The Journal Gazette
Saturday, October 29, 2016 10:01 pm

Campaigning peaks in tight gubernatorial race

Niki Kelly and Brian Francisco | The Journal Gazette

With just a week left in the race for Indiana’s next governor, the contest is tight and the candidates are pulling out all the stops.

The National Journal last week called the race the second most likely to flip party control. The new analysis moved the race three spots from its previous ranking.

Republican Gov. Mike Pence is in office now but chose not to run for re-election after being tapped as Donald Trump’s presidential running mate.

GOP Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb stepped into the race late and faces Democrat John Gregg.

"Today’s analysis shows what we already know: Hoosiers are tired of the political agenda over the last four years. And under Eric Holcomb, the state would only continue to follow an out-of-touch ideology that has damaged our state’s economy and reputation," said Drew Anderson, communications director for the Indiana Democratic Party.

Pence is chipping in this weekend to help Holcomb, attending a rally in southern Indiana tonight for the gubernatorial candidate.

And Gregg, along with his running mate, Christina Hale, just started an eight-day bus tour across Indiana. Various other high-profile Democrats will show up for portions of the tour.

Candidates shy from surveys

You’re not alone if you don’t like to answer political polls and surveys – political candidates apparently don’t care much for them, either.

The National Pro-Life Alliance, which opposes abortion rights, has mailed out results of its survey of Indiana legislative candidates. Only 57 of 207 candidates took the survey, and a few respondents did not answer all nine questions.

In northeast Indiana districts, only seven of 24 candidates responded – Republican Reps. Dan Leonard, Dennis Zent, Matthew Lehman and Martin Carbaugh, Republican candidates Dave Heine and Blake Doriot, and Democratic candidate Curtis Nash.

Meanwhile, Project Vote Smart, which compiles data on candidates and elected officials, said only 24 percent of the country’s 1,200 congressional candidates answered its Political Courage Test, a survey on 15 national policy issues.

Participation rates ranged from zero percent for Maine, Mississippi, Montana and Nebraska to 60 percent for Kansas. In Indiana, 23 percent of the congressional candidates filled out the survey.

Part of the problem might be that not all candidates receive the survey. Project Vote Smart’s website shows that two of the three candidates in northeast Indiana’s 3rd Congressional District – Democrat Tommy Schrader and Libertarian Pepper Snyder – were not contacted because of "a later filing deadline, a lack of contact information, or other circumstances delaying entry into our database."

The third candidate in the 3rd District, Republican Jim Banks, did not respond to the survey, according to the Project Vote Smart website.

The site showed that none of the three candidates for an open Senate seat from Indiana – Democrat Evan Bayh, Libertarian Lucy Brenton and Republican Todd Young – responded to the survey.

RespectAbility, which advocates for people with disabilities, said Bayh and Young had declined to take its campaign questionnaire and that Democrat John Gregg and Republican Eric Holcomb, who are running for governor, had not responded.

Indiana Wesleyan app featured

An app created by four Indiana Wesleyan University professors was featured on ABC’s "Good Morning America" last week as part of a real-time stress test.

The feature, which aired on "GMA" following the final presidential debate, showcased how the election is affecting people’s stress levels. A group of voters used the RealLife Exp mobile app from LifeData to record their stress levels before and after watching the debate, finding that their stress levels increased steadily.

"We got a call the night before from the producer, and within 24 hours we had the system gathering real-time data on viewers’ stress levels," said Tim Steenbergh, co-founder of LifeData and professor of psychology at Indiana Wesleyan.

"The ‘GMA’ project was one more step towards our goal of helping others use real-time technology to better understand people and promote their flourishing. We began developing our system in 2010, and now we get to enjoy watching researchers around the world use our system to study the most pressing issues in daily life."

RealLife Exp is a free application that uses real-time, mobile technology to gather information on psychological, physical and environmental variables during the course of a day for the purpose of helping people better understand themselves.

The idea for the app surfaced in 2010 from casual conversations between four Indiana Wesleyan professors: Steenbergh; Jason Runyan, professor of neuropsychology; Doug Daugherty, professor of addictions counseling; and Lorne Oke, executive director of the university’s Center for Learning and Innovation.

To reach Political Notebook by email, contact Brian Francisco at or Niki Kelly at An expanded Political Notebook can also be found as a daily blog at

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