An Air Force veteran and a former state senator are the winners of Indiana’s most closely watched congressional primaries.
Jennifer-Ruth Green emerged from a field of seven Republican candidates, including former LaPorte Mayor Blair Milo, to win the nomination in northwest Indiana’s First District with 47-percent of the vote. She’ll face first-term Democratic Congressman Frank J. Mrvan in what’s expected to be Indiana’s only competitive congressional race in November.
A Green victory would break three streaks of party dominance. None of Indiana’s U-S House seats has changed parties in 10 years, while no incumbent has lost a reelection bid in 12. And while the exact boundaries of the First District have changed over time, no Republican has won the seat since 1928.
In southeast Indiana’s Ninth District, former Salem Senator Erin Houchin (R) captured 38-percent of the vote in a nine-way primary to become the heir apparent to retiring Congressman Trey Hollingsworth, six years after losing to Hollingsworth in her first bid for the seat. Houchin carried 14 of the district’s 19 counties to end the comeback bid of former Congressman Mike Sodrel, and will face Bloomington teacher Matt Fyfe in November.
Mrvan, Democrat Andre Carson and Republican Greg Pence crushed token challengers to earn nominations for another term. Pence will face former Democratic congressional staffer Cinde Wirth, while Angela Grabovsky won more than half the Republican vote for the nomination against Carson. If elected, Grabovsky would join Republican Victoria Spartz in the neighboring Fifth District as the only Ukrainian-born members of Congress.
Jeannine Lake, Pence’s opponent in the last two elections, won the nomination to face Spartz this year after redistricting placed her in Spartz’s district.
Democrats nominated underdog challengers to Republican incumbents Jim Banks, Jim Baird and Larry Bucshon, all of whom, like Spartz, were unopposed for renomination. Radio host Gary Snyder will take on Banks, while Roger Day won the nomination in Baird’s western Indiana Fourth District on his third try. Farm owner Ray McCormick will face Bucshon.
Both Republican Congresswoman Jackie Walorski and Goshen College instructor Paul Steury were unopposed for the nominations in northern Indiana’s second district, as were the parties’ nominees for U-S Senate, Republican incumbent Todd Young and Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott.