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INDIANAPOLIS — Republican gubernatorial candidate Mike Pence has established an early dominance in Indiana’s governor’s race by spending heavily to define himself ahead of November’s elections.
The congressman has saturated Indiana airwaves in the months since the May 8 Republican primary, spending $1.4 million on campaign commercials since May, according to Democratic ad-trackers. Democratic candidate John Gregg and Libertarian Rupert Boneham, meanwhile, have yet to air campaign ads.
Pence has not only hit the airwaves first, but he has hit them three times, with a series of touchy-feely pieces detailing his courtship with his wife, his history growing up in Indiana and a devastating storm which struck his hometown of Columbus.
Pence spokeswoman Christy Denault declined to comment on the choice of the ads and the topics.
“From meetings with Hoosiers around the state to policy rollouts to advertising, Mike Pence will continue to talk about the issues and take his positive message straight to the people of Indiana,” Denault said.
The three Pence ads are only the first volley in what will likely be another costly ad-war in Indiana this year. The gubernatorial candidates are scheduled to release their latest fundraising numbers in mid-July and all will be competing with Indiana’s Senate candidates for airtime in the race to November.
One of the key lessons Indiana politicos took from longtime U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar’s bruising May primary loss was to get on-air early and spend heavily before the opposition does first. Lugar entered his primary battle with Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock with a big money lead, but was slow to advertise, according to 20-20-hindsight analyses produced in the days and weeks after his loss.
“What he’s trying to do is lay out that he’s a Hoosier. He’s doing the opposite of a Dick Lugar strategy,” said former U.S. Rep. Mark Souder, a northeast Indiana Republican.
Where Lugar squandered his money early in his primary race, Pence has the luxury of seeing
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