Brian Howey, longtime chronicler of Statehouse politics and publisher of Howey Politics Indiana, said the amendment is becoming a defining issue for the state’s Republican Party.
“The GOP is in the midst of a 12-year lock on the governorship after 16 consecutive years of Democratic rule,” Howey said. “They’re worried about losing their grip.”
Some signs suggest it is already slipping. During the 2012 election, the socially conservative Pence — a prominent backer of HJR-3 — became the first Indiana governor since 1962 not to win 50 percent of the vote, finishing with 49 percent.
That worries Dunn. In his tenure as Republican county chairman in a traditionally Democratic stronghold, he’s helped elect three GOP lawmakers to the Statehouse.
“We’re going to have come to grips with this issue soon,” Dunn said. “As a party, we say we respect personal liberty and freedom from government intrusion. But this is big government run amok.”