Indiana’s Republican Governor Eric J. Holcomb has lost support from many individuals who months back would be counted as within his solid base of support for his reelection in the upcoming November election. Much of the reason for this loss of support appears to arise from two facts. First, Holcomb imposed, beginning in March, devastating coronavirus crackdown mandates in the state and added in July a mask mandate that is still in force. Second, Holcomb faces a Libertarian Party opponent in the upcoming November election who clearly and strongly opposes these mandates.
Indiana voters opposed to Holcomb’s coronavirus crackdown, which he has put in place unilaterally while the state legislature has been in recess, will likely also oppose his Democratic Party opponent’s position regarding coronavirus mandates. When Holcomb in late April was talking about starting a long process (still not complete) of reopening Indiana from his crackdown, his Democratic election opponent Woody Myers was responding that it was too soon to begin rolling back mandates, including those forcing businesses to be closed. Regarding masks, Myers says that Holcomb’s mask mandate is too lenient and that sanctions should be imposed against individuals who do not wear masks.
So how about Indiana Libertarian Party governor nominee Donald Rainwater? It just takes looking at the home page of Rainwater’s campaign website to find that his views regarding coronavirus mandates should appeal to many Indiana voters who oppose the coronavirus crackdown in the state.
In a statement at the home page, in which he refers to people in Indiana with the term “Hoosiers,” Rainwater declares:
Every Hoosier has equal protection under the law to operate their business, attend religious observations, and provide an income for their household, without fear of government shutdowns or mandates. Every Hoosier should be able to decide for themselves as to how best take care of themselves and their families.
The available data shows that businesses and churches should have never been shut down and that our entire economy should reopen completely and immediately. The current “plan” for reopening is not supported by any science and appears to be completely random.
Currently, over 900,000 Hoosiers have filed for unemployment insurance since the beginning of March 2020, many of whom are still not receiving their benefit payments. This is both unacceptable and inexcusable. We cannot ignore the severity of the economic instability into which the entire State of Indiana is now immersed.
As Governor, I would propose that the Indiana General Assembly pass legislation to ensure that a Governor never has the unilateral power to shut down our economy again. I will not mandate the shutdown of businesses, churches, or schools. I will not mandate the wearing of masks. I will not mandate vaccinations. I will end any such Executive Orders upon taking office. Hoosiers must be well-informed and be allowed to make their own choices as citizens, not subjects.
Every Hoosier business provides the necessities of life to those who depend upon it for their livelihood.
All Hoosiers are Essential!
That is both a clear rebuke of the coronavirus crackdown in Indiana and a clear promise to end it.
And it appears that support from voters is coming Rainwater’s way because of his stand against coronavirus mandates. Abdul Hakim-Shabazz wrote the following at Indy Politics regarding an early September poll conducted by Change Research for Indy Politics:
In April, Holcomb was 20 points ahead of Dr. Woody Myers, the Democrat nominee. Now that number is down to 6 points, but oddly enough, picking up the slack is Libertarian Donald Rainwater. The breakdown was 36 percent Holcomb, 30 percent Myers, 24 percent Rainwater, and 10 percent undecided.
Rainwater looks to be the candidate of choice here among Republicans disaffected with the mask mandate and Gov. Holcomb’s leadership during the pandemic: over a third of respondents who say they’re voting for Trump say they’d vote for Don Rainwater for Governor were the election today.
Twenty-Four percent of the vote on election day would be a record for a libertarian governor campaign, surpassing the percentages of votes won by Libertarian Party governor candidates Dick Randolph in Alaska in 1982 and Ed Thompson in Wisconsin in 2002. Both of them received votes in the ten to 15 percent range.
Tom Davis and Casey Smith explored in their September 22 Associated Press article “Mask discontent could snarl Indiana governor’s election” the peeling away of support for Holcomb and growth in support for Rainwater among voters. Davis and Smith wrote in part:
Gov. Eric Holcomb’s statewide mask mandate and six months of other coronavirus restrictions has stirred discontent among conservatives, complicating his front-runner campaign against underfunded Democratic challenger Woody Myers.
Longtime reliable Republican voters such as Renee Willis complain Holcomb’s coronavirus orders have been “overbearing.” She partially blames the governor for the loss of her daughter’s job as a manager at a Greenfield restaurant and intends to vote for Libertarian candidate Donald Rainwater in an act of “civic outrage.”
“People have lost jobs, businesses are being forced to shut down …. we haven’t been able to go to church or see elderly family members, they’re being forced to wear masks,” said Willis, 57, of New Palestine, just east of Indianapolis. “Our constitutional rights have been infringed upon, and we’re sick of it.”
Plenty of other Republicans, along with plenty of Democrats and people of other parties or no party, have a similar sentiment as Willis expresses in that article.
Among the Republicans who have announced their support for Rainwater is even a member of the state’s House of Representatives — Jim Lucas. That is quite an unusual endorsement for a Libertarian governor candidate to receive. Interviewed at WIBC radio, Lucas pointed to his and Rainwater’s disapproval of the governor’s coronavirus mandates as a primary reason Lucas has chosen to endorse the Libertarian governor nominee.
Did the poll indicating 24 percent support for Rainwater provide an accurate representation of Rainwater’s support among Indiana voters? Will Rainwater’s support dissipate as election day approaches? Will it stay the same or increase? Could Rainwater even win? The answers to these questions are not clear. One thing, however, does appear clear: If Rainwater achieves an unusually high vote percentage for a Libertarian governor candidate, much of the reason for that success will be due to a combination of the incumbent governor’s tyrannical coronavirus mandates and Rainwater’s clear and strong expression of opposition to those mandates.
Reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.