Ron Klain on the rise—Pence on the decline

Plus: An oral history of Indiana's decisive 2016 presidential primary.

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Two Hoosiers scored big national media treatment already this week, with The New York Times charting the ascent of Indianapolis-native and President Biden’s Chief of Staff Ron Klain, and Politico looking at the descent of former Vice President Mike Pence.

  • “Mr. Klain is the oldest of three,” writes Mark Leibovich in The New York Times, “the son of an Indianapolis building contractor and a travel agent. He is proud of his Hoosier roots: The 50th birthday invitation was superimposed over a red outline of Indiana, and he tries to make it home over Memorial Day for the Indianapolis 500. But in fact, Mr. Klain comes off as a purebred swamp creature whose résumé covers the full bingo card of a Beltway superachiever: president of his high school class (’79), active in student government and the Brain Game team, summa cum laude from Georgetown, legislative director for then-Representative Edward J. Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts. He followed up with Harvard Law School (magna cum laude, Law Review), then a clerkship for the Supreme Court justice Byron White.”

  • Ron Klain turns 60 on August 8. What are the chances he’ll celebrate with some Indiana State Fair food?

  • Meanwhile, in Politico, David Siders tracks Pence’s path through Iowa as he tries to lay the groundwork of a comeback for a possible 2024 presidential bid. “I don’t imagine he’d have a whole lot of support,” Raymond Harre, vice-chair of the GOP in eastern Iowa’s Scott County, told Siders. “There are some Trump supporters who think he’s the anti-Christ.”


This newsletter is called IMPORTANTVILLE, a call back from Indiana’s decisive May 2016 primary, when then-candidate Donald Trump stood at a rally in South Bend and told an audience: “Now Indiana is becoming very important … you folks belong where you belong; it's called Importantville, right? I love it.”

It’s been five years since that moment, and since Trump took over the GOP. For Business Insider, along with several of my colleagues, I looked back at that decisive campaign in an oral history with more than 20 sources—including Sen. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, along with key Trump aides—focusing a whole chapter on Indiana’s primary that year.

Do you remember when Cruz announced Carly Fiorina as his running mate at a hastily arranged event in Indianapolis? We dive into that moment and the awkward handshake that ensued.

Read more

Good Monday morning, and welcome back to IMPORTANTVILLE.

WHERE’S PETE? Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg will attend a Cabinet meeting at the White House on Tuesday.

WHERE’S JIM? On Saturday, Rep. Jim Banks will do an event with Congressman Devin Nunes at an undisclosed location.

WHERE ARE INDIANA DEMOCRATS? They'll be in Carroll County at the 4-H Fair, where Former U.S. Senator, State Reps. Chris Campbell and Renee Pack, along with President of Central Indiana Building Trades Jon Hooker will continue the Indiana Democratic Party’s American Jobs Plan tour.

WHERE ARE INDIANA REPUBLICANS? They're gathering at the JW Marriott in downtown Indianapolis Friday to hear from Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel at the first Indiana GOP Diversity Leadership Series Graduation.



Pence says he's 'had enough' of Biden as he looks to escape Trump's shadow in Iowa,” by Eric Bradner in CNN

Former Vice President Mike Pence crisscrossed Iowa on Friday, assailing President Joe Biden's administration for unleashing "a tidal wave of left-wing policies that threaten to wipe out all the progress that we made" in speeches that could preview his potential 2024 message.

The trip to the first presidential nominating state offered a window into how Pence is attempting to craft a political future outside the shadow of former President Donald Trump.

Banks rising among ranks of Republican, by Dave Kurtz in KPC Media

Should Republicans win back control of the U.S. House in the 2022 election, Banks might find himself in a very powerful role. If he uses his position for goals beyond personal ambition, that could turn out to be very good for northeast Indiana.

Republican donors already opening wallets for 2024 Indiana governor candidates, by Dan Carden in the Northwest Indiana Times

The governor likely is a long way from endorsing a successor. But records show Crouch donated $2.5 million to Holcomb's gubernatorial campaigns in 2016 and 2020, and she instantly would dominate the actual and potential field of GOP gubernatorial candidates in fundraising if Holcomb chooses to return the favor.

Republican Attorney General Todd Rokita, a Munster native widely believed to be eyeing the governor's office, received no large donations in the first half of the year, according to state campaign finance records.

That’s all for today. Thanks for subscribing and reading.