State candidates energize local Democrats for election

With 56 days left until Election Day, candidates for state office met with local Democrats on Monday evening to gear up for Nov. 8.

Democratic candidates running for seats in the Indiana Legislature and Susan Bayh, who spoke on behalf of her husband, Evan Bayh, who is running to represent Indiana in the U.S. Senate, used the annual Hancock County Democratic Party’s Jefferson Jackson Dinner to rev up local voters.

Candidates talked with local Democrats about the issues dominating state and local races.

They talked about education, public infrastructure, economic development and Social Security. Candidate after candidate carried a similar message: with voters’ help, Democrats can win this election.

Monday’s keynote speaker, Christina Hale, Democratic candidate for Indiana lieutenant governor, said she and her running mate, gubernatorial candidate John Gregg, are focused on education, public safety, public infrastructure and the economy.

The team has plans to invest $3.2 billion in roads and bridges across the state, which will create roughly 54,000 jobs without increasing taxes, and to support universal pre-kindergarten so every Hoosier student gets early education, Hale said.

Hale, who currently serves as a state representative for northwest Indianapolis, first ran for office in 2012 and won by 51 votes.

That election was tough, Hale said, and the upcoming election will be no different for Democrats. The odds are stacked against Democrats winning, but they accomplish much when they secure an office, she said.

Barry Welsh, the Democrat running to represent Indiana’s Sixth District in U.S. Congress, told those gathered he’s going to win this election over his opponent, Republican Luke Messer.

“Let’s never forget we are Democrats. We are the good guys. We fight for the people,” Welch said. “One vote can make a difference, and in some places, one vote will make a difference.”

Susan Bayh reminded residents her husband, who served as Indiana governor and in the U.S. Senate, the seat he’s seeking again, has won in Hancock County many times.

This election, Susan Bayh said, is too important for Evan Bayh to sit out. He’s fighting for jobs, Social Security and for education for America’s youth, she said.

The election is heating up, she said, and Evan Bayh’s campaign will need the support of voters in Hancock County to prevail.

“This election is going to come down to this doughnut counties around Indianapolis,” she said. “For 56 days, if you have our back, for six years, we’ll have yours.”

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Samm Quinn is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3275 or