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Zoeller, Bennett Challengers Face Name Recognition Deficits

An uphill battle awaits Democratic candidates for two statewide positions.

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Photo: K. Latham (Flickr)

Political thinkers say the Democrats running for state school superintendent and state attorney general suffer from a lack of name recognition.

State Attorney General Greg Zoeller and Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett are running for reelection in November.  But one political analyst says most Hoosiers don’t know who their Democratic opponents are.

Kay Fleming is an Indianapolis attorney and will face Attorney General Greg Zoeller in the fall.  Glenda Ritz is a Carmel schoolteacher running for state superintendent.  Neither one has ever run for public office before.  Political analyst Ed Feigenbaum says one of their problems is name recognition.

“Not only do people around the state not know who these two candidates are, people within the Democratic Party don’t know who these candidates are,” he says.

Feigenbaum says because the two are at a distinct fundraising disadvantage – and because the state party can’t devote enough resources to help them – it’s unlikely they’ve got a shot to unseat the Republican incumbents.  Fleming’s campaign manager Monica Whitfield Brase says Fleming knows she’s got an uphill battle…but still wants to talk to as many Hoosiers as possible about her message in the hopes that it will generate discussion:

“As she talks about what problems exist and how the Attorney General might fix those problems, hopefully other people will grasp onto them and decide they want to do something about it,” Brase says.

Both Feigenbaum and Brase say Fleming and Ritz can also help generate support for other Democrats on the ballot such as gubernatorial candidate John Gregg and Senate hopeful Joe Donnelly.

Brandon Smith, IPBS

Brandon Smith, IPBS has previously worked as a reporter and anchor for KBIA Radio in Columbia, MO, and at WSPY Radio in Plano, IL as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.

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