INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The brother of Vice President Mike Pence is hoping his famous name and backing from other top Republicans will lift him to victory Tuesday in an Indiana congressional primary against an entrepreneur who mostly self-funded his campaign.
Columbus businessman Greg Pence has never held a public office. Still, he’s considered the front-runner in the race because of younger brother Mike Pence, who represented the 6th District for a dozen years before becoming Indiana governor.
His closest GOP rival is Muncie entrepreneur Jonathan Lamb, who has loaned his campaign around $800,000 in an effort to keep pace with Pence. Pence has raised $1.2 million and spent nearly $1 million as of mid-April, making it the most expensive race among Indiana’s congressional districts.
The seat is open because Rep. Luke Messer is seeking the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate.
Lamb, 36, has criticized his opponent for relying on the Pence name and dodging debates. He said he has a hard time telling where Pence stands on issues, although both profess support for most of President Donald Trump’s agenda.
Meanwhile, Pence has said his family name is a “good name” and that he prefers meeting voters instead of debating.
Pence, 61, is a Marine veteran and owner of two antique malls. He once ran a now-bankrupt chain of Tobacco Road convenience stores. He has said he would focus on issues such as infrastructure, veterans’ affairs, fixing the immigration system and health care.
Also running in the GOP primary are Stephen MacKenzie, Mike Campbell and Jeff Smith.
The winner will face the top vote-getter among six Democrats: George Holland, K. Lave, Jeannine Lee Lake, Jim Pruett, Lane Siekman or Joshua Williamson.