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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, March 16, 2016 7:15 am

Banks set for Congress run

By Brian Francisco Washington editor

State Sen. Jim Banks, R-Columbia City, is expected to announce his intention to run for Congress at noon Tuesday at Allen County Republican Headquarters in downtown Fort Wayne.

He will be joined by "an audience of his family, friends, and close supporters," according to a campaign statement released Monday previewing "a special announcement."

Banks, 35, a commercial real estate broker, will seek the northeast Indiana 3rd District seat held since 2011 by Republican Rep. Marlin Stutzman, who announced Saturday that he will campaign for an open seat in the U.S. Senate seat next year.

A game of political musical chairs began unfolding in late March when Republican U.S. Sen. Dan Coats surprised many people by announcing he will not seek a second consecutive six-year term in the 2016 primary and general elections. Two days later, former Indiana Republican Party chairman and ex-Coats aide Eric Holmcomb announced he will run for Coats' seat.

An officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve, Banks missed this year's session of the Indiana General Assembly to serve an eight-month deployment as a supply corps officer in Afghanistan. A Republican caucus selected his wife, Amanda Banks, to represent Senate District 17 in his absence. Jim Banks returned from his deployment in late April, just as the legislature was finishing its session.

Banks was first elected to the Indiana Senate in 2010 and was re-elected last year. His legislative district consists of most of Whitley County, all of Wabash County and parts of Huntington and Grant counties.

The 3rd Congressional District consists of Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, Jay, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wells and Whitley counties and parts of Kosciusko and Blackford counties. The district has elected Republican candidates since 1976, except during a nearly six-year stretch from 1989 through 1994 when Democrat Jill Long repesented the region.