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Magic Mike

You may find this hard to believe but the biggest vote getter in the last Tuesday’s primary was Governor Mike Pence.

I’ll let that sit for a second.

Yup, the man who has been taking it on the chin when it comes to RFRA, LGBT rights, the abortion issue, you name it, got more votes than anyone on the ballot last week.

According to the most recent unofficial results published at the Secretary of State’s website, Pence got nearly 814,000 votes; 813,897 to be exact.  That by the way is approximately 267,000 more votes than John Gregg received who got slightly more than 546,000.  Pence also got more votes than Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders combined.

Now of course, the anti-Pence narrative has been two-fold.  First, Pence ran unopposed.  Second there were 26 percent of Republicans who voted in the primary chose not to choose him.

Fair enough, now let’s put that in perspective.  Let’s say for sake of argument that a “non-vote” for Pence was a “no vote” and 26 percent of Republican primary voters wanted someone else on the ballot.  If we accept that as true then logic dictates that 74 percent of Republican primary voters wanted him on the ballot.  Right?

Secondly, the folks touting that 26 percent drop off between the Presidential and Governor’s race seem to have conveniently forgotten that there were two races in between those spots, the U.S. Senate and Congressional districts.  And when you look at the theory of voter drop off as you go down the ballot, things tend to get put in a little more perspective.

  • Presidential primary – 1.1 million votes cast
  • U.S. Senate primary – 983,000 votes cast (11 percent drop off)
  • Congressional primaries – 908,000 votes cast (18 percent drop off)
  • Governor Mike Pence – 814,000 votes cast (26 percent drop off)

So as you can see, the “drop off” had already started long before primary voters got to the Governor’s slot.

And if you really want to dig, there was a combined 11 percent drop from the total number of Congressional primary votes and the votes for the Governor, or in other words, 94,000 Hoosiers decided not to vote for Pence.  Now let’s assume those non-votes are no votes and they all will vote for John Gregg in November.  Instead of 267,000 vote head start, Pence has a 173,000 vote start.  Which is about 100,000 more votes than what Pence beat Gregg by the last time.

Now this is not to say that Pence doesn’t have a lot of work to do this campaign season.  Heck, even the Governor will be the first one to tell you he has  a lot of work he’ll have to do to win back those moderates and independents who are crucial to any victory.  However, if you are going to try and take the primary results to begin writing the political obituary of Mike Pence, you may find that rumors of his political demise might be somewhat grossly exaggerated.