Week in Review: The Bloody 8th

While the Indianapolis Star endorsed a Republican in 8 of the 9 districts (Julia Carson doesn’t have serious opposition this year), the largest paper in the 8th District, the Evansville Courier & Press, issued an endorsement of Jennings.

The personable Jennings strikes us as someone with the skills and the ability necessary to work with others, both in Washington and in the district. His most high-profile position has been as a professional basketball scout (unless you count his being manager of the Indiana University basketball team under Bobby Knight). But it is noteworthy that he worked in the Clinton White House with a fellowship awarded while he was attending Harvard University. And after the fellowship ended, he worked at the Justice Department as a liaison to Congress. From that experience in Washington, he probably knows more now about how the nation’s capital works than Hostettler did when he first went to Washington 10 years ago.
We don’t agree with every position taken by Jennings, but we do recognize in him an individual with the ability to work with others and the intelligence to confront complex issues.

This endorsement should not come as a surprise, given the history between the paper and Hostettler.
Jennings also picked up a key endorsement from the Indiana State Fraternal Order of Police, as I reported earlier. He earns the distinction of being the only challenger to receive an endorsement from the Indiana State FOP.
Tuesday, October 19, Jennings held a press conference in Terre Haute – a traditionally Democratic city that could decide this election. He hammered Hosttetler on student aid funding in the wake of numerous articles reporting tuition hikes throughout the state.

Despite using Pell grants and federal financial aid to attend college himself, John Hostettler has spent ten years in Congress consistently voting against funding financial aid programs that help thousands of young Hoosiers attend college or technical school.

Because the 8th District includes Indiana State University, University of Evansville, and the ever-growing University of Southern Indiana, this is a major issue. You can view the Jennings press release here, though I haven’t seen it picked up anywhere.
WFIE, the Evansville NBC affiliate, has been running a series called “Hometown Memories,” which focuses on the background of each candidate. The opening of their soft piece on Jennings’ background sets the tone:

He worked in the White House under President Clinton, befriended the son of Nelson Mandela, and sat on the bench along side basketball legend Larry Bird. Now Jon Jennings wants to add Congress to his resume.

WFIE is also sponsoring a series featuring a local family dining with the Congressional candidates. Both Jennings and Libertarian Mark Garvin have partcipated, while Hostettler has refused to do so. The Jennings piece was quite flattering. You can read the article or watch the report here.
(Note: One of several drawbacks to WFIE’s website is that their stories don’t include air dates. I have contacted their political reporter to try to get the dates, and will update if possible.)
Jennings also spoke to a town hall meeting in Linton, Indiana on Tuesday, October 19. From the Daily Citizen:

“We’ve got to focus on the core issues that matter to our lives,” Jennings said. “My campaign has been about promoting a positive agenda.
“I came here tonight to ask you for your vote. I came here to let you know who Jon Jennings really is, not what you see on negative television ads.”

[As usual, I also posted this to ourcongress.org; you can see this and my other entries on my page there]