Thursday, May 5, 2016

Congressional Races Set Across Indiana in Eight of Nine Districts

Political junkies love the days after an election.

For the most part, the lights of the media go away and we political types can really dive deep into the results.

The Congressional races are now set.

In District 1, incumbent Pete Visclosky won the Democratic nomination over his challenger, Willie Brown. It’s the first time in years that Visclosky has had a primary opponent, and his strong 80 percent showing proves he’s still the choice of Democrats even after 32 years of representation. So far, no Republican challenger has been named for Visclosky. Libertarians will run Donna Dunn again against Visclosky.

District 2’s Jackie Walorski dipped slightly under 70 percent in defeating her primary challenger, Jeff Petermann. This is still a very solid victory for the incumbent who is bidding for her third term in Congress. Retired South Bend PD officer Lynn Coleman outdistanced his opponent to earn the nomination for the Democrats.

With Marlin Stutzman’s failed attempt to move to the Senate, the Indiana’s 3rd Congressional District will get some long-awaited new representation. The open seat still leans heavily Republican, and Indiana Senator Jim Banks prevailed in a crowded primary to claim the nomination for the GOP. Perennial candidate Tommy Schrader won the Democratic nomination. Schrader's campaign, as I found out, is worth a blog post later this week.

No surprise that Todd Rokita has won his party’s nomination for the 4th Congressional District. Rokita, like Walorski, dipped slightly under 70 percent in defeating his primary opponent, Kevin Grant. Will this be the last primary House race for Rokita? He figures to be one of the Republicans that will take a hard look at running against Joe Donnelly for Senate in 2018, and, frankly, he would be a strong opponent. Teacher John Dale is the Democratic nominee for a second-straight cycle. Like Professor David Sanders before him, Dale is a strong candidate in a tough district for Democrats. Steven Mayoras will carry the Libertarian banner into this race.

In the 5th Congressional District, Susan Brooks defeated two opponents with 70 percent of the vote. The now two-term incumbent will battle veterinarian Angela Demaree in the fall. Demaree won the Democratic nomination easily over Allen Davidson with nearly 75 percent of the vote. Brooks is another potential 2018 GOP candidate for the U.S. Senate.

Luke Messer demolished his opposition for the Republican nomination. The man who took Mike Pence’s seat in Congress in 2012 is looking for a third term. To win it, he will have to defeat pastor Barry Welsh of Rushville and Rich Turvey, the Libertarian nominee. Messer seems happy to have carved himself out a quiet little niche in Congress. He certainly isn’t heard much.
I’ll do a special piece on Indy’s 7th Congressional District. In short, Lt. Col. Cat Ping (US Army, Ret.) is reporting for duty again as the GOP nominee against Congressman AndrĂ© Carson. Libertarian Drew Thompson is in the race as well.

In the “Bloody 8th” District, Congressman Larry Bucshon won the GOP nomination easily. On the Democratic side, it’s a bit of a mess. Former State Representative and attorney Ron Drake is shown as 61 votes ahead of former State Representative David Orentlicher. It’s no surprise that the 8th District would bring such a showdown. The race is still too close to call. Thoughtful Libertarian candidate and formidable debater Andrew Horning is also on the ballot. 

“Tennessee Trey” Hollingsworth was probably singing about Rocky Top last night in celebration of his victory over the likes of State Senators Erin Houchin and Brent Waltz and Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller. Hollingworth, some say, flat out bought the seat with a campaign loan and money from a shadowy super PAC. It’s up to Democrat Shelli Yoder to try to keep Hollingsworth out of Congress along with Libertarian Russell Brooksbank.

Now, it's off to November.

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