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October 11, 2012

Gubernatorial candidates square off in first debate

(Continued)

ZIONSVILLE —

While both Pence and Gregg evoked bipartisanship as an ideal model to follow in the Statehouse, Boneham — bearing a beard like the one he wore while as a cast member on the network television show “Survivor” — called for “tri-partisanship” in the Statehouse.

Boneham won applause from an audience that had been admonished not to applaud when he described himself as the anti-candidate.

“I stand up here not as the career politician,” Boneham said. “I am not out to line my own pockets. I’m not out to gain fame and fortune.”

Boneham also prompted an unexpected exchange among the candidates when he said one of the most pressing problems facing Indiana was the high number of people caught in the criminal justice system and the lifelong punishment they face for committing a felony.

Pence responded by saying he wanted Indiana to be the “worst place in the nation to commit a serious crime,” before adding, “I want Indiana to be the best place in the nation — after you’ve done your time — to get a second chance.”

All three candidates wrapped up the debate, saying they’d be the best leader for the state. Gregg, who has been lagging behind in the polls, also put out an appeal to independent voters and people he called “Lugar Republicans,” referring to supporters of U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar, who lost his GOP primary bid in May to Richard Mourdock.

The three gubernatorial candidates will meet again Oct. 17, at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend. That debate, in front of a live audience, will be televised at 7 p.m. EST.

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