Glenda Ritz drops out of race for Indiana governor

State Superintendent Glenda Ritz
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Glenda Ritz has canceled her plans to run for Indiana governor.

Eyewitness News confirmed the news of the state superintendent's decision late Friday afternoon. Ritz said in a release she will instead focus on her re-election campaign for State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

"Running for any kind of office other than the one I'm in, the one I'm doing with my work, requires more of my time and I have to give 110 percent to what I'm doing right now," Ritz said.

Ritz announced her candidacy for governor a little more than two months ago, saying she was running on a platform of connecting education with the economy. 

"Now is not the right time for me to run for governor. Under my leadership, I have brought the discussion of public education into the public discourse and have started to fundamentally change how we support schools. My work is not finished, and my passion is stronger than ever. I am resolutely dedicated to educators, students, and families from Pre-K to graduation," Ritz's statement continued.

The superintendent says an increase in childhood poverty and fewer applicants into the teaching field are "two huge issues that I just feel I need to be addressing. So I've got a lot of work to do."

Ritz has battled for years with Indiana Governor Mike Pence over the state board of education.

"The people of Indiana know we need a new governor, a governor that supports public education that directly affects their abilities for better jobs and stronger communities. As Superintendent, I will continue to advocate for what is right to educate our children to improve our economy for all Hoosiers," Ritz said. "With the help of all of you, we will keep education the focal point of the gubernatorial race."

Ritz did have trouble raising money. Her campaign war chest was just over $100,000, compared to well over a million for Democratic rival John Gregg. That's the candidate she's now endorsing for a change in leadership.

"We absolutely must make that happen and I'm dedicated to working with him," Ritz said.

"Glenda Ritz has always put the best interests of our school children first and this decision is another example of that. I look forward to supporting her re-election to the office of Superintendent and to working with her as Governor to further strengthen public education in our state," Gregg said in a statement.

Recently, Ritz also was accused of violating campaign finance laws. But she says money was not a factor in this decision.

"No, it doesn't really have anything to do with the campaign aspect. It has to do with my dedication to what I'm doing right here at the state level for kids and families," she said.

Full Glenda Ritz statement

"Over a million school children are starting school. They begin this school year with the hope and optimism that education can make a difference in their lives. The best use of my time and talents will be to serve our children, their families and the taxpayers of Indiana as Superintendent of Public Instruction. I must continue to be 110% engaged in supporting public education.
 
Now is not the right time for me to run for governor. Under my leadership, I have brought the discussion of public education into the public discourse and have started to fundamentally change how we support schools. My work is not finished, and my passion is stronger than ever. I am resolutely dedicated to educators, students, and families from Pre-K to graduation. 

Recent stories in the news media have pointed out that we do indeed have major issues that impact our families.  Two of them particularly concern me---a rising childhood poverty rate and a major decrease in the numbers of college-level students pursuing majors that will lead to teaching. Both of these issues require a redoubling of my commitment to serve as Superintendent to provide the needed wrap-around services to our children and to address the barriers that have been put in place to attract and retain teachers.

The people of Indiana know we need a new governor, a governor that supports public education that directly affects their abilities for better jobs and stronger communities. As Superintendent, I will continue to advocate for what is right to educate our children to improve our economy for all Hoosiers. With the help of all of you, we will keep education the focal point of the gubernatorial race.

Many of my supporters will be disappointed in my decision, but I know that we share a vision for education. My heartfelt thanks goes out to all who have so passionately supported my campaign for governor.
 
With my personal commitment to doing what is needed to prepare this and future generations for the challenges of tomorrow, I will enthusiastically seek re-election as your Superintendent of Public Instruction."