Is Ellspermann out of favor with Pence?

(Portland) Commercial Review

Sometimes, Indiana politics just makes you scratch your head in wonder.

That’s the case with the news that Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann is weighing the possibility of becoming the next president of Ivy Tech Community College.

It’s virtually unheard of for a sitting lieutenant governor of Indiana to make a career move that would take them off the ballot for re-election, and doing so less than a year away from the time Hoosiers go to the polls is unprecedented.

Anyone who has met Lt. Gov. Ellspermann during her visits locally will tell you she’s a smart, articulate, intelligent, savvy politician. She’s charmed local audiences effortlessly and would appear to be an asset to any ticket.

Some local Republicans have confided that they like her more than the governor himself.

But there have been rumors of friction between Ellspermann’s staff and the governor’s staff, and there were some awkward moments this year when the lieutenant governor and the governor weren’t exactly on the same page on some high profile issues.

So what’s going on here?

You have to wonder:

Given an enthusiastic endorsement from the governor’s office — spokesmen said she’d be an “ideal candidate” for the Ivy Tech job — does Gov. Mike Pence want someone else as his running mate in 2016?

Has Ellspermann shown more political independence than Pence is willing to tolerate?

Is there a Pence-preferred candidate waiting in the wings?

Or, as one local observer suggested last week, has Ellspermann decided that the Pence re-election campaign is an uphill fight she’d rather sit out? Taking a four-year hiatus from politics as president of Ivy Tech could put her in a strong position to make her own gubernatorial run down the road.

Your guess is as good as ours.

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