Waterman may run for governor as an independent
Indiana District 39 State Sen. John Waterman -- a self-proclaimed "maverick" and "common man's" advocate in the Senate chambers -- has formed an exploratory committee to probe the possibility of an independent party run for governor this year.
Waterman, a Republican from Shelburn in Sullivan County, told the Greene County Daily World in a telephone interview Thursday afternoon he's been kicking the idea around about challenging incumbent GOP Gov. Mitch Daniels and Democrat challenger Jill Long-Thompson for several months.
The veteran senator said his interest transformed a step further into forming a campaign committee after what he called a large number of Republicans and Democrats have contacted him when word circulated in political circles that he was considering a run for governor.
He says there are many disgruntled residents across the state who want an alternate to the pair of main party candidates.
"I've been all through Indiana and talking to people in the last couple of months. They are just dissatisfied -- not just in the Republican side, but the Democrat side too. They are disgruntled with their candidate. She (Long-Thompson) has already taken a lot of pro-abortion monies. The Christian conservatives on the Republican side are disgruntled with everything that's going on in the state too," Waterman said. "They call it the 'Three Ts' -- the toll road, the taxes and the time change."
Waterman also said residents have told him they don't like the privatization of services outside the state and abroad that has been endorsed by Gov. Daniels.
"It's just a multitude of things. The main thing is there are a lot of people like myself," he stressed. "I've been labeled the maverick of the senate because I try to follow the people and not the politicians and the political side of it. I'm proud of that. The people didn't elect me to go up there (to Indianapolis) and be a 'yes boy'. I've always fought for the independent people and the other people at home."
Waterman served as Sullivan County Sheriff from 1986 to 1994, the year he was first elected to the state senate.
Waterman said he must gather at least 33,000 petition signatures and turn them into the secretary of state's office by June 30 to get on the November election ballot.
Waterman said his committee has a goal to raise about $500,000 to stage a legitimate race at this late juncture in the political season.
Waterman and campaign leaders have been interviewing a host of potential lieutenant governor candidates for several weeks now. He hopes to have his running mate selected some time next week.
Without revealing the names of any of the possible candidates, Waterman said the field is impressive and includes individuals currently involved in politics, business and in the private sector.
Waterman said he's encouraged with the response he's received and said his telephone has been flooded with messages from supporters in the past few days.
"It's been people from all over the state," Waterman said. "I've stayed in contact with a lot of my good conservative Democrat friends and if it wasn't for them I wouldn't be in office because most of my district is Democrat,"
Waterman, who works as a building contractor, pointed out that with both of the mainline candidates with recent polling numbers in the 40 percentile that opens the door for a third party race.
"I've always represented the blue collar people and I'm hoping we can put a program together for them," he added.
He is the ranking member of the Senate's Governmental Affairs & Interstate Cooperation Committee. He also serves on the Agriculture & Small Business Committee, Criminal & Civil Procedures & Public Policy Committee, Public Affairs Subcommittee, Interstate Cooperation Subcommittee, and the Natural Resources Committee.
He represents parts of Greene, Clay, Knox, Daviess, Owen, Sullivan and Vigo counties.
When asked if he ever had dreams about someday being governor when he was first elected county sheriff, Waterman laughed and said, "I didn't envision being in politics any in my life so yes this is something I never thought would happen."