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Analysis: Indiana’s 9th District Congressional Race

Hollingsworth

Photo: Trey Hollingsworth

Hollingsworth defeated Democrat Shelli Yoder to represent Indiana's 9th district in 2016.

If you’re still feeling fatigue from last year’s election, prepare yourself. Indiana’s 9th Congressional district already has a crowded field of candidates for next year’s race.

Republican Trey Hollingsworth currently holds the seat and so far three Democrats have announced they’ll challenge him.

Canon

Photo: Tyler Lake

Canon is a well-known civil rights attorney.

Indiana civil rights attorney Dan Canon is the latest to announce his candidacy. The Democrat was the lead lawyer in the Supreme Court case that made same-sex marriage legal in Kentucky. He says he’s running because the 9th district needs a Congressman who truly represents South Central Indiana. And fixing healthcare is among his priorities.

“The end goal that we’ve got to get to is, and I think this is being recognized by more and more of the Democratic party, is some form of universal, single-payer healthcare,” Canon says. “That’s our end goal.”

Curtis

Photo: Barbara Brosher

Curtis says there's a disconnect between the average person and their government.

Bedford Orthodontist Tod Curtis announced his candidacy last week. He says he’s uniquely positioned to tackle the healthcare debate.

“I’ve been in this business for nearly two decades and it’s been broken since I’ve been in it,” Curtis says. “That’s a very dear thing to me because I have the knowledge and understanding to fix it. I don’t have all the answers, but at least I have some capability of dealing with it.”

Pappas

Photo: Courtesy Tom Pappas For Congress

Pappas says he has experience in politics from his time interning with Joe Donnelly.

Democrat Tom Pappas is also vying for the seat and names healthcare as his top priority.

“The troubling fact is when the house GOP bill came out and 23 million Americans would be kicked off health insurance in the next decade,” Pappas says. “Well the Senate came back with 22 million, but even deeper cuts to Medicaid. And the fact that we keep trying to cut from those who are the most vulnerable among us is depressing.”

Hollingsworth voted in favor of the American Health Care Act in May. But, Andrew Downs, director of the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics at IPFW, says the controversy over healthcare may not be enough to swing the 9th district back to a Democrat. There’s another big factor in the race that gives Hollingsworth an advantage: money.

“Incumbents get reelected at incredibly high rates in the United States.”

—Andrew Downs, Mike Downs Center For Indiana Politics

“He’s still sitting on over $130,000 as of the last filing with the FEC and can raise an awful lot more very quickly,” Downs says. “Incumbents get reelected at incredibly high rates in the United States. So, he clearly, if you’re thinking about placing a bet, is where you should place your bet.”

But Downs says that doesn’t mean Hollingsworth’s democratic challengers should be counted out, especially since the 9th district isn’t solidly republican or democrat.

“People will expect there to be some sort of rebound for democrats this year, simply because it’s not the presidential election year and there’s quite often a rebound,” Downs says. “But the way the districts have been drawn, it’s probably a little more republican friendly than some democrats want to admit.”

A spokesperson for Hollingsworth declined to comment for this story.

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