2012 elections preview: Indiana voters to select winners in congressional, legislative primaries
The fast-moving primary season of May and June begins tomorrow with elections in Indiana, North Carolina, and West Virginia. Both Indiana and West Virginia have a U.S. Senate seat up for election in 2012. All three states will elect representatives to the U.S. House. On the state level, both state Senate and state House seats are on the ballot in all three states.
|Contested Primaries in Indiana -- May 8, 2012|
| U.S. House
| State Legislature |
|Total Democratic Contested Primaries||8 (88.9%)||16 (12.8%)|
|Total Republican Contested Primaries||6 (66.7%)||35 (28%)|
In North Carolina, voters will also select party nominees for president and state governor, as well as take up a proposed amendment to the state constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman. Turnout is expected to be high.
Ballotpedia will be previewing the elections in all three states. Here's what to watch in Indiana tomorrow, where polls will be open from 6am-6pm EST.
Indiana has a total of 9 seats on the ballot in 2012. A total of 61 candidates have filed to run, made up of 28 Democratic challengers, 27 Republican challengers, and 6 incumbents. Including the three states with primaries tomorrow, a total of 96 U.S. House seats have held primaries. Thus far, 57.29% of possible primaries have been contested. Thus, Indiana's contested figure of 77.78% is above the national average.
In the 9 congressional districts, there are 8 Democratic races contested, with two or more candidates running, and 6 Republican contested races. The only Democratic race with a single candidate running unopposed is the 1st District where incumbent Peter Visclosky is running for re-election uncontested in the primary.
On the Republican side there are 3 unopposed races in the primary. Incumbents Marlin Stutzman from the 3rd District, Todd Rokita from the 4th District and Todd Young from the 9th District are all running unopposed in their primary election bids for re-election.
Open seats in the 5th and 6th Districts have triggered primary battles on both the Democratic and Republican tickets. In the 5th District the announcement by Republican incumbent Dan Burton that he would not seek re-election in 2012 has led to a political frenzy among Republicans seeking the open seat and the lack of incumbent challenge it brings with it. In 2010, Burton narrowly won the Republican primary. This year, he was targeted by the Campaign for Primary Accountability in what was likely to be another close race. Burton withdrew, which has even further increased the number of candidates fighting for the seat. Eight candidates filed to run on the Republican ticket: Susan Brooks, Jack Lugar, John McGoff, David McIntosh, Jason Anderson, Bill Salin, Matthew Mount, and Wayne Seybold. On the Democratic ticket candidates Scott Reske and Tony Long are facing off for the opportunity to face the winner from the Republican primary in the general election in November.
In April 2012, Republican candidate David McIntosh faced his own residency challenges when lawyer Jon Sturgill asked the Indiana Secretary of State and other election officials to consider voter fraud and perjury allegations against McIntosh for using his previous address in Muncie, Indiana to vote until 2008 when he sold the property, even though he allegedly was living in Virginia at the time, and had received a Virginia driver's license. On April 19, 2012 the Indiana Secretary of State's office announced it would investigate claims made against McIntosh's residency and voting records.
In the 6th District the open seat created by Mike Pence's announcement that he would run for Governor of Indiana in 2012 led to a number of candidates on both sides filing for the opportunity to fill the open seat. On the Democratic ticket 5 candidates filed for the primary, including Dan Bolling, Brad Bookout, Susan Hall Heitzman, Jim Crone, and George Holland. On the Republican ticket, almost a dozen candidates initially expressed an intent to run in 2012, but only 6 will run in the primary tomorrow. Candidates Don Bates, Jr., Bill Frazier, Travis Hankins, Luke Messer, Joseph Van Wye, and Joe Sizemore will be running in the Republican primary.
|Members of the U.S. House from Indiana -- Partisan Breakdown|
|Party||As of November 2012||After the 2012 Election|
In the Senate elections, Republican incumbent Richard Lugar faces significant competition from challenger and current Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock in the Republican primary. Representative from Indiana's 2nd Congressional District Joe Donnelly is running unopposed on the Democratic ticket.
Lugar faced his own political battles apart from the campaign, with residency challenges coming up in March when two voters filed challenges against Lugar with the Indiana Elections Commission. According to hearings with the commission, Lugar sold his residence in 1977, but cites letters from the Indiana Attorney General stating that he could continue voting in Indiana without an actual residence in the state. According to constitutional law, a Senator must be an "inhabitant" of their state. The Indiana Secretary of State ruled the residency issue would not prove sufficient to remove Lugar from the ballot.
Lugar's challenger Indiana Treasurer Mourdock also came under scrutiny in April 2012 after allegations that his state campaign used funds to aid his federal U.S. Senate campaign, a violation of federal election law.
Both candidates have received a number of key endorsements from key political figures and PACs, which could indicate a close race at the polls tomorrow. Recent polls have indicated Mourdock is in the lead and could even be heading for an easy victory.
There are 16 (12.80%) contested Democratic primaries and 35 (28.00%) contested Republican primaries. Thus, there will be 51 races tomorrow with at least two candidates on the ballot. The 20.40% figure of contested primaries in Indiana is lower than the current national contested average of 23.42% for states that have had filing deadlines.
In four primaries, young challengers are looking to unseat incumbents with a combined 112 years in the state legislature.
- Ricardo Garcia is challenging Democratic incumbent Earl Harris, who has served the state house since 1982.
- Tony Walker is challenging Democratic incumbent Charlie Brown, who has served the state house since 1982.
- Sherman Carson is challenging Democratic incumbent Vernon Smith, who has served the state house since 1990.
- David Vinzant is challenging Democratic incumbent Earline Rogers, who has served the state senate since 1990.
Republicans have large majorities in both chambers of the Indiana State Legislature.
|Indiana State Senate|
|Party||As of November 5, 2012||After the 2012 Election|
|Indiana House of Representatives|
|Party||As of November 5, 2012||After the 2012 Election|
- United States House of Representatives elections in Indiana, 2012
- United States Senate elections in Indiana, 2012
- Indiana State Senate elections, 2012
- Indiana House of Representatives elections, 2012
- The Pilot, "Larger Turnout Expected for Primary Election Tuesday," May 5, 2012
- Charleston Gazette, "Early voting suggests low turnout for primary," May 3, 2012
- Greencastle Banner-Graphic, "Moderate voter turnout expected for primary," May 7, 2012
- IndyStar, "David McIntosh residency challenges, Indiana Officials will investigate claims" accessed April 25, 2012
- Lugar Press Release, "Voters Challenge State Election Commission Ruling in Court" accessed March 8, 2012
- Lugar for Senate 2012 "Mourdock Likely Violated Federal Election Law" accessed April 24, 2012
- Newsmax, "Poll:Mourdock Headed for Comfortable Win Over Lugar," May 4, 2012
- NW Times, "Challengers eager to topple four veteran Lake Co. lawmakers," May 4, 2012