IN Focus: Melton, McCormick tour raising eyebrows in political circles

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INDIANAPOLIS - Potential gubernatorial candidate State Sen. Eddie Melton (D-Gary) and Republican state superintendent Dr. Jennifer McCormick appeared on this week's edition of IN Focus, ahead of their statewide tour next week that's been making waves on the political scene in Indiana.

Melton's campaign issued a joint statement announcing the tour last week, in which McCormick said: “Indiana needs more state-wide leaders who value the voices of practitioners and community stakeholders, as demonstrated by Sen. Eddie Melton."

She added: "As State Superintendent of Public Instruction, I am optimistic that a potential 2020 gubernatorial candidate has the foresight and the willingness to elevate educational issues and work collaboratively.  This next election will direct the future of our state for generations to come. Decisions regarding the education of our children must be at the very heart of that future.”

In response, the GOP issued a statement questioning McCormick's motives and allegiances.

"Today's announcement seems to confirm the rumors of the last few weeks: that Jennifer McCormick is auditioning for a new job -- including as the lieutenant governor nominee on the Democrat ticket in 2020. After being on stage at our Republican Conventions in 2016 and 2018, running on GOP ideals in 2016 and accepting campaign aid from thousands of Republican Party supporters across the state, it begs the question whether Jennifer McCormick is still a Republican," said state party chairman Kyle Hupfer.

Melton has formed an exploratory committee, but has not made an official decision on a run for governor next year. McCormick announced last year she would not seek another term as state superintendent, and has been at odds with GOP officials over the legislature's decision to make the superintendent's position appointed instead of elected starting in 2021.

Melton and McCormick's 'listening tour' begins in Northwest Indiana on Monday.

They'll appear together in Indianapolis on Thursday.

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