Governor Pence Warns Campaign Could Turn Negative

INDIANAPOLIS (WOWO): Governor Pence says he‘s bracing for a fight in next year‘s reelection campaign — and that means a U-turn away from a longstanding pledge to avoid going negative. 

Pence publicly renounced negative campaigning in 1991, after coming under fire for the harsh tone of a losing congressional campaign the year before. When he returned to politics in 2000 with a successful bid for Congress, he vowed to stick to a positive campaign, regardless of what his opponents did. He’s done so since, including in his first campaign for governor.

At his reelection announcement Thursday, Pence served notice he‘ll no longer be bound by a nonaggression pledge. He repeated verbatim a declaration from the 2000 campaign that “negative personal attacks have no place in public life,” but added he will respond in kind to attacks on his record. 

Pence wasted no time using the freedom he‘d given himself, accusing Democrats of a tax-and-spend philosophy when they were in power, and charging they‘re concealing a liberal special-interest agenda. 

Pence acknowledged the reason for the turnabout: for the first time since that 1990 loss, he’s facing a tough race. He says he‘s “ready to take on” opponents and present a clear choice.