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Ballot Box

Welcome to Ballot Box 2016, your source for coverage of state and local elections—with a bit of presidential politics thrown in as well. Your hosts are Hayleigh Colombo (hcolombo@ibj.com) and Lindsey Erdody (lerdody@ibj.com).
Elections / Politics / Government & Economic Development / Government

RGA ad accuses Gregg of choosing 'Hillary over Hoosiers' on coal

July 28, 2016

The Republican Governors Association has released a television ad against Democrat gubernatorial candidate John Gregg of Indiana, questioning his support of coal country.

The ad, which starts airing on broadcast and cable stations Thursday, follows Tuesday’s campaign shakeup announcement that Republican Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb will become the Republican candidate in the race. It also follows reports that federal rules might make it hard for Holcomb to immediately access Gov. Mike Pence’s $7.4 million in campaign cash.

RGA spokesman Jon Thompson said the ad buy was made Wednesday afternoon. The Federal Communications Commission, which tracks political ad spending, has not yet posted records of the ad buys. Thompson said he could could not comment on the size of the buy but said it’s “very significant.”

In the ad, the voiceover calls Gregg one of Hillary Clinton’s “most vocal supporters.” It says Gregg "did nothing to protect Indiana coal jobs” when Clinton advocated that she would put coal miners and companies out of business.

“He chooses Hillary over Hoosiers every time,” the ad says.

It’s probably a stretch to say that Gregg has a record that’s anti-coal. He has worked for two coal companies—Peabody and Amax—and has been staunchly against some of President Barack Obama’s plans to reduce coal use. Gregg signed a November 2015 letter to Obama opposing power plant regulations that affect the coal industry.

It’s also somewhat unclear as to whether Gregg is a big Clinton supporter. Though he supported her in 2008, he has been reticent to join her on the campaign trail this year. But he has said that he would support the Democratic nominee for president, which she clinched this week.

Gregg's campaign slammed the ad, with campaign manager Tim Henderson calling Holcomb a "political hatchet-man who makes over-the-top claims that aren't based in facts or reality."

"A simple Internet search produces ample evidence of John Gregg’s position on this issue, his support for coal miners, coal jobs and his disagreements with those in his own party," Henderson said. "This attack reinforces the notion that Eric Holcomb is more interested in playing politics than on actually working to improve the lives of middle class Hoosier families.”

Click here to watch the ad.

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