By Ken de la Bastide
ANDERSON – Although the primary election to secure nominations to be the next Indiana governor is still three years away, there is already political activity among Republicans.
A few weeks ago Eric Doden announced that he will seek the nomination in 2024.
Doden served as president of the Indiana Economic Development Corp. during the term of former Gov. Mike Pence and most recently was CEO of Greater Fort Wayne, Inc.
In making his announcement, Doden said he has a passion to revitalize Main Streets in Indiana’s communities.
Doden plans to visit all 92 counties before the 2024 primary election.
The problem Doden is facing is a lack of name recognition outside of Allen and Marion counties.
It will be tough for Doden to emerge from an expected primary field against candidates with higher name recognition and larger war chests.
There should be little doubt that current Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita will be a candidate for governor in 2024.
Rokita has served as Secretary of State and in Congress.
Since taking office as attorney general on Jan. 1, Rokita has been a proverbial thorn in the side of Gov. Eric Holcomb.
He is in a battle with Holcomb on legal representation concerning the legislation dealing with emergency sessions of the Legislature.
Many Republicans in the Indiana General Assembly didn’t like the requirement by Holcomb for Hoosiers to wear masks to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Holcomb has hired an Indianapolis law firm to represent him in the court case, something Rokita contends is not proper since the AG’s office normally represents the state in court.
Rokita has also been critical of decisions by Indiana University and Purdue University to require students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to attend classes in the fall.
He is clearly playing up to the Indiana Republicans that supported Donald Trump’s two runs for the presidency.
The question for Rokita is, will the old guard state Republicans embrace that stance in 2024?
Current Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch is also expected to run for the nomination after serving eight years with Holcomb.
It’s believed local party officials are backing Rokita’s bid for the office.
There has been considerable speculation that Kyle Hupfer, who hails from Madison County and is the GOP state chairman, will make a bid for the nomination.
Although Hupfer may not be a household name, as state party chairman he has the necessary connections within county party organizations to mount a campaign.
It should be an interesting three years with Sen. Mike Braun’s name being mentioned as a possible gubernatorial candidate with Holcomb running for the U.S. Senate.