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Northwestern Indiana state senator eyes governor's race

A first-term state senator from northwestern Indiana is becoming the first Democrat to take formal steps toward a 2020 campaign for governor.

Posted: Jun 4, 2019 4:56 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A first-term state senator from northwestern Indiana is becoming the first Democrat to take formal steps toward a 2020 campaign for governor.

Sen. Eddie Melton of Gary was set to announce the formation of a gubernatorial exploratory committee during a Tuesday evening event at the Gary Teachers Union offices, according to his campaign.

Melton was elected to the Senate in 2016, joining the Legislature following an appointment by then-Gov. Mike Pence to the state Board of Education in 2015.

Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb hasn't yet said whether he'll seek election to a second term, but his campaign ended 2018 with about $4 million in the bank.

Melton has become the point person for Senate Democrats on education issues, pushing a plan during this year's legislative session that aimed at guaranteeing a minimum 5% raise for teachers by reducing state funding of vouchers for students attending private schools, eliminating proposed increases for charter schools and stretching out state payments toward a teacher pension fund.

The proposal was rejected by the Republican-dominated Senate, which backed a new state budget boosting base school spending by 2.5% each of the next two years.

Melton drew cheers from hundreds of teachers at a Statehouse rally in April when he criticized Republicans for looking to direct state money toward providing gun training for teachers but not guaranteeing them any pay raises.

"It is a shame that we live in a day when we have to fight whether to pay for teachers to be trained in shooting guns versus making sure they're receiving the dollars that they need to be assured they're not going to have to work two or three extra jobs," Melton said during the rally.

It is unclear how many other Democrats might seek the party's gubernatorial nomination.

State Rep. Karlee Macer of Indianapolis has said she is considering a statewide campaign but hasn't yet made a decision. Former Indiana House Speaker John Gregg, who was the party's 2012 and 2016 nominee, is the only Democrat with an active gubernatorial campaign committee registered with the state election division, but it reported raising less than $4,000 last year.

Melton is manager of corporate citizen and community relations for Merrillville-based Northern Indiana Public Service Co., which provides electric and natural gas service in much of the northern third of the state.

If Melton were to win the nomination in the May 2020 primary, he would become the first African American on the Democratic or Republican ticket for Indiana governor or lieutenant governor.

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Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 708067

Reported Deaths: 13224
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion964881721
Lake51704945
Allen39185672
Hamilton34497405
St. Joseph34075540
Elkhart27306432
Vanderburgh22077394
Tippecanoe21818212
Porter17940299
Johnson17526374
Hendricks16803310
Clark12688190
Madison12350337
Vigo12211244
Monroe11462166
LaPorte11140204
Delaware10356184
Howard9662211
Kosciusko9127114
Hancock7979139
Bartholomew7888155
Warrick7684155
Floyd7560176
Wayne6899198
Grant6842171
Boone6552100
Morgan6395138
Dubois6084117
Marshall5783108
Dearborn570076
Cass5684102
Henry5577100
Noble542483
Jackson493269
Shelby479095
Lawrence4342118
Gibson428789
Harrison428170
Clinton419053
Montgomery417986
DeKalb410984
Whitley379639
Huntington379480
Miami372565
Knox366389
Steuben365257
Putnam352660
Jasper350546
Wabash347778
Adams337952
Ripley334668
Jefferson313180
White308354
Daviess289299
Wells286381
Decatur278992
Fayette277162
Greene270685
Posey268833
Scott261153
Clay253444
LaGrange253070
Randolph235680
Washington230931
Spencer227931
Jennings224747
Fountain208745
Sullivan207842
Starke204352
Owen192256
Fulton191739
Jay186129
Carroll185820
Perry180336
Orange177853
Rush170724
Vermillion166043
Franklin165635
Tipton160943
Parke144616
Blackford133831
Pike130334
Pulaski113645
Newton103934
Brown100140
Crawford97614
Benton97113
Martin82815
Warren79615
Switzerland7698
Union69910
Ohio55811
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