Monday, August 06, 2012

Indiana Governor Race

Race of the Day

Indiana Governor

August 6, 2012
92 Days Until Election Day

Status: Republican Open
2008 Presidential Result: Blue State (Midwest)

Outlook: Likely Republican

Republicans appear to be in a good position to win the Governorship of Indiana for the third consecutive election.

The current Governor Mitch Daniels, is term-limited after eight years in office and early next year will take the helm as President of Purdue University. Many Republicans in the Hoosier State and elsewhere had hoped he perhaps had another President title in mind, but fairly early in the 2012 cycle, he announced he would not run. He also would go on to declare he had no Vice-Presidential ambitions, and by accepting a new job in academia, he seems to have completely nailed the door shut on any government related service for the next several years.

The man who is likely to replace Daniels is also somebody whom Republicans across the country had looked to as a potential Presidential candidate, but Congressman Mike Pence, a favorite of many conservatives, both on Capitol Hill and in the grassroots, announced near the very beginning of 2011 that he would not seek the White House. Instead, it was widely assumed he would run for Governor. After the 2010 midterms, Pence, who had been serving as the Chairman of the House GOP Conference, the number three leadership position at that time, announced he would not seek to remain in that position or any other in the leadership, and would serve just one final term in Congress.

Months ago, the paths became clear for both major party candidates to avoid a primary fight, as the sole Democrat on the primary ballot was John Gregg, the mustachioed former State House Speaker. In Indiana, the ticket for Governor and Lt. Governor run together and as his running-mate, Gregg selected State Senate Majority Leader Vi Simpson as Pence tapped State Representative Sue Ellspermann to run with him. A quasi-celebrity is also on the ballot as the Libertarian nominee. While he has no possibility of winning the race, Rupert Boneham, a former fan favorite on the CBS reality show "Survivor" will be another option to the voters.

Governor Daniels has remained fairly popular while in office, as in many respects, Indiana has done better economically than many other states, especially it's neighbor, the Democrat dominated State of Illinois. With that in mind, it makes sense that the GOP would have the edge in keeping their hold on the office.

As an open seat, the race may be reasonably competitive, but Pence is likely to a significant money edge. Gregg and the Democrats may try to paint him as being too far to the right to be an effective Governor, but Pence probably has a decent sized lead in the polls. This is despite the fact that Indiana, which somewhat uniquely outlaws robocall polling, does not see many polls. Those that have been seen in recent days, shows Republicans with a large Presidential advantage in a state that Barack Obama narrowly won four years ago, which should only help Pence. If anything, Democrats are more likely to focus their efforts on the state's open U.S. Senate seat than by trying to win an uphill race for Governor.

If Pence goes on to win and amasses a strong record as Governor, the Presidential speculation surrounding him will grow even stronger in future cycles down the road.

Pence campaign link:

2012 Gubernatorial races predicted thus far: 1 D, 1 R
Predicted Gubernatorial totals thus far: 13 D, 1 I, 27 R