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Exclusive: Hale's next ad in IN05
Plus: The Pences are set to take center stage at this week's Republican National Convention.
FIRST IN IMPORTANTVILLE: The ad wars in Indiana’s battleground 5th Congressional District are heating up. Democratic nominee Christina Hale will debut “Tips,” her second ad of the general election today.
In the 30-second spot, backed by a six-figure buy, Hale chronicles her experience as a single mom working multiple jobs and focuses on making health insurance more affordable. Hale has said she supports a public option.
“As a young single mom, I worked hard at multiple jobs to support my son and me,” Hale told IMPORTANTVILLE in a statement. “And while I always made sure he had health insurance, I couldn’t afford it for myself—no matter how many hours I worked. My story is similar to that of so many other families living in Indiana today. That’s why I’m running for Congress. Too many Hoosiers face those same stressful challenges when trying to access affordable coverage. And they’re tired of partisan politics and special interests getting in the way of their health care. People expect results. In Washington, I’ll fight to expand access to affordable health insurance by supporting a public option, protect people with pre-existing conditions, and lower the price of prescription drugs—because I’ll never forget what’s at stake.”
Hale’s Republican opponent, State Sen. Victoria Spartz, has not yet aired a general election ad. But Club for Growth Action, the Washington, D.C.-based super PAC, plans to carpet bomb the district with $1 million in ads and dropped their first negative spot last week.
The suburban district will take a star turn nationally in the coming months. Expect national reporters to parachute in and take the temperature of suburban women here. It could determine control of Congress, and it is a district increasingly targeted by Democrats. A recent email from the Indiana GOP reads:
We need all hands on deck for this race. The national Dems – Nancy Pelosi, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, The Squad, and Barack Obama – have targeted a congressional district right here in Indiana and endorsed the liberal candidate, Christina Hale.
Good Wednesday morning, and welcome to IMPORTANTVILLE.
WHERE’S VEEP? Vice President Mike Pence will speak tonight from Baltimore’s Fort McHenry—the site where Francis Scott Key was inspired to pen The Star-Spangled Banner.
WHERE’S YOUNG? U.S. Senator Todd Young will visit Tyler Truss Systems in Pendleton to discuss his RESTART Act.
Hoosiers take center stage at RNC
Second Lady Karen Pence will also speak at the Republican National Convention tonight.
Her outsized roled in Trump’s re-election campaign is one of the more surprising developments of the Trump era, given her early reported resistance to the thrice-married billionaire. You, by now, have heard the anecdote: It was after Midnight in November 2016, the morning after Election Day, in a suite at the Hilton in midtown Manhattan. Pennsylvania had just been called for Trump. Hillary Clinton had just called Trump to concede. The VP-elect went to kiss Karen. “You got what you wanted, Mike,” she said, according to near-identical accounts from the author Michael Lewis in his book The Fifth Risk and confirmed in the quintessential Pence biography Piety & Power: Mike Pence and the Taking of the White House, by Insider reporter Tom LoBianco. “Leave me alone.” Later, in their private suite, she reportedly rebuffed his kiss a second time. (Pence has denied this account).
But she expanded her role in 2019. “I think now the campaign is starting to realize that I want to be part of the campaign. I want to go and do what I can and do my part. And so they’re sending things my way more and more,” she told USA TODAY’s Maureen Groppe last November. “And they are things that I’m like, 'I can go. I can go do this. Put me in, coach.’”
Pence sees herself as an anchor in the swamp that keeps the family moored. “I’m not going to let what’s happening out there affect what’s happening in here — that’s kind of always been my mantra,” she said in a 2013 interview with the late Indianapolis radio host Amos Brown. She had repeated that line since being the Second Lady.
Often at her husband’s side the last three years, Pence has been called Mike’s “prayer warrior” and “gut check and shield” and “shift manager.” All three descriptors, though, belie another reality: She is perhaps the most powerful Second Lady of the United States—among the most mysterious to ever hold that title.
“When we hear about Karen and we hear about Mike Pence, it’s always under the auspices of: ‘These people are theocrats and ideologues,’” Tom LoBianco told me in an interview last year. “I think that misses it. Above all else, they’re politicians. That is true of both of them.”
It will be fascinating to hear the case for re-election the Second Lady lays out for Trump’s reelection tonight.
EXTRA, EXTRA: A pic of the Hoosier delegation at the RNC proceeding this week:
Robert Costa, The Washington Post: “Mike Pence hopes four years of subservience to Trump will lift his political future”
Like many who served in Congress alongside the late John Lewis, then-Rep. Mike Pence made a pilgrimage to Selma, Ala., in 2010 to commemorate the 45th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday.” He marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge just a few feet from Lewis as they retraced the historic route, and posed for a photo at the foot of the span — the Indiana Republican in crisp gray and the Georgia Democrat in somber black, their shoulders touching.
But when Lewis died last month of pancreatic cancer at 80, Pence, now vice president, held off on issuing a public comment on the civil rights hero’s passing. President Trump was no fan of the congressman and openly complained about Lewis’s refusal to attend his inauguration. Only after the White House distributed a perfunctory proclamation on the death in Trump’s name did Pence feel comfortable releasing a statement of his own, memorializing Lewis as not just an “icon” but also “a colleague and a friend.”
Dan Diamond and Adam Cancryn, Politico: “How Mike Pence slowed down the coronavirus response”
Mike Pence had just accepted the biggest assignment of his political life, overseeing the nation’s response to the emerging Covid-19 virus, when White House officials confronted the vice president with an urgent question: what to do about the cruise ships?
It was the last weekend of February, and the nation’s top health officials had concluded that cruise lines were a major factor in spreading the virus — each vessel a potential hothouse of invisible infections. Hundreds of passengers already had been sickened on cruises; efforts to evacuate Americans from two virus-infested ships had become logistical nightmares; and in the health experts’ emerging consensus, the Centers for Disease Control needed to issue an immediate “no-sail” order, keeping ships in port.
Alexander Burns and Maggie Haberman, The New York Times: “From Trump’s Shadow, Mike Pence Can See 2024”
Vice President Mike Pence, the head of the federal coronavirus task force, delivered a clear message to governors about reopening schools. Help us help you, Mr. Pence told the state executives during a virtual meeting in early July, stressing that the administration wanted to see children back in the classroom.
“You all build your plan, we’ll work with you,” Mr. Pence said, according to a recording of the session. He added, “We’re here to help.”
Me and Nick Anderson, The Washington Post: “‘Will Purdue last?’: University restarts in person amid pandemic”
Purdue has become a national poster school for the push to bring students to campus and teach in person despite the public health crisis — a push that in many other places has failed or is in deep jeopardy. The wave of fall reopenings, now accelerating, has exposed the fragility of plans that once seemed solid.
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