Legislature and State Government and Government & Economic Development

37 contested Indiana House races prelude to November

May 4, 2010

Voters will nominate candidates in more than 30 Indiana House primary races Tuesday, completing matchups for November's general election that will determine control of the narrowly divided chamber and the right to redraw district lines.

Democrats gained a majority in the House only four years ago and currently have a 52-48 advantage. They also drew the current district maps 10 years ago.

Republicans have a comfortable 33-17 edge in the state Senate, where only seven districts have contested primaries.

With the upper hand in redistricting at stake, the House Republican Campaign Committee has poured $165,000 into the primary run of former Crown Point Mayor Daniel Klein, who's challenged by Frances Katz in District 19. The winner likely will face Rep. Shelli VanDenburgh, D-Crown Point, who's held the seat just three years.

The House Republican Committee also has given $81,000 to Rhonda Rhoads of Corydon, a former Harrison County Council member opposed by pilot Brett Loyd of Greenville. The winner will challenge House Majority Whip Paul Robertson, D-Depauw.

Freshman Rep. Jacque Clement, R-Frankfort, is opposed in her primary by Kokomo businessman Heath Van Natter. Two years ago, GOP precinct committee members voted to have Van Natter serve out the last few months of the seat's term but then slated Clements, a former Clinton County auditor, in the general election.

In the District 22 Republican race, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce has thrown its support behind Rebecca Kubacki of Syracuse, who's challenging Rep. Bill Ruppel, R-North Manchester.

Other contested GOP races include a seven-person field in the district now represented by retiring House member Cleo Duncan, R-Greensburg. Both Republicans and Democrats have contested primaries for the seat currently held by Rep. Dennie Oxley Sr. of Taswell, a Democrat who's been ill and isn't running again.

Among Senate races, the District 26 seat held by Democrat Sue Errington of Muncie has contested primaries for both the incumbent, who's considered a cinch to hold off two other Democrats, and for two Republicans. Doug Eckerty of Yorktown is favored in the GOP race.

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