NEWSLETTER: The Hoosier State is in an unfamiliar place – the national political spotlight

June 16, 2023

Kory Wood: The Hoosier State is in an unfamiliar place – the national political spotlight

Basketball and Larry Bird. The Indy 500, the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. The infamous pork tenderloin. When it comes to the Hoosier State, this is what most people outside of Indiana think about. But today, Indiana is in the national political spotlight, one we aren’t all that familiar with.

Every four years, municipal elections occur in cities across our state, and Republicans are poised to have a big year. In Indianapolis, incumbent Mayor Joe Hogsett is in a fight unlike anything he has ever seen. With crime rising, GOP nominee Jefferson Shreve is closing the gap and reportedly willing to spend over $10 million to give Republicans the best shot of winning in Indiana’s capital city in nearly a decade.

In Carmel, national Democrats, including Biden’s former Chief of Staff Ron Klain, are propping up (insert your best Weekend at Bernie’s visual) the only elected Democrat City Councilor Miles Nelson to take on Ascent client and City Councilor Sue Finkam. Finkam won in an upset in May in a three-way primary and is poised to win big in Carmel, despite the rhetoric from the left and DC Democrats.

Other major municipal races that Ascent is involved in include Fort Wayne, where Republican Tom Didier is mounting a strong challenge to the three-term Democrat incumbent Mayor Tom Henry. In Marion, Ronald Morrell Jr. is working hard to unseat the Democrat incumbent Jess Alumbaugh to become Indiana’s first Black Republican mayor.

In 2024, Indiana will have crowded primaries for Governor, two open congressional seats (IN-05 and IN-03), and to a lesser extent, a US Senate seat where Congressman Jim Banks has all but locked up the Republican nomination.

For Governor, it’s a three-way race, for now. US Senator Mike Braun is the best known of the candidates, but as of late, LT Governor Suzanne Crouch has been making the most noise as she’s been traveling the state and picking up significant endorsements like Reps. Larry Bucshon and Greg Pence. Eric Doden, a self-funder and former Indiana Economic Development Corporation President, is also in the race. A wild card that hasn’t announced yet is Brad Chambers, a self-funder and the current Indiana Secretary of Commerce. This will definitely be a race to watch.

In Indiana’s open congressional seats, IN-03 is the most competitive, with six announced candidates and many more still considering. State Senator Andy Zay, former US Representative Marlin Stutzman, and former Allen County Circuit Court Judge Wendy Davis have the best shot at the nomination. In IN-05, State Representative Chuck Goodrich announced his campaign by dropping a $1 million gift into his campaign account, all but freezing the field. Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings has also announced, and many others are still considering.

To add to the national spotlight, former VP and Governor Mike Pence entered the race for President last week.

As a red state that is known for Larry Bird, farms, corn fields, and the Indy 500, Indiana is rarely at the forefront of people’s minds when it comes to politics, but this cycle, we are in the national spotlight. Ascent Strategic is looking forward to playing a major role in ensuring Republicans across the Hoosier State see success at the ballot box in 2023 and 2024!

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