Legislator seeking end of state’s U.S. Senate primaries

  • Comments
  • Print

A Republican state senator is pushing for the elimination of Indiana’s primary elections for U.S. Senate and proposing that political parties select candidates at conventions.

Sen. James Buck of Kokomo presented his plan to the Senate Elections Committee last week. He said a bloated federal bureaucracy grew from the movement toward voters — not state lawmakers — electing U.S. senators before adoption of the 17th Amendment in 1913.

Buck believes the public would trust that delegates at a state party convention would select the best Senate candidates and that eliminating primary campaigns would make running for office less costly. Voters would still decide the senator in the November general election.

The Republican and Democratic state conventions currently pick nominees for statewide offices such as lieutenant governor, attorney general and secretary of state. But the major offices of governor and U.S. senator have gone before primary voters for decades.

Republican Sen. Erin Houchin of Salem told Buck that she would prefer leaving the Senate candidate decision to voters rather than a much smaller pool of party convention delegates. Nearly 507,000 people voted in Indiana’s 2018 Republican U.S. Senate primary.

The committee chairman said Thursday he didn’t know whether he would hold a vote on the bill.

Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

Story Continues Below

Editor's note: You can comment on IBJ stories by signing in to your IBJ account. If you have not registered, please sign up for a free account now. Please note our updated comment policy that will govern how comments are moderated.

3 thoughts on “Legislator seeking end of state’s U.S. Senate primaries

  1. Sen. Buck prefers to put his trust in a few select party elites (of which he is one) over the preferences of a half-million individuals who identify as either of the major political parties and philosophies. The U.S. population was only about 93 million in 1913, compared to more than 330 million today. Our socio-economic demographics are far different than they were in 1913. Women did not have the vote, child labor was legal, sewage was discharged into open ditches and rivers, and diseases ran rampant. Involving more citizens rather the fewer should be the goal. If Mr. Buck is that concerned about the size, cost, and reach of the federal government, he should convince his federal counterparts to (a) adopt a balanced budget amendment, (b) adopt term limits for members of the Congress, and (c) prohibit gerrymandering that favors incumbents in elections.

  2. There’s always a couple, “What the heck are they thinking?” pieces of proposed legislation in every Indiana General Assembly. Sen. Buck has delivered the first salvo.

  3. Senator Buck has apparently reached the tipping point of too much power and too much ‘so called’ thinking on his own. Sounds like time for him to leave the senate and pass his seat on to a more sane candidate!