Gregory Meriweather is ending his Indianapolis mayoral campaign in favor of supporting fellow Democratic candidate Robin Shackleford, he announced Wednesday.
Meriweather reported no campaign contributions for 2022 after announcing his decision to run in late November. At a joint press conference in the City-County Building, he announced support for Shackleford in her attempt to receive the Democratic nomination and unseat incumbent Mayor Joe Hogsett.
“She has the name recognition and political experience needed to lead the city of Indianapolis into a new era of economic growth, safety and diversity,” Meriweather said, adding that he and Shackleford share the same vision for Indianapolis.
Meriweather will essentially be part of the Shackleford campaign team, bringing a “grassroots perspective,” he said at the event. The two candidates’ agendas closely aligned, so “coming together makes sense,” he added.
Both candidates have been running with the hope of becoming the first Black mayor of Indianapolis. Ensuring that an African American candidate was competitive played into Meriweather’s decision to drop out.
“I think we need one viable choice, from my perspective, in the African American community. I think we were kind of saturated from that perspective, but I think that this brings it … to a head where now you have a viable candidate,” Meriweather said Wednesday.
Shackleford called Meriweather’s decision to end his campaign “a turning point in the campaign.”
Aside from Hogsett and Shackleford, three other candidates are vying for the Democratic nomination: Clif Marsiglio, Bob Kern and Larry Vaughn. Vaughn also is Black.
Shackleford, who has represented near east-side District 98 at the Indiana Statehouse for more than a decade, is widely considered to be the strongest Democratic candidate to challenge the incumbent mayor. Shackleford said Wednesday that the crowded primary is indicative that people want change.
Shackleford was also recently endorsed by Jeffrey A. Johnson, senior pastor at Eastern Star Church. The church’s main campus is in her Statehouse district and she’s attended it for several years, she told IBJ on Tuesday.
Shackleford has been critical of Hogsett and the Marion County Democratic Party’s slating process, which she has called discriminatory. The party halted the practice at the beginning of this year. Slating is the process by which election hopefuls agree not to run in a primary if they are not the party’s endorsed candidate.
Seeking to break more than one barrier, Shackleford, 52, would also become the first female mayor in Indianapolis history if she’s elected.