SOUTH BEND – Former U.S. Attorney Susan Brooks was elected to Congress on Tuesday, breaking a half-century of Republican male dominance in the state’s congressional delegation.
Brooks won the 5th District seat being vacated by retiring GOP Rep. Dan Burton, becoming the first GOP congresswomen from Indiana since Cecil Harden, who served five terms before losing in 1958.
Brooks defeated Democratic state Rep. Scott Reske.
Former GOP state Rep. Jackie Walorski was hoping to join Brooks in Washington. With more than 90 percent of the vote in, Walorski held a slight advantage over Democrat Brendan Mullen.
Indiana has had four Democratic congresswomen, most recently Julia Carson, who held the office 11 years until her death in 2007. Her grandson, Democrat Andre Carson, won a third term over Republican Carlos May in the 7th District seat.
Two female Democrats lost Tuesday. Shelli Yoder lost to incumbent Republican Rep. Todd Young in southeast Indiana, and Tara Nelson lost to incumbent Todd Rokita in the district west of Indianapolis.
Elsewhere, former state Rep. Luke Messer won the eastern Indiana seat Mike Pence gave up to run for governor, keeping the seat Republican.
The wins by Brooks and Messer meant two of the three open seats went Republican and Walorski was leading in the other race.
Democrat Pete Visclosky won his 15th term in Congress to become the senior member of Indiana’s congressional delegation. Visclosky defeated Republican Joel Phelps in the northwest Indiana district Democrats have held for decades.
In one of the more closely watched races, Republican Rep. Larry Bucshon faces a strong challenge from former Democratic state Rep. Dave Crooks in the southwestern district known as the Bloody 8th.With more than 90 percent of the votes in, Bucshon held a slight advantage.