Dem Challenger To Gov. Pence Comes Out Swinging On Religious Freedom

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April 30, 2015 4:51 p.m.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) now has a Democratic challenger for the 2016 Indiana gubernatorial election, and he’s not pulling any punches.

On Thursday former Indiana House Speaker John Gregg (D) announced his candidacy for the governor’s mansion. In a video rolling out his announcement, Gregg goes after Pence on the controversial anti-gay religious freedom bill the Indiana governor signed into law. That law earned Pence national criticism and he was forced to clarify that it was not meant to discriminate against people.

“I used to introduce myself as the guy with two first names,” Gregg said in the video. “But after what Indiana’s been going through lately, I just say I’m the guy who almost beat Mike Pence in 2012. That seems to get people’s attention.”

A number of major local and national figures, including leaders of major companies, criticized the law. As a result, Pence has been forced to bring in a public relations firm for $2 million to try and repair the state’s image.

Gregg continued in the video that as a state representative, speaker of the House, and a university president he “understood how important Indiana’s reputation was in attracting good jobs to our state.”

“But we’ve all seen the damage done in Indiana by Mike Pence. He’s managed to alienate the entire country with his extreme religious freedom law, a law that’s an embarrassment and wrong,” Gregg said. “Indiana’s lost millions of dollars in business. Companies are holding expansions and threatening to leave.”

A Howey Politics Indiana poll found just 35 percent of those surveyed had a favorable view of Pence while 38 percent had an unfavorable view. There has also been murmurings that Pence could face a primary challenger, The Huffington Post reported.

Watch Gregg’s video below:

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