By BRIAN A. HOWEY

INDIANAPOLIS - While Karlee Macer and Josh Owens have broached the sprawling subject as to how the barely credible Indiana Democratic Party recovers its relevance, informed and reliable sources are saying John Gregg, former speaker and gubernatorial nominee, is making calls about entering the race.

As the Woody Myers gubernatorial campaign struggled with fundraising in September, it was Gregg who lamented that Indiana Democrats "are sitting this election out. It's a missed opportunity."

Democratic sources tell HPI that Gregg has begun to reach out to office holders, signaling his interest in leading the party.  Sources tell HPI that Gregg is interested in rebuilding the party and not using the chair to stage a comeback for office. Gov. Eric Holcomb is a former Indiana Republican chairman and defeated Gregg in 2016 during the Donald Trump/Mike Pence tidal wave.

Macer declared for the chair late last week, saying, "The current challenges facing our party are immense but not insurmountable. I’m excited to announce that I will be running for chairwoman of the Indiana Democratic Party.  Because now more than ever, it’s time to roll up our sleeves and get to work." Last year, Macer convened the Democratic version of the "Cornfield Conference" with Noble County Democratic Chair Carmen Darland in an attempt to revive the sagging party's fortunes.

Mike Schmuhl, who ran Pete Buttigieg's Democratic presidential campaign, took himself out of the running, saying in a statement to Howey Politics Indiana, "Since I moved back home to Indiana in 2009 to work for Joe Donnelly, electing Hoosier Democrats has been at the heart of my career, and it culminated in the historic 2020 Pete for America campaign. While I won't be a candidate for chair of the state Democratic Party next year, I will do everything I can to help our Indiana party to gain strength and secure victories in the years ahead.”

The party has lost every statewide race since 2014, controls only two of 11 federal offices and has super minority status in both General Assembly chambers.  It controls only about a third of city halls, around 10% of county commissioners and, perhaps, fewer than 20% of county courthouse offices.

Owens issued an "Open letter to fellow Indiana Democrats, laying out four goals. I believe the future of a winning Indiana Democratic Party will have these four areas of near-term focus: First, intense county-level candidate recruitment efforts and staunch support of candidates running.  Second, centralized digital and organizing clearinghouse efforts that are run year-round by state party on behalf of upcoming campaigns.

"Third," Owens said, "message focus that strikes at the heart of both individual and community needs.  Finally, fierce and data-driven grassroots fundraising that continues beyond election cycles."

Owens finishes: "We must find consensus on a chair that will help us take that first step towards these goals. I am of the belief there is not a perfect person for this job, so we should instead be focused on who can help us get started in building this foundation today. Our success will depend upon how carefully we lift each other up in this transition, for it is certain that standing together is our only path to sharing our values with a larger Hoosier audience."

Former St. Joseph County Democratic chairman Jason Critchlow observed in a Facebook posting, "I think anyone interested in the role should be looked at admirably and be given a fair shake. But, I can’t help but think that the harsh reality of the position may not be registering across the board. The details and daily minutiae are much more comprehensive. The first questions you will likely be asked are, 'Have you ever run a campaign in Indiana?' and 'Have you ever won a campaign in Indiana?' If you can’t answer yes to one or both, it might not be a deal breaker, but you should have a good explanation as to why you feel that significance is overstated."

"I am not necessarily seeking to dissuade would-be candidates, but I think everyone should have their eyes wide open to what this position entails," Critchlow continued. "Calling it a 'thankless' job where 'you can’t make everyone (or sometimes anyone) happy' is probably doing it a disservice. So these are my friendly warnings to all those who dare enter."

Critchlow adds: "Believe it or not, having a vision, plan, and strategy might be the easiest part of being a party chair. The details and daily minutiae are much more comprehensive. The first questions you will likely be asked are 'Have you ever run a campaign in Indiana?’ and ‘Have you ever won a campaign in Indiana?’ If you can’t answer yes to one or both, it might not be a deal breaker, but you should have a good explanation as to why you feel that significance is overstated.

"You will be responsible for raising hundreds of thousands of dollars," Critchlow continued. "No one will do this for you and it isn’t raised by holding events. It’s raised by spending hours upon hours speaking one on one with individuals and convincing them to put their trust in you. And you will have to do this without the benefit of any statewide office holders to assist in carrying the burden."

Former state chairman Kip Tew backed up Critchlow, tweeting, "As a former state Dem chair and county chair I can say that Jason hit the nail right on the head. Let me reiterate 2 points: Raising money and recruiting, they are by far the biggest part of the job.  Elected leaders set policy, not chairs."



INDIANAPOLIS - While Karlee Macer and Josh Owens have broached the sprawling subject as to how the barely credible Indiana Democratic Party recovers its relevance, informed and reliable sources are saying John Gregg, former speaker and gubernatorial nominee, is about to enter the race.??Democratic sources tell HPI that Gregg has begun to reach out to office holders, signaling his interest in leading the party. Sources tell HPI that Gregg is interested in rebuilding the party and not using the chair to stage a comeback for office. Gov. Eric Holcomb is a former Indiana Republican chairman and defeated Gregg in 2016 during the Donald Trump/Mike Pence tidal wave.
As the Woody Myers gubernatorial campaign struggled with fundraising in September, it was Gregg who lamented that Indiana Democrats "are sitting this election out. It's a missed opportunity."??Macer declared for the chair late last week, saying, "The current challenges facing our party are immense but not insurmountable. I’m excited to announce that I will be running for chairwoman of the Indiana Democratic Party.  Because now more than ever, it’s time to roll up our sleeves and get to work." Last year, Macer convened the Democratic version of the "Cornfield Conference" with Noble County Democratic Chair Carmen Darland in an attempt to revive the sagging party's fortunes.??Mike Schmuhl, who ran Pete Buttigieg's Democratic presidential campaign, took himself out of the running, saying in a statement to Howey Politics Indiana, "Since I moved back home to Indiana in 2009 to work for Joe Donnelly, electing Hoosier Democrats has been at the heart of my career, and it culminated in the historic 2020 Pete for America campaign. While I won't be a candidate for chair of the state Democratic Party next year, I will do everything I can to help our Indiana party to gain strength and secure victories in the years ahead.”??The party has lost every statewide race since 2014, controls only two of 11 federal offices and has super minority status in both General Assembly chambers. It controls only about a third of city halls, around 10% of county commissioners and, perhaps, fewer than 20% of county courthouse offices.??Owens issued an "Open letter to fellow Indiana Democrats, laying out four goals. I believe the future of a winning Indiana Democratic Party will have these four areas of near-term focus: First, intense county-level candidate recruitment efforts and staunch support of candidates running.  Second, centralized digital and organizing clearinghouse efforts that are run year-round by state party on behalf of upcoming campaigns.??"Third," Owens said, "message focus that strikes at the heart of both individual and community needs.  Finally, fierce and data-driven grassroots fundraising that continues beyond election cycles."??Owens finishes: "We must find consensus on a chair that will help us take that first step towards these goals. I am of the belief there is not a perfect person for this job, so we should instead be focused on who can help us get started in building this foundation today. Our success will depend upon how carefully we lift each other up in this transition, for it is certain that standing together is our only path to sharing our values with a larger Hoosier audience."??Former St. Joseph County Democratic chairman Jason Critchlow observed in a Facebook posting, "I think anyone interested in the role should be looked at admirably and be given a fair shake. But, I can’t help but think that the harsh reality of the position may not be registering across the board. The details and daily minutiae are much more comprehensive. The first questions you will likely be asked are, 'Have you ever run a campaign in Indiana?' and 'Have you ever won a campaign in Indiana?' If you can’t answer yes to one or both, it might not be a deal breaker, but you should have a good explanation as to why you feel that significance is overstated."??"I am not necessarily seeking to dissuade would-be candidates, but I think everyone should have their eyes wide open to what this position entails," Critchlow continued. "Calling it a 'thankless' job where 'you can’t make everyone (or sometimes anyone) happy' is probably doing it a disservice. So these are my friendly warnings to all those who dare enter."??Critchlow adds: "Believe it or not, having a vision, plan, and strategy might be the easiest part of being a party chair. The details and daily minutiae are much more comprehensive. The first questions you will likely be asked are 'Have you ever run a campaign in Indiana?’ and ‘Have you ever won a campaign in Indiana?’ If you can’t answer yes to one or both, it might not be a deal breaker, but you should have a good explanation as to why you feel that significance is overstated.??"You will be responsible for raising hundreds of thousands of dollars," Critchlow continued. "No one will do this for you and it isn’t raised by holding events. It’s raised by spending hours upon hours speaking one on one with individuals and convincing them to put their trust in you. And you will have to do this without the benefit of any statewide office holders to assist in carrying the burden."??Former state chairman Kip Tew backed up Critchlow, tweeting, "As a former state Dem chair and county chair I can say that Jason hit the nail right on the head. Let me reiterate 2 points: Raising money and recruiting, they are by far the biggest part of the job.  Elected leaders set policy, not