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Indiana GOP adds seat in U.S. congressional delegation

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Former U.S. Attorney Susan Brooks and former state Rep. Jackie Walorski were elected to Congress on Tuesday, breaking a half-century of Republican male dominance in the state's congressional delegation. The victories helped Republicans gain a seat in the Indiana delegation, giving the GOP a 7-2 advantage.

Brooks said she wants to become a symbol for other women.

"I hope this inspires a lot of girls and a lot of women to think about running for office whether it's at the school board level, the county council level all the way through state-level races or federal races," Brooks said.

Brooks won the 5th District seat being vacated by retiring GOP Rep. Dan Burton, and Walorski won the 2nd District seat she lost two years ago to incumbent Democrat Joe Donnelly, who won a U.S. Senate seat Tuesday.

Walorski, who began running again shortly after losing two years ago, won by less than 4,000 votes and didn't give her victory speech until shortly before midnight after Democratic political newcomer Brendan Mullen, an Iraq War veteran, conceded.

"I'm honored and humbled to be the congresswoman-elect," Walorski said. "This has been an unbelievable journey and it's been an unbelievably long night tonight."

They become the first GOP congresswomen from Indiana since Cecil Harden, who served five terms before losing in 1958. The district includes part of Indianapolis and areas east.

Brooks defeated Democratic state Rep. Scott Reske. Walorski beat Democratic political newcomer Brendan Mullen, an Iraq War veteran.

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 Julia Carson formerly held.

Two female Democrats lost Tuesday. Shelli Yoder lost to incumbent Republican Rep. Todd Young in southeastern Indiana, and Tara Nelson lost to incumbent Todd Rokita in the district west of Indianapolis.

Elsewhere in Indiana, former state Rep. Luke Messer, a former state leader of the Republican Party and a school choice supporter, won the eastern Indiana seat Mike Pence gave up to run for governor, keeping the seat Republican.

Incumbent GOP Rep. Larry Bucshon survived a heated challenge.Bucshon beat former Democratic state Rep. Dave Crooks to win a second term in the southwestern Indiana congressional district known as the "Bloody 8th" because of its history of close and competitive races.

Other incumbents to win Tuesday were GOP Reps. Marlin Stutzman in northeastern Indiana and Democrat Pete Visclosky in the northwest. 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. He replaces retiring GOP Rep. Dan Burton as the state's senior congressman.

Stutzman and Rokita each won second terms. Stutzman beat Democrat Kevin Boyd and becomes the state's senior Republican representative, replacing Burton. That's because Stutzman took office in November 2010 after Mark Souder abruptly resigned, gaining an edge over Rokita, Bucshon and Young.

In the races decided in Indiana, voters opted to keep their districts represented by people from the same party even though a preliminary exit poll conducted in Indiana for The Associated Press indicated financial progress on the home front since the last presidential election has been limited. Nearly 4 in 10 said they're worse off today than they were four years ago, and about the same number said their family's financial situation is no better.

Only about a quarter said they are better off today than in 2008.

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  1. Why not take some time to do some research before traveling to that Indiana town or city, and find the ones that are no smoking either inside, or have a patio? People like yourself are just being selfish, and unnecessarily trying to take away all indoor venues that smokers can enjoy themselves at. Last time I checked, it is still a free country, and businesses do respond to market pressure and will ban smoking, if there's enough demand by customers for it(i.e. Linebacker Lounge in South Bend, and Rack and Helen's in New Haven, IN, outside of Fort Wayne). Indiana law already unnecessarily forced restaurants with a bar area to be no smoking, so why not support those restaurants that were forced to ban smoking against their will? Also, I'm always surprised at the number of bars that chose to ban smoking on their own, in non-ban parts of Indiana I'll sometimes travel into. Whiting, IN(just southeast of Chicago) has at least a few bars that went no smoking on their own accord, and despite no selfish government ban forcing those bars to make that move against their will! I'd much rather have a balance of both smoking and non-smoking bars, rather than a complete bar smoking ban that'll only force more bars to close their doors. And besides IMO, there are much worser things to worry about, than cigarette smoke inside a bar. If you feel a bar is too smoky, then simply walk out and take your business to a different bar!

  2. As other states are realizing the harm in jailing offenders of marijuana...Indiana steps backwards into the script of Reefer Madness. Well...you guys voted for your Gov...up to you to vote him out. Signed, Citizen of Florida...the next state to have medical marijuana.

  3. It's empowering for this niche community to know that they have an advocate on their side in case things go awry. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lrst9VXVKfE

  4. Apparently the settlement over Angie's List "bundling" charges hasn't stopped the practice! My membership is up for renewal, and I'm on my third email trying to get a "basic" membership rather than the "bundled" version they're trying to charge me for. Frustrating!!

  5. Well....as a vendor to both of these builders I guess I have the right to comment. Davis closed his doors with integrity.He paid me every penny he owed me. Estridge,STILL owes me thousands and thousands of dollars. The last few years of my life have been spent working 2 jobs, paying off the suppliers I used to work on Estridge jobs and just struggling to survive. Shame on you Paul...and shame on you IBJ! Maybe you should have contacted the hundreds of vendors that Paul stiffed. I'm sure your "rises from the ashes" spin on reporting would have contained true stories of real people who have struggled to find work and pay of their debts (something that Paul didn't even attempt to do).

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