Ballotpedia's 2012 General Election Preview Articles: Indiana State Executive Officials

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October 31, 2012

By Greg Janetka

Portal:State Executive Officials

INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana: Four state executive positions are up for election this year in the state of Indiana.

Voters will make their choice for the following positions on November 6:

Two incumbents - Attorney General Greg Zoeller (R) and Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett (R) - are seeking re-election. Governor Mitch Daniels (R) was prevented by term limits from seeking a third consecutive term in office in 2012, and will reportedly become President of Purdue University when his current term expires in January 2013.[1] Meanwhile, Lieutenant Governor Becky Skillman initially considered a run for governor in 2012, but decided against the move, citing "minor health issues."[2]

 Candidates for governor 

See also: Indiana gubernatorial and lieutenant gubernatorial election, 2012

In Indiana, the governor and lieutenant governor are elected on a single ticket. Only the Governor's race was on the ballot in the primary election as candidates for the other offices were selected during state party conventions. However, there were no primary challenges for governor.

Democratic Party John Gregg & Vi Simpson: Gregg previously served in the Indiana House of Representatives from 1986 to 2002, including a stint as Speaker of the House from 1996 to 2002. His running mate, Simpson, is a current member of the Indiana State Senate, a position she was first elected to in 1984.
Republican Party Mike Pence & Sue Ellspermann: Pence has been a member of the U.S. House of Representatives since 2001. His running mate, Ellspermann, has been a member of the Indiana House of Representatives since 2010.
Libertarian Party Rupert Boneham & Brad Klopfenstein: Boneham is most well-known for being a contestant on the reality-based game show "Survivor." Using prize money from the show, Boneham created Rupert's Kids, an organization that mentors at-risk youth. His running mate, Klopfenstein, is the owner of Magna Cara Public Affairs.[3]

 Candidates for lieutenant governor 

Independent Donnie Harold Harris & George Fish: Affiliated with the Public Party, Harris, who runs a remodeling company, is a write-in candidate. His running mate is George Fish.

Since the beginning of the race Pence has had a comfortable lead in the polls. According to a new poll, however, Gregg has made up some ground but is still trailing 46-40 percent, with Boneham in third at 6 percent and 7 percent undecided. The poll, which was sponsored by the Gregg-campaign, was conducted by The Benenson Strategy Group and had a margin of error of ± 3.7 percent.[4]

Gregg has continually pointed out his bipartisan record in the state house and attacked Pence as a far-right Washington insider, all while using a tone of folksy charm. Pence has focused on his proposed agenda, the "Roadmap for Indiana," while associating himself with outgoing Gov. Daniels, who remains popular.[5]

 Candidates for Attorney General 
See also: Indiana attorney general election, 2012

Republican Party Greg Zoeller
Democratic Party Kay Fleming

Republican incumbent Attorney General Greg Zoeller is running on his first term performance serving as the state's chief legal counsel. Democrat Kay Fleming currently practices at her own law firm in Indianapolis. She has clerked for two federal judges and previously served as the first attorney for the Indiana Gaming Commission.

Fleming said she could make the office run more efficiently and tackle pressing issues: "I think the children, the DCS system, needs an overhaul. Education system needs and overhaul."[6] She also cited constituent reports of the Do-Not-Call list failing to deliver as promised as a reason for challenging the current leadership, despite thinking that Zoeller "is doing good job."[6][7]

Zoeller has greatly outraised and outspent Fleming throughout the race. According to third quarterly reports filed on October 15, Zoller had spend $338,000 to Fleming's $15,000.[8][9]

Governing has rated the race as Safe Republican, saying, "Zoeller shouldn’t have much trouble defeating Indianapolis attorney Kay Fleming, who faces a shortage of name identification and money."[10]

 Candidates for Superintendent of Public Instruction 
See also: Indiana down ballot state executive elections, 2012

Republican Party Tony Bennett
Democratic Party Glenda Ritz

Incumbent Tony Bennett (R) is running for re-election as Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction. He was first elected in 2008 and is serving in his first term. Bennett was nominated as the Republican candidate at the party's convention.[11] The Democrats held their nominating convention one week later, with Carmel teacher Glenda Ritz emerging as her party's choice to run against Bennett in the general election.[12]

At a candidate forum on October 24, Bennett said he would give his first term in office a "B" and objected to how he has been portrayed by his opponent, saying, “There is this caricature of me that I’m an angry education reformer, that I’m anti-public schools, that I’m against public school teachers, and I think it’s in large part because I was so focused on the policy reform that maybe I neglected the message and we didn’t talk on how positive these things would be in the end.”[13]

Ritz, meanwhile, whose campaign has been mostly organized through local teachers unions, said the race is a "referendum" on Bennett's policies, including his pro-charter school and pro-voucher stances.[13]

See also



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