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Hoosier State Dem Bench Whittled Down Hoosier State Dem Bench Whittled Down Hoosier State Dem Bench Whittled Down Hoosier State Dem Bench W...

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Politics

Hoosier State Dem Bench Whittled Down

February 22, 2011

Former Rep. Brad Ellsworth (D-Ind.) said Monday that he won't be running for any office in 2012, a decision that came on the heels of another prominent Indiana Democrat -- Evansville Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel -- removing himself from the list of Democrats who might run for governor.

Weinzapfel would have been a top Democratic recruit for the gubernatorial race, and earlier this year, when he announced his decision not to run for another term as mayor of Evansville, many observers interpreted the move as a sign the popular Democrat was leaning towards a gubernatorial run.

Now, Democrats will turn their attention to former state House Speaker John Gregg -- who says he is seriously considering a gubernatorial run -- and Rep. Joe Donnelly (D), who remains a possibility for either the gubernatorial or Senate race. State Senate Minority Leader Vi Simpson is also considering a gubernatorial bid.

But Donnelly's case may be the most interesting. Redistricting is likely to make Donnelly's district more Republican, a factor which may push him toward a run for the Senate or governor.

If Democrats believe they can compete in the general election in both races, the prospect of having Donnelly in one race and Gregg in the other may end up being the most appealing possibility, and one that would also avoid a competitive primary between the two.

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