INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — We are still 3 1/2 years from the next election for governor of Indiana, but that doesn't stop John Gregg from laying some groundwork for 2016.
Gregg's 2013 schedule looks like the schedule of a candidate. He's been to 17 Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinners and he's spoken to 30 labor groups, and it's only May.
The John Gregg for governor Facebook page is also still active. New postings show school kids posing with the fake mustaches that his 2012 campaign used for props. Supporters use it to encourage him to run again. One claims to have a pledge from Gregg to do so.
Gregg, reached by phone, wanted to talk about how close he came last time.
"We worked real hard," said Gregg. "We were outspent by $10 million and still came within two points."
Mike Pence defeated Gregg by a margin closer to 3 percentage points but it was the closest race for governor in 50 years. That doesn't mean that party leaders will clear the field for Gregg.
"In the spirit of racing and race weekend we're not even on the pace lap for 2016," said Democratic Party spokeswoman Jennifer Wagner. "The field's not set, we don't even know what the cars are going to look like."
Republicans look on with amusement.
"One of his chief criticisms in the last campaign was, (Gregg) said he was running against a career politician," says state GOP Chairman Eric Holcomb, "and for someone to have just campaigned for an office to immediately pivot and start running again. That starts to look like a career."
Gregg won't declare himself a candidate yet, saying only that he has always been active in attending Democratic events around the state.
"After campaigning every day for two years," he said, "maybe it just becomes a way of life."
There are other Democrats testing the 2016 waters. They include former Congressman Baron Hill and Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott.
Party leaders, meanwhile, want to concentrate on making gains in the General Assembly in 2014.
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