Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s selection as Donald Trump’s running mate has left state Democrats without the person who has become their main target this election season.
A public opinion poll in May found that Pence had a 40 percent approval rating. The same poll also saw him locked in a tight rematch race with former Indiana House Speaker John Gregg, whom he defeated in 2012.
In a conference call after Trump’s announcement, Indiana Democrats lamented they would not have the chance to run against their public enemy number one.
“He’s not going to be held account for his past four years in Indiana,” said Indiana House Minority Leader Scott Pelath. “I feel bad for those people because they are not going to [get a] chance to voice their opinion and render their verdict.”
Pelath also expressed dissatisfaction that many of the state’s recent controversies such as the signing of a religious freedom law that was seen as discriminatory against LGBT people would be back at the forefront.
“The past Indiana embarrassments are going to be a nightmare for our state,” he said. “That is not what we wanted to have discussed before the nation.”
But John Zody, the state’s Democratic party chairman, said this did not mean that Gregg would have to change his strategy.
“The brand of leadership has been Mike Pence’s brand of leadership,” he said.
Gregg said in an interview that he was not as concerned about the change.
“I was never running against Mike Pence,” he said “I was always running for governor.”
Gregg also said his 2012 race against Pence was the closest governor’s race in 50 years. He also criticized other Republicans who are jumping in the race to replace Pence.
“They are all opportunistic,” Gregg said. “I am still the only one out there that’s running for governor.”