if it were on the ballot as a Democrat.” But the color blue was chosen because they felt that moderate-to-conservative views had been “choked blue” by their party leading up to the 1994 defeats.

Pelosi sent no party whip to the gallery to have Donnelly “choked blue.” Even with his “no” vote, he is a valued member of the majority. After all, there wouldn’t be a Democratic majority without the Blue Dogs and other Democrats who are moderate due to personal inclinations or political considerations or both.

Donnelly (again) plays to the Right on ANWR

June 13, 2008

(The article was originally published in the South Bend Tribune)

Article published Jun 13, 2008
Candidate Puckett to visit ANWR
Republican wants U.S. to drill for oil in Alaskan refuge.

Tribune Staff Writer

SOUTH BEND — Republican congressional candidate Luke Puckett will travel to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska next month to advocate for oil exploration there.

Puckett, who is challenging U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-Granger, will travel with four other congressional candidates, including former U.S. Rep. Mike Sodrel, R-Ind., who is running for the 9th District seat in southern Indiana.

He also will be joined by candidates from Pennsylvania, South Dakota and Wisconsin. The trip is scheduled for July 14-17.

Drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, or ANWR, has been the subject of debate for years, renewed recently by soaring gasoline prices that recently topped $4 per gallon.

Puckett and other proponents of drilling in the reserve, which is located in the northeastern-most corner of Alaska, say it would add more oil to the market and lower prices.Critics of drilling in ANWR, such as the Sierra Club and environmental groups, say it will disrupt the sensitive environment there, and that any benefits would take decades to realize.

The Republican candidates will visit Prudhoe Bay, where British Petroleum and other oil companies partner to operate the largest oil field in North America.

Then the delegation will travel, likely by helicopter, into ANWR for a look around, Puckett said.

“The whole goal of the trip is to simply go and fact-find,” he said. “Just how much is there? We’ve heard people say 16 billion barrels of oil are waiting for us there.”

Puckett has criticized Donnelly for votes he says have prevented exploration for oil in ANWR, including a vote in June 2007 to prohibit domestic oil and gas exploration.“Last year, Joe voted with a bipartisan majority to maintain the moratorium on drilling on the outer continental shelf, but with $4 a gallon gas, the situation is different,” said Andrew Lattanner, Donnelly’s campaign manager, in an interview June 5. “And the congressman recognizes that we need to look at all our options, and one of those options is looking at the outer continental shelf.”

Donnelly has said he would favor exploring ANWR if the drilling was done responsibly and in conjunction with other measures to help lower the price of fuel and increase energy efficiency, such as exploring biofuels or wind and solar power.

Puckett, meanwhile, said Donnelly’s change of mind on the vote was “political expediency.” He also reiterated an offer to take Donnelly on the trip to ANWR.

It’s an offer Donnelly’s not interested in, his campaign manager said.

ND College Republicans push Donnelly on oil drilling, Patriot Act; Donnelly reassures the Right he’s with them

June 7, 2008

(from the South Bend Tribune)

Article published Jun 6, 2008
Group to Donnelly: Back drilling
Representative’s campaign says he does — as part of a larger solution.

Tribune Staff Writer

SOUTH BEND — A group of college Republicans wants U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly to “change his stance” and support domestic oil exploration.

But Donnelly’s campaign manager says the first-term Democrat is all for responsible domestic exploration — as long as it’s one part of a larger approach to energy independence that has to include other, more sustainable measures, too.

The Notre Dame College Republicans, including two people dressed as a dolphin and a caribou, presented a petition to Donnelly’s district director, Hodge Patel, for Donnelly to consider signing.

The so-called “American Solutions” petition calls on Congress to authorize exploration of “proven energy reserves.”

Translation: It’s asking Congress to allow more off-shore drilling and oil exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, or ANWR. Proponents think doing so would help lower the nearly $4 per gallon price of gas.Edward Yap, president of the Notre Dame College Republicans, said the price of fuel is a big issue for college students.

“We wanted to focus on ANWR and domestic drilling,” he said. “The last time I filled up my tank, it was $50.” Yap drives a 1998 Volvo sedan.

The College Republicans’ position echoes that of Donnelly’s fall opponent, Luke Puckett, who also has called on Donnelly to sign the petition.

Yap, the president of the college Republicans, is helping with the Puckett campaign. And Puckett’s campaign manager, Kyle Bailey, as well as Brian Sikma, the campaign’s deputy communications director, helped gather signatures for the petition Thursday in downtown South Bend.

And Donnelly’s position on domestic exploration for oil is clear, said Andrew Lattanner, his campaign manager.”In terms of drilling, with $4-per-gallon gas, Joe believes it’s absolutely necessary that we look at all our options, and one of those options is responsible exploration in the outer continental shelf, and in addition to that, he’s also in favor of increased oil production from shale on federal lands and he would support responsible exploration of oil reserves in ANWR,” Lattanner said.

But it’s important that the solution include many options, Lattanner said.

“We need a solution that involves all our options, whether that’s in additional exploration, biofuels, conservation, wind, solar — everything’s on the table,” Lattanner said. “There are good ideas on both sides of the aisle.”


The College Republicans also attacked Donnelly’s votes on extending the Protect America Act, which is part of the larger Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.Yap declined to answer further policy questions beyond what was on the group’s press release, which accuses Donnelly of a “flip-flop” on the issue (thus the person in the dolphin suit — it’s a “Flipper” joke).

But Donnelly actually supports the surveillance act.

He broke with House Democrats and voted to allow consideration of a 21-day extension of the act until a more lasting deal could be negotiated.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., recessed the chamber before a vote could occur.

“I support updating and extending the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act,” Donnelly told The Tribune in late February, when Puckett criticized his votes. “On January 13, two days before the latest iteration (version) of the FISA law lapsed, I voted for a 21-day extension of that same law. I stand ready to vote for another extension or a permanent new FISA law.”

(bold type by Donnelly Watch)

Donnelly still an undecided superdelegate…

May 8, 2008

(from WNDU)

Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are waiting to see whether those undecided superdelegates will end up in their corners.

One of those superdelegates is Congressman Joe Donnelly.

In a statement released on Wednesday, Donnelly says: “I have not yet endorsed either candidate who is seeking the Democratic nomination. I do not know on what date I will endorse, but when I do, I will back the candidate I think would make the best president.”

Meantime, NewsCenter 16 spoke with Donnelly Tuesday night about his superdelegate status.

“To be honest with you, I’m still at the Capitol. We just finished up our last vote. So I’m working on a couple things in the office and I’m a lot more focused on my congressional duties than on the presidential election,” explained Donnelly.

Puckett wins; Zirkle gets thousands of votes

May 7, 2008

It will be interesting to see how many thousands of Democratic voters chose not to cast vote for incumbent Rep. Joe Donnelly who ran unopposed for the Democratic nomination. Certainly, some of this “under vote” can be attributed to Limbaugh’s “Operation:Chaos” that had Republicans voting in the Democratic Primary for Hillary Clinton in order to prolong the Dems’ nomination process and, at least theoretically, damage the party’s chances of winning the White House in November.

However, it is reasonable to consider the possibility that many Democratic voters just couldn’t bring themselves to vote for Donnelly who has disappointed so many with his voting record that has undermined his party’s ability to move forward with vital legislative action on issues ranging from the War in Iraq to comprehensive immigration reform.



(The following comes from the South Bend Tribune)

Puckett to face Donnelly in November
GOP nominee criticizes incumbent during acceptance speech

Tribune Staff Writer

This story was originally posted at 10:11 p.m. on May 6, 2008.
SOUTH BEND — Luke Puckett will try to unseat U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly in the fall after sailing to an easy victory in Tuesday’s Republican Congressional primary.

With 83 percent of precincts reporting, Puckett had secured 48 percent of the vote. Culver resident Joseph Roush earned 36 percent of the Republican vote, and South Bend attorney Tony Zirkle brought in 16 percent.

Puckett focused on Donnelly, D-Granger, during both his campaign and his acceptance speech Tuesday night, criticizing the first-term congressman and the Washington establishment.

“What our current leadership in Washington lacks is the vision, the courage and the leadership to demand common-sense solutions to the challenges facing us today,” said Puckett, a Goshen businessman.

He focused a large portion of his remarks on Donnelly’s efforts to lower the price of gasoline.

Donnelly has called on the Bush administration to release 20 million barrels of oil from the country’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

Puckett calls it “a one-day solution,” but Donnelly said Puckett isn’t focusing only on the release of 20 million barrels from the reserve.

Donnelly is co-sponsor of a bill that would stop the purchase of oil for the reserve, which would increase the supply on the market, he says. He’s also calling on the Federal Trade Commission to crack down on price gouging at gas stations.

“There’s short-term things we can work on and long-term things we can work on,” Donnelly said by phone from his Washington, D.C., office Tuesday night. “Apparently Mr. Puckett forgot to mention those things.”

South Bend attorney Tony Zirkle issued a concession statement on his Web site, saying he had trouble getting his message out but now he can enjoy his summer.

It included links to videos on the Web site YouTube, including one of Elvis Presley singing “The Impossible Dream” from the musical “Man of La Mancha.”

Joseph Roush could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday night.

It’s Primary Election Day!

May 6, 2008

Advance Indiana suggests Clinton will carry Indiana’s 2nd District.


The South Bend Tribune reports on 2nd District candidates’ fundraising status:

Donnelly has fundraising advantage
Puckett only Republican to receive contributions so far.

Tribune Staff Writer

U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly leads his Republican challengers in the fundraising game — something that will change soon, said a spokesman for Donnelly’s likely fall opponent.

Donnelly, D-Granger, had $849,812.30 on hand as of April 16, according to a report from the Federal Election Commission.

Luke Puckett, the party-backed Republican who is one of three people seeking that party’s nomination, had $155,266.65 on hand as of April 16.

But if you’re looking for a barometer of support (or a sign of momentum), check out the net contributions received by each since the beginning of the year.

Puckett, who didn’t start fundraising until mid-February, received $33,000 from about 20 donors.”It’s a little bit lower than what we hoped for,” said Kyle Bailey, Puckett’s campaign manager. “But not surprising, just because of, honestly, the lack of attention the congressional race is getting right now.”

Most of the campaign money comes from $150,000 Puckett loaned to his own campaign, said Kyle Bailey, Puckett’s campaign manager.

“This is nothing new,” Bailey said. “He felt he wanted to be more invested in his own campaign before he went out and asked anyone else to invest in it.”Donnelly, on the other hand, records $223,558.28 in donations from Jan. 1 to April 16, from hundreds of donors.

It’s a sign of the incumbent’s momentum, campaign manager Andrew Lattanner said.

“We’re going to have the resources we need, and more importantly, the record we need to run a strong campaign,” Lattanner said.Puckett’s numbers are lackluster despite the fact that he’s the party-backed candidate, Lattanner said.

“(Puckett’s) demonstrated that he’s not able to raise the kind of money it takes to compete in this district,” he said. “You combine that with the fact that he’s running against a moderate Democrat who has the resources and the record — it puts him in a tough position.”

But Bailey, of Puckett’s campaign, said the numbers will change soon. Puckett just started appearing on TV news broadcasts and has bought some television commercials.

“You would not believe the amount of calls our office is getting,” Bailey said. “Our fund-raising operation is really getting up and going now.”

On their ownBoth Tony Zirkle and Joe Roush, the two Republicans who will face Puckett for the GOP nomination for Congress, are self-funded and don’t have reports on file with the FEC.

Candidates are required to report contributions when their total receipts exceed $5,000.

“We haven’t broken the $200 limit,” Roush said.

Roush, who said he’s trying to put a poor man — himself — in Congress, hasn’t had a lot of expenses.

“Other than paying for a little bit of gasoline to run around, I’ve printed up 5,000 business cards that have information on both sides of them that cost about $157,” Roush said. “That’s it.”Zirkle just shelled out $14,701 of his own money for a television commercial airing on Fox News Channel, CNN and WNDU-TV.

“It wiped me out for a couple of days,” Zirkle said in a statement. “If I have a good work week, I’ll add channels 22 and 28; however, I’m a bit busy right now.”

Zirkle doesn’t accept contributions to his campaign. Without donors to please, he’s more free to speak his mind on controversial issues, he said.

“On the other hand, honestly, it’s probably better for me if I don’t accept them,” he said. “Because if I only raise $100 or $200, then the other guy gets $600,000, it looks like I don’t have any support. That’s really the honest answer.”

Superdelegates might tip over trade

May 2, 2008

(the following comes from Jonathan Tasini, writing for the Huffington Post)

I’ve said before that I believe that the Democratic nomination fight is over, though the hype may drag on for a bit. But, a nice chunk of super delegates–perhaps as many as a dozen or more–may make their choice based on where the candidates stand on trade. And that’s a good sign for people who actually care about choices made on the basis of issues.

In early March, I pointed out that Sen. Sherrod Brown and Rep. Marcy Kaptur (both from Ohio) were remaining undecided because they wanted to actually get a very clear understanding of where the candidates stood on trade, particularly on the fate of the so-called “free trade” agreement with Colombia. Congressional Quarterly reported earlier this week that:

According to one list, there are 21 House Democrats in the group of lawmakers that wants to force the candidates to take detailed stands on a series of trade issues such as how they would renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, whether they would address trade disparities the lawmakers attribute to the use of value-added taxes in foreign countries, how they would use the tax code to encourage American businesses to keep facilities in the United States, and what steps they would take to create jobs by investing in domestic infrastructure needs.

The group still includes at least 12 undecided lawmakers: Kaptur, Reps Michael H. Michaud of Maine, Bart Stupak of Michigan (who will only be a superdelegate if the Democratic Party seats a delegation from his home state), Joe Donnelly and Peter J. Visclosky of Indiana, Peter A. DeFazio of Oregon, Jason Altmire and Christopher Carney of Pennsylvania, John Sarbanes of Maryland, Ciro D. Rodriguez of Texas, Gene Taylor of Mississippi and Heath Shuler of North Carolina.

Of particular interest is Heath Shuler, not simply because of the upcoming primary in North Carolina. In the 2006 midterm elections, Shuler won in the 11th congressional district by beating incumbent Charles Taylor, in no small part because of Taylor’s failure to vote against the so-called “free trade” Central American Free Trade Agreement. Shuler ran two television ads on trade policy during his campaign.

In Indiana, in 2006, Joe Donnelly defeated incumbent Chris Chocola, who supported so-called “free trade” deals like NAFTA, and Brad Ellsworth won his seat in the 8th Congressional district by campaigning against expansions of so-called “free trade”.

All this is good news. One of the things that we can take from this election cycle is that we are winning the campaign to move to a much more saner discussion and policy on trade and globalization. It’s clear that the Democratic Party candidates, from the outset, have understood that the voters are much more advanced in their grasp of the damage being done by so-called “free trade” (whether the candidates have truly changed their position or not is a different issue). If you want to judge by the results in 2006, expanding majorities in Congress, in the House and the Senate, will be easier if the Democratic Party’s candidates reject so-called “free trade” and pledge to embrace a sane approach to globalization and trade–not just because of the moral imperative but as a matter of electoral realities since even Republicans are opposed to so-called “free trade”.

So, while I find the machinations and hype over the the race-that-is-over pretty boring, there is a lot of hope to be found in the bubbling up of voter sentiment reflected in the dynamics of the political insider game.