Fifth District Congressional Battle Matches Resumes Along With Issues
Seven Republicans seek nod to replace retiring Burton
(image courtesy of IN.gov)
Seven Republicans are seeking the nomination to replace retiring Fifth District Congressman Dan Burton, and the frontrunners all say their experience is the right match for what the job demands.
Former Marion County Coroner John McGoff argues voters will have to judge the candidates on their backgrounds, because their stances on issues are virtually interchangeable. He's touting his own trifecta of local government experience, National Guard service, and health care expertise.
Indeed, all the leading candidates agree they want President Obama's health care law repealed -- former congressman David McIntosh and former U-S Attorney Susan Brooks list it among their highest priorities -- and all demand spending cuts, not tax increases, to wrench the budget into balance. But the candidates have staked out subtle differences in their platforms.
McIntosh argues he's the only "across-the-board" conservative in the race, pointing to his opposition to the G-M and Chrysler bailouts and his signing of a pledge to oppose any net increase in taxes. He says he'd be willing to look at broad tax reform which lowered rates while eliminating tax breaks.
Marion Mayor Wayne Seybold has also signed the tax pledge. McGoff and Brooks are both calling for cuts in corporate income taxes, but say they won't sign pledges as a matter of principle -- Brooks blasts the growing number of such pledges as one of the causes of congressional dysfunction
Brooks says she's shown the ability to bring together people with differing viewpoints as a U-S Attorney, and as a deputy mayor of Indianapolis. And she says her more recent work as an Ivy Tech vice president has put her in tune with what it takes to put people to work.
Seybold is running on his record as mayor, boasting he's created jobs and demonstrated the spending discipline he says Washington has lacked. He says Congress needs more members with an understanding of how their actions affect local government.
The resume comparison includes negatives as well as positives. Brooks and McGoff have blasted McIntosh as a "Washington insider" and "recycled lobbyist." McIntosh argues his six years in Congress give him the experience to get things done while giving voters a prior record by which to judge him.
The candidates' paths to the campaign have shaped their positions as well. McGoff challenged Burton in the last two Republican primaries -- he says he launched his first campaign out of concern with congressional Republicans, and says President Obama has moved the nation's finances from troubling to "dire."
McIntosh and Brooks were preparing for a battle with Burton as well when the 30-year incumbent unexpectedly announced his retirement a week before the filing deadline. He's endorsed Seybold, who joined the race after Burton dropped out.
Also running are realtor Jack Lugar, computer engineer Bill Salin and customer development specialist Jason Anderson. An eighth candidate, IMPD officer Matthew Mount, will appear on the ballot but has withdrawn from the race. Pendleton State Representative Scott Reske and former U-A-W official Tony Long are seeking the Democratic nomination.
The heavily Republican district stretches from Indy's northside to Seybold's home base in Grant County.