The final Indiana Governor’s Debate was last night, hosted by the Indiana Debate Commission. Three candidates- Republican Mike Pence, Democrat John Gregg, and Libertarian Rupert Boneham- faced off in what many hoped would be a decisive victory for one of the candidates.
However, no candidate seemed to be the clear winner of last night’s debate. After a very strong performance by Gregg in the second debate, Democrats were hoping a strong debate performance here would help him close the gap in the polls between him and frontrunner Pence.
Several issues came up throughout the night, but the two main issues were the state budget and education reform. The state budget is related to the economy and jobs in the state, which has been a major topic in every state in the nation. Education reform has been a major issue in the state of Indiana this election cycle since several major changes were made to the state’s education system in the past four years.
Every candidate agrees that the state budget should not run a deficit. Both Gregg and Pence attacked each other over this issue. They each claimed that the other had helped contribute to the massive state deficit that used to exist before current Governor Mitch Daniels balanced the budget. Boneham, staying out of the fray between the two, discussed tax policy in the state.
On the issue of education, a major argument occurred between the candidates over creationism. Pence claimed he would leave it up to local school districts to decide whether or not it would be included in the curriculum. Gregg stated he would want it only in literature classes, not science classes. Finally, Boneham believes that creationism should be banned from all public schools.
Since the final debate appeared to be a draw, this will benefit Pence, the current frontrunner. Although the latest poll was over a month ago, Pence was ahead by about 13 points, well outside the margin of error. A tie means that Pence will maintain his lead in the polls. Since Pence has such a large lead over his challengers, he will most likely be elected the next Governor of Indiana.