Filing begins in less than two months in the race for governor. Most analysts peg Republican Congressman Mike Pence as the heavy favorite, but he has to get past businessman Jim Wallace in the primary and former House Speaker John Gregg in the general election.
IUPUI political scientist Brian Vargas says it is Pence‘s race to lose. He says Wallace and Gregg have to close a big gap in name recognition before anything else. If Wallace can raise enough money to raise his profile, Vargas says he still has to find a way to distinguish himself from Pence.
“If he can get the money and get the advertising going and getting the support, he has to say that he is a more pragmatic social and fiscal conservative,” Vargas says.
He says Wallace’s best course might be the one Gregg has been pursuing: positioning himself as pragmatic enough to work across party lines. Wallace‘s fundraising is only a half-million dollars behind Pence‘s, but only because he has loaned his campaign nearly a million dollars.
He has raised just $11,000 so far from other donors. Gregg will not file his first full campaign finance report until January. Vargas says Democrats will keep up their effort to equate Pence with Washington and paint him as ideologically rigid. But he says Gregg will need to fire up the Democratic base by demonstrating strong grassroots organization.