The Journal Gazette
Sunday, January 06, 2019 1:00 am

State GOP, Team Holcomb raking in cash

NIKI KELLY and BRIAN FRANCISCO | The Journal Gazette

The Indiana Republican Party and Team Holcomb are boasting a record-setting fundraising year.

Together, Gov. Eric Holcomb, Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch and the Indiana Republican Party posted a year-end $5.745 million total following the governor's second year in office. This is higher than the previously reported projected end-of-year cash-on-hand total of $5.25 million, a news release said.

The state party ended the year with $930,000. Holcomb has $4 million in the bank, and Crouch closed with $815,000. 

“Thanks to the commitment and support of Governor Eric Holcomb and Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch, today our Indiana Republican Party has taken fundraising to new levels and is in a record financial position,” said Kyle Hupfer, chairman of the Indiana Republican Party. “With this news, Team Holcomb, the joint fundraising committee between Eric Holcomb for Indiana and the Indiana Republican Party, continues to prove its effectiveness.”

The Team Holcomb model benefits both the Indiana Republican Party and Eric Holcomb for Indiana as it allows the entities to raise funds jointly and disburses those funds based on a pre-determined, but adjustable, formula. Currently, Team Holcomb contributions are evenly split between the two organizations and that allocation will continue this year.

Hines tells of his kidney transplant

City Councilman Glynn Hines, D-6th, has received a kidney transplant and is doing well, the councilman told The Journal Gazette on Saturday.

Hines missed the Dec. 11 City Council meeting as he recovered from kidney transplant surgery. Hines said Saturday that his first public appearance since his procedure will be Monday's Fort Wayne Plan Commission public hearing.

He is not seeking re-election in this year's elections.

Banks promotes top deputy

U.S. Rep. Jim Banks has named a new chief of staff to replace Matt Lahr, who is rejoining the staff of Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats.

Banks, R-3rd, announced Thursday night that Fort Wayne native David Keller has been promoted from deputy chief of staff to chief of staff. Keller, 38, was Banks' campaign manager in 2016 and formerly was an administrator at Abundant Life Church in Fort Wayne.

Lahr had been Banks' chief of staff since the congressman took office in 2017. He previously was deputy chief of staff and communications director for Coats when Coats was a U.S. senator representing Indiana. Lahr, a native of Columbus, Indiana, was an aide to Mike Pence when the vice president was a member of the U.S. House.

Lahr has been named deputy assistant director of national intelligence for strategic communications.

“Matt has been an invaluable partner to me over the past two years, and we wish him the best as he begins a new position in government service,” Banks said in a statement. “No one knows northeast Indiana better than David Keller, and I am excited for him to bring his passion and talents to this important role. David is committed to serving Hoosiers with excellence, and I look forward to building on what we have accomplished during my first term in office.”

Banks also announced that T.W. Arrighi has become his communications director. Arrighi previously worked for Rep. Mimi Walters, R-Calif., and former Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., now the secretary of state.

Senators get panel assignments

U.S. Sen. Mike Braun has been named to five Senate committees, and Sen. Todd Young has added a committee assignment.

Braun, R-Ind., who won election Nov. 6, announced Friday he was selected for Senate committees on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry; Budget; Health Education, Labor and Pensions; Environment and Public Works; and the Special Committee on Aging. 

“I am ready to get to work for Hoosiers fixing the broken system in Washington, and these committees provide a great opportunity to apply my real world experience to delivering solutions for Hoosiers,” Braun said in a statement. “Agriculture will help me stand up for Hoosier farmers, Aging gives our seniors a voice in Washington, EPW provides an opportunity to tackle our crumbling infrastructure, HELP covers critical areas like workforce development and a chance to fix our broken healthcare system, and on Budget I will work to find solutions for our national debt and out-of-control spending that has been ignored for too long in Washington.”

Young, R-Ind., who was elected in 2016, announced Friday he has been named to the Senate Finance Committee, which has authority over legislation and issues related to revenue, including taxation; U.S. debt; trade agreements; and tariff and import quotas.

Young said he will retain his seats on Senate committees on Foreign Relations; Commerce, Science and Transportation; and Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

“From keeping our country safe, to fighting for small businesses, and tackling some of our nation's largest economic challenges, these committee assignments place me in a strong position to continue advocating for Hoosiers' priorities in the Senate,” Young said in a statement. “I am honored to join the Senate Committee on Finance, one of the Senate's most powerful committees, and I look forward to continuing my work to protect our national security on the Committee on Foreign Relations.”

Voter ID targeted

Spread The Vote, a nonprofit organization that helps people obtain government-issued IDs so they can vote, apply for jobs, find housing and receive medical care, is expanding to Indiana.

Spread the Vote's launch in Indiana is part of the group's seven-state expansion to combat restrictive voter ID laws. The organization said 35 states, including Indiana, have voter ID laws, and that 21 million eligible voters nationwide lacked an ID as of the 2016 presidential election.

The group said it often works with the poor, homeless or immobile to ensure they can vote when they get to the polls and have IDs that provide opportunities they wouldn't otherwise have without identification.

“We are combating voter ID at its source. We have seen real results from our work in Georgia, Virginia, Tennessee, Florida, and Texas. The midterm elections may be over, but our work is far from done. I'm so excited that we are able to open our doors in Indiana and make a real difference in communities across the state,” said Spread The Vote founder Kat Calvin. “Indiana has strict photo ID laws that make it difficult for any eligible voters without photo ID to vote. But IDs are about so much more than voting. Our clients use their IDs to get jobs, housing, medical care, food at food banks, nights at shelters, and so much more. Our new staff on the ground in Indiana today begins building the infrastructure that will allow us to get the IDs that our clients need to change their lives, and to vote in each and every election.”

Spread The Vote said its effort not only pays for and secures identification cards but educates people about the voting process and provides transportation to the polls. The organization was founded in 2017 and has more than 30 chapters.

Dave Gong of The Journal Gazette contributed to this column.

To reach Political Notebook by email, contact Brian Francisco at or Niki Kelly at An expanded Political Notebook can be found as a daily blog at

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