Nine new Senate Districts have all or a portion of their territory in the state's most-populated county, and seven of those districts are up for election in 2012. Let's take a district-by-district look at the filings.
Districts 29 and 31 are not up for election this time, so Senator Mike Delph and Senator Jim Merritt will wait until 2014 to make decisions about running again. Districts 33 and 34 are represented by Democrats Greg Taylor and Jean Breaux, respectively. Thus far, no one has filed against them though that's subject to change when Republicans can fill open ballot positions this summer. Libertarians will also name candidates in March. For now, though, Breaux and Taylor can relax.
That leaves five contested districts and are they ever contested!
In District 28, a district that now has a long neck that comes into Marion County from the east is an open seat as Beverly Gard is retiring. Three Republicans are vying for the GOP nomination. Mike Crider, Chris Lytle, and Jon Merlou have all filed. On the Democratic side, only one Democrat is in the race. That's Michael Adkins.
District 30 features a, right now, heads up battle between incumbent Republican Scott Schneider and Democratic challenger Tim Delaney. Again, Libertarians could enter the fray in this district or any of the others I'm about to mention.
Senator Pat Miller has a clear path to the Republican nomination in District 32. Former State Representative John Barnes and Patti Mink will battle for the Democratic spot. District 32 now completely lies within Marion County.
Incumbent Mike Young finds himself under attack from his own party as Daniel Kinnamon takes him on for the Republican nomination in redrawn District 35. Democratic candidate Mark Waterfill, an attorney, is unopposed for the Democratic nomination in this district that no longer includes any of Morgan or Johnson Counties.
An interesting race is expected in District 36 as incumbent Republican Brent Waltz takes on Representative Mary Ann Sullivan. Sullivan is a hard worker and this redrawn district that now just necks into Johnson County is prime for a pickup.
If Democrats pick up a couple of seats here, they would still be in the heavy minority, but it would be a step forward, overall. With other targeted Senate seats statewide, Dems could take a huge step forward. Senate Minority Leader Vi Simpson believes it's possible, and the Democrats will do everything to make it happen in Marion County.