|Superintendent Glenda Ritz|
I'm sure some on the Republican side gave that a chuckle. Perhaps even a hearty guffaw. To every giggling elephant, I say remember this...
Yeah, that was 2012 they'll say. 2016 is entirely a different year. True, but can you imagine Pence getting more votes this time around? Nah. I can't either. Brian Howey's Bellwether Poll from mid-April put Ritz behind by just three percentage points to Pence at 42-39. That was within the margin of error of the poll.
Let's take the next three anticipated attacks together.
- "She hasn't done anything as Superintendent of Public Instruction."
- "She's just a trouble maker."
- "She can't even run her own office effectively."
To those attacks I would counter that Ritz has been the sole Democrat that Republicans have sighted their lasers on. From Mike Pence's shadow Department of Education that was suddenly scuttled to the emboldening of the State Board of Education, Glenda Ritz from nearly hour one has been disrespected and never given an opportunity to succeed in the office.
Has she made some mistakes? Most definitely, but even the most staunch Republican has to admit that House and Senate Republicans have done little to help her.
The electorate has seen this, too. Glenda Ritz remains extremely popular among those who elected her because of the way she built that coalition. At the top of the Democratic ticket, she will have a lot more questions to answer, and she cannot rely only on her base. She will be targeted with the nastiest of nasty ads if Pence gets desperate...and he will be in 2016.
Ritz will have to come up with a plan for Indiana in 2016, and it will have to deal with more than education. If she can do that, her viability as a long-term candidate looks even better. Ritz still needs to be heard on a myriad of issues from improving Indiana's economy to critical agricultural issues to even human rights issues.
John Gregg, in my view, is still the frontrunner for the nomination (if Scott Pelath stays out). He is the more well-rounded candidate. Glenda Ritz, however, has a role to play in 2016 on the ticket and advancing the ball against the Pence machine whether it's as a candidate for reelection or a candidate for Governor.
I wish her the best in her consideration for 2016.