INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – John Gregg appears to have a lock on Democratic nomination for governor in 2016.
Tom Sugar’s decision against a run leaves Gregg as the only Democrat in the race.
It sets up the first rematch in a race for governor in the state’s history.
Gregg, who has been on the campaign trail for more than four months already, says, “I’m running against Mike Pence’s record.”
It’s a record that didn’t exist when the two politicians met in 2012.
Party leaders are in his corner.
“One thing we have to do as Democrats is point out things where we can be better, doing better here in Indiana and talk about what we’re for,” said Indiana Democratic Chairman John Zody, “and I think John Gregg will do that.”
The unity is a boost to Gregg’s fundraising.
“We’re working real hard at it,” he said. “I’m a better candidate than I was in 2012 on that.”
And the Democrats believe Mike Pence is vulnerable, in part, because of the way he handled the RFRA controversy.
“I want the legislature to create real civil rights protection for the LGBT community,” said Gregg. “I want them added to our civil rights statute. I support that. I really think they need to repeal RFRA.”
That’s from a candidate who in 2012 was opposed to gay marriage.
Even if Mike Pence and John Gregg are the candidates in 2016, little else will be the same.
And that goes double for the tone of the campaign. 2012 was mostly civil.
Mike Pence is prepared for an avalanche of negative attacks in 2016 and has already signaled that he will respond in kind.
Look for it to be the kind of hard fought race that we haven’t seen here since 2004.