August 17, 2015

Karen Tallian Drops Out Of Governor's Race

Sen. Karen Tallian speaks on the Senate floor against the repeal of the common construction wage, a minimum wage on public construction projects. - Gretchen Frazee

Sen. Karen Tallian speaks on the Senate floor against the repeal of the common construction wage, a minimum wage on public construction projects.

Gretchen Frazee

State Sen. Karen Tallian, D-Portage, is dropping out of the governor’s race, leaving former House Speaker John Gregg as the lone Democratic candidate still in the race, and, therefore, the likely Democratic nominee.

“I will continue to build on my decade of experience as a state senator, fighting to ensure equal rights, well-paying jobs, and quality education for all Hoosiers,”  Tallian said in a statement announcing her decision. “I want to extend my heartfelt thank you to all of my supporters for your belief in a more progressive Indiana.”

Tallian entered the race this spring, saying somebody had to speak for the “progressive point of view.”

During the state senator’s short-lived campaign she raised the least amount of money out of the three Democratic candidates. In the first half of the year, she raised just $23,000, most of which was transferred from her Senate account.

The AFL-CIO, a group of labor unions, also endorsed John Gregg on Monday.

The Times of Northwest Indiana reports those two factors played into Tallian’s decision.

The veteran state senator said without volunteer and monetary support from organized labor, she had little chance of successfully competing against Gregg in the Democratic primary race. On Saturday, the United Steelworkers also endorsed Gregg for governor.

“I’ve got no choice,” Tallian said. “I can’t fight all of that.”

Tallian supporters privately questioned why Indiana’s labor unions would turn their backs on the lawmaker who has fought their battles in the Republican-controlled Senate for the past 10 years as the top Democrat on the Pensions and Labor Committee.

Following Tallian’s announcement, the state Democratic Party called Tallian a “true progressive champion.”

“There is no doubt her passion will continue as Democrats across the state will lead the charge to unite and improve the overall well-being of all Hoosier families and the state of Indiana,” Indiana Democratic Party Chair John Zody said in a statement.

John Gregg also commended her.

“Karen Tallian has been, is and will continue to be a true champion for working Hoosiers – and I am proud to call her my friend,” Gregg said. “I look forward to standing with her in the years ahead to improve our schools, rebuild our infrastructure and create an economy that works for all workers.”

State Superintendent Glenda Ritz, the other gubernatorial candidate, announced earlier this month that she was dropping out of the race as well.

Those decisions mean there will likely be a rematch between Gregg and Gov. Mike Pence in the general election.

Gregg lost to Pence by 3 percent of the vote in 2012.

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