Young & Braun respond to Bernstein reporting—The woman who wants to run the Indiana Democratic Party—Buttigieg passed over for UN ambassador

Why Karlee Macer wants to be the next state democratic party chair.

Indiana Sens. Todd Young and Mike Braun on Monday pushed back on reporting from Watergate chronicler Carl Bernstein that the two Hoosiers were among a group of Republican Senators who privately disdained President Trump—though they did not categorically deny the reporting.

“These unsourced rumors don’t deserve a response,” his office said in an unattributed statement. “It’s clear Senator Young has a great working relationship with President Trump that has yielded several historic wins for Indiana including a Hoosier justice on the Supreme Court.”

“This is more false news from a CNN political analyst, as I was one of President Trump’s top defenders during impeachment and strongly support his legal efforts to ensure that every legal vote is counted.”

In their statements, neither senator explicitly denied the accuracy of Bernstein’s reporting, though Braun did say it was “false news.”

Neither Braun nor Young has recognized Joe Biden as president-elect, even as other Republican senators have done so. They have both said the process needs to play out.

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 26: Senator Mike Braun (R-IN) talks to reporters before heading into the Republicans Policy Luncheon in Washington, DC. It is expected that the Senate will vote on the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court later in the day. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

Good Monday evening and welcome back to IMPORTANTVILLE.

WHERE’S VEEP? Pence had no public events scheduled today.

THE PETE BEAT: BUTTIGIEG PRAISES BIDEN U.N. PICK

A number of news outlets pegged former Democratic presidential candidate and Biden transition adviser Pete Buttigieg as a shortlister for Ambassador to the United Nations.

But when Biden rolled out a slate of national security advisers Monday, Buttigieg wasn’t on the list for the spot. In Buttigieg’s place, Biden announced that he would nominate Linda Thomas-Greenfield for the position. The 35-year veteran of the U.S. Foreign Service is the first Black person ever nominated to the post.

Buttigieg has also been mentioned as a potential contender for the Secretary of Veteran Affairs and Housing and Urban Development.


THE IMPORTANTVILLE SITDOWN: KARLEE MACER

Former State Rep. Karlee Macer, who briefly explored a gubernatorial bid last year, wants to be the next chair of the beleaguered Indiana Democratic Party. In an interview, she explained why.

Why do you want to be the next chair of the Indiana Democratic Party?

I want to be the next chair of the Democrat Party because I am a proud Democrat that has had an incredible experience representing one of the finest communities in the state of Indiana. I have worked in a supermajority of Republicans as a Democrat, and it has really, truly been such an incredible learning experience, but that experience is what led to me really coming to a firm decision about what was next for me, for my service, and a way that I could use my experience, my good energy, but most importantly, it's about progressive policies.

It’s about fair opportunities for Hoosiers. And so for me, as a businesswoman, also recognizing that 10 years ago, Adam, we were in the majority, I realize that it is so important for people to step up with everything they have right now for Democrats in the state of Indiana. And it’s with excitement, but also understanding the tremendous amount of work ahead. But for me personally, this is about progressive policies, and about taking care of Hoosiers, and also the next generation. I have my heart on fire about it.

You said the word “progressive” twice. What does that word mean to you? Especially at a time when there are voices in the Indiana Democratic Party that say the model to win statewide in Indiana means looking to Joe Hogsett or John Gregg—figures who aren’t typically described as progressives.

Progressive to me, Adam, is so much more than a term we use politically. But certainly for policies, I consider them to be forward-thinking. I consider them to be fair opportunities, fair policies. For me, I too come from a district as a proud Democrat representing a Republican district. So I’ve been a very bipartisan, but I believe in opportunities where we have a more balanced government, regardless of what level of government that may be.

As a policymaker, as someone who truly believes, and knows how important the policies that we create... are so important to the lives of all of us. So having that experience, for me, but also have opportunities for fair... Policies that are forward-thinking, moving forward, looking at the needs of Hoosiers, and making sure that we are doing everything we can to help lift people up in a way to give them the tools and resources to be able to take responsibility for their lives, as well as their direct communities, which means our state. It’s really important for me. I just realize that there has been a real lesson of learning, and the experience that I had of working in that supermajority of Republicans.

And I look around, not just at my community and knowing better, but as I travel the state, just like yesterday and today, out in rural Indiana, I mean a beautiful country, but I look at the needs. I look at... Listen to my brother who's a little small farmer there, and he has four kids, and talking about the length of time it would get them to... A date for them to go to school in their public schools. They now homeschool their children. They talk about the area hospitals. My mom having a stroke recently. Understanding how long it takes... Just the opportunity for care.

Infrastructure. My goodness, when we talk about the workforce, and jobs we looked at what's crumbling in our rural communities, and I know for sure I know better. And I know that the policies right now that are being passed aren't always in the best interest of all of us, and certainly, our rural communities really need some leadership right now. And I know that our policies, and the work that we stand for, and the excellence that we stand for, itself, I think it's critical right now, especially given everything that's happening with COVID, as well as what's happening economically. I really know the importance for us as Democrats to show up right now.

Democrats in Indiana haven't won a statewide seat since 2014. How would you diagnose the problem of the lack of democratic wins across the board in Indiana? What is the problem and what is the solution?

First of all, there's a lot of things, and if we look at it... that has happened. Number one, I'd say a very big start would be when we were no longer in the majority 10 years ago and redistricting happened. Okay. Number one, that's a very big, big, big, big part of why. As somebody who came to the general assembly in 2012, that had just changed in that few years, so my experience has been the dramatic shift of what had happened over those few years to start with.

I would also say, for sure, the messaging, whether that is from a national side, whether that is right here in our state also plays a pivotal role in how that works. I think we, as Democrats, are going to continue to work hard, but most importantly for me, I've worked hard to walk through that branding, and it has been worth every bit of it.

I think that there is a lot of changes that need to happen when we think about from county to county. The conversations that I have in district 92 are different in other districts. So I think that there is a lot of work, but we'll do... Let's be real, the infrastructure. When your state becomes so red, or it becomes so blue, a lot of times, I think just that alone is a big hit to infrastructure. So the lack of that... And then, also we could certainly talk about the financial side of things for Democrats, but definitely here in our state. I mean, that has happened across the nation, but we recognize here, we're way behind and have been way behind. The damage that has happened to our unions. The damage that has happened in so many ways has really contributed, in my opinion, to where we are today.

But also, I will say, what I recognized over the last few years as a Democrat elected at the state House was I never really heard a lot of talk other than about getting out of the supermajority, as far as Democrats. That was our goal. That's what I heard all the time. I never understood that, because as a legislator, as somebody who is working night and day to represent their community, and do my very best to take care of people in my community, as well as the work that I was working on. But I think that is extremely critical, as well. We can talk about leadership. We can talk about the different levels of that, but I know that there's always room in those areas, as far as direction, but I say contribute it...

What does it mean to be an Indiana Democrat in 2020?

For me, I think it means to be an honest, hardworking person. I believe it is somebody who does their best to take responsibility for their life, but also does their best to lend a hand to others who also might need that extra hand up on occasion in a way of providing them the resources and tools to take responsibility. I think we are also... I think we are also... Certainly when it comes to wanting to be fair, wanting to do what is best for not just ourselves, but our fellow Hoosiers, I think Democrats stand for that.

For me, I think it means to be an honest, hardworking person. I believe it is somebody who does their best to take responsibility for their life, but also does their best to lend a hand to others who also might need that extra hand up on occasion in a way of providing them the resources and tools to take responsibility. I think we are also... I think we are also... Certainly when it comes to wanting to be fair, wanting to do what is best for not just ourselves, but our fellow Hoosiers, I think Democrats stand for that.

You don't think Indiana Republicans stand for any of that?

I do. Certainly. I work with great people. Certainly, I do. It's the differences in a lot of our policy views, and the importance of where we stand. But that doesn't mean that certainly... That's the thing, our rural communities and certainly voters... I love people. I love listening to them. We have all had different experiences that have led us to the place that we are, and how we think, and certainly the way that we view things. And so for me, I think it's important for us to really refresh that, to provide people who live all over this state, who, and what a Democrat stands for sure.

If elected, after the first term of Karlee Macer as chairperson of the Indiana Democratic Party chairwoman, what will people say about your first term? What did Karlee Macer accomplish in her first term?

She showed up. She showed up.

EXTRA, EXTRA: Here’s how these bandied-about potential party chair candidates responded when asked if they intended to seek the chair position.

  • Democratic insiders say former 5th Congressional District Christina Hale is likely to pass on a bid.

  • Buttigieg’s former Indiana State Director Arielle Brandy hasn’t yet ruled out her own bid. “Haven’t written it off but as always my first priority will be [Indiana Young Democrats] and building off the great momentum and success we have right now. We do plan on playing a role in party reorganization this coming year. I wanna make sure we have more young people prepared to step into party leadership.”

  • Elise Shrock, of Tamm Capital, is also not running for the position.


IMPORTANTVILLE READS

Me, Indianapolis Monthly: “Does Joe Hogsett Have One Last Move In Him?

In February 2013, someone (not Hogsett, according to his spokeswoman) registered a number of web domains that indicated statewide ambitions, including hoosiersforhogsett.com. And he has become something of a fundraising powerhouse. Much is made about Republican Governor Eric Holcomb’s $8 million piggy bank, but consider Hogsett’s: For a mayoral run, he raised $6 million. For his 2016 statewide reelection campaign, former governor and current vice president Mike Pence had raised just $6.7 million by the end of 2015.

By Vincent M. Mallozzi, New York Times: “Another Transition: Audrey Pence Weds

During the most painful and difficult days of Daniel Tomanelli’s life, he continued to take care of Audrey Pence.

“He’s lying there in his hospital bed, asking me if I’m getting enough sleep,” said Ms. Pence, 26. “He’s asking his brother to go down to the gift shop to pick up a gift for me. He was, quite frankly, being brave and strong not just for me, but for all of us during a really tough time.”

Andrew Solender, Forbes: “House GOP Leader Jim Banks Calls For Party To Plan Future After Trump

But Banks also looked past Trump himself in an interview with the Washington Examiner, arguing, “The Trump agenda was what was popular — not Trump the man” despite his frequent support for the president.