Gregg chooses Simpson as running mate

May 23, 2012

Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Gregg named Senate Minority Leader Vi Simpson as his running mate.

Simpson has served in the state Senate since 1984 after spending time as Monroe County Auditor.  The Bloomington-area native briefly ran for governor in 2004 and again flirted with running last year.  A pro-choice, pro-same sex marriage Democrat, Simpson differs on key issues with John Gregg, but that’s something she says strengthens them.

“John Gregg’s made it very clear to me he does not want a yes man and he knows I will not be.  I have a voting record, you can all look it up, you know where I stand on these things.  He didn’t want someone who was just like him.”

Simpson says she and Gregg appeal to different constituencies, and Gregg says that gives them a better chance at victory in November.

“There are so many Republicans that do not like the TEA party, that no longer feel that they belong to the Republican Party, that the Republican Party has left them.  And they’re going to come to us because we are in the middle and we welcome them.”

Simpson was up for reelection this year.  By running for lieutenant governor, she can no longer run for that seat, which she was widely expected to win.  Simpson says she gave leaving the Senate a lot of thought before deciding to run alongside Gregg.

“I will miss the Senate.  You know, that’s my comfort zone.  I think I’ve done a good job there.  I’m good at it; I’m a good legislator.”

But she says a chance at the lieutenant governor’s office was something she couldn’t pass up.

“There’s a point in your career, I think, when it’s time to get out of your comfort zone and test what you’re able to do.”

The party will choose another Democrat to run for her seat in November.