By Dan Spalding
Most Hoosiers have never heard of the Libertarian candidate for governor, but he might be gaining some recognition from the pandemic.
Indiana’s gubernatorial race between incumbent Republican Eric Holcomb and Democrat Dr. Woody Myers has been a lackluster contest mostly because Holcomb has a massive advantage in fundraising over Myers.
But Rainwater is trying to capitalize on Holcomb’s handling of the pandemic and hoping to make inroads.
As is clearly stated on his campaign website, Rainwater opposed the government-mandated shutdown. He opposes mask mandates. And he generally does not like how Holcomb governs.
If you want an idea of what some of his supporters think, check out the Facebook page, Indiana Republicans Against Gov. Holcomb, which has nearly 5,000 followers.
Rainwater also supports the decriminalization of marijuana and thinks weed should be made available to veterans suffering from PTSD. He also says anyone convicted of a marijuana-related crime should have their records expunged and their prison sentences commuted.
For sure, Rainwater remains a longshot whose election night results will likely be in the single digits. Or maybe not. Maybe the anti-maskers will send a message.
Regardless, on Nov. 4, the day after the election, Hoosiers will get a better idea of how much support there is for legalizing pot by combining the vote totals of Rainwater and Myers, who has also spoken in favor of decriminalization but not recreational use.
* * *
TOUGH DAY FOR STATE GOP – State Republicans most certainly rue the day they ever nominated Jennifer McCormick as Superintendent of Public Instruction four years ago.
McCormick quickly fell out of favor with Republicans. A year ago, Gov. Holcomb signed legislation that eliminated the office of the state superintendent of public instruction and replaced it with the secretary of education, an appointed position, effective Jan. 11, 2021.
On Sept. 10, McCormick endorsed Jonathan Weinzapfel over Republican and former U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita for attorney general. On Friday, Sept. 18, she endorsed Democrat Woody Myers for governor.
There’s lots of speculation that McCormick is angling for a political future as a Democrat.
Kosciusko County’s Democrat Party chair Brian Smith was quick to seize on Friday’s development.
“I think that’s a pretty clear statement by someone who has worked right alongside the current governor. That should tell you what she thinks of his job performance,” Smith said.
Smith also opposes the idea of removing the education post from the ballot. “The education budget is 52 percent of all spending and we should have a say in how those dollars are spent,” Smith said.
* * *
COATS OUTSPOKEN – Former Indiana Sen. Dan Coats has emerged as one of the few Republicans to voice concern with President Donald Trump’s approach to election security.
Coats served as Trump’s former director of national intelligence for two years before stepping down over differences with the president over Russia, which is believed to have attempted to interfere with the 2016 election and is believed to be doing so this year.
In a New York Times column posted this week, Coats urges the creation of a high-level, bipartisan, nonpartisan commission to oversee the election to firmly reassure all Americans their vote will be counted.
“Our democracy’s enemies, foreign and domestic, want us to concede in advance that our voting systems are faulty or fraudulent; that sinister conspiracies have distorted the political will of the people; that our public discourse has been perverted by the news media and social networks riddled with prejudice, lies and ill will; that judicial institutions, law enforcement and even national security have been twisted, misused and misdirected to create anxiety and conflict, not justice and social peace,” he wrote.
* * *
LOCAL NOTES – Two tidbits on the local political scene:
- Kosciusko County Republicans had a busy week. There was a local upscale fundraiser for Indiana Attorney General Candidate Todd Rokita on Tuesday. A day later, numerous elected leaders turned out to support President Donald Trump’s re-election in Warsaw. Hours later, Republicans gathered for a trivia party at Stacy’s Restaurant in Leesburg.
- Democrats in Elkhart and Kosciusko counties have identified a void in their campaign efforts in the Second Congressional District in the Nappanee-Wakarusa area and are doing something about it. Dems have created a group called Advancing Community Together (ACT) Nappanee Wakarusa Democratic Club and have held two recent events.
* * *
SPALDING IS NEGATIVE – As a follow-up to last week’s column, I received my COVID test result on Wednesday. It was negative. It took five days for the results, but I’m thankful.
* * *
RIP RBG – Just when you thought politics could not become more twisted and intense, it did on Friday night with the death of 87-year-old Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
I was lucky enough to see her speak a few years ago at the University of Notre Dame. Even in her final years, she was a quick and engaging speaker. She’s a legendary jurist whose lengthy record is highlighted by her support for women’s equality. She’s so impressive, there’s already been a movie about her, On The Basis Of Sex.
Her death and the desire by Republicans to quickly replace Ginsburg weeks before the presidential election will monumentally complicate things.
For myself, her death brought about a moment of sadness and then the overwhelming realization that an already ugly presidential race will now move into overdrive as the political posturing sparks a new round of controversy and the right to a legal abortion hangs in the balance.
The totality of all of this is hard to fathom.
* * *
ELECTION COUNTDOWN – Election Day is 44 days away. The deadline to register to vote is Oct. 5. You can do that online here.
* * *
Dan Spalding is the editor at InkFreeNews.com.
He covers city government and politics and always welcomes your input.
He can be reached at [email protected] or at (574) 855-7612.