Indiana News

Redistricting Reshuffles Congressional Races to Watch

9th District seen as solid GOP, but at expense of 8th District's Bucshon

10/15/2012

 

The most closely watched U.S. House races in Indiana next month will be the same ones that have drawn attention for 18 years. But redrawn maps have tilted the advantage toward Republicans.

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One reason Joe Donnelly ran for Senate instead of reelection to the House is a remap of the district where he edged Republican Jackie Walorski two years ago by one percentage point. Democratic Kokomo and Michigan City have been sliced away from the district, replaced by heavily Republican Elkhart, Kosciusko, Miami and Wabash Counties.

Howey Political Report publisher Brian Howey rates Walorski likely to capture that seat on her second try.

Redistricting changed freshman Republican Todd Young's Ninth District from southeast Indiana to south central, adding Republican strongholds of Johnson and Morgan Counties to what had been a swing district. Howey says it may yet become one in future elections -- he calculates it as 53% Republican -- but says challenger Shelli Yoder's fundraising doesn't appear strong enough to unseat Young this year.

Howey and four national analysts -- the Washington Post, the University of Virginia, the Rothenberg Political Report and Real Clear Politics -- all classify the district as safely Republican. Virginia and the Post are more optimistic than Howey about Democrat Brendan Mullen's chances against Walorski, listing the race as merely leaning Walorski's way.

But Howey says shoring up Young has made Eighth District Congressman Larry Bucshon's district slightly tougher for him. Bucshon loses Republican Putnam County while picking up Democratic Perry County. Howey, along with Virginia and Real Clear Politics, see the race leaning Bucshon's way against Democrat Dave Crooks -- Howey says the freshman Republican can ride a wave of discontent in the district with President Obama. Rothenberg and the Post rate the district as likely Republican.

No district other than those three has switched parties since 1994, when a Republican wave ousted Democratic Congresswoman Jill Long and gave the GOP the seat of retiring Democrat Phil Sharp. In those 18 years, the seats now held by Donnelly, Bucshon and Young have flipped parties eight times.

All five analysts see the other six districts as safe again this year, with Democrats holding the First and Seventh, and Republicans maintaining control of the Third, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth.

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