By BRIAN A. HOWEY

INDIANAPOLIS  — The bench strength of the Indiana Democratic Party — its mayors — seem to be passing on the 2020 gubernatorial race.

The latest was Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight, whose bombshell announcement Monday he would not seek a fourth term led to a rejection of a 2020 challenge to Gov. Eric Holcomb. “I have no interest in running for governor,” Goodnight told HPI.

He follows South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who announced he wouldn’t seek a third term and appears poised for a long-shot presidential run. Buttigieg will release his new book on Feb. 10. Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott is seeking another term, and told HPI he’s only focused on a “normal municipal reelection.”

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett is seeking a second term and has told people he won’t run in 2020. Other prominent mayors such as Lafayette’s Tony Roswarski, Bloomington’s John Hamilton and Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry are concentrating on reelection.

Former congressman Baron Hill told HPI on Wednesday that his focus is on “reaching out” to potential candidates. “I have been reaching out to people to see if we can find a young, new, fresh rising star in our party to run for governor,” Hill said. “I believe we need to focus on a vibrant new name.” One name that came up was former Evansville Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel.

Hill is not having much success, stoking concerns that Indiana may be destined to becoming a one-party state. “It’s not good,” he said. “I’m concerned about it. How you fix it is a mystery to me. We’ll see what happens over the next few months. Maybe someone will emerge.”

Hill said he talked to former senator Joe Donnelly over the holidays and doesn’t think he is interested after his bruising reelection battle in 2018. “I didn’t get an indication he is ready to jump into another race. The subject of governor did come up but it was quickly dismissed.”

Hill said he talked to 2012 and 2016 nominee John Gregg at former state representative Bill Cochran’s funeral last week. The concerns with Gregg are the “retread” aspect even after he ran a well-funded, well-themed race in 2016 that was overwhelmed by the Trump/Pence ticket. Hill said that some Democrats are encouraging Gregg to go a third time. Others don’t believe that’s a good course to take.

The most obvious “fresh face” is 2016 lieutenant governor nominee Christina Hale. While she told HPI she is keeping her options open for 2020, she has long expressed more interest in running in 2024 after a second theoretical Holcomb term.

The dilemma facing Democrats is that without a credible gubernatorial contender in 2020, the reapportionment maps in 2021 could usher in a decade of monolithic GOP rule in the state.