Indiana Republicans opened a line of attack on Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Gregg on Tuesday with the argument that he spent too much of the state's money during his time in the General Assembly.
The new fight from Republicans marks a turn in the governor's race as the parties prepare for the final months of the race. Democrats have spent the last few months hitting the Republican candidate Mike Pence for his congressional record, pointing out in particular that he was never able to pass any of the 63 bills he authored.
"When running for office, I think records are fair game, and I'm anxious to have that debate," Indiana Republican Party Chairman Eric Holcomb said when asked if Democrats were right in mining Pence's congressional record as well.
Holcomb accused Gregg of signing off on budgets that were "out of control" and relying on "gimmicks" to balance them. For their part, Democrats have accused Pence of avoiding an "extremist" record he built in Washington, although they have avoided talk about his fiscal proposals, like a proposed cut in the federal corporate gains tax.
"We welcome a discussion of John's Indiana record versus Congressman Pence's 12 years in Washington," Gregg spokesman Daniel Altman said in a statement.
Pence, Gregg and Libertarian candidate Rupert Boneham are running in the November election to replace Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels, who can't seek re-election because of term limits. Holcomb's hit Tuesday marked a contrast with the Pence campaign which has relied on touchy-feely campaign commercials and a trio of policy announcements to get its message across.
The Gregg campaign has yet to spend any money on-air, but Democrats expect his campaign to have commercials before the end of summer.
Holcomb blamed Gregg for signing off on the state's 2001 budget when he was speaker and leaving office as the state faced a large deficit. He left out that states across the nation faced similar, unexpected deficits, as the economy reeled following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Altman also pointed out that Republican heavyweights Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman and Senate President Pro Tem David Long approved the same budget Holcomb criticized.