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Wednesday, January 03, 2018 1:00 am

Horning joins GOP Senate candidates

Sought statewide office previously as Libertarian

BRIAN FRANCISCO | The Journal Gazette

The Republican field for a U.S. Senate seat representing Indiana has expanded.

Andrew Horning, who has run for Congress in recent years as a Libertarian candidate, recently became at least the sixth announced candidate for the GOP nomination to face Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly in the November general election.

Horning received nearly 6 percent of the vote in the 2012 Senate race won by Donnelly, then a member of the U.S. House. Horning finished a distant third to Donnelly and Republican Richard Mourdock, then the state treasurer.

Horning, 59, who lives on a farm in the Owen County town of Freedom, sought a House seat in southwest Indiana's 8th Congressional District in the 2014 and 2016 elections. He finished third both times, attracting 4.6 percent of the vote in 2016 and 3.8 percent in 2014 in contests won by Republican Rep. Larry Bucshon.

Asked why he is running this year as a Republican rather than a Libertarian, Horning referred The Journal Gazette to his campaign website. Among reasons he lists there are his contention that few voters will consider supporting a candidate who is neither a Republican nor a Democrat.

“There've always been many, many more people asking me to run as a Republican than ever asked me to run as a Libertarian,” Horning says on his website. “There are more disaffected, disgruntled Republicans looking for change than there are people in all the 'third parties' put together.”

Over the years, Horning also has run for governor, Indianapolis mayor and the Indiana House. He works for a company that manufactures medical diagnostic imaging products.

Other announced Senate candidates for the May 8 Republican primary election are U.S. Reps. Luke Messer of Greensburg and Todd Rokita of Brownsburg, former state lawmaker Mike Braun of Jasper, Kokomo attorney Mark Hurt and New Albany college administrator Andrew Takami.

Donnelly and Martin Del Rio, a political novice from Highland in Lake County, are the announced candidates for the Democratic primary election.

To qualify for the primary election ballots, a Senate candidate must collect at least 500 certified signatures of registered voters from each of Indiana's nine congressional districts.

Horning said Tuesday in an email that he has not raised enough money to necessitate filing campaign organization documents with the Federal Election Commission. He reported spending only $2,900 on his 2012 Senate campaign.

The Journal Gazette asked Horning how he hopes to compete for the Republican nomination against Messer, Rokita and Braun, whose campaigns are raising millions of dollars.

“It's really my hope that people will stop voting for the corruption you allude to. It's really dumb, you know, to make campaigns about money rather than governing choices,” Horning said in an email.

According to his website, Horning would replace the Federal Reserve with a private central bank; prevent the use of the U.S. military for “nation building,” “nannying or bullying” or “global policing”; repeal the Affordable Care Act and remove government from health care; eliminate farm subsidies, “corporate welfare” and federal block grants; impose term limits “on everybody – including Supreme Court Justices”; and set a 10-year expiration date for all agencies, laws, powers and programs not established by the U.S. Constitution.

bfrancisco@jg.net