Former Indiana House Speaker John Gregg, a Democrat who narrowly lost the 2012 governor's race to Republican Mike Pence, said Thursday he will run for governor again because he thinks Pence's focus on social issues has given the state "a bad name."
Gregg announced his candidacy in an email and video that set the tone for his campaign.
"Under Mike Pence, Indiana has been given a bad name," Gregg said in the announcement. "His sole focus seems to be on social issues and telling people how they should live their lives.
"That's not the business of a governor or any government."
Pence has taken a beating in recent months over plans to launch a state-run news site and a new religious freedom law that critics contended was anti-gay. The public backlash, including from businesses that threatened repercussions for the state, led lawmakers to revise the law's language to address the discrimination concerns.
The battle made Indiana the butt of jokes and criticism across the country, sent Pence's approval ratings plunging and prompted the state to spend $2 million on a public relations campaign to repair its image.
Gregg's announcement Thursday came after another Democrat, embattled state schools Superintendent Glenda Ritz, said she hadn't ruled out running for governor.