State Sen. Karen Tallian drops out of (Indiana) governor’s race

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Lawmaker’s departure leaves former Indiana House Speaker John Gregg, the 2012 nominee, as the only Democrat still in the running.

IndyStar.com
By Chelsea Schneider, Reporter
8/17/15

John Gregg became the sole contender in the Democratic race for Indiana governor Monday, after the departure of state Sen. Karen Tallian.

Tallian’s withdrawal from the race follows Glenda Ritz dropping out earlier this month to run for another term as state schools chief. Both candidates faced an uphill battle against the fundraising power Gregg has demonstrated early in the race for the Democratic nomination.

Tallian, a Northwest Indiana Democrat, threw her support behind Gregg, who ran for governor in 2012, in announcing her decision to leave the race.

“I am humbled by the welcome I received from all corners of the state over the last few months,” Tallian said in a statement. “I will continue to build on my decade of experience as a state senator, fighting to ensure equal rights, well-paying jobs and quality education for all Hoosiers. I want to extend my heartfelt thank you to all of my supporters for your belief in a more progressive Indiana.”

Tallian raised just a fraction of Gregg’s $1.76 million during the first half of the year, with the state lawmaker reporting less than $25,000 in contributions. Her decision followed an announcement Monday by the Indiana State AFL-CIO, an umbrella group representing most of the state’s labor organizations, that it was endorsing Gregg. The United Steelworkers, which represents more than 45,000 people in Indiana, also has endorsed Gregg.

Tallian entered the race in May, shortly after the conclusion of this year’s legislative session. At the time, Tallian said she was mounting a run to “step up for everyday Hoosiers.”

In response to Tallian’s decision, the former Indiana House speaker said he was proud to call her a friend.

“I look forward to standing with her in the years ahead to improve our schools, rebuild our infrastructure and create an economy that works for all workers,” Gregg said.

Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody said he understood Tallian’s decision.

“There is no doubt her passion will continue as Democrats across the state will lead the charge to unite and improve the overall well-being of all Hoosier families and the state of Indiana,” Zody said in a statement.

Gov. Mike Pence’s re-election campaign declined to comment.

Gregg outraised Pence during the first half of the year, with most of his contributions coming from regional and national labor unions. However, Pence has $4.23 million in his campaign account, more than twice as much as Gregg.

Another benchmark of their campaigns’ financial health will come in January, when the candidates must report contributions they received for the second half of the year.

But will Gregg remain unchallenged in the 2016 Democratic primary? Tom Sugar, a longtime aide to then-U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh, said Monday he’s still considering a run.

(Star reporter Tony Cook contributed to this story.)

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