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Here are a few political news items from the past few days that are worth a mention or two.

Between the Polls

While this week’s Fox News poll continued to show a close race between incumbent Democrat Joe Donnelly and Republican Mike Braun, if you do a deep dive into the numbers it shows an interesting dynamic taking place.  

Fox has taken two polls on the race so far, one that was released on 9/12 and the other poll was unveiled Thursday. In the 9/12 poll, Braun led Donnelly 45-43, with Libertarian Lucy Brenton getting three percent and nine percent were undecided or voting for other.  In the 10/3 poll, Donnelly led 43-42,  Brenton got six percent of the vote and ten percent were in the other/undecided category.  So it appears fair to say that any support that Braun lost did not go to Donnelly or the undecided voters, but to Brenton.   Both polls had a margin of error of 3.5 percent.

Existing voter support for Donnelly and Braun continues to solidify, in the September poll nearly a third of the candidates’ supporters said they could change their minds.  That number was less than 25 percent in the October poll.

Both candidates lost ground in their favorable/unfavorable ratings.  Donnelly went from 52 to 46 percent. Braun went from 47 to 44 percent.   President Trump’s approval rating also slipped a couple of points. It was 54 percent in September.  It dropped to 52 percent for October.

Sending Out an SOS

Democratic Secretary of State Candidate Jim Harper announced  Thursday that he will abstain from accepting contributions from industry donors within the major divisions regulated by the Secretary of State’s office. Harper says this would be a “fresh start”  for the office as the incumbent Secretary of State has taken over a quarter-million dollars from auto-dealers despite serving as the major state licensing official for the industry. The Secretary of State’s office regulates auto dealers.  Harper says incumbent Connie Lawson has taken more than $250,000 from auto dealers since taking office.  And said he would donate a $1,000 contribution from the auto dealers he received to charity.  Lawson told Indiana Public Media she didn’t see a problem with the donations and that she was happy to have the auto dealers support.  She said they wouldn’t be contributing to her campaign if they didn’t think she was doing a good job.

Meanwhile, Libertarian candidate Mark Rutherford called for campaign finance reform.  He says reporting requirements should be eliminated for individual donors. He says the rules have a  “chilling effect” on citizens who want to financially support a candidate.  “People are afraid if they support the “wrong” candidate, their career could be in jeopardy. This is especially true of government employees or people that work closely with government. This also hurts people who want to support a challenger to a powerful incumbent who may later seek retribution,” he said.  “This policy also drives big money into the shadows where contributions are not reportable, which is the reason we have SuperPACs today.”

Meanwhile, both Harper and Rutherford have agreed to a debate between now and election day.  Look for Lawson to go up on television soon.

Political Potpourri

Republican State Senate candidate Zaki Ali has been named one of the “18 in 18” by the Republican State Leadership Committee.   He is running against Democratic Leader Tim Lanane. Meanwhile, Indiana Democrats have extended TV buys for JD FordDave Cravens and Chris Gambell for their respective State Senate races.  There is no word on what they are doing for Derek Camp who is running against Republican Jim Merritt.

Some new television ads are dropping in the U.S. Senate race.  Senate Majority PAC unveiled two digital ads going after Mike Braun.   You can view them here and here.  Meanwhile, the Braun campaign has unveiled a new attack ad against Donnelly.

Chuck Jones, the former local United Steel Workers and Carrier union leader who is running for Wayne Township Trustee in Marion County made an appearance on the Samantha Bee show.  You can view that here.  (Caution, it’s got some strong language.)

If you want the latest analysis on the mid-term elections, join me on Tuesday, October 9th at 6 p.m. at the Columbia Club for a panel discussion on the midterm elections.  Click here for details.