Ritz addresses speculation on possible gubernatorial bid

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Is Superintendent Glenda Ritz seriously mulling a 2016 gubernatorial run?

The Democrat’s comments on an Internet radio show have sparked discussion about whether she’s interested in taking Republican Gov. Mike Pence’s job.

Ritz, who already announced she is running again in 2016 for superintendent of public instruction, addressed the speculation Wednesday night on the “Just Let Me Teach” radio show on IndianaTalks.com.

“I will tell you, a lot of people have it on their minds,” Ritz told host Justin Oakley. “I feel very confident in the role and the job I have right now. But I certainly, with the politics of things, I don’t want to speculate whether I might or might not in the future. I’m perfectly happy in the job I have right now.”

Ritz, the only Democrat holding statewide office, has been at odds with Pence since shortly after her election. The two have strongly disagreed about what education policies are right for Indiana and have sparred over how much control Ritz should have to decide the state’s direction on education issues.

Pence has been supportive of bills in the Indiana legislature that would remove the guarantee in state law that Ritz chair the Indiana State Board of Education. In response, Ritz’s supporters held a Statehouse rally on her behalf Monday.

Ritz has deflected talk about her interest in a 2016 gubernatorial run several times, including in a 2013 interview with Chalkbeat in which she said also said her interest was in the job of state superintendent but added she’d “never say never” to running for governor.

This time, Ritz’s comments prompted IndyPolitics.org‘s Abdul Hakim-Shabazz to suggest running against Pence might be a real possibility. In a subscription-only newsletter, Hakim-Shabazz said unnamed members of Ritz’s team told him running for governor has been recently discussed.

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