The Indiana Democrats are close to having a consensus gubernatorial candidate. Yesterday, businessman Josh Owens ended his statewide campaign leaving venture capitalist and former state Health Commissioner Woody Myers as the lone Democratic candidate gearing up to face first-term GOP Governor Eric Holcomb (R) as he seeks re-election. The candidate filing deadline is today, so it is possible that we already have our November gubernatorial pairing in this state.
State Sen. Eddie Melton (D-Gary), citing fundraising difficulties, said yesterday that he will not file as a gubernatorial candidate when filing closes on February 7th for the May 5th state primary. Back in early October, Sen. Melton announced his statewide candidacy.
Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) is seeking re-election to a second term. At this point, the Governor appears to be a heavy favorite to win the 2020 election and earn another four years in office.
Looking to follow in his father and grandfather’s footsteps, both also named Andrew Jacobs, former Marion County prosecutor Andy Jacobs Jr. (D) announced that he will run in the open 5th Congressional District from which Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Carmel) is retiring. Mr. Jacobs father held the Indianapolis seat for 30 years, winning for the first time in 1964 but was defeated in 1972. He regained the district two years later, and then held it until his retirement in 1996. Andrew Jacobs, Sr. served one term in the House, from 1949-’51.
Republicans are favored to keep the open seat in their column, but the district could become competitive with a strong candidate, which the Democrats may have found. First, however, Mr. Jacobs will have to get past former state Representative and Lt. Governor nominee Christina Hale, who already has much Democratic establishment backing, in order to win the party nomination.
Indiana Democratic Rep. Peter Visclosky (D-Merrillville/Gary) announced via Twitter yesterday that he will retire from the House at the end of this term. He was first elected in 1984 and will conclude 18 terms and 36 years of service when he closes his career at the beginning of 2021. He chose yesterday, the 35th anniversary of his election to Congress, as the day to make public his decision to complete his congressional career.
The 1st District, occupying the northwest corner of Indiana within commuting distance of Chicago, is safely Democratic (Clinton ’16: 54.1%; Obama ’12: 61.2%). Mr. Visclosky’s successor will come through the Democratic primary, and Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott (D) has already announced that he would enter the open seat primary. Within the last two weeks, Mr. McDermott indicated he was considering even launching a primary challenge to the Congressman.
IN-1 is now the 31st district that will be open for the coming election, four of which will hold a special vote to fill a respective vacancy. Mr. Visclosky is the tenth Democrat to not seek re-election compared to 21 Republicans.
Veteran Indiana Rep. Peter Visclosky (D-Gary), who was first elected in 1984 and is now chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, may draw his first serious challenge in more than a decade. Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott (D) is reportedly making moves to launch a challenge against Mr. Visclosky for the May 5th Democratic primary. This is a developing story. More than 30 Democratic members nationally appear to be facing credible nomination opponents.
The Democrats have a new official 2020 gubernatorial candidate. Yesterday, state Sen. Eric Melton (D-Gary) formally announced his candidacy at a campaign event. Introducing the Senator to his supporters was State Education Superintendent Jennifer McCormick, a Republican who has been at odds with her own party leadership. Many believe that Sen. Melton will attempt to form a unity ticket with Ms. McCormick since Indiana is a ticket state, and Sen. Melton did not rule out such a possibility.
The Gary area state legislator joins former state Health Commissioner Woody Myers and online retail company owner Josh Owens in the Democratic field. The winner of next May’s partisan primary will undoubtedly face first term Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) who is seeking a second term.
Former state Rep. Steve Braun, the brother of freshman US Senator Mike Braun (R-IN), lost a 2018 congressional primary in the open 4th District to now-Congressman Jim Baird (R-Greencastle). On Friday, Steve Braun announced he is returning to campaign in another district as he declared his candidacy for the open 5th District, from which Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Carmel) is retiring. Mr. Braun becomes the first name candidate to enter the CD-5 Republican primary. Democrats will likely coalesce behind former state Representative and Lt. Governor nominee Christina Hale.
The 5th District covers all or parts of eight counties north and east of Indianapolis, including a large number of the capital city’s northern suburbs. The region is reliably Republican, not electing a Democrat to the US House since the 1980 election. President Trump carried this district, 53-41%, slightly under Mitt Romney’s 2012 margin of 57-41%.
As has been surmised for the past few weeks, Indiana Republican state Treasurer Kelly Mitchell yesterday announced that she will enter the open 5th District congressional race. Ms. Mitchell is vying to replace retiring Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Carmel), and likely begins as the most credible Republican in the field. The 5th is a reliable Indianapolis/Marion County suburban GOP district that stretches to include an additional four counties north and east of the city and parts of three others.
Former Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard (R) said he will not enter the open 5th Congressional District race from which Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Carmel) is retiring. Many believed that Mr. Ballard would be the Republicans’ strongest candidate, but the party will still be favored to hold the seat with a different nominee.
First term Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) made official what virtually everyone in Indiana expected: he will run for a second term next year. The Governor looks to have clear sailing in the Republican primary. At this point, former state Health Commissioner Woody Myers and state Sen. Eric Melton (D-Gary) are announced candidates. Former 2012 and 2016 gubernatorial nominee John Gregg is again a potential candidate. At this point, Gov. Holcomb looks to be in strong position for re-election.
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