The Journal Gazette
Sunday, April 26, 2020 1:00 am

Briefings giving Holcomb free media time

NIKI KELLY and BRIAN FRANCISCO | The Journal Gazette

No one can deny that Gov. Eric Holcomb has a prominent platform during the middle of the pandemic.

He gets an hour of free media every day – with broadcast stations around Indiana airing his daily briefing – at a time when he can't campaign for reelection in the traditional sense. About 35 reporters log on each day to ask Holcomb and his cabinet members key questions.

And between the live-stream the state provides and Facebook Live, about 193,000 Hoosiers tune in. That doesn't count anyone watching their television at home.

Holcomb's general election opponent, Democrat Woody Myers, was asked last week about how to compete with that advantage.

“Sure it makes it a challenge when your opponent is on every single day for an hour a day. On the other hand, it's important that the state get the information,” Myers said. “We are of course restricted from going out and doing the campaigning that we truly want to do.”

Myers said he would one day be able to get back to that. The only question is will the race be over before that happens?

Myers, Take Two

Myers will file an amended campaign finance report after errors on his first-quarter filing, his campaign said last week.

Spokeswoman Kate Shepherd said there were some double counts because of data transfer issues caused by new software. A new, correct public version should be posted soon.

Myers sent Political Notebook the new report, which showed he raised more than $391,000, spent about $369,000 and has $22,000 on hand. But he also owes himself $169,000 in loans. His earlier report had his fundraising at more than $525,000.

The report also has an interesting expenditure – $3,800 to a Stanley Bednar, address unknown. It seems the Myers campaign was defrauded as the purpose noted on the report is “wire fraud.”

Shepherd said the item relates to an “ongoing state police investigation and we can't comment at this time due to the fact that it's an open case.”

Indiana State Police didn't immediately respond other than to say the agency “will not confirm or name an individual who is a suspect or the target of any investigation until and unless charges are filed or an arrest is made.”

Lending support

Republican challenger Chris Magiera lent his campaign more money in the first quarter of 2020 than U.S. Rep. Jim Banks raised during the period.

Magiera collected just $195 in individual contributions during the first three months of the year, but lent his campaign $140,000. That brought to $240,000 the amount of personal loans the Warsaw physician has made to his campaign in northeast Indiana's 3rd Congressional District, according to campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Columbia City resident Banks raised $110,329 in the first quarter, with $74,500 of it coming from political action committees. Banks is a member of the House Armed Services Committee, and many of his PAC donors represent defense companies, including Raytheon, BAE Systems, Harris Corp. Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics.

For the 2019-20 election cycle to date, Banks, who seeks a third term in the House, has raised about $730,000, and he had nearly $261,000 in cash on hand at the end of the first quarter. Aside from his loans, Magiera, a gastroenterologist, has raised only $495 in that time frame, and he had about $28,000 in available cash.

Norwell High School science teacher Chip Coldiron is the only candidate for the Democratic Party's congressional nomination to file a campaign finance report with the FEC. 

The Ossian resident reported raising less than $2,200 for the entire election cycle, including $755 of his own money, and he had $604 in cash on hand at the end of the first quarter. Coldiron listed no itemized campaign contributions – gifts of at least $200 that require the public disclosure of the donor's name, address and occupation, the amount of the contribution and the date it was made.

Also running in the June 2 Democratic Party primary election are motor carrier owner Jean-Paul Kalonji of Fort Wayne, tile installer Carlos Marcano Jr. of Roanoke and perennial candidate Tommy Schrader of Fort Wayne. Congressional candidates must file campaign finance reports if their contributions or expenditures exceed $5,000.

Republican Rep. Jackie Walorski's reelection campaign has raised more than $1.45 million to date in northern Indiana's 2nd Congressional District, which includes parts of Kosciusko County. She had $970,000 in cash heading into the second quarter. Her challenger in the GOP primary election, Christopher Glenn Davis, has not filed reports with the FEC.

In the Democratic primary, Patricia Hackett has raised more than $282,000 and had nearly $129,000 in cash on hand, while Ellen Marks has raised nearly $274,000 and had about $72,500 in cash. Marks' receipts included $94,250 she lent her campaign. Marks and Hackett are attorneys in South Bend.

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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