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Candidates Fight For Vacated Seat In 2nd District

The 2nd district seat is open since Joe Donnelly is running for Senate.

Joe Donnelly

Photo: Evan Bayh (Flickr)

State Representative Joe Donnelly is running for U.S. Senate, leaving his seat up for grabs.

With Joe Donnelly vacating his seat, Indiana’s 2nd congressional district will send a new face to Congress in the fall.

The Republican Ticket

Republican Jackie Walorski lost the 2nd district election to Joe Donnelly in 2010 by a single percentage point. She says back then her campaign was just trying to get its message out, but this time, she says, it’s different.

“They’re telling me the issues, and it’s the same issues because nothing has really changed,” she says. “hey elected a bunch of people that went to D.C. and still didn’t do what they said they would do, republicans or democrats.”

The former three-term state representative says her first agenda item would be a bill to balance the budget.

“The next bill we need to have is seriously looking at stopping the inertia that moves the deficit forward,” she says.

Her Republican challenger is Dr. Greg Andrews. Andrews says between a sick economy and an ailing healthcare system – the district needs a doctor in the House.

“We have to give tax incentives for companies, especially corporations to come back from Europe and Asia and China,” he says. “There’s one trillion dollars worth of capital just waiting to come back into the United States.”

Andrews is also focusing his campaign on deregulation. He says everything from the Environmental Protection Agency to labor laws is strangling economic growth.

The Democratic Contenders

On the Democratic ticket are military veteran and small business owner Brendan Mullen and RV industry worker Dan Morrison. Morrison did not reply to requests for comment for this story, but Mullen says the geography of the district helps focus his campaign. The district includes Elkhart, a working-class area that has seen double-digit unemployment rates the past three years.  Mullen says it’s a reason his campaign is focusing on the revitalization of the middle class and jobs.

“The tax structure as we see it now, is at this point really plays to big oil, Wall Street, you know and big corporations and not giving the middle class and furthermore, main street the opportunity to play at a fair playing level,” he says.

Redistricting removed potential Democratic votes from the district by sending Kokomo and Michigan City to other districts. But Mullen says he is not worried about losing votes due to redistricting.

“Folks aren’t looking for a republican idea, they’re not looking for a democratic idea, they’re looking for a good idea,” he says. “And it doesn’t matter what, you know, political party it has, they just want to have an opportunity to move our country effectively forward.”

Walorski says as soon as she heard about the new territory in the second district, she was on the phone with every county chairman hearing their concerns.

“There are real effects happening in these new parts of the second district, so in addition to what we already knew and continue to know from our spot in the north, we learned a lot,” she says.

All four candidates will learn who advances to the November election on Tuesday.

Joe Hren

Anchor, Indiana Newsdesk - WTIU & WFIU News. Follow him on Twitter @Joe_Hren

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