Indiana GOP is spreading the mission with GOPAC

Indiana GOP Chairman Eric Holcomb hopes to help replicate his party’s success in Indiana in other states through GOPAC, a GOP group that trains candidates and helps elect them to state and local offices.

Holcomb recently joined the group’s board of directors.

“Eric Holcomb’s work in Indiana is what GOPAC is all about, building the next generation of Republicans to become leaders of reform,” said GOPAC chairman Frank Donatelli.

Holcomb, who served as a deputy chief of staff to Gov. Mitch Daniels, recently wrote a book about Daniels’ tenure, in part to encourage people to run for office. Daniels has appeared in GOPAC’s training materials for candidates.

GOPAC officials said earlier this year that they want to help Indiana Republicans get the seven House seats needed so Republicans still could conduct business if Democrats walk out, as they have in the past two sessions. They plan to contribute to “promising candidates.”

Other states where GOPAC will help Republicans maintain or take over majority control in state chambers include Colorado, Iowa and Nevada. A GOPAC affiliate is working to register new GOP voters in the presidential swing states of Colorado, Iowa and Nevada.

Holcomb said that GOPAC’s “mission to support up-and-coming conservative leaders is necessary if we want to build a national majority that can lead our party and our country in decades to come.”

GOPAC spent more than $5.2 million during the 2010 election cycle, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics which tracks campaign spending.

A little local color on campaign trail
Elvis-impersonating state lawmaker Bruce Borders is taking an — let’s say, unusual — approach to re-election.

Seeking a fifth term, the Jasonville Republican dresses and performs as Elvis in local parades.

“I couldn’t stand to do a parade any other way,” he said. “Don’t stuff me in a convertible with Tootsie Rolls, waving at people. Gag me.”

He’s also taking a nuanced approach to campaign mailers. He made a flier with detailed weight- loss tips and exercise goals — say, can the soda and power-walk three miles a day. At the end of the mailer, he throws in a line that he’ll also cut the state budget.

“Most people open campaign fliers over the trash,” he said. “Fliers that say so-and-so is reliable or honest. What are they going to say, ‘I’m a crook, I’m lazy and I’m never going to show up?’ To me, those fliers are generic and don’t say anything.”

With redrawn district maps, he’s challenging fellow incumbent Kreg Battles, D-Vincennes. Battles is taking a more grassroots approach, knocking on thousands of doors the past couple of months with his wife.

“We like to shake hands; we like to talk,” he said. “I don’t know whether that’s good, bad or indifferent in a modern world. Sometimes, I think old-fashioned ways are appreciated.”

Coming together for the cause

One of Indiana’s most popular and successful Democrats will give Joe Donnelly a boost in his Senate race with a fundraiser later this month.

Evan Bayh — a former senator and governor — will be the special guest at a Donnelly event that also will feature U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott and other Indiana Democrats.

The fundraiser will be Aug. 23 in Munster, according to the Donnelly campaign.

The announcement came on Thursday — the same day Donnelly’s campaign released an internal poll showing him and the GOP candidate, state Treasurer Richard Mourdock, essentially tied in the race for Senate seat. An independently funded poll released by the Rasmussen Reports earlier in the week showed a similar result.