|Superintendent of Public Instruction|
Let's go back to seven or eight weeks before the 2012 election, Mike Pence found himself with a double-digit lead in the Governor's race, and it seemed a foregone conclusion that the S.S. Pence was an iron-sided vessel destined to have a port perhaps outside the White House.
The first sign of trouble came over the next few weeks as that double-digit lead for Pence began to dwindle and mustachioed John Gregg closed to within three percentage points on Election Night. The Republicans had little explanation for the near collapse, and they insisted Pence's smoothly-sailing ship was continuing to sail on calm waters.
Early on, Pence showed inexperience in dealing with the Republican majority in his own legislature by surprising them with policy initiatives and working around them. The result was that his agenda nearly was derailed by his own party. He didn't get the deep tax cuts he wanted, and he looked weak. Pence created his own own shadow department of education to work around Glenda Ritz, but he had to back off when it saw the light of day.
Then...RFRA. We all know about the debacle around the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Now, the controversy over the form letter he sent Indy Pride.
Suddenly, Mike Pence is no longer a player on the national stage. He's holding on in Indiana, and the party that finds itself in a deep superminority seems poised to snap back in 2016. What seemed silly a few months prior to the 2012 election seems plausible just three years later.
This only happens, however, if the Democrats have a robust but not nasty primary. Karen Tallian, John Gregg, and Glenda Ritz have to be civil with each other and keep focused on Mike Pence. It would also hurt to see a lot of money and resources spent on a primary fight.
My feeling is that Democrats won't simply come together, so this will have to be solved at the ballot box before it's solved at the ballot box. Whatever happens, Indiana can't take another four years of Mike Pence.