A veteran Indiana political observer says, as is the case in most elections, turnout will be the major factor in today’s key statewide elections. WIBC/Network Indiana Statehouse Bureau Chief Eric Berman says, in the race for U.S. Senate, Republican Todd Young "has had the momentum for some time now," after an "all-out assault" on Democrat Evan Bayh. In the gubernatorial race, he says Indiana’s "doughnut counties" are important for Republican Eric Holcomb, while Democrat John Gregg is counting on heavy turnout in Marion and Lake counties.
Berman says the Senate race has taken an interesting turn in the last several months. Evan Bayh joined the race in July, saying he could "no longer sit on the sidelines" after having left politics in 2010. When he entered the race, Berman says he was seen as "the big gun returning to town," but he has since run into strong opposition. Berman says this race is likely similar to the contest Bayh would have faced in 2010, with a focus on his support for the Affordable Care Act. He says, for the first time, Bayh is facing a strong opponent with money to spend.
As for the gubernatorial race, Berman says it depends on which pole you choose to believe. Three HPI/WTHR polls have the race polling within the margin of error. A Monmouth poll put John Gregg ahead.
Berman says Gregg and Holcomb actually agree on many key issues, including more spending on infrastructure, expanded pre-kindergarten education and dropping the ISTEP exam. The difference, he says, is how they want to implement and pay for new projects and programs. One issues that has not come up as much as many expected is the hotly-debated Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which many expected Gregg to tie to Holcomb. Berman says RFRA not showing up in television ads is a likely sign that Gregg did not see enough consensus on the matter to turn it into a major campaign issue.