National elections analyst calls 5th District race a toss-up

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One of the nation’s major political analysts has changed Indiana’s 5th Congressional District race to a “toss-up.”

Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics on Thursday announced it had moved the open race between Democrat Christina Hale and Republican Victoria Spartz from “leans Republican” to “toss-up,” along with 10 other U.S. House race rating changes.

The winner in the 5th District will replace retiring Republican Congresswoman Susan Brooks, who has held the seat since 2013. The district includes the northern portion of Marion County, eastern portion of Boone County and all of Hamilton County, along with all of Tipton, Madison and Grant counties and part of Howard and Blackford counties.

Democrats see an opportunity to flip the seat this year, contending that the political leanings in the suburban areas of the district have shifted in their favor. Democrats point to former U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly’s victory in the district in 2018 as evidence, even though Donnelly lost statewide to Republican Mike Braun.

The seat is one of five Republican-held U.S. House races that Sabato’s Crystal Ball considers a toss-up.

“We’re encouraged by our campaign’s growing momentum, and this rating change reflects the enthusiasm we’re seeing on the ground,” Hale campaign manager Joann Saridakis said in a statement. “Hoosiers in the 5th District are ready for a representative who will focus on solving the problems they face every day.”

Kyle Kondik, managing editor for Sabato’s Crystal Ball, referenced a recent internal poll conducted by Hale’s campaign that showed her up 51% to 45% as part of the reason for the rating change.

Spartz’s campaign has criticized the internal poll, describing it as “totally fabricated” because it also claims that Republican President Donald Trump is losing to former Democratic Vice President Joe Biden by 10 points, even though Trump won the district in 2016 by 12 points.

Hale’s campaign has not released the questions that were asked in the poll, the partisan breakdown of those polled or crosstabs.

“For all we know this poll could be all Democrats,” the Spartz campaign said.

In an article announcing the rating changes, Kondik acknowledged that Hale’s poll is likely flawed, but said it still justified the change.

“Even if those are overly rosy numbers for Democrats—and they probably are—we do think it’s hard to give the GOP a clear edge in an open-seat race in a district like this anymore,” Kondik wrote.

Two other race rating organizations—Inside Elections and Cook Political Report—still consider the seat likely Republican and lean Republican, respectively. And both of those ratings appear to have been posted after results were known in Indiana’s June 2 primary election.

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5 thoughts on “National elections analyst calls 5th District race a toss-up

  1. Please indy and Hamilton County, choose Christina Hale. She’s a moderate. Victoria is way too severe and strict and far right. Congress needs more reps that can work with both Repubs and Dems. And that’s definitely not Comrade Spartz.

  2. Spartz points out that Trump won the district by 12 points in 2016. Trump though only received 56% of the vote in Hamilton County in that election, under performing every Republican candidate in that county. In the 2018 and 2019 election, the GOP numbers in northern Marion County and Hamilton County declined dramatically, so much so that by the 2019 municipal elections, Democrats were winning races in Carmel and Fishers. In 2019, Republicans did not win a single precinct in Washington Township, which is the largest and wealthiest township in Marion County. Pike Republicans also got shut out and the Lawrence GOP darn near did as well. While Spartz doesn’t think the numbers have swung that dramatically to Democrats in the district, she would be wrong. While attaching herself to Trump might have helped in the primary, it will certainly be an albatross around her neck in the general election.

  3. Just remember, Spartz has pledged to be a rubberstamp for anything Donald Trump wants. Hale will at least be more thoughtful and more independent when it comes to a President Biden. My Republican Party blew it when it came to Trump. They abdicated their constitutional responsibility to check Trump and hold him accountable. They refused to do any actual oversight. And now Republican House and Senate candidates will pay a price for that irresponsibility. They earned the slaughter that’s coming.

  4. As between the radical left and the far right; I’ll take my chances on the far right. We’ve seen a preview of the radical left over the last month.