MUNCIE — U.S. Rep. Greg Pence's Democratic opponent in the 2018 race for Indiana's 6th Congressional District, Jeannine Lee Lake, will be taking another go at a seat in 2020, her campaign announced Tuesday.
Lake lost to Congressman Pence, Vice President Mike Pence's older brother, in the general election in November with Pence garnishing 61 percent of the votes, Lake 36 percent and Tom Ferkinhoff received 3 percent.
A Muncie resident for 30 years, Lake is a journalist and community leader who chairs a local charity, Feed My Sheep.
Lake pulls from a heavy religious background, as her parents, Rev. Charles I. Lee and the late Betty Jean Lee, were both pastors in Montgomery County.
It took Mike Pence three times to run before he won a seat in the House, Joe Donnelley, three times. I figured it might take the little brown girl from Crawfordsville a few times, too — and that’s all right with me.
The Delaware County community leader is outspoken in women's rights, LGBTQ equality and has been involved with education, business, religion and health sectors. Lake's 2018 campaign was heavily focused on Indiana's farmers and Christian principles.
Lake says she decided to put in her bid for a second time because she is worried about the state of the country.
"When I got in the race two years ago, I did so because I was worried about my country. On so many fronts, our Democracy was being challenged," Lake said. "23 million people were worried they were losing their healthcare, children were going to school afraid of being shot by folks who never should have had a gun, and our roads and highways were crumbling. Fast forward to 2020, and there is a greater sense of urgency, and I'm more concerned about America than ever."
Lake said her top six for the 6th District is better to pay for teachers, women's reproductive rights, "common-sense" gun laws to protect children, Medicare, the state's infrastructure, and making the country kinder.
"We seem to have lost our way when it comes to being our best selves. I'm a compassionate, caring leader and I know I can bring calm and composure to Washington instead of the division, hurt and hate that the Pence Brothers have so clearly embraced," Lake said.
Lake said that she learned in the 2018 race that the Pence family was compelling in Indiana.
"I learned that the Pence family is very powerful in Indiana despite not truly being good for Indiana in terms of the discriminatory RFRA bill and the $20 million cleanup bill that Greg Pence left Hoosiers after Kiel Bros Oil Co. went bankrupt while he was at the helm. I feel as if voters view them as having family values and Hoosier values, but their policies blatantly overlook the needs and desires of Hoosiers - many who are struggling financially whether it's in rural or urban communities."
David Letterman donated to Lake's campaign in the 2018 race, a donation, she said, was a stroke of luck.
"Then it just boggles my mind when he donated to the campaign, and then came to my house in Muncie, to hold a fundraiser for us before the general election," Lake said. "He congratulated us on a well-run campaign following the election, and his staff has been in touch with us since then as well."
While the 6th District is heavily Republican, Lake says he believes most people voted for Pence because they thought he would be a good leader who represented them all. However, Lake said that has not been the case.
"Greg has voted against the Violence Against Women Act, voted against humanitarian help at the southern border ... and I don't think I've ever heard him mention anything about equality for LBGTQ people," Lake said.
Lake said she is up to the task to run against Pence again and wants voters to know that he doesn't intimidate her.
"It took Mike Pence three times to run before he won a seat in the House, Joe Donnelly, three times. I figured it might take the little brown girl from Crawfordsville a few times, too — and that's all right with me. I'm tough as nails, and the famous Pence name sure as heck doesn't intimidate me."