After a run of fiercely contested U.S. House elections across Indiana, all the action next year is likely to center on a single seat.
Republican Jackie Walorski won the Second District by just one point last year, two years after she lost it by the same margin.
State Republican Chairman Tim Berry and Democratic Chairman John Zody both say they always consider all nine districts to be in play. But national observers are unanimous in rating the other eight seats as safe for the incumbents. All of the incumbents in those seats won by double digits last year.
Berry maintains Walorski will benefit from being an incumbent this time, and from not having a presidential race on the ballot. He notes Walorski already has a $430,000 war chest, and says she will be a stronger candidate this time.
“I think the added experience of incumbency certainly helps,” he says.
“She is every weekend in a different community, at a different fair, parade, reaching out and listening to the voters, and working on their behalf.”
He adds that 2012 Democratic nominee Brendan Mullen’s announcement this month that he won’t seek a rematch puts Democrats behind schedule in finding a candidate, with the primary a little more than nine months away.
Zody argues Walorski is too conservative for the northern Indiana district, accusing her of voting in lockstep with fellow Republicans.
“Indiana isn’t a left-or-right state. It’s a moderate place. We’re going to look for a candidate who represents the values of the Second District, and those values are moderate. There are some conservative places there, there are more liberal places, but it’s that moderate Hoosier common-sense value that we’re looking for.”
He says there is plenty of time left to go before the primary.