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Strategists: Parties will campaign on nominees for governor, not running mates

Fight brews over Dem Lt. Gov. nomination

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A Democratic strategist on Friday said past votes by the party’s leading lieutenant governor candidate won’t doom his candidacy.

Jennifer McCormick, who was unopposed in May’s Democratic primary for governor, on Thursday announced she wants former Indiana House Minority Leader Terry Goodin to be her running mate. Delegates to the Indiana Democratic Convention on July 13 will make the final decision. Goodin has drawn criticism from progressive Democrats over his past votes in favor of abortion restrictions and Indiana’s statutory ban on same-sex marriage. He already faces two challengers from the party’s left flank. Dana Black, former deputy chair of engagement for the Indiana Democratic Party and a contributor to All INdiana Politics, said Goodin’s apology is enough for her.

“I am going to take the man at his word. He said he made a mistake. It was my community that he harmed,” Black said. “You never know, he might end up with a challenger who’s going to come after him at the convention on July 13, but if he says he’s changed his position on things, I got to believe him.”

The race for lieutenant governor has taken center stage over the past two weeks. Last Saturday, Micah Beckwith narrowly upset Republican governor candidate Mike Braun’s pick, Julie McGuire, for the number-two spot. Democrats immediately began campaigning on Beckwith’s past comments about the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol and his role in a short-lived book reshelving policy at the Hamilton East Public Library. Republican strategist and All INdiana Politics contributor Ali Bartlett said Republicans aren’t concerned about Democrats making an issue of Beckwith’s positions.

“Our gubernatorial nominee is Mike Braun and that’s whose record we are going to be voting on in November,” Bartlett said. “Even in Micah’s comments at the convention, he has dedicated himself to serving in a capacity that will make Mike Braun the best governor he can be.”

For all the attention given over the past two weeks to running mates, both Black and Bartlett said the parties’ strategies will focus on the positions of the nominees for governor, not lieutenant governor.

All INdiana Politics airs at 9:30 a.m. Sunday.