Political Changes in Indiana

It’s been an interesting week politically in Indiana, with national ramifications. On Monday the news came out that Baron Hill, Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Dan Coats, would drop out, to be replaced by Evan Bayh. Bayh is a past Indiana governor for eight years, past U.S. senator for 12 years, and the son of Birch Bayh, longtime former U.S. senator.

The significance of this change in candidates for this coveted seat in the Senate cannot be overstated. Until this bombshell news hit, Republican candidate Todd Young, who has been serving admirably as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for the past six years, was heavily favored to defeat Mr. Hill. Now that Mr. Bayh ‒ a darling of Indiana voters ‒ is in the race, political insiders everywhere have changed this race from likely Republican to toss up.

Fortunately both Todd Young and Evan Bayh have been receptive to and supportive of banking issues. Young currently serves on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee and has been particularly helpful on issues related to taxation. Bayh previously served on the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, & Urban Affairs when he represented Indiana in the Senate. Though he did vote for the Dodd-Frank Act, he was very supportive of many other issues related to banking.

Monday’s news was big, and we may be hearing more big news shortly. There is speculation that Donald Trump, presumptive Republican candidate for president, will be announcing as soon as tomorrow his choice for vice presidential running mate. Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is a strong contender; if named, Pence would have to drop out of the race for another four years as governor. Whether you are a Republican or Democrat, Trump supporter or critic, it should make all Hoosiers proud to have one of our own on a ticket for vice president of the United States.

Of course Mr. Trump may name someone else as his running mate, or may wait until next week’s Republican National Convention to make an announcement. A decision to wait would essentially be a decision to name someone other than Gov. Pence, because Pence has a deadline of July 15 to withdraw his name from the gubernatorial race. One way or another, we’ll know where we stand by week’s end. And whatever the outcome of this and other big news items, your Indiana Bankers Association will continue to work with you and for you on behalf of the industry.

– S. Joe DeHaven

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