5 things to watch in every state: Indiana

Oh, look, here’s a state that doesn’t really like extremism in a statewide manner, at least in Presidential election years, yet, somehow had their Governor be the Vice President to Donald Trump.

  1. U.S. Senate election: I feel dirty talking about this for too long.  I really don’t like Evan Bayh.  But I am a progressive and Bayh, at least will support a Democratic Senate Majority Leader, will likely be a vote for ending the filibuster, and will be a yes vote for most of the Democratic agenda (although he’ll lecture us all about how we’re doing it wrong, while doing the same things that he is criticizing other Democrats of doing).  But, this seat is seeming to be more winnable all the time.  That is important if Democrats are trying to take back the Senate.  Flipping Indiana will give Indiana two Democratic Senators.  Neither of which are terribly progressive.  But gives more credence to the idea of running moderates in more conservative seat to be able to win these seats. At any rate, I feel dirty rooting for Bayh because he will be touted in 2024, again, as a potential Vice President pick.
  2. Indiana Gubernatorial election: Before Mike Pence was selected by the Trump campaign to be his Vice Presidential nominee, there was speculation that Pence was going to be a private citizen in January.  Pence’s poll numbers in Indiana were not spectacular, by any measure.  The gubernatorial election was going to be a rematch between Pence and Democrat and mustache enthusiast John Gregg.  Gregg had only lost by 75,000 votes in 2012 to Pence.  After Pence was chosen as the Vice President nominee, Gregg got a different challenge in Indiana Lieutenant Governor Eric Holcomb stepping up as the Republican nominee.  In the polls in October of 2016, Gregg has been leading Holcomb.  It will be interesting how the elections hake out in 2016 for the Governor’s mansion, if only because we need more facial hair in politics.
  3. U.S. House of Representatives, Indiana’s 2nd Congressional District: In 2014, when I was highlighting races to watch, I found this Congressional District to be one of the ones that I thought could be had for the Democrats.  Then Ebola and the child migrant crisis happened and it never materialized. Some Democratic operatives are saying that the 9th Congressional District is the one that can be flipped more easily.  But I’m stubborn so I want to follow this race to the bitter end.  Jackie Walorksi was elected in 2012 by 4,000 votes over Democrat Brendan Mullen.  She won re-election in 2014 by 30,000 votes. Now either, it was a wave year or Walorksi had an incumbency advantage of 28,000 votes.  I’m not too sure that the incumbency advantage is really that large.  so I think it could be a lot closer in a Presidential election year, even if I think Joe Bock is a much stronger candidate than Lynn coleman.  And to be fair to the 9th district, Shelli Yoder is a much better candidate than Coleman.
  4. Indiana State Senate, District 30: Republican incumbent Scott Schneider won re-election in this district in 2012 by 900 votes.  He was almost the victim of a Libertarian Party spoiler candidate in F.C. Peterson who won 1,8880 votes in 2012.  Schneider is running for re-election against a new Democratic challenger, Pamela Hickman.  If Indiana has a chance of flipping from Republican to Democratic (which it definitely does, even if I don’t have the Presidential election listed here as one to watch), it’s possible that 2012 is a better year for Democrats than 2016.  If you add that in with a new found distaste for Pence and a Libertarian Presidential candidate who is running slightly stronger than in 2012, you have a nice little storm for Schneider to lose.
  5. Indiana House of Representatives, District 12: Surprisingly, there are a lot of elections in Indiana that I think are interesting and worth keeping a closer eye on.  This follows the traditional playbook of elections that I like to follow this cycle.  In 2012, a Democratic incumbent won re-election to their seat by a fair amount (in this case about 2,000 votes).  Then they lost in 2014 by a fairly small margin (421).  Then a Democrat runs in the district in 2016.  This time the Democrat is Maria Candelaria Reardon who is trying to win her seat back that she lost in 2014 to Bill Fine (whom she defeated in 2012).  Ahh.  It’s so delicious.
  6. Indiana House of Representatives, District 19: We have the same playbook as District 12.  Shelli VanDenburgh won re-election in 2012 by about 3,000 votes.  She lost in 2014 to Republican Julie Olthoff by 300 votes.  She is challenging her to a rematch in 2016.  This time, she has not only the Presidential election coatttails potentially helping her but also a Libertarian spoiler in Evan Demare to help her win back her seat.