INDIANAPOLIS -- Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Gregg raised more money in the first half of 2015 than Gov. Mike Pence.
University of Evansville political scientist Robert Dion says, even with the election more than a year away, that could have an impact on how the race shapes up.
The former House Speaker managed to out-fundraise the incumbent through June by a little more than $100,000. Pence does have significantly more cash on hand – more than a 2-to-1 advantage over Gregg. And Gregg has two opponents in the Democratic primary, which will likely force him to spend more money before the general election than Pence, who so far is unopposed. But Dion says outraising an incumbent, even early on, can help catch the attention of national groups.
“They are not sentimental people. They don’t invest their money knowing that the person is a goner," Dion said. "They want to see somebody who has a legitimate chance at toppling the incumbent.”
Much of Gregg’s lead was built through big donations from labor organizations, which Dion says won’t be enough going forward.
“This labor boost has given him a big head start but he’s going to have to pour on the fundraising from the citizens in the near future,” Dion said.
Dion says if Gregg continues building a fundraising lead, it could help force his primary opponents to bow out of the race.