(April 30, 2015) - Democrat John Gregg will try it again.
Gregg, who lost a close race to Gov. Mike Pence during the 2012 election, told our media partners at the IndyStar that he planned to focus on social issues.
"I thought (Pence) was going to focus on the economy, I thought he was going to focus on creating good paying jobs and improving our education system," Gregg told the newspaper. "He's focused on nothing but social issues, which was his record in Congress, and those social issues do nothing but divide us."
Pence's image took a hit over the divisive Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which led to declines in his approval and popularity ratings, according to a poll from Howey Politics Indiana.
Superintendent Glenda Ritz, a Democrat, said Thursday that she wouldn't rule out a run for governor. Angie's List CEO Bill Oesterle has been rumored as a potential challenger for Pence, although no formal announcement has been made. Oesterle, a Republican and vocal critic of RFRA, announced his plans to step down from the company in order to become more civically involved in the state of Indiana. He ran former Gov. Mitch Daniels' campaign in 2004.
Here's the message Gregg posted on his website:
I’m running for Governor because Indiana needs a new direction, a fresh start and a leader that focuses on the things that improve all our lives, not an out-of-touch political agenda.
I’ve been a small business owner, worked for two Fortune 500 companies, spent 16 years in the Indiana House of Representatives, including 6 years as Speaker and served as the President of Vincennes University.
In all those experiences I was able to bring people together to get things done. From working full time while attending law school at night, to expanding educational opportunities for students to working across the aisle at the Statehouse balancing budgets, growing the economy and supporting our schools, for me it’s always been about results, not ideology.
Sadly, under Mike Pence Indiana has been given a bad name. While working Hoosiers are falling further and further behind, he’s been focused on social issues and telling people how they should live their lives. That’s not the business of a Governor or any government.
As you’ll hear from me throughout this campaign, my focus will be on finding new and innovative ways to help attract, retain and support businesses that pay Hoosiers workers living wages. I’ll work with – not against – our elected State Superintendent of Public Instruction, teachers, administrators, parents and all other interested parties to improve our schools and open the doors of higher education to more Hoosiers. And, I’ll focus on building up our infrastructure – and not just our roads and bridges – but our workforce, broadband capacity, renewable energy opportunities and health care systems so regardless of where you live in Indiana, every Hoosier will have the chance to succeed.
As this campaign ramps up over the next several months, I am asking for your time, your financial support and most importantly your consideration of my candidacy.
We have a lot of work to do. Let’s get started.
New state GOP chairman Jeff Cardwell also issued a statement Thursday regarding John Gregg's announcement:
"True to form, John Gregg's negative attacks started the moment he announced his latest campaign. Mike Pence has spent his time as governor creating jobs, investing in education, and balancing the state's budget," Cardwell said. "As Speaker of the Indiana House of Representatives, Gregg helped the Democrats spend the state's surplus down to nothing and pushed for tax increases on working Hoosiers. Now, he wants to bring those policies back to the Statehouse. Indiana's fiscal health is rated among the best in the nation and we are confident voters will see that our state has made positive strides under Republican leadership."