In late June 2018, Democrat U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly was cruising toward reelection and was on a conference call with Hoosier agriculture reporters when he learned that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy was retiring.

“It was like I got hit in the head with a baseball bat,” Donnelly told me. “I had been watching that like a hawk, because the way the Supreme Court operates, there’s a time when you really can’t resign after that point in the year, there are things you have to do to get ready for the next cycle. He had already hired clerks. By that time, you’re really in so deep you can’t leave. So, this was the final week when he could possibly consider; this was the end of the final week. I know how emotional Supreme Court nominations are.”

Brian A. Howey is publisher of Howey Politics Indiana at Find him on Facebook or Twitter @hwypol.

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