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Analysts Don’t Expect Specifics From Democratic Convention

John Gregg and Vi Simpson join Democratic colleagues in Fort Wayne at the state party convention.

Political thinkers say state Democrats have an opportunity to win public opinion for their views following this weekend’s party convention in Fort Wayne, but pundits say they do not expect many specifics about Democrat plans to be revealed this weekend.

Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute Director John Ketzenberger notes Republican gubernatorial candidate Mike Pence laid out goals at least weekend’s Republican state convention but did not offer plans for how to achieve them. Ketzenberger says he expects the same from John Gregg and other Democratic challengers on Saturday, but adds he does think a coherent message about how the state raises and spends money could resonate with voters.

“I think that whatever campaign can say in the most effective manner ‘ these are the services we want to provide and this is how we’re going to pay for them’ will be able to carry the day,” he says. “At least I hope so, because that’s the important part.”

Indiana State University political scientist Matthew Bergbower says he thinks state Democrats may be able to coalesce around raising the interest and votes of a single constituency.

“The social conservative message with Mike Pence and Richard Mourdock, Democrats in the state could mention Planned Parenthood debates, the quality of education, protecting teachers,” he says. “Could be a message that resonates well with women voters.”

Ketzenberger notes it’s normal for young campaigns to emerge from state conventions without much fleshing out of a policy agenda, but says after Saturday both sides should be ready quickly with answers to specific questions about their plans.

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