Tuesday, May 27, 2014

2nd District Could Be Photo Finish Again

For years, Indiana’s 8th Congressional District was known as the Bloody 8th because it was always one of the toughest districts to predict and was usually hard on incumbents. With redistricting and time, things have kind of calmed down in the 8th, but the 2nd District has become one to watch year after year.

In 2012, then State Representative Jackie Walorski was expected to walk away with an easy victory over veteran Brendan Mullen. After all, she had nearly toppled veteran legislator Joe Donnelly in 2010. All she had to do was keep it together in this newly-drawn and seemingly less-competitive district.

A funny thing happened on the way to the voting booth, when the votes were counted, the favored Walorski could not pull away from Mullen. All night long, the vote totals remained close. Finally, Walorski prevailed by a thin margin of just 3,920 votes of the 273,475 cast. Either someone messed up drawing this district or Walorski isn’t that likable. I’ll leave it up to you.

In 2014, Walorski will have her hands full with Dr. Joe Bock. The Democrat has the benefit of having national money flowing into his race against the incumbent. He is professor at the University of Notre Dame and has many credentials Walorski doesn’t have.

Walorski starts from a position of advantage here. She is the incumbent and must be knocked off. The District starts off as a “Likely GOP” district from Real Clear Politics, but that’s exactly what the rating was when Mullen nearly pulled a huge upset. Bock can definitely chip away and make this election about the incumbent while painting a very different picture of what he would do in Congress.
I think this is an intriguing race to watch. My prediction: Walorski by less than five, but I will be watching closely.

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