Pundits: Dems Who Want To Challenge Gregg Must Make Up Lost Time, Money

Sep 8, 2015

John Gregg is currently the only Democrat in the 2016 gubernatorial race.
Credit Indiana Public Media / https://www.flickr.com/photos/wfiupublicradio/8409284742

The Democratic races for president and for governor have clear frontrunners -- and prominent candidates considering late entries into the race.

John Gregg's strength pushed two rival candidates out of the race for governor, but two more, former Evan Bayh chief of staff Tom Sugar and Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott Jr., are considering jumping in.

IPFW political scientist Andy Downs says it's not too late, but the real deadline is a month or two before the official one of Feb. 5. He says a candidate with good donor access could still catch up to Gregg's $1.8 million war chest.

Despite that, Downs says Gregg’s accumulation of major union endorsements makes it tougher for a late-arriving candidate.

“Each one of those endorsements, although probably not a make-or-break endorsement by itself, bring with it volunteers, people who are able to give you money – and the more you’re able to do that, the more you sort of lock people out of access to the existing infrastructure,” Downs says.

But as the weather turns sour in December and January, Downs says, it's hard to maintain a schedule of rallies and fundraising visits.

In the last three presidential elections, Rick Perry, Fred Thompson and Wesley Clark all waited until August or September to jump into the race, and then struggled to find their footing on the campaign trail.

But IPFW's Mike Wolf says Vice President Biden's name recognition buys him time other presidential hopefuls wouldn't have. Even so, Wolf says Biden probably has to make up his mind in time for the New Hampshire primary.