Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Eighth District Race Crowding for '12

Are you running for Congress in Indiana’s 8th District? No? Well, you may be the only one that isn’t. Three seemingly powerful Democrats and two Republicans (including incumbent Larry Buschon) are vying for the seat that may once again become Indiana’s most competitive Congressional seat.

The “Bloody Eighth” became a little more favorable to Democrats, according to most analysts after it was reconfigured following the 2010 Census. The district, as it was, had been represented by both Republicans and Democrats. Buschon won the seat over Trent Van Haaften in 2010 while Congressman Brad Ellsworth decided to try his hand in the Senate.

Early speculators seemed to think Ellsworth might give Congress a try again, but Ellsworth shot those rumors down quickly. Instead, his former district director, Patrick Scates announced he is entering the race. Scates is running against former State Representative Dave Crooks and Warrick County Democratic Chairman Terry White for the Democratic nomination. Unlike the 2nd District where Brendan Mullen is the party-backed choice against Democrat Andrew Straw, Indiana Democratic Party Chairman Dan Parker is just going to let this one play out in the primary.

The Congressional races are taking shape across the state for 2012, but this one probably be the one many will pay attention to. The First and Seventh Districts still figure to be Democratic seats. The Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and formerly-competitive Ninth all were drawn as seemingly Republican territory in the new maps. That leaves the “Bloody Eighth”.

Much depends on the mood of the electorate and how much President Obama decides to play in Indiana. Most analysts agree that Obama’s chances are probably not as good as they were in 2008, but who thought at this point he would win Indiana then? We just didn’t know.

A competitive Governor’s race with Eighth District resident, John Gregg could also help the Democrat running for Congress in that area.

As always, the Eighth will be one to watch.

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