GOP House Supermajority the Key Prize in November Legislative Races
(INDIANAPOLIS) - Republicans will stretch their Indiana Senate majority to 42 years. But Democrats hope to crack the Republican supermajority in the House.
Six Republican senators are unopposed. That means even if Democrats won every contested race, they'd manage only a tie, with Republican Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch casting the tiebreaking vote. State Democratic Chairman John Zody concedes even the eight-seat gain to break the Senate supermajority is unlikely.
But Zody says Democrats can achieve the four-seat gain that would crack Republicans' walkout-proof majority in the House after six years. Democrats filled six ballot vacancies for House races by Tuesday's deadline, including Chris Campbell to challenge West Lafayette Representative Sally Siegrist. Republicans have held that seat for 10 years, even though the district voted for Barack Obama in 2012 and Hillary Clinton in 2016. It's the only Clinton House district held by a Republican.
Zody says Democrats also hope to flip Republican seats in northwest Indiana and Terre Haute. He boasts the party has candidates in 89 of the 100 districts, including more first-time candidates than ever, more millennials, and 39 women.
Republican Chairman Kyle Hupfer predicts the party will keep the supermajority, and could increase it. Among the Republican targets: the House and Senate minority leaders, Austin Representative Terry Goodin and Anderson Senator Tim Lanane. Donald Trump won both their districts -- Lanane is the only Democratic senator in a Trump-won district.
Republicans also have their eye on another Trump district in Jeffersonville, where Democrat Steve Stemler is retiring after six terms.
Libertarians are running candidates in eight House districts and three Senate districts. Other third parties must gather signatures to get on the ballot -- about 500 for a Senate race and about 300 for the House, though the precise number varies from district to district. Once that deadline passes on July 16, the November ballot is set, except for any possible challenges to candidates' eligibility.