Newcomer Hollingsworth, incumbents score congressional primary wins

May 3, 2016

Incumbent members of Congress rolled to victories Tuesday night in their primary battles.

And surprising newcomer Trey Hollingsworth captured the hotly contested 9th Congressional District's Republican primary.

U.S. Reps. Andre Carson (D-Indianapolis) in the 7th District, Todd Rokita (R-Indianapolis ) in the 4th District, Susan Brooks (R-Carmel) in the 5th District, Luke Messer (R-Shelbyville) in the 6th District, Larry Bucshon (R-Newburgh in the 8th District, Pete Visclosky (D-Merrillville) in the 1st District and Jackie Walorski (R-Elkhart) in the 2nd District were all on their way to decisive victories with much of the vote being counted.

In the 9th District's Republican primary, newcomer Hollingsworth defeated four other contenders, including Greg Zoeller and Brent Waltz.

Hollingsworth, who moved to Indiana from Tennessee in September, had about 34 percent of the vote with more than 90 percent of the vote counted, ahead of Erin Houchin (25 percent), Zoeller (22 percent) and Brent Waltz (13 percent).

Hollingsworth's victory comes after he and his father spent at least $1.7 million of their own money on his campaign. Other Republicans accused Hollingsworth of trying to buy the congressional seat, but his television commercial-heavy campaign presented him as a political outsider and strong conservative. Critics labeled him "Tennessee Trey."

The district spanning from the Ohio River to the southern suburbs of Indianapolis is now held by Republican Rep. Todd Young, who gave it up to run for the Senate.

Hollingsworth will take on Democrat Shelli Yoder of Bloomington, a former Miss Indiana who easily won her primary Tuesday, defeating three other candidates. She lost to Young in 2012.

“Tonight’s results are a victory for conservative values and principles,” Hollingsworth said in an emailed statement. “Hoosiers came together during this campaign with a common desire to fix a broken political system and that began by changing who we send to Washington.  It is a message that the political insiders in Washington and Indianapolis heard this evening in one resounding voice.”

Elsewhere, State Sen. Jim Banks won the Republican primary for northeastern Indiana's open 3rd Congressional District seat.

The 36-year-old legislator from Columbia City prevailed in a six-candidate field seeking to replace U.S. Rep. Marlin Stutzman, who gave up the seat for his unsuccessful Senate campaign.

Banks benefited from the backing of several national conservative groups in a campaign that also included state Sen. Liz Brown of Fort Wayne and agricultural business owner Kip Tom of Leesburg.

The district that includes Fort Wayne is solidly Republican and Banks will be a heavy favorite to win the seat in the November general election. Banks was first elected to the state Senate in 2010 and spent eight months in Afghanistan during 2014-15 as a member of the Navy Reserve.




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