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Political Roundup: May 8, 2024

Updated: May 17

May 8, 2024



Primary Results


President: Biden and Trump Easily Win  

Since the presidential contest is effectively over, it was with little surprise that President Biden and former President Trump easily won their respective primaries. Turnout heavily favored Republicans, with the GOP participation total outpacing the Democrats by almost 400,000 voters. Of the 35 states holding primaries or definable caucus votes, Republicans have seen more voters cast ballots than Democrats in 26 domains. Of those voting in the Hoosier State, 76.6% of the individuals chose the Republican primary.


Senate:  Psychologist Valerie McCray to Oppose Jim Banks  

Psychologist Valerie McCray easily won the Democratic Senate primary, with a 67-33% victory over former state Rep. Marc Carmichael. McCray will now challenge US Rep. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City) who was unopposed for the open Republican nomination. Banks begins this race as the prohibitive favorite to hold the open Senate seat for the GOP.


Unopposed for the Democratic nomination was Jennifer McCormick, the former state superintendent of public instruction and an ex-Republican.


IN-3:  Ex-Rep. Marlin Stutzman to Return  

While 3rd District incumbent Jim Banks has an easy run for the Senate, the Republican primary to replace him in the House evolved into a highly competitive political battle. The winner is still not formally declared, but it appears that former Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R) will claim the nomination with just 24% of the vote. At this writing, 82% of the ballots have been counted and it is doubtful that the finishing order will change. Following Stutzman are businessman Tim Smith with 22.2% support, former circuit judge Wendy Davis at 19.3%, and state Sen. Andy Zay (R-Huntington), who posts a close 16.9% preference factor.


With the FiveThirtyEight data organization rating the 3rd District as R+34, there is little doubt that Stutzman will win the general election and return to the House, seven years after leaving Congress at the beginning of 2017. In 2016, Stutzman ran for the Senate but failed to overcome then-US Rep. Todd Young in the Republican primary, who would then go on to win the open seat in 2016 and re-election in 2022.


IN-5: Rep. Victoria Spartz Wins a Plurality Renomination

The Indiana House incumbent facing the most competitive challenge was Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-Noblesville), who originally announced her retirement only to change her mind before filing time. Despite attracting just 39% of the vote, she wins the plurality primary, which should be enough political insurance to easily carry the general election in this central Indiana district at the beginning of November.


Spartz's closest finisher is state Rep. Chuck Goodrich (R-Noblesville), whose 33% support figure was unsurprisingly not strong enough to topple the incumbent. None of the other seven GOP candidates even reached the 10% mark. The new Democratic nominee is educator Deborah Pickett, who won her party's nomination with 59% of the vote. With a FiveThirtyEight data organization rating of R+22, Spartz will have little trouble winning a third term later this year.


IN-6:  Ex-City Councilman Jefferson Shreve Takes GOP Primary  

Three-term Rep. Greg Pence (R-Columbus) is retiring, and the Republican nomination battle in this district became fierce. The winner is former Indianapolis City Councilman Jefferson Shreve, who was both the campaign's biggest fundraiser, and the subject of the most negative attacks.


Mr. Shreve self-financed $4.5 million of his campaign effort, which was enough to secure a 29-22-21% victory over state Rep. Mike Speedy (R-Indianapolis) and businessman Jamison Carrier. IN-6 is the safest Republican seat in the state, so Shreve will have little trouble holding the district in the GOP column come the November election.


IN-8:  Hostettler Comeback Thwarted

Seven-term Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-Evansville) is the third member of the Hoosier State US House delegation not to seek re-election. Like in the 3rd District, a former congressman, John Hostettler, who represented the seat from 1995-2007, was attempting a political comeback. The result did not turn out as well for Hostettler as it did for Stutzman.


The winner of the 8th District Republican primary is state Senator Mark Messmer (R-Jasper), who appeared to be the leading candidate from the outset. He topped Hostettler with a 39-19% victory margin. None of the other six candidates reached the 16% mark. Messmer now becomes the prohibitive favorite to succeed Bucshon in the November election.


House


WA-4:  Rep. Newhouse Announces Re-Election Bid  

Dispelling retirement speculation, Washington US Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Sunnyside), one of two remaining Republican House members to vote for the Trump impeachment, announced that he will seek re-election. Retirement conjecture grew when 2022 US Senate candidate Tiffany Smiley (R) jumped into the race earlier this week.


Additionally, before Smiley announced her candidacy, former President Trump endorsed race car driver Jerrod Sessler (R) who, at the time, was Newhouse's only declared opponent. Washington employs the top-two jungle primary system, so it is possible that both Newhouse and Smiley could advance to the general election. This will become a hot August 6 Republican primary.


Governor


Indiana:  Sen. Mike Braun Wins GOP Gubernatorial Primary  

As expected, Indiana US Sen. Mike Braun won the state's open Republican gubernatorial primary and now will be the clear favorite to replace term-limited Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) in November.


Braun defeated Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, and businessmen Brad Chambers and Eric Doden, by a 39-22-18-12% count. Though his primary win was unimpressive for a sitting statewide incumbent, clinching the party nomination makes Braun the prohibitive favorite to succeed Holcomb in November.


Jim Ellis is a 35-year veteran of politics at the state and national levels. He has served ss executive director for two national political action committees, as well as a consultant to the three national Republican Party organizations in DC, the National Federation of Independent Business, and various national conservative groups.


Born and raised in Sacramento, California, he earned a B. A. in Political Science from the University of California at Davis in 1979. Jim raised his daughter, Jacqueline, alone after his wife died following a tragic car accident. He helped establish the Joan Ellis Victims Assistance Network in Rochester, NH. Jim also is a member of the Northern Virginia Football Officials Association, which officiates high school games throughout the region.


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