On the Ground in Indiana: Important Races in a Swing State

I originally posted this as a comment under Erick’s piece on the Indiana Senate race.  I figured I might as well post it as a diary too.


Conservatives in Indiana are going to have a stellar year. 2008 was an aberration, and you can be sure that Barack Obama will lose the Hoosier State in 2012. People here are absolutely sick of this stuff. Under the leadership of Gov. Daniels, Indiana is the island of sanity in a bleeding Midwest. Because the Dems have screwed up so drastically, the 2010 election will see Republican comebacks all across the state ballot.

The 2010 goals for Indiana Republicans are threefold:

  1. Win back Evan Bayh’s Senate seat.
  2. Win back the Indiana State House of Representatives.
  3. Win back the 3 US House seats lost in 2006.

I have no idea who will win the Republican Senate primary in May, but I can tell you that the winner will most likely be the next Senator from Indiana. So, if you want Marlin Stutzman to be that man, now is the time to donate to him. Brad Ellsworth kissed the Senate seat goodbye with his November and March votes for healthcare. He’ll get a good chunk of Evan Bayh’s campaign money, but it won’t matter. This seat is ready for the taking, and it will be taken.

The Indiana House of Representatives is also ready to flip red. Gov. Daniels got most of his reforms through in 2005 and 2006, when the General Assembly was briefly controlled by Republicans. In 2006, Dems won back the House and they have been thwarting him ever since. The Indiana State House of Representatives is one of the most competitive legislative chambers in the United States. Both parties control it off and on, and rarely ever with more than a 5 or 6 seat majority. It will tip to the GOP in the coming wave this November.

Finally, the three Blue Dogs that were elected in 2006 (Ellsworth, Hill, and Donnelly) all have enormous targets on their backs. They have played the moderate game well, but they all fell in line when Pelosi gave the order. Indiana is always the first state to report on election nights, and in 2006, the loss of 3 competitive districts foreshadowed the rest of the night. 2010, however, will be just the flip. 2010 will be for us what 2006 was for the Dems. These three districts will flip red.

In IN-2, the NRCC has recruited a very strong candidate in State Rep. Jackie Walorski. NRCC has been trying to get her to run for several cycles, and she finally decided now was the time to do it. If you don’t know much about Jackie, check out her webpage (www.standwithjackie.com). Mike Pence just endorsed her this week, and Mitch Daniels and Marlin Stutzman have already done so.

In IN-9, Mike Sodrel is running against Baron Hill for the billionth time (he beat Hill in 2004, and he’ll do it again this year).

IN-8 is known as the “Bloody Eighth” because of its vicious contests. This is Brad Ellsworth’s district, so it will be an open seat race. The Dem and GOP primaries in this district still need to play out, so we’ll have to see how they transpire. State Rep. Trent Van Haaften is the likely Dem nominee.