Former state Rep. John Jacob to run for Jack Sandlin’s Senate seat

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Former Indiana Rep. John Jacob (photo courtesy of Indiana General Assembly)

Former state Rep. John Jacob said Monday that he plans to submit his name to the Indiana Republican Party for an upcoming caucus vote to succeed State Sen. Jack Sandlin, a longtime Indianapolis Republican who died suddenly last week at age 72.

The former state representative for Marion and Johnson counties told IBJ in a text message that he plans to seek the Senate seat, confirming an earlier report from IndyPolitics.

The Indiana Republican Party is expected to to call a caucus of eligible precinct committee members to fill the upcoming vacancy of Senate District 36, which includes parts of southern Marion County and northern Johnson County. Interested candidates must file forms with the party no later than 72 hours prior to the vote, which has not yet been scheduled.

Marion County GOP Chair Joe Elsener said the party is focused on Sandlin’s family and upcoming funeral, which is scheduled for Friday.

“Out of respect for Senator Sandlin and his family, all caucus details will be released after the funeral,” Elsener said in a statement to IBJ. “As always, we will have a fair, open and transparent caucus process.”

During his short stint in office from 2020 to 2022, Jacob, 57, was known for angering members of his own party with his hardline stances on issues including abortion and his comments on Catholics and Muslims. Before Jacob was elected to the Legislature, he regularly appeared at the Indiana Statehouse to protest abortion wearing what appeared to be blood-stained medical scrubs, as well as what looked like an aborted fetus attached to a cord around his neck.

When Indiana’s abortion law was being debated at the Statehouse last summer, Jacob advocated for a total abortion ban without exceptions.

“The body inside of the mom’s body is not her body,” Jacob said on the House floor during Indiana’s special session on the abortion ban in August 2022. “Let me repeat that: The body inside of the mom’s body is not her body. Not her body, not her choice.”

Jacob has said that the Indiana GOP drew legislative maps to oust him from House District 93 during the redistricting process that took place in 2021. State party leaders denied the allegations, saying they were adjusting for changing demographics.

His district shifted out of Johnson County and entirely into Marion County. It also moved into Franklin Township and Beech Grove.

Jacob lost to Julie McGuire in the 2022 Republican primary. McGuire went on to defeat Democrat Andy Miller by more than 20 points in the general election.

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4 thoughts on “Former state Rep. John Jacob to run for Jack Sandlin’s Senate seat

    1. There’s a reason that Republicans drew maps to get rid of Nisly and Jacob, they don’t want them in their party.

      The solution for Jacob is very simple – run for the seat as an independent and let the voters decide, not a bunch of party insiders who don’t like him.

      That, though, would require a level of thinking that’s well above what Jacob appears capable of.