Columbus Mayor Gets Call Seeking Lt. Gov. Interest

Columbus Mayor Fred Armstrong says he’s been contacted about the possibility he might want to run for lieutenant governor in 2012.

Fred Armstrong

Photo: John Bailey/WFIU

Columbus Mayor Fred Armstrong says he's honored to be thought of as John Gregg's possible running mate, but says others have a better chance at getting the nomination.

Speaking on WFIU’s “Ask the Mayor,” Fred Armstrong admitted he’d taken a phone call trying to assess whether, when his term ends after December, he’s out of politics for good or might consider running alongside presumptive Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Gregg in 2012. If Armstrong gets the nod, the city of Columbus could have two favorite sons in the race, with Representative Mike Pence (R-6th) the favorite to receive the Republican gubernatorial nomination.  But Armstrong said he doesn’t think he can siphon many votes from the congressman.

“Bartholomew County, the city of Columbus, pretty conservative.  So the chances of taking a lot of votes away…not going to happen.  At least that’s my take on it, I could be wrong,” Armstrong said.

“I would agree with his assessment,” said IUPUI political scientist Brian Vargus.  Vargus said Armstrong’s further analysis that he’s likely from the wrong part of the state to help Gregg is also on the money.

“Gregg does need somebody, I would say, definitely north of the old line we always talk about, U.S. 40, and ideally somebody from the far north of the state.”

Indiana Legislative Insight Editor Ed Feigenbaum went even further in describing who the former House Speaker needs to balance the ticket.

“John Gregg could use a woman.  John Gregg could use somebody with ties to organized labor. John Gregg does not need somebody from the legislature.  John could use somebody from the business community and he would do well to get somebody from outside the southern part of the state,” Feigenbaum said.

Feigenbaum added Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott could be an appealing choice to be Gregg’s running mate.  Gregg formally announced his candidacy for governor in an e-mail Tuesday, but Vargus said no matter who the Sandborn native picks, it’s an uphill battle against Mike Pence.

“John Gregg is a very big long shot,” Vargus said.

Stan Jastrzebski

WFIU/WTIU News Senior Editor Stan Jastrzebski spent time as a reporter with WGN Radio in Chicago and as an editor at Network Indiana, an Indianapolis news service. Stan is the winner of awards from the Associated Press, the RTDNA, the Indiana Broadcasters Association and the Society of Professional Journalists. He hosts WFIU's Ask the Mayor and anchors WTIU's InFocus.

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