Tuesday, May 24, 2016

3rd District Mess Leaves Democrats Scrambling

Indiana's 3rd CD
For the past few weeks, I've been trying to slowly tie up some loose ends from the May Primary.  I've been looking at the nine Congressional races.  

District 3 could be the most dysfunctional.  In the middle of dysfunction lies opportunity.

Let's begin with what happened on Election Day because that's where the fun begins.  Fun is clearly in the eye of the beholder, though.

In District 3, Democrats went to the polls and elected Tommy Schrader as their candidate for Congress.
Schrader was not the party’s choice. In fact, he wasn’t even close to being the party’s choice. For a long time, he’s been an apparent thorn in the party’s side. This time, he has the last laugh. 

A perennial candidate, Schrader has an interesting background. In 2011, he actually won the Democratic Party’s primary nomination for an at-large City Council seat in Fort Wayne. Back then, he ended up getting thrown off the ballot because he admitted that he registered to vote in Wisconsin and had been living there for some 90 days prior to the primary.

Well, he moved back to Indiana permanently, and he’s now the Democrat’s candidate for Congress in the open seat 3rd District. Currently, Schrader is living out of a motel room. He told WANE that he campaigned for Congress by carrying a yard sign around a Fort Wayne strip mall. 

To be honest, Schrader sounds like he could use a hand up.  He says he suffers from a mental illness and struggles to make ends meet because of his smoking and drinking habits.  He is not running from his vices, and there's something to be said about someone who fills out the right paper work to get their name on the ballot.
He’s pro-life, favors a higher minimum wage ($10.10/hr), and says he supports ENDA. Apparently, he also is backing Donald Trump.

It’s anyone’s guess as to why the voters selected his name out of the three running, especially with his well-known history and background as a candidate. Perhaps it was because people had heard of him.  In a three way race, it’s exactly what can happen when two candidates split the vote and a third wins. Businessman Todd Nightenhelser had been the party’s recommended candidate. He was second with 32 percent to Schrader’s 38 percent. John Roberson, a Vietnam veteran, took in 31 percent of the vote.

Not surprisingly, the Democratic establishment in the 3rd District is not backing Schrader’s run. They all but endorsed his Republican opponent, Jim Banks, a State Senator, in congratulating him on his election. I’m told prominent Libertarian Pepper Snyder will be joining the race as a third candidate. It’s a big opportunity here for the Libertarians.

It’s going to be interesting to watch this campaign develop over the summer.

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