(NOBLESVILLE, Ind.) — Noblesville State Senator Victoria Spartz and former lieutenant governor nominee Christina Hale will face off in November in what’s sure to be Indiana’s most closely watched congressional race.
Spartz and Hale both racked up about 40% of the vote in crowded primaries for the seat of retiring Fifth District Republican Susan Brooks. Spartz outdistanced Atlanta business owner Beth Henderson in a 15-way Republican primary, while Hale defeated 2018 nominee Dee Thornton and three other candidates. Both Spartz and Hale won every county reporting results on election night.
Complete results won’t be available until Thursday or Friday, thanks to the unprecedented flood of mail-in ballots after the coronavirus pandemic prompted Governor Eric Holcomb and the Indiana Election Commission to loosen absentee ballot rules.
Despite thousands of ballots still to be counted, most of Indiana’s congressional races still showed clear winners. Four incumbents easily disposed of token primary challengers, with Republicans Jackie Walorski, Jim Banks and Greg Pence hovering around 80% of the vote, and Democrat Andre Carson clearing 90%.
Township trustee Frank J. Mrvan claimed victory over Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott Jr. in a tight race for the seat of retiring Democratic Representative Pete Visclosky, by far the longest-serving member of Indiana’s delegation. Mrvan, carrying Visclosky’s endorsement, led by about 3,000 votes on election night, with an estimated 17,000 mail-in ballots still to be counted. Mark Leyva, a seven-time nominee against Visclosky, won a five-way Republican primary for the seat.
Two other congressional races remained uncalled. In southwest Indiana, where Republican Congressman Larry Bucshon was unopposed, three Democrats were each drawing about a third of the vote, with small-business owner Thomasina Marsili holding a 1,700-vote lead on former township board member Mike Webster, and 2016 nominee Ron Drake close behind.
In northeast Indiana, science teacher Chip Coldiron led business owner Carlos Marcano by fewer than 200 votes for the Democratic nomination against Banks.
Indianapolis attorney Susan Marie Smith captured nearly half the vote to win the Republican nomination against Carson. Former Bloomington city councilman Andy Ruff won the nomination to face Republican Congressman Trey Hollingsworth, while Joe Mackey won the Democratic nomination against Congressman Jim Baird after losing in the primary two years ago. Hollingsworth and Baird were both unopposed.
Pence faces a rematch with 2018 opponent Jeannine Lake, while Walorski will face Pat Hackett, the runner-up for the Democratic nomination two years ago.