Pence Leads Republican Ticket Statewide
While most have focused on the Presidential election, and the Indiana Senate election has drawn dollars and attention, there has been boatloads of money spent on Indiana statewide elections as well.
Mike Pence has done something relatively unheard of in politics and politicians everywhere are watching to see whether it works: can a candidate win by a sizable margin when his opponent is pouring millions into outrageous ads smearing him, without fighting back?
Many felt that Mike would be forced to respond, that he would have to abandon his no negative campaigning pledge. It is now Sunday before the election and in spite of some of the most ridiculous smears thrown at him Pence has continued smiling and campaigning in his red truck. He laid the groundwork of being Mr. Indiana, demonstrating his clear roots and Hoosier mentality, thus burying his biggest threats: Washington experience, residency and ties to Congress. The attacks have not stuck.
John Gregg has spent more than anyone imagined he would. When he started with heavy advertising and said it would continue, few believed him. He has done that. However, his messages were confusing: small town guy with sarcastic bitter humor, guy with two first names, barbershop singer with a moustache, suddenly a former Indiana House Speaker with a record, to constant - I can't win on my record but Mike Pence is an evil man - campaign. Indiana is enough of a divided state that these final efforts have probably pulled him back from the precipice of a huge defeat, thus burying the Democrat Party, to just a huge defeat. Pence should win by at least 8% (regardless of Libertarian %), and my guess is by 10-11% (can't predict the Libertarian, but say - 53-42-5).
Attorney General Greg Zoeller, who had the closest race last time, is likely to have the biggest victory this time. I'd post who he will defeat but I don't even have a clue who he is running against. His lead is so big that even the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette endorsed him and they only endorse Republicans when the Democrat has no chance whatsoever.
The Superintendent of Education race has heated up in the last few weeks. Supt. Tony Bennett will likely win fairly easily over Ritz, a teacher with no management experience but enthusiastic support from teacher's unions. In Indiana, while teacher's unions are Democrat, the area's teachers actually tend to be similar to the area in voter preferences. But the controversies surrounding public charter schools and testing are likely to result in a somewhat closer race than the Zoeller race. Dr. Bennett is likely to prevail by a decent margin, but not certain it will be as high as Pence's. But he has done an admirable job, and will likely be rewarded with a sizable win even though implementing controversial policies.
The state legislature is likely to remain at least as Republican as it currently is. The goal of Republicans is to win 67 seats in the State House of Representatives, so that Democrats can't walk out and stall the Pence agenda. It will be very close. A key seat is Republican Martin Carbaugh versus Democrat incumbent Win Moses. In this race, if Win wins, we all lose. Possibly statewide.