Democrat Says Ritz Campaign will Hurt Party

WASHINGTON, Ind. (WOWO): Some will say it privately, but at least one Democratic Party official is publicly arguing that Glenda Ritz should not be running for governor.

“I want Democrats to win the governor‘s seat back. That‘s the bottom line for me; it‘s pure strategy,” said Dave Crooks, a former state lawmaker who is currently chairman of the Daviess County Democratic Party.

“Every dollar is so valuable in a statewide campaign, and if Democrats spend all their resources pointing their rifles at other Democrats, we‘re going to be roughed up after the 2016 primary with no money left” for a contest against Republican Governor Pence. To be sure, Crooks is a supporter of one of the state Superintendent‘s opponents in the Democratic primary, 2012 nominee John Gregg.

Crooks served in the House when Gregg was Speaker, and says Gregg is in the best position to challenge Pence again since he came within three-percentage points of Pence in what otherwise was a strong election year for Republicans, outside of Ritz‘s win over Tony Bennett in the superintendent‘s race.

“I think (Ritz‘s) stock is overvalued as a statewide candidate for governor. People suggest that she got more votes (in 2012) than Mike Pence. That‘s because there were so many people angry at Tony Bennett. Most Hoosiers didn‘t even know Glenda Ritz‘s name until she was elected.”

Some Democrats privately complain that Gregg‘s “good old boy” persona has worn thin, that he already had a chance to beat Mike Pence and could not. “Gee, imagine if people had said that about Abraham Lincoln,” Crooks said, referring to the races Lincoln lost before winning the presidency.

Other Democrats argue that Gregg is too conservative on some issues, putting him out of touch with the Democratic party base – that‘s the reason state Senator Karen Tallian says she got in the governor‘s race.

“Why not let the guy who has the best chance of beating (Pence) who can bring a lot more independents and Republicans along actually be the nominee? If we go too liberal, I don‘t think that‘s going to appeal to the typical Hoosier voter,” said Crooks.