New billboards urge Indiana Democrats to vote Republican in May primary

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A series of billboards cropping up around Indiana is making an unusual call to Hoosier Democrats: vote Republican this May.

The crossover push is part of a media campaign by ReCenter Indiana, a bipartisan group that seeks to move state politics “closer to the center” and “bring more civility to political discussions,” according to its website.

Signs are already visible in Evansville and Merrillville. More are expected to go up in Indianapolis next week.

ReCenter Indiana’s political action committee will additionally sponsor video advertisements on Instagram and Facebook, emphasizing that Hoosiers — Democrat, Republican or otherwise—can “directly influence” who will be elected governor by taking a Republican ballot in the primary and “voting for a more moderate gubernatorial candidate.”

Billboards are located in the following metropolitan areas:

In Evansville, on North Green River Road, just north of State Road 66 and across from Eastland Mall.In Merrillville, on Broadway, just north of the intersection with U.S. 30. Also in Merrillville, on U.S. 30, just east of I-65.Another billboard is scheduled to go live next week in Indianapolis, on I-465, just west of the White River bridge, between North Keystone Avenue and Allisonville Road.

“Of course we should all vote in November,” said Don Knebel, a long-time attorney and the president of ReCenter Indiana. “But the May primary is the election that determines which Republican will be on the ballot in the fall. Judging from our state’s recent history, whoever that is will likely be our next governor.”

Unlike in some other states, Indiana’s primary elections are open, meaning registered voters—regardless of party affiliation—can request a Republican ballot when voting.

Voters should be aware, however, that pulling a party ballot in the primary could impact if you can run for office in the future. Indiana law requires a person’s two most recent primary votes match the party affiliation they wish to run under.

“It is unfortunate that Democrats in Indiana can’t win elections on the merit of their own policies so they have to resort to antics like this,” said Indiana Republican Party spokesperson Griffin Reid in a statement to the Capital Chronicle. “This is a reminder that Republicans should come out to vote in this year’s primary to ensure their voices are heard as we elect our party’s nominees.”

Still, Knebel emphasized in a news release on Tuesday that, “for nearly a generation, every Indiana governor has been a Republican.” Because of that, he said, one of the six candidates on the Republican primary ballot “is all but certain to be Indiana’s next governor.” Jennifer McCormick, the only gubernatorial candidate on the Democratic primary ballot, has already effectively secured her place on the November ballot.

But in recent years, “only the most committed partisans have been voting in Indiana primaries, and they tend to favor the most extreme candidates,” Knebel continued.

He pointed to 2020—the last year when the governorship was on the ballot—when only 24% of registered voters voted in the primary. Although turnout improved to 65% in the general election that November, there was only one candidate per party to choose from.

In the last general election, in 2022, only 42% of registered Hoosiers cast ballots, putting Indiana last in the nation for voter turnout.

“Everyone’s vote is secret. The law says so,” Knebel said, reiterating that voters should choose the candidate “who most closely represents their values.”

“So, ReCenter Indiana believes it would be inappropriate for a primary voter to be questioned about how he or she has voted in the past or may choose to vote in the future,” he added.

U.S. Sen. Mike Braun, Brad Chambers, Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, Eric Doden, former Attorney General Curtis Hill and Jamie Reitenour are each running to succeed term-limited Gov. Eric Holcomb.

Early voting begins Tuesday. The 2024 Indiana primary is May 7.

The Indiana Capital Chronicle is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that covers state government, policy and elections.

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30 thoughts on “New billboards urge Indiana Democrats to vote Republican in May primary

    1. Chambers is going to work to secure our borders: Does he have some secret connection to the Feds and ICE?

      Chambers is going to protect us from China: Again, he must be secretly working with the State department.

      Chambers is going to selectivity lower taxes with an emphasis on economic development: So he is going to make average Hoosiers pay for already marginal government services?

      Chambers is “fully pro-life”: going against 65% of Hoosier that think women should have a final say in their own bodies.

      He does have a few positions I agree with and I used to be a Republican, but so much of being a Republican now days is culture war signaling. Good riddance if he’s the “moderate”.

    2. Yes, the entire primary cycle is a performative dance designed for primary voters.

      If more voters treated it for what it is – a publicly funded election and did their research, you’d see some moderation.

      I really wanted to vote for Crouch but her “Axe The Tax” nonsense is deeply unserious.

    3. This echo chamber is just too funny.

      Everybody knows this exact same practice was how Nikki Haley managed to gain those numerous, proud primary failures, which, without Democrats voting for her in open primary states would have been…even greater primary failures. The only place where she eked out a victory was in the DC Swamp, which is of course where she is most at home.

      Don’t worry: I, personally, will never do ANYTHING to allow my state’s registered Democrats to fulfill their dreams of putting their genitals through a meat grinder. To obstruct them would be the same as obstructing democracy.

    4. Lauren, you hate democracy. I’m not sure why you haven’t moved to a better country for folks like you, like Russia or Hungary.

      Democracy is strong in Russia, just ask Putin. It’s also very safe, unless you happen to get hit by one of those oligarchs that just happens to fall out of a high window. I’m sure that’s justified too, isn’t it?

    5. Lol Nikki Haley got so many votes in Arizona because normal Republicans hate Trump. The exit polls are not looking good for Trump at all. Face it, you’re just whiney and cranky because you all can’t win without cheating or trying to start a coup.

    1. I used to do this when I considered myself a Republican and lived in a very Democrat district. The Republican party has moved so far right that even a moderate candidate looks like a left wing nut job to most of the “base”.

    2. So in 2020, I didn’t bother voting in the primary. I was stuck with noted crank John Jacob as my legislator for two years.

      You can bet your rear I voted for Julie McGuire in the primary, even though she didn’t get my vote in November and turned out to be a tool of the Indiana Apartment Association and yet another useless Marion County Republican bereft of ideas.

      Vote in the May election that has the most consequential elections. Vote for the least bad candidate you could most stomach as the person who wins the election.

    1. Name them.

      The performative dance that Republicans have been doing to win the favor of today’s Republican primary voter is simultaneously hilarious and troubling.

      Not that it matters due to the ineptitude of the Indiana Democratic Party.

    2. Indiana dems are pretty moderate. It’s the Rs who are currently at the fringes in Indiana.

    3. Mike, the Liz Cheney Republicans here (Indiana has about 25 of them, and they ALL spend their time whining on this site) are deeply upset that the modern GOP isn’t sufficiently pro-corporate cronyism and pro-military industrial complex. Or that we (the populist wing) are skeptical sending more money to the Ukraine Clown Prince for the proxy war, or that we don’t really care if Israel and Hamas slaughter one another to non-existence (little Benny Shapiro is big mad), or that the the populist wing are the only ones who will openly admit that the US blew up the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Which some how make them “far right” and “fringe”.

      It must be a terrifying world for them, as their beloved legacy media continue hemhorraging money and laying off “journalists” because everyone else but them knows these media sources are full of crap.

      It’s great that they can cling to the IBJ life raft.

    4. Yes, Lauren, your type is the party of the common man.

      That’s why they’re going to make healthcare better and cheaper… with that replacement for Obamacare that we still haven’t seen, 15 years later.

      The cost of a college education will be fixed by … focusing on what can be said in a college campus.

      You’d get more of what you claim to want by voting for some Democrats, but you always find some insignificant manufactured wedge issue (transgendered girls in sports, a nonexistent problem in Indiana!) and end up voting for the uniparty.

      They’re playing chess. You’re playing checkers.

  1. The leading Republican candidate for Governor believes Donald Trump actually won the 2020 presidential election and supported the insurrection attacks on the Capitol on January 6, 2021. His entire campaign is based upon his support of Donald Trump and Trump’s support of him. If you support his point of view, you have zero credibility in calling the Democrats “left fringe whack jobs.”

    1. There are things more hilarious than the notion than Donald Trump DIDN’T win the 2020 election, after the uniparty collaborated to “fortify” it in six states, after 5pm that night. Which of course means the “insurrection” was 100% justified.

      Don’t worry–we all know the party of moderation and reason and “decency” will start rioting again in a few weeks. They tend to riot on days ending in Y.

      To control your moral panic, it’s probably best to start wearing diapers in public. Presuming you don’t already. Dems tend to be pretty into kink.

    2. Lauren, “the 2020 election was stolen” seems like a weird religion for an atheist to take up, but this is America and you have the freedom to believe what you want.

      0-63 in court cases. A Supreme Court packed full of Republicans that didn’t even take up the case. But as Steve Perry said, don’t stop believing.

    3. People seem to forget that Trump lost the popular vote in 2016 and it should be no surprise that he lost the popular vote a second time. If they forget those facts, then they tend to forget he then staged an insurrection to try to win the electoral college vote the second time.

    4. Venn diagram of those who have faith in nothing – but also will believe anything looks like…..

    5. Trump won. The rigging began after 5pm. And you’ll be rioting again this summer. It’s gonna get spicy!

      But yes, I’ll grow up when you stop rioting. And we know you NEVER will. To riot is to be left-wing.

    6. Joe B – “a Supreme Court Packed full of Republicans”

      By Republicans, do you mean Mitch McConnell, Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger, John Roberts, Mitt Romney, and Lisa Murkowski?

      With friends like these…?

      And you wonder why they call it the Deep State.

  2. Cross voting completely destroys the core reason for having a party pre election system. As the essential tenets for responsible governance continue to erode, so does the nation. Just watch any objective block news cast on any early evening. That’s why we have general elections. The fact that erosion of common principles and common sense is happening at warp speed is a window into the near future. Question: In recorded history, is there evidence of any kingdom, principality, realm, nation or country doing more in a shorter time to destroy itself? I think not.

    1. Cross voting isn’t the issue. The problem is the primary system.

      To start, why should taxpayers pay for them?

    2. Cross voting wouldn’t be necessary if gerrymandering were eliminated and races had to be competitive.

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