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« Morning Thoughts: Penn, Axed | Blog Home Page | LA Nominees Chosen »

IN All Tied Up

With only a few governor's races that are hotly contested this year, Democrats in Indiana are battling over which candidate would be the best nominee to put Hoosier State Governor Mitch Daniels at risk in his bid for a second term. A new poll out late last week shows both major candidates virtually tied, just a month before the state's May 6 primary.

The poll, conducted by Maryland-based Research 2000 on behalf of the South Bend Tribune and television stations WSBT, WISH and WANE, surveyed 400 likely Democratic primary voters for a margin of error of +/- 4.9%, between 3/31 and 4/2. Architect and businessman Jim Schellinger and former Rep. Jill Long Thompson were tested.

Primary Election Matchup
(All / Men / Wom)
Thompson 42 / 35 / 48
Schellinger 41 / 51 / 33

The two candidates have fought recently over dual charges of spotty ethics records. Schellinger's camp hit Thompson for her involvement in the House banking scandal in the early 1990's, when, as a member of Congress, Thompson bounced more than a dozen checks. The Thompson team fired back by pointing out that she was cleared of wrongdoing and accused Schellinger of issuing misleading information that relied on old and discredited news accounts.

Both candidates are up with positive television ads across the state, with Thompson's debut coming in a biographical spot out just last week. Schellinger, though, appears to be the favorite of the Indiana Democratic institution, earning backing from the mayor of South Bend, the most recent Democratic Governor, Joe Kernan, and other top party leaders.

Several surveys have shown Thompson and Schellinger running well against incumbent Republican Daniels, though the most recent poll out of the state had Daniels leading both potential rivals by 23 points each. Along with Missouri, national Democrats remain most excited about Indiana as a potential target for takeover, while both parties agree that Washington State is likely the only Democratic-held seat in danger.