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Local politics

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The Journal Gazette

Primaries await districts with new boundaries

Congressional seats in 5th, 6th are up for grabs

Northeast Indiana fits into a single congressional district for the first time since the 2000 election.

In the wake of redistricting, the revised 3rd District closely resembles what had been the 4th District in the 1990s.

Southern Allen County and Adams, Wells and Huntington counties have rejoined the 3rd District for the next 10 years, beginning with the May 8 primary elections.

But because residents of those areas likely have at least a passing interest in the primaries in their old districts – and remain constituents until the end of the 112th Congress late this year – we offer a preview on those primary-election campaigns.

6th District

What’s new: Southern Allen, Wells and Adams are among counties leaving. Several southeastern counties along or near the Ohio River are arriving. What had been the heart of the district – east-central Indiana – is now its northernmost region.

Major cities: Muncie, Richmond, Greenfield, Columbus, Jeffersonville

Incumbent: None. Rep. Mike Pence will not seek an 11th two-year term; instead, he is the Republican candidate for governor. This former swing district has elected Republicans to Congress since 1994.

Favored Republican candidates: Former state lawmaker Luke Messer of Shelbyville finished a close second to Rep. Dan Burton in the 2010 GOP primary race in the 5th District. Financial adviser Donald Bates Jr. of Winchester is a tea party favorite, but he received only 4 percent of the vote in the 2010 primary for an open seat in the U.S. Senate.

Dark horse: Travis Hankins, a real estate investor from Columbus. Two years ago, Hankins finished a close second in the three-way GOP primary contest in the 9th District won by Todd Young, who defeated Democratic incumbent Baron Hill in that year’s general election.

Warhorse: Bill Frazier of Muncie has sought the seat in every decade since the 1970s. He won the GOP nomination four times, most recently in 1992.

Back in the pack: John Hatter of Columbus; Joe Sizemore of Metamora; Allen K. Smith II of Columbus; Joseph S. Van Wye Sr. of Madison

Favored Democratic candidates: Bradley Bookout, an economic development consultant and former Delaware County Council member from Yorktown, appears strong in the north. Figuring to do well in the south is Jim Crone, a Hanover College sociology professor, chairman of the Jefferson County Democratic Party and former Jefferson County Council member.

Back in the pack: Dan Bolling of Centerville; Susan Hall Heitzman of North Vernon; George T. Holland of Rushville

5th District

What’s new: Huntington County is among counties in both the northern and southern parts of the district that are leaving. Madison County joins Grant, Hamilton, Tipton and northern Marion counties as the core of a much more compact yet still heavily Republican district.

Major cities: Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Anderson, Marion

Incumbent: None. GOP Rep. Dan Burton, first elected in 1982, is not seeking re-election.

Favored Republican candidates: Marion Mayor Wayne Seybold, a pairs skater with his sister in the 1988 Winter Olympics; David McIntosh of Anderson, the 6th District congressman from 1995 to 2000 as a Muncie resident and the GOP gubernatorial candidate in 2000; Susan Brooks of Carmel, a former federal attorney and ex-counsel for Ivy Tech Community College

Dark horse: John McGoff, a former Marion County coroner from Indianapolis. McGoff gave Burton a decent challenge in the 2008 primary but was a distant third in the 2010 primary.

Back in the pack: Jason Anderson of Noblesville; John (Jack) Lugar of Fishers; Matthew Mount of Indianapolis; William Salin of Indianapolis

Local interest: Brooks is a native of Fort Wayne, and McIntosh grew up in Kendallville.

Democratic candidates: Tony Long of Kokomo, a former United Auto Workers contract negotiator, faces Rep. Scott Reske, D-Pendleton, an Iraq war veteran and construction company owner. The 5th District Democratic Party Committee has endorsed Reske.

bfrancisco@jg.net

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