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Political Scientist: Oesterle-Pence Race Might Be Closer Than Many Think

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If Angie‘s List CEO Bill Oesterle decides to challenge Governor Mike Pence in next year‘s primary election, one analyst says he will have his work cut out for him, regardless of the public‘s opinion of the religious freedom law.

Oesterle announced on Wednesday that he was resigning as CEO of Indianapolis-based Angie’s List to become, in his words, "more civically active" in the state.

But Andy Downs, director of the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics at Indiana University-Purdue University-Fort Wayne says that doesn‘t mean Oesterle would necessarily beat Pence.

"We could be looking at contested races in May as well as in November, and depending on what happens at the national level, we could be looking at a Republican primary for president that still may be going on by the time our primary happens," Downs says. 

Primary day in Indiana is May 3, 2016. Oesterle is a lifelong Republican who split with Pence over RFRA.

Oesterle previously managed Mitch Daniels’ successful campaign for governor in 2004, but has long supported extending civil rights protection to the LGBT community – which could broaden his appeal to centrist voters.  

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