Indiana News

Former Federal Prosecutor Enters Primary Battle Against Burton

Three-way brawl could become four as ex-Rep. McIntosh weighs run

7/19/2011

Former federal prosecutor Susan Brooks is jumping into the Fifth District congressional primary against Republican incumbent Dan Burton.

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Burton narrowly won renomination last year, with 70-percent of Republicans splitting their votes among six challengers. Brooks says the vote shows the district is ready for new leadership, and says her work as an Ivy Tech vice president the last four years gives her the experience to bring jobs to the district by focusing on improving education and training.

"We have to make sure not only in our K-12 system but in our higher education system that we really are producing the workers that the businesses and the communities need," Brooks says.

Brooks was a deputy mayor to Indianapolis Mayor Steve Goldsmith before President George W. Bush named her U-S Attorney for the southern two-thirds of Indiana.

Former Marion County Coroner John McGoff is already pursuing his third straight challenge to Burton. He finished third last year behind Burton and former Shelbyville State Representative Luke Messer.

Messer is running this time for the Sixth District vacancy created by Republican Mike Pence's bid for governor.

Brooks says she's not concerned about splitting the anti-Burton vote again. She notes the redrawn district lops off three north-central counties -- Huntington, Miami and Wabash -- that gave Burton his winning margin.

Burton, Brooks and McGoff all live in the northern Marion County/southern Hamilton County area that contributes the largest chunk of voters to the district. McGoff carried Marion County in both his previous runs. He won Hamilton County in 2008, with Messer and Burton outpolling him in 2010.

The new map also trims away three counties Messer won last year: Hancock, Johnson and Shelby. It reconfigures which parts of Howard County are part of the district, and adds Madison County and chunks of Blackford and Boone Counties.

The addition of Madison County's nine-thousand Republican votes creates a handicapping wild card. Former Congressman David McIntosh, who represented the county before leaving the House in 2000, has said he's considering making it a four-way primary.

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