Friday, August 07, 2020

Race of the Day- Indiana Governor

 Indiana Governor

88 Days Until Election Day

Status: Republican Incumbent

2016 Presidential Result: Red State (Midwest)

Outlook: Likely Republican

As many states have shown movement from Republican leaning to more favorable for Democrats, Indiana seems to be going in the opposite direction. While Democrats once won a series of consecutive Gubernatorial contests there and Barack Obama carried the state in the 2008 Presidential race, the GOP has won just about every major election since then. Four years ago, it looked like the Gubernatorial contest may come down to the wire, even with then Governor Mike Pence on the national Republican ticket. The state went heavily to Trump and Pence though and Republicans kept the Governorship by six points.

It had been an interesting several months for Eric Holcomb up to that point. Long active in politics and government, Holcomb had never run for office, before deciding he wanted to run for the U.S. Senate in the 2016 cycle. An underdog in that Republican primary, he withdrew and quickly found himself in the role of Lt. Governor after the incumbent resigned. Running on a ticket with Mike Pence, in what was thought to be a tough race, Holcomb then saw his advance come even faster once Pence was picked to run for Vice President. The state Republican Party, which Holcomb had once chaired, picked him to replace Pence at the top of the state ticket, and he went on to be elected Governor.

For the most part, Holcomb has avoided a great deal of controversy at home, but his job approval rating hung at just around 50 percent. Now, though, the Republican leanings of the state have him a solid, if not perhaps overwhelming favorite for reelection as he seeks a second term on a ticket with Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch.

Neither party saw a primary for the state's top job and Democrats have long since united behind a candidate. This is despite the fact that back during the Presidential primary process, many wanted outgoing South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg to withdraw his longshot campaign and run instead for Governor. A victory for any Democrat in Indiana seems uphill at this point and "Mayor Pete" likely feels that he did fairly well in his initial run for the White House.

Democrat nominee Woody Myers has an interesting biography and if elected would become Indiana's first African-American Governor. An Indianapolis native, Myers played football growing up and rose quickly through the academic ranks as well. By the age of 23, he had already received his medical degree from Harvard University. He also would earn an MBA. In 1985, Indiana's Republican Governor selected Myers to be the state's Health Commissioner. This might have seemed odd to many Hoosiers at the time, as the doctor's weight had ballooned to  over 400 pounds. He quickly embarked on a liquid diet and lost about 200 pounds within a year and seems to have kept it off since. Myers would go on to serve as New York City's Health Commissioner, before returning to Indiana and entering business. In 2008, he ran as a Democrat and lost a Congressional primary.

Continuing to be active in the business side of health care, Myers announced his bid for Governor and was fortunate enough to see all potential opponents not make it to a primary ballot. He chose Linda Lawson, a former State Representative and retired police officer as his Lt. Governor runningmate.

The Democrat seems to be running a credible campaign on boilerplate issues popular with members of his party as Holcomb runs on the accomplishments of his Administration, and the strong economy Indiana seemed to have, before the pandemic hit. Due to what has been said to be a somewhat unique state telephone law ( I cannot actually verify this), Indiana does not see many polls conducted. The ones that have been done on this race show Holcomb comfortably ahead.

If anything, I would expect this race to maybe tighten a bit towards the end, but Indiana has become pretty red and if Myers is able to come close to a 10 point defeat, that might be a moral victory.

Governor races predicted thus far: 
1 D (1 Likely)
1 R (1 Likely)

Total with predictions thus far:

21 Democrats (20 holdovers, 1 Likely)
20 Republicans (19 holdovers, 1 Likely)


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