Mike Pence is Running for Governor

Today, Mike Pence has officially announced to supporters that he will be running for Governor. Pence held a conference call, sent out an email and released a video at a newly designed www.mikepence.com.   A formal announcement will be held June 11th in Columbus.

Speculation that Congressman Pence would run for Governor has been going on for nearly a year since Pence decided not to run for U.S. Senate against Evan Bayh. This was before now Sen. Coats got in the race and then Sen. Bayh got out of the race.  The Congressman spent last fall out on the stump, helping all the close Congressional races and building his team.

The announcement was supposed to be on Monday but was postponed due to the death of Osama bin Laden.  And, of course, there was the issue of premature announcement  yesterday when a pre-timed email was sent out by the campaign saying “Mike for Indiana” with blank text.  We are sure someone got into some big trouble for that one.

So where does this leave the race for Governor? 

First, it leaves us waiting for an opponent.  We do not believe there will be a viable primary challenger to Mike Pence.  On the Democrat side, it seems to be looking like John Gregg for Governor with Joe Donnelly opting for the U.S. Senate race.

Second, it leaves the race as a bit of a toss-up/leans Pence. Indiana is a Republican state but John Gregg is a conservative Democrat from the South and could potentially pose a threat.  The real question for us is if Mike Pence can find a message that works for the General Election.  While his strong, conservative stances on social issues have played well in conservative crowds nationally and here in Indiana, they may not be winning issues in a general election.  President Obama will be on the ticket so that could be a challenge– unless Mitch Daniels is the Republican nominee and that would greatly benefit Indiana Republicans. 

Let the games begin!

Dan Parker: It Isn’t My Fault. Voters are Dumb.

Here is a quote from last week’s Howey Political Report:

“It’s hard to win elections when people act irrationally,” Chairman Dan Parker observed.”

It so beautifully captures the smug progressivism of today’s Left: condescendingly blaming voters for stupidly voting against their own self-interest.

So you’re Dan Parker.

Your status as State Chair is solely based on your status as Bayh’s most loyal sycophant.

You’re already on thin ice for the Jill Long Thompson debacle.

Adding fire to the flames, Bayh bails from re-election at the last-minute, causing the second most amusing chain reaction in Indiana politics: Ellsworth forgoes re-election to Congress, and loses his bid for Bayh’s seat; Van Haaften forgoes re-election to the Statehouse, and loses his bid for Ellsworth’s seat; Deig forgoes re-election to the State Senate, and loses his bid for Van Haaften’s seat; and in true poetic justice, Deig’s Senate seat goes Republican too.

Your leadership resulted in a 24 vote swing in the House handing Bosma the gavel and a quorum-proof majority in the Senate.

As a last resort, you’re reduced to sending mailers telling voters to vote, not Democrat, but Libertarian.

And in the end, you blame the voters.

Priceless. Four More Years! Four More Years!

Democrat Governor 2012 Watch

With the Democrats still reeling from Sen. Evan Bayh’s decision not to seek the Governor’s office, Matt Tully penned a hilarious column outlining the various needs for a new leader of the Democrat Party and candidate for Governor.  We think the only thing he missed was being photogenic. 

Today, Mark Schoeff Jr. from the Howey Political Report wrote that Baron Hill all but said he won’t be running in 2012 for Governor.  It sounds as though Hill will be looking to take a break and focus on making a living at least in the near term.   That leaves Ellsworth, Donnelly,  and Weinzapfel.  Are we missing any one?

Evan Bayh Closes the Door on a Run for Governor

Last night, Mary Beth Schneider’s story that Governor Evan Bayh has decided not to run for Governor of Indiana hit the political world.  Bayh went the “family before politics” route saying he wanted to put his kids first.  The twin boys are entering their freshman year in high school and Bayh didn’t want to disrupt their lives saying he has been “elected five times. You only have your kids once.”

Bayh, however, did not close the door on future endeavors and did not know what he would do with the $10.2 million remaining in his campaign coffers.  We’re going to guess he will save them until he really decides he is done running for office. 

As for the Democrats, Bayh’s decision not to run for Governor really puts them in a bad position.  Bayh was their best hope to reclaim the Governor’s office.  John Gregg said, “our Moses, who led us to the promised land, has announced he’s not going to lead us back to the promised land”.

Schneider says the other Democrats on the list now are Evansville Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel, U.S. Rep. Brad Ellsworth, U.S. Rep. Baron Hill, U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly,  Lake County Sheriff Roy Dominguez and John Gregg.  We think a few on that list are not serious contenders and many are vulnerable but we’ll get to that later. 

The bottom line is that Democrats are left scrambling once again with Bayh’s decision not to seek office

Coats vs Ellsworth Spending

Maureen Groppe has a story in the Indy Star today that grabbed our attention.  The piece is on the dollars spent in the 2010 election.   

On an earlier post this week, we had some critics saying that Bayh could have lost his Senate seat had he chosen to run.  We’ll conceded anything is possible.  That said, Coats spent $4.3 million on the race compared to Ellsworth’s $2.6 million.  The story noted that Coats spent $3.8 million in his last Senate race back in 1992 and that Lugar spent $5.2 million in his 2000 re-election bid. 

Neither Coats’ 1992 race or Lugar’s 2000 race were exactly considered barn burners and both races had spending at arguably higher levels once adjusted for inflation than Coats’ 2010 race.  Evan Bayh would have had $11 million to spend before raising a single dollar for the 2010 race and there is no doubt he would have raised significant dollars.

Would it have been a tough race?  Sure.  Would Evan Bayh have won?  We’ll never know but we certainly wouldn’t rule it out.

Governor’s Race Update from Both Sides of the Aisle

Mary Beth Schneider has an interesting piece in today’s Indy Star on the covering both sides of the aisle on the upcoming Governor’s race.   

On the Republican side, most everyone is waiting to see what Congressman Mike Pence will do—besides Lt. Governor Becky Skillman that is. Skillman said Pence is a “good conservative, but my decision will not be dependent upon what others do.”  That is the most polite way of saying “I am not getting out of this race for you” that we have ever heard. 

Still though, most of the establishment crowd is clearly waiting for Pence to get in or out of the race before deciding who to support.  And Skillman still won’t quite be out of the woods even if Pence decides not to run as many others have been mentioned to run if Pence does not.  That list includes State Party Chairman Murray Clark and State Auditor Tim Berry to name a few.

Unless Governor Daniels steps in, Lt. Governor Skillman likely will be running as the non-establishment candidate.  At this point, the Governor has asked everyone to stand down throughout the legislative session and said, “”I think I’m going to practice what I preach and leave politics aside for a little while.” 

On the Democrat side, there is another waiting game as they wait to see what Senator Evan Bayh will do.  Bayh has said running for Governor is a possibility but not a probability.  That said, if he decides to run, the field will be completely cleared. 

While there are some in the Democrat Party who are a bit agitated with the way Bayh backed out of the Senate race causing them lose not only his Senate seat but the 8th Congressional District and a seat in the State House, Former Democrat Speaker John Gregg said, “all those people who are saying this and that will be right back in line.”

In the case that Bayh does not run, speculation is centered on Evansville Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel, former Congressman Baron Hill and Congressman Joe Donnelly.   Another name that was mentioned and really shocked us was Brad Ellsworth.  We would think Democrats would be running from the idea of an Ellsworth ticket after the disastrous results for this year’s U.S. Senate race.  John Gregg is pulling for Evan Bayh to get in the race but would not rule out throwing his hat in the ring if Bayh doesn’t get in.

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