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Battle for governor off to soft start

John Gregg has to build name recognition to have any chance at winning the governor’s race.

So it’s no big surprise that the Democratic candidate has started his fall campaign with soft TV spots, introducing himself and avoiding any criticism of the other candidates.

Republican Mike Pence has much better name recognition, but he has also started with decidedly soft ads.

Under the prevailing wisdom of big-time election campaigns, Gregg would have to go after Pence, fiercely attacking his record in Congress. While many Hoosiers haven’t seen them, emails from Gregg’s campaign criticize Pence almost daily. Some of the main themes: Pence has never authored a bill that Congress has passed and he has missed a lot of votes during his campaign.

Gregg is known for his sense of humor, so he may well try to be creative in his attacks on Pence. Don’t be surprised if he follows from the pages of Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Joe Donnelly, who uses a little humor, complete with a Richard Mourdock-like character, in his own ads.

Pence may well decide he doesn’t need to attack Gregg to win. An Indiana Chamber of Commerce poll last week showed the U.S. representative far ahead of his Democratic rival, 50-32 percent.

Mourdock and Donnelly, though, are close in the polls – and that very likely means more negative ads in the Senate race.

Ryan on social issues

Gov. Mitch Daniels and GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan hold many similar political positions and have spoken highly of each other. But Ryan did not agree with Daniels on the governor’s 2010 assessment that fiscal issues are so important now that the next president “would have to call a truce on the so-called social issues.”

Now, Democrats are poised to attack Ryan’s conservative positions on social issues, particularly abortion and other women’s issues.

As reported, Democrats think Ryan is vulnerable because of his vote to end government funding for Planned Parenthood, his support of the “personhood” amendment that would declare human life begins at conception and his opposition to abortion, even in cases of rape and incest.

Of course, one of the main reasons Mitt Romney chose Ryan was to draw support of social-issue conservatives.

SACS election

Sherry Chapman, narrowly defeated in 2010 in her bid for re-election to the Southwest Allen County Schools board, hopes to return to the board. She formerly represented a geographic district, but she is running for the at-large position in November. Incumbent John Bloom is not expected to seek re-election. Tim Loomis defeated Chapman by less than 5 percentage points – just 257 votes – in 2010.

This is the first November election for the Southwest board – and for many other Indiana school districts. Previously, the votes for many school boards took place during the May primary, which generally sees much smaller turnout than the general election.

Tracy Warner, editorial page editor, has worked at The Journal Gazette since 1981. He can be reached at 461-8113 or by email,