Ballotpedia's 2012 General Election Preview Articles: Indiana Congressional Seats

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October 31, 2012

By Ballotpedia's Congressional team

Indiana's Congressional Elections in 2012
U.S. Senate Election? U.S. House seats Possible competitive races?
Yes 9 3 (Senate, 2nd, 8th)

INDIANAPOLIS: Indiana: Indiana has nine U.S. House seats and one U.S. Senate seat on the ballot in 2012. Six U.S. House incumbents are running for re-election and face at least one challenger in the general election. The U.S. Senate seat is open after challenger Richard Mourdock defeated incumbent Richard Mourdock in the Republican primary -- the first time a sitting Senate Republican incumbent lost a primary in 100 years. Five candidates are vying for the seat on the general election ballot.

Currently, the Republican Party holds six of the nine Congressional seats, and both U.S. Senate seats -- one of which is up for election on November 6th.

In Indiana polls will be open from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM Eastern Time.[1]

See also: State Poll Opening and Closing Times (2012)

U.S. Senate

In a competitive race for Senate, five candidates are running to replace Lugar, a moderate Republican defeated by the more conservative Richard Mourdock in the May 8th Republican primary. According to a Smart Politics review of U.S. Senate election data, incumbent Richard Lugar's loss in the primary made him "just the second six-term U.S. Senator - and the first Republican - to fail in his renomination bid in the direct election era of the past 100 years."[2]

The two candidates, current congressman Joe Donnelly(D), and current Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock(R) are running a close race, despite the fact that Indiana is seen as a Republican-leaning state. After the conservative Mourdock replaced the more moderate Lugar as the Republican candidate, Democratic candidate Joe Donnelly was given a greater likelihood of winning election. The seat has moved from Likely Republican to toss-up in most race ratings. Lugar drew support from members of both parties, but Mourdock's tea-party background divides Indiana voters along party lines.[3]

On October 23, 2012, in a debate against opponent Joe Donnelly, Richard Mourdock, asked about his stance on abortion in the case of rape or incest, said "I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize that life is that gift from God. And, I think, even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen."[4] This remark caused New Hampshire Republican senator Kelly Ayotte to withdraw her support of Mourdock and cancel her plans to campaign for him in the final weeks before the election. The issue has drawn national attention in the weeks leading up to the election.[5]

It is as yet unclear how much this comment has damaged Mourdock's campaign and his bid for the senate.[6]

State General Election Candidates Incumbent 2012 Winner Partisan Switch?
Indiana Class 1 Senate seat :Democratic Party Joe Donnelly
Republican Party Richard Mourdock
Libertarian Party Andy Horning
Independent James Johnson Jr.
Independent Amy Willis
Richard Lugar Pending Pending

U.S. House

In the 2nd District, incumbent Joe Donnelly (D) is running for Senate. The new district presents a prime opportunity for Donnelly's 2010 competitor, former state representative Jackie Walorski, whose base south of South Bend is now the 2nd's population center.[7] The Howey Political Report rates Walorski likely to win this district, after she lost by only a percentage point in 2010. Walorski's strongest opponent is Brendan Mullen (D) in the general election. Donnelly's bid for Senate was prompted by the redistricting and the knowledge that he was unlikely to win in 2012.[8] The Cook Political Report rates this race as "likely Republican."[9]

In the 8th District, incumbent Larry Bucshon (R) is challenged by former state legislator Dave Crooks (D). It appears as though it will be an uphill battle for the challenger.[10] In redistricting, The Hill published a list of the Top Ten House Members who were helped by redistricting.[11] Todd C. Young (R), representative from Indiana's 9th Congressional District ranked 10th on the list.[11] The article notes that in the redistricting process, controlled by Republicans, Young benefited from taking pockets of Republicans from Larry Bucshon’s district next door in the 8th District and adding them into Young's 9th District, resulting in a vulnerable District 8.[11] Analysts view the race as leaning toward Larry Bucshon, despite the weakened Republican support in the new district.[12]

The Center for Voting and Democracy (Fairvote) projects that Democrats will win two districts while Republicans will win three seats, with the remaining four being considered toss-ups.[13]

Here is a complete list of U.S. House candidates appearing on the general election ballot in Indiana:

Members of the U.S. House from Indiana -- Partisan Breakdown
Party As of November 2012 After the 2012 Election
     Democratic Party 3 2
     Republican Party 6 7
Total 9 9
 Congressional Redistricting Map, approved May 2011 

For more information, view Redistricting in Indiana.

See also