McCormick’s running mate, Goodin, says he reversed ideas on abortion, marriage

Associated Press

Indiana’s Democratic nominee for governor, Jennifer McCormick, on Thursday chose as her running mate a former state lawmaker who spent much of his introductory speech apologizing for past votes against abortion and same-sex marriage and promising he’s changed his mind.

Terry Goodin, an Indiana House Democrat from 2000 to 2020, was picked for the McCormick ticket in an online announcement from Indianapolis. But his record will leave voters questioning his Democratic bona fides.

McCormick, herself a former one-term Republican Superintendent of Public Instruction who switched parties in 2021, will square off in November against Republican gubernatorial nominee Mike Braun, who’s leaving the U.S. Senate after one term. Braun, too, has had his own intraparty troubles over a running mate.

Incumbent Gov. Eric Holcomb, a two-term Republican, is term-limited.

In his remarks to reporters, Goodin took the issue head on, explaining he’s dropped positions that ran counter to core Democratic values, including access to abortion, a top-of-mind issue for voters since the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision two years ago overturned the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing the procedure.

“My vote on women’s reproductive rights was pretty spotty at best, but I was always counseled by my female colleagues that if these bills go too far, Roe v. Wade would nullify them,” Goodin, 57, said. “The Dobbs decision has changed all that. We are in a completely new universe.”

Goodin, like McCormick a former teacher and educational administrator, denounced Dobbs as “an all-out assault on personal freedoms,” then pivoted and said that his 2011 vote against same-sex marriage “dehumanized, demeaned thousands of Hoosiers. I am sorry for the hurt that I caused so many.” Indiana legalized same-sex marriage in 2014.

“If two people want to affirm that love with marriage, then they should be able to do that in the great state of Indiana,” Goodin said.

McCormick said many voters would be able to relate to Goodin’s change of heart.

“That evolution, people need space and time, sometimes it takes a personal experience for that thought to change, and that’s what we should be celebrating,” McCormick said. “Terry did a great job of explaining where he was and how he has evolved. He is not alone.”

But first, McCormick must convince party regulars. Like the Republicans, it will be delegates to next month’s state Democratic Party Convention who vote on the running mate, and Goodin has two challengers, Bob Kern and Clif Marsiglio.

Just last weekend, GOP nominee Braun faced a setback when delegates dumped his preferred candidate, state Rep. Julie McGuire, for pastor Micah Beckwith, who promotes uncompromising positions on abortion, gender and sexuality and cohosts his “Jesus, Sex and Politics” podcast.

Asked how she’d smooth over concerns about Goodin’s past record with party members, McCormick said she would avoid “the divisiveness of the Republican party” by meeting with anyone who has concerns, listening and resolving issues.

“I have said many times the Democratic Party, the beautiful thing about it is it is truly a big tent,” McCormick said. “It’s a lot of ideas, a lot of opinions, a lot of big personalities and a lot of heart.”