Waterman may run for governor as an independent

Thursday, May 22, 2008
State Senator John Waterman

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."

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  • If State Senator Waterman wanted to run for Governor, he should have signed up back in February and ran against Mitch in the primary.

    I believe he should immediately resign his position that he currently holds - Republican State Senator - if he can't support the Republican Party that he was elected from. Give someone else a chance.

    -- Posted by BloomburgBanter on Fri, May 23, 2008, at 6:17 PM
  • If John Waterman is a true Conservative running as an Independent, I just might support him. Our Man Mitch has turned out to not as conservative as he made himself out to be and he has lost my support. DST, Can't repeal property taxes, tobacco tax and attempted to hike income taxes on hard working Hoosiers that make $100.000 or more are a few reasons to leave Mitch. He lied in 04!!!! If John Waterman would pick for a Lt Governor McIntire, I bet he can upset Mitch in a close race. I might pull his lever November 4th.

    -- Posted by bwalters on Thu, Jun 12, 2008, at 11:56 AM
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