INDIANAPOLIS - Indiana Democrats may be trying a new strategy against the Republican front-runner for governor, Mike Pence, and it could all hinge on the U.S. Senate race.
The Democrats' new theme is to tie Pence to Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock through their common opposition to the auto bail-out.
Democrats said Pence opposed saving Indiana jobs by voting against the bail-out, while Mourdock tried to stop the rescue by filing what turned out to be an unsuccessful lawsuit.
It's not clear whether the plan is to tie the front-running Pence to the seemingly less popular Mourdock or if Democrats believe the auto bail-out is a winning issue in Indiana.
State Democratic Chairman Dan Parker, when asked about the party's new attack on Pence, seemed to indicate the latter.
"He was adamantly opposed to the rescue plan put forth by the Obama administration that saved the Indiana auto jobs here in the state," said Parker. "So it does relate. And I think it's quite hypocritical that Mike Pence is featuring a GM truck in his ads, that he wanted that truck to go away."
Democrats aren't revealing anything about their internal polling over the auto bail-out.
The strategy could work both ways.
Kip Tew, RTV6 Political Insider, said, "Well, I think it's both. But the auto rescue, it turned out to not only be successful and to save over 100,000 jobs here in Indiana, but it's also politically popular now as people realize that it was a good thing to do. And Mike Pence voted against the loans to both GM and Chrysler."
Of course, it could also be part of an even bigger umbrella strategy.
Abdul-Hakim Shabazz, RTV6 Political Insider, said, "I think it's part of a bigger 'kitchen sink strategy,' which is throw whatever you can at Mike Pence and see what sticks. I mean, Pence has got the double-digit lead. He's had the double-digit lead in just about every single poll. And unless there's going to be some dramatic shift in this campaign in the next 30 days and some change, you know, Mike Pence is going to be the next governor."
A Pence spokesperson called the attack a "Washington-style, negative strategy that John Gregg said he wouldn't run."
Although Gregg did not initiate this attack, the Pence spokesperson said Gregg should ask the Democratic Party to stop.