Rep. Luke Messer Announces Run For Senate





After months of speculation, Indiana Rep. Luke Messer made his run for U.S. Senate official on Wednesday. The congressman tweeted the announcement.

Messer, a Republican representing Indiana’s 6th District, is joining a growing GOP field of contenders mounting a challenge to Sen. Joe Donnelly, an incumbent Democrat. There may be as many as seven candidates in the upcoming GOP primary: state Rep. Mike Braun, state Sen. Mike Delph, Attorney General Curtis Hill and others are also considering bids. However, it may be Rep. Todd Rokita who poses the biggest challenge – the two graduates of Wabash College are considered top-tier candidates in this race. Both men represent districts in the Indianapolis suburbs.

Rokita is strongly expected to announce a run for Senate sometime soon. A representative of Indiana’s 4th District, Rokita raked in substantially more money in the second quarter of fundraising than Messer. The latter hauled in just $578,000 in donations compared to Rokita’s $1 million.

According to an OnMessage Inc. poll, Messer and Rokita are tied at 23 percent in a seven-way Republican primary. However, in a head-to-head match up, Messer slightly edges ahead at 27 to 26 percent.

The winner of the GOP primary will face Sen. Donnelly in the 2018 general election. While campaigning against an incumbent is never an easy endeavor, the environment appears ripe for Republican gains. The state’s former governor is now the vice president of the United States and Hoosier voters went Trump’s way by a resounding margin (19 points) last year. Remember, Donnelly was swept into office in 2012 after Indiana Republicans shot themselves in the foot by nominating a flawed candidate. It’s likely magic wont happen twice for the Democrat. Inside Elections’ Nathan L. Gonzales currently rates this race as a Toss-up – as does Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball.

Indiana is prime real estate for Senate Republicans to widen their majority in the upper chamber.

 

 

Trump Deal With Carrier Probably Hinged On Federal Contracts

Donald Trump’s first big coup as president-elect came this week with the announcement of a deal to save 1,000 jobs in Indiana. A Carrier gas furnace plant, along with a United Technologies Electronic Controls plant owned by the same company, had been slated to move to Mexico. The moves, which would cost more than 2,000 jobs, had been a frequent target of Mr. Trump’s during the campaign.

During the presidential campaign, Trump frequently criticized companies who moved from the United States to other countries. Many of the companies that leave the US do so to flee the US corporate tax rate, which is the highest in the free world. Trump had threatened to punish corporations that moved to other countries with a 35 percent tariff on goods that they imported back to the US.

According to the Indy Star, taxes weren’t the only factor in the move to Mexico. The 1,400 Carrier employees are unionized and make as much as $26 per hour. They can earn $70,000 annually with overtime. Mexican workers would earn $3 per hour. The Indiana employees would have been laid off in three waves starting in 2017. Fortune reports that the company would save $65 million annually from the move.

Early news about the deal, which would keep Carrier in Indiana, but not the other United Technologies plant, was sketchy. The number of jobs staying in Indiana has been described as “close to 1,000” and “more than 1,000” at various times according to ABC News. Fox News reported that “the deal spares about 800 union workers,” citing a federal official who had been briefed by the company.

Unverified reports on the deal in Fortune say that Indiana will retain “800 manufacturing jobs at the Indiana plant that had been slated to move to Mexico, as well as another 300 engineering and headquarters jobs.” The report says that “some 1,300 jobs will still go to Mexico, which includes 600 Carrier employees, plus 700 workers from UTEC Controls,” the other Indiana plant. Affected workers will be offered employment and relocation in UTC’s aerospace division or provided funding for reeducation.

“The incentives offered by the state were an important consideration,” a statement by Carrier said, but exactly what Carrier got in return is uncertain at this point. There is widespread speculation that the deal involves favorable tax treatment by the state and local governments. Mike Pence, the vice president-elect, is currently the governor of Indiana and would have had great influence over any deal between the State of Indiana and Carrier. The Fortune source reports that Carrier received roughly $700,000 annually in state tax incentives for an unknown number of years in exchange for staying in Indiana.

United Technologies Corporation, the parent company of the two plants, had reimbursed the state and local governments for tax abatements and grants in advance of the move. According to ABC News, the company repaid $380,000 to the Indiana Economic Development Corporation and $1.2 million in tax abatements to the city of Indianapolis.

Carrier also cited the changing presidential administration as a reason for its decision. “Today’s announcement is possible because the incoming Trump-Pence administration has emphasized to us its commitment to support the business community and create an improved, more competitive U.S. business climate,” the statement said. This may refer to Republican promises to reform the federal tax structure and lower the corporate tax rate.

While Carrier’s non-move may generate goodwill with the Trump Administration and help preserve the company brand, an even larger factor might be the federal funds that directly affect the company’s bottom line. The Indy Star notes that “United Technologies receives about $5.6 billion a year in federal money, constituting about 10 percent of its overall revenue.” Much of this money comes from federal contracts through Pratt and Whitney, a jet engine manufacturer that supplies engines for the new F-35 Lightning II fighter, and Sikorsky, the manufacturer of the military UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter. As parent to both companies, United Technologies is one of the country’s largest defense contractors.

“United Technologies is a huge company, and the Carrier deal is a very, very small part of it,” said John Mutz, a board member of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, in Politico. “This is a much different set of circumstances if you’re talking about all of the contracting work that United Technologies does for the federal government. That’s a big deal.”

Claude Barfield of the American Enterprise Institute called the approach “crony capitalism” in Politico. “For market-based economists or analysts, this is really a version of crony capitalism, and it’s the kind of thing you really don’t want to get into or have government get into,” Barfield said. “This gets back to who … actually has the ear of the government. So you get the situation where decisions are not made in terms of their economic sense, but in terms of gaming the political system.”

While using defense contracts as leverage to keep Carrier may have worked in this instance, it does nothing to change the underlying problems that American companies face. Carrier may have won state tax breaks and preserved its federal contracts, but it still faces a high federal corporate tax, high labor costs with its unionized workforce, high turnover rates and a dense regulatory environment. It is these issues that the Trump Administration must address for prevent companies from fleeing the United States.

While the underlying problems for businesses remain, Trump’s deal with Carrier was beneficial for the president-elect. Trump used Carrier to buy time and goodwill for the incoming administration. He has also earned political capital for the deal. It will be interesting to see how he uses these assets once he takes office.

Democrats Poised To Win Control of Senate

A month ago, the GOP seemed to be the odds-on favorite to retain control of the Senate. With the tumultuous month of October behind us, the odds seem to have shifted slightly to favor the Democrats regaining control.

The Democrats have a structural advantage due to the fact that they are defending only 10 seats while Republicans are defending 24. Only one Democratic seat, the Nevada seat of the retiring Harry Reid, was considered at risk. A total of eight Republican seats, many in blue or purple states, are threatened. Many of these at-risk seats were won in the Tea Party wave election of 2010. Wave elections often allow weak candidates to win who cannot retain their seat when political conditions return to normal.

FiveThirtyEight puts the chances that the Democrats will win the Senate at over 60 percent. A recent blog post noted that four of the eight most hotly contested races have seen major shifts. Three races have shifted toward the Republicans and one toward the Democrats. Indiana, New Hampshire and Wisconsin have moved slightly toward the Republicans while Pennsylvania now favors the Democratic challenger.

Here are summaries on the battleground Senate races for Republican seats:

  • In Florida, Sen. Marco Rubio’s lead over Democrat Patrick Murphy has tightened slightly, but Rubio is still the clear favorite.
  • In Illinois, Sen. Mark Kirk’s seat is all but lost. Rep. Tammy Duckworth’s lead has widened to 13 points in the Real Clear Politics average after Kirk made an embarrassing comment about Duckworth’s heritage.
  • In Indiana, a race previously considered a Democrat lock, Rep. Todd Young (R) was tied with former Senator Evan Bayh (D) in a recent poll. FiveThirtyEight’s models show Young’s chances of taking the seat surging from 30 percent to 45 percent. The seat is currently held by Republican Dan Coats, who is retiring.
  • In Missouri, Sen. Roy Blunt is in a tossup race with Secretary of State Jason Kander. FiveThirtyEight gives the race as a 55 percent chance of going to the Democrats, a slight improvement for Blunt.
  • In New Hampshire, Sen. Kelly Ayotte seems to be maintaining a margin-of-error lead over Gov. Maggie Hassan. FiveThirtyEight has downgraded Hassan’s chances of winning the seat from 67 to 56 percent. The race is still a tossup, but with slightly better odds for Ayotte.
  • In North Carolina, Sen. Richard Burr’s race with state Rep. Deborah Ross is still a tossup. FiveThirtyEight puts Ross’s chances of taking the seat at 34 percent, down nine percent from two weeks ago.
  • In Ohio, Sen. Rob Portman’s seat seems to be reliably Republican. Portman holds a double-digit advantage over Gov. Ted Strickland.
  • In Pennsylvania, Sen. Pat Toomey has trailed Katie McGinty in nine straight polls. The race is still close, with McGinty leading by an average of less than four points, but FiveThirtyEight has moved the race from a tossup to a 73 percent chance of a Democratic victory.
  • In Wisconsin, Sen. Ron Johnson’s chances are still not good. Former Democrat Sen. Russ Feingold has consistently led the race. FiveThirtyEight says that the race has moved slightly in Johnson’s favor, but Feingold still has a 90 percent chance of retaking the seat.

The sole Democratic battleground seat is Nevada. This race is a tossup between Rep. Joe Heck (R) and Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto. Heck holds a slight advantage in the RCP average of polls, but FiveThirtyEight gives Cortez Masto almost a 60 percent chance of winning.

The current balance of power in the Senate is 54 Republicans to 46 Democrats (including independents). The Democrats need a net pickup of four seats to split control of the Senate or five seats to take a majority. In the case of a 50-50 split among the two parties, the incoming vice president can cast the deciding vote.

At this point, Democrats look likely to retain Harry Reid’s Nevada seat as well as pick up Republican seats in Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. These four seats would be enough to split the Senate evenly with the Republicans.

The fifth seat, to give the majority to the Democrats, will likely come from either Missouri, New Hampshire or North Carolina. All three races are tossups and FiveThirtyEight gives Democrats the edge in both Missouri and New Hampshire.

Regardless of whether Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump wins the presidency, it has been viewed as critical for Republicans to hold the Senate. The Senate has the role of confirming judges and Supreme Court justices as well as confirming treaties. Any bills from the House’s Republican majority, which is likely safe, must go through the Senate before they are signed into law by the president.

The most recent round of polling gives little hope of preserving the Republican Senate majority. As Republican Senate hopes fade, so do hopes of everything from keeping liberal justices off of the Supreme Court to repealing and replacing Obamacare.

The Music Man Arrives in Indiana

As a child, I remember watching the movie, The Music Man. My favorite song from the musical is “Gary, Indiana” sung by “Opie” (Ron Howard). It’s the story of a traveling con man who convinces an entire town to buy musical instruments. He promises to give lessons to the children, so they can form a band. But the Music Man has no plans to give any lessons. He intends to skip down after exploiting the good people of River City.

The towns folk finally figure out they are being conned and arrest the Music Man. But he is freed when the townspeople again lose their sanity at the site of their children playing (rather badly) their newly purchased instruments. They release the charlatan into the arms of a woman who fell in love with the con artist. It’s a happy ending fit for Hollywood and Broadway.

The Music Man has arrived in the form of Donald Trump. A liberal New Yorker with no national security experience and no substantive policy proposals has decided to run a reality-tv style campaign for President while masquerading as a conservative Republican.

Many Americans, fed up with eight years of disastrous liberal policies, loved the idea of a guy running for President who talked plainly and freely said things not politically correct. Finally, somebody was calling our leaders stupid (many of them fit the bill) for making bad deals with the Chinese and was willing call for the deportation of those who violated our laws. Trump said we needed to build a wall—and here was a guy who’d actually built something!

But a problem we run into with Trump is that he flies by the seat of his pants and is overconfident in his own abilities. Here’s a guy who was born on the half yard line in the red zone by inheriting over 100 million dollars. Yet he thinks he marched ninety-nine yards down the field and scored the Super Bowl winning touchdown.

He amassed more wealth by buying off politicians, dealing with the mob, bullying an elderly woman in one episode so he’d have more parking space for limos at his casino. He’s basically lived as a Corinthian morally. If Trump were to be elected President (never going to happen due to his unprecedented unfavorable ratings with women and minorities), he would have more ex-wives then every other US President combined. Let that sink in. What does that say about his judgment? His trustworthiness? His integrity?

Trump is not a brilliant businessman. His casinos crashed and burned. (How do you even do that—bankrupt a casino? But I digress.) Trump launched a massive scam with Trump University that conned thousands of students out of thousands of dollars. (The case goes to trial the day the Republican convention begins. Yay!)

I tried to make it through all of Trump’s foreign policy speech. I worked in the national security realm for seven years, so I gave it a go. I punched out about 20 minutes in. It was low energy. And Trump kept repetitively flashing “loser” and “ok” finger signs to the audience. (Watch it, you’ll see what I mean.) It was amateur hour.

Trump’s speech was a word salad of nationalistic buzz words. Let’s take, for instance, Trump’s buzz phrase “America first.” Great, I want an American first foreign policy. But what does that mean? The answer is…not much. It means whatever Trump needs it to mean. It was a third grade level speech delivered by a nearly 70 year old man. Trump is a con artist and simply out of his league.

So why do millions of people go for the con with Trump? Part of the reason is our failing education system in America along with our cultural and spiritual decay. We don’t teach skills like “critical thinking” or the vitality of “In God We Trust” much anymore. Just watch this exchange between a patient Ted Cruz and a Branch Trumpidian from earlier this week. Cruz responded logically to the woman’s question. She is emotionally attached to Trump and refuses to mentally engage with what Cruz was saying. It’s rather remarkable.

There’s now a dynamic duo in Ted Cruz and Carly Fiorina telling anyone who cares to listen that Trump is trying to con the American people. Cruz and Carly are truly speaking for “we the people” and taking on the corrupt Washington Cartel that Trump has financed for decades. They have few allies, but there are some warriors rallying around them. Mike Lee gave a particularly passionate defense of Cruz’s character and integrity on the Mark Levin show. Yet Trump’s best super PAC, the drive by media, is attempting to drown Cruz and Carly out by parroting Trump’s lies.

The Apostle Paul (kind of an important guy in an important book many of us used to read and teach our children in America called the Bible) warned us about people who abandon the truth and tell us things we want to hear. “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions” (2 Timothy 4:3).

My fellow Americans—we are at the point where many of our countrymen simply just want to hear what they want to hear regardless of its grounding in reality. We’ve accumulated politicians like Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton to suit our passions. We want our ears scratched. Meanwhile, they pad their bank accounts and accrue more power by stealing from us and our children.

Now the question remains is what will the people of Gary, Indiana and elsewhere across the state do on Tuesday? Will they go for the con and vainly hope for the Hollywood happy ending?

Or will they listen to a message from somebody who’s been in the arena and fought valiantly against the Washington Cartel who tells them the truth? A guy, mind you, who actually wrote a book and titled it “A Time for Truth”!

Let’s all pray Hoosiers kick the Music Man to the curb on Tuesday and put their stock in Ted Cruz and Carly Fiorina. The fate of the Republic may very well depend on it.

Kip Tom (IN-03) Lied About Academic Record

A Republican congressional candidate in Indiana’s conservative 3rd Congressional District has a history of misrepresenting his academic record. Kip Tom, a corporate farmer who has collected millions in federal farm subsidies, is running to replace conservative Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R) who is running for an open U.S. Senate seat. The other credible candidate in the IN-03 GOP primary is state Sen. Jim Banks, a highly conservative member of the state legislature and Navy Reserve officer who returned from Afghanistan just last year.

Until recently, Tom claimed that he held an associate’s degree in agricultural economics from Texas A&M. He has made his long career in corporate farming the centerpiece of his campaign, arguing that his resume and business experience set him apart from other candidates in the race. Numerous biographies, including until recently his own LinkedIn page, tout the degree from Texas A&M. “Tom has an associate’s degree from Texas A&M in agrcultural [sic] economics,” reads his bio on Farmers Feeding the World, where he serves as a board member.

His official biography on his corporate website notes “Courses of Study include: Associate Degree in Agriculture Management, Texas A&M” and that same biography with that same line also appears on the official website of Purdue University.

But now Tom is changing his tune. While a news story from early in the campaign said Tom “earned an associate degree in agricultural economics from Texas A&M University,” Tom’s campaign website makes no mention of the degree and instead references a management certificate the businessman obtained from Texas A&M.

More damaging, though, is the fact that Tom’s LinkedIn page, which once cited his associate’s degree, now calls the exact same degree a “certificate.” His page originally listed “Associate’s Degree Agriculture Management, Texas A&M” but now calls that program “Certificate of Agriculture Management, Texas A&M.”

Lying about his resume didn’t harm his chances of collecting nearly $3.3 million in federal welfare, but it may well harm Kip Tom’s ability to convince voters that they should sent him to Washington. After all, as Kip Tom says in his own ad, Washington politicians “these days. . . throw a lot of it [manure] around.” It starts with false statements made on the campaign trail.

Kip Tom’s old LinkedIn page:

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Senate Conservatives Fund Engages in Three House Races

This is a pretty big deal, particularly given the Senate Conservatives Fund’s winning record of getting people elected. They are going to engage in House races.

One of the House races is Jim Duncan in North Carolina’s second congressional district. I endorsed Jim on Day 1 of The Resurgent and his race continues to pick up support.

That’s not all.

SCF is endorsing Jim Banks (IN-3) and Mary Thomas (FL-2). I have been looking at those races and I am going to have to look some more. If SCF is endorsing them, it means they have a strong chance of winning and are solidly conservative.

In the statement from Ken Cuccinelli, he says

“These candidates are all principled conservative leaders who have strong grassroots support. We need them in the U.S. House to reinforce the efforts of our conservative allies. They will stand up to the big spenders in both parties and work to defend the principles of freedom that make our nation great. We are proud to support Jim Banks, Mary Thomas, and Jim Duncan.”

Works for me.

Senate Conservatives Fund has a page set up where you can fund each of these candidates.

Two Years Later, You’ll Still Be Made to Care

In the last twenty-four hours, much of the mainstream media has shown itself perfectly willing to serve as agents of Satan (or should I use Moloch to make you feel better?). Most of the news anchors, reporters, and opinion writers of the press are perfectly fine forcing you to violate your conscience as long as they do not have to.

They have suddenly discovered Jesus dined with sinners. They just ignore that he said “go and sin no more.” There is no evidence Jesus baked a cake to celebrate sin, but the media wants you to think he did. Just pay no attention to the guy in the Bible who spoke the most about hell fire. Oh wait, that would be the very same Jesus.

Two years ago this week, I coined the phrase “you will be made to care.” The media have long served to push along the leftwing agenda. Their reporting on Indiana is a greater mythological fiction than how they view Jesus. In light of the press’s advocacy, not reporting, in the last twenty-four hours in defense of hypothetical gays shut out of hypothetical businesses, it is worth revisiting the genesis of “You Will Be Made to Care.”

First, you are not loving your neighbor if you are cool with them going to hell. Do you want to go to hell? No? Well then how are you loving your neighbor as yourself if you’re cool with him going to hell? Leading people to Christ requires leading them to ask Christ to forgive them of their sins. It requires a deeper understanding of what is a sin. The Bible is clear. Same sex sexual relations is a sin, as is lying, greed, gluttony, adultery, etc. — no more or less worse than any other sin — and Christ himself is clear that marriage is between one man and one woman.

My church does not treat marriage as a sacrament, but it would be a sin to alter that which God himself ordained and established as an institution. Active sin without repenting, and without even feeling the need to repent, should be a big red flag on anyone’s salvation.

Gay rights advocates on the steady march toward and past gay marriage will make you care. They will not give you room to sit on the fence.

Tim Keller got a lot of heat two years ago for saying that “you can believe homosexuality is a sin and still believe that same-sex marriage should be legal.” He was not talking about himself. He was talking about the compromise many young evangelicals are making.

Some, though, are going the next step to “I. Do. Not. Care.”

The left will allow no fence sitting. You may not believe me. You may think me hyperbolic. But the history of the world shows this. Events ultimately come to a head. They boil to their essence. And at that point you must choose.

That is why so many Christians are fighting. Because we see in Europe and Canada what will happen here. Christianity is a religion of the city square. Christ compels us to “go forth and teach.” It is the Great Commission. We cannot go forth and teach when the left bars us from the town square.

Many people say we should have legal gay marriage, but not have religious gay marriage. The left will not honor the distinction. Look to Canada. Preachers can be brought up for hate crimes charges merely for discussing passages of the Bible that deal with same sex sexual relations. You may not care that it is a sin, but the world surely does. Look at Louie Giglio, who could not honor the President at his inauguration because of his orthodox Christian beliefs on this subject.

In short, you may choose not to care and in so doing sit on the sidelines or give aid and comfort to the open minded and tolerant who want gay marriage so everyone can have equal rights.

But the world will one day make you care. Your church, should it open its doors to all, but refuse to perform a same sex wedding, will be accused of discrimination. In some places, the church will be forced to stop performing weddings. Many churches will lose their tax exempt status. The costs of sharing the gospel will go up.

Already Christians are being harassed by fellow American citizens for not wanting to participate in a gay marriage.

The time will come, more quickly than you can imagine, when you will be made to care.

We are not using the state to enforce the commands of Scripture. We are using the state to protect our ability to preach the scripture under the first amendment. If the state has the power to change the definition of an institution that it did not create, but that God himself created, the state can compel and coerce the church to honor that definition or sit on the sidelines and shut up.

A Christian on the sidelines is a Christian not going forth. You can be a sincere Christian and support the idea of gay marriage. But you would also be foolish to ignore what is going to happen to the church once the state decides something is a matter of equal protection. You can dismiss me now, but you are ignoring what’s already happening.

Keep in mind as well that many of those who you may look to for reassurance that I’m wrong are hostile to the church already and will not be on the side of the church as the equal protection arguments against it grow.

The state did not create marriage and it should not now exert the power to change the definition of that which it did not create. Those of you who are Christians who support gay marriage will one day have Archbishop Chaput burning in your ears. He said that evil peddles tolerance until it is dominant then seeks to silence good. That’s why Christians fight on this issue. It is not to force themselves on others, but to protect themselves from others being forced on them.

If You Want to Repeal Obamacare, Support Akin & Mourdock

What has been overshadowed by pro-life remarks made by Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock is that the Republicans must take back the United States Senate to have a chance of repealing Obamacare. Even if Mitt Romney wins, it will be for naught if Harry Reid still controls the Senate. That is the reality. That is why Republicans must rally to two gentlemen who are committed | Read More »