(Dillsboro, Ind.) – Dearborn County became campaign central in the race to become Indiana’s 50th governor Thursday.
Both Republican candidate Mike Pence and Democrat hopeful John Gregg met with supporters, imploring them to cast a ballot on or before Election Day.
Republican Congressman Mike Pence drew a crowd at the Dillsboro Civic Center during a morning stop to support State Rep. Randy Frye’s (R-Greensburg) reelection bid. He was joined by Frye, 6th District Congressman candidate Luke Messer, State Rep. Jud McMillin (R-Brookville), and his wife Karen Pence.
“I’m asking for your support five days from today to help us build an even better Indiana,” Pence told the roughly 70 supporters.
The Republican candidate made his case to voters that Indiana can achieve greatness, if he and his GOP colleagues are elected.
“I really believe that Indiana is on the verge of an era of growth and opportunity like no other in our lifetime,” Pence said in crediting outgoing two-term Governor Mitch Daniels’ accomplishments.
Pence promised more. “Because of the progress that we’ve made, we can preserve that fiscal integrity and still cut taxes for every Hoosier across the board – in the city and on the farm. We can continue to get our schools working for all our kids.”
Although he’s focused on Indiana Pence was well aware of what is at stake in Ohio, perhaps the most important battleground state in the presidential election. He urged southeast Indiana Republicans to reach out to their friends in Ohio and encourage them to vote for Mitt Romney over Barack Obama.
Just 14 miles away and a couple hours later, mustachioed Democrat gubernatorial candidate John Gregg’s Workhorse Bus Tour met with a similarly-sized largely union crowd at Brickyard Café in Lawrenceburg. The tour is hitting 72 Indiana cities and towns in eight days.
“We’ve not elected a man with a mustache as governor since 1908,” Gregg joked with the crowd, referencing Indiana Governor and U.S. Vice President Thomas Marshall.
Focusing on his policy plans, Gregg began with education. He was critical of state leadership cutting $1 billion from public education in recent years.
“We’ve got a plan that will help early child development, pre-kindergarten, we’ll stop the war on our school teachers, and when our students graduate from college or high school they’ll be career or college ready,” Gregg stated, later adding that funding for education was increased each year he was Speaker of the Indiana House 1996 through 2002.
Gregg wants to improve Indiana’s infrastructure by leveraging $3.5 billion for public projects to put 97,000 Hoosiers to work.
“Mayor Doug (Hedrick) and Mayor Dennis (Carr) and the commissioners and the governor can have that money for roads and bridges at the state, county, and city level,” the Democrat said.
Gregg then went on the offensive against the congressional record of Pence, who has been the frontrunner through much of the campaign.
“(Pence) said his ideology did not allow him to help Chrysler and General Motors. 125,000 people would have lost their jobs,” said Gregg.
Gregg said he and his running mate, lieutenant governor candidate State Senator Vi Simpson, would work in a bi-partisan fashion.
Simpson appeared with Gregg. So did Democrat candidate for U.S. 6th District Congress Brad Bookout and former 9th District Congressman Baron Hill.
Simpson, who is currently serving in the Indiana Senate dominated by a Republican super majority, said the past four years has been horrible in the General Assembly. She urged Democrat supporters to head to the ballot box.
“We need to draw a line in the sand and say ‘No more radical extremism in Indiana,’” said Simpson.
Hill pointed to a Gregg campaign poll out Wednesday that shows the Democrat is just three points behind Pence, 47- to 44-percent.
“When you spend $7 million (in political advertising) and you can’t move beyond 47 percent - you’re just stuck there - that means people have something against you. They don’t like you for some reason,” Hill told the crowd, adding that Gregg has the momentum in the home stretch of the campaign.
If elected, Gregg will need help from the Republican-led legislature to accomplish his agenda. He urged voters to support Aurora resident Tom Cheek for State Representative against Randy Frye in House District 67, and Sunman’s Jake Hoog over Republican Jud McMillin in District 68. Both Cheek and Hoog also appeared at Gregg’s campaign stop.