Gregg cited the Religious Freedom Restoration Act as a reason he decided to run, even calling for its repeal earlier this month. There is little doubt that Gregg's extreme position on this issue (most original opponents aren't calling for the repeal after the so-called "fix" was passed) is an attempt to counter the considerable flack he is receiving from liberals in his party upset with his well-documented previous opposition to same sex marriage. But in trying to make amends with his own party, Gregg has the potential of pushing too hard against RFRA and becoming labeled as a liberal. Gregg was such a formidable opponent last time exactly because many Hoosiers saw him as a conservative Democrat who shared their values.
Gregg's biggest problem in 2012 was strategy. He introduced himself to voters with a series of ads originating in his hometown of Sandborn, Indiana. While attempting to be funny and portray the candidate as a regular Hoosier, the ads came across as hokey and made Gregg look like he wasn't a serious candidate. When Gregg finally abandoned the Sandborn ads, he quickly made up ground on Pence as the then Congressman attempted to run out the clock with a series of safe, feel-good ads. If Gregg had run a different campaign from the beginning, he might well be called Governor today.
Since her election, Republican legislators and the Governor have feuded with Ritz and taken power away from her. These efforts, played out in the media all over the state, may well spark a backlash to Republicans of the sort that propelled Ritz to office in 2012. But for Ritz, the former school librarian, winning re-election is one thing while being considered a serious candidate for Governor is quite another. Ritz's whole political career has been built on a foundation of anger at Republicans. To run for Governor, she'd have to develop policy positions in a wide assortment of subjects, positions that appeal to voters while putting together a strong organization. It is doubtful that Ritz, who is still a political neophyte, can pull that off.
Other Democrats will no doubt throw their hats into the ring. Former Congressman Baron Hill is considering the race. Former Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson has been mentioned but is unlikely to give up his lucrative position with Lilly for a 1 1/2 year political campaign.
If I were betting, I'd put a wager on John Gregg emerging as the Democratic nominee.