In Indiana's Fourth Congressional District, there is evidence that Nels Ackerson is running strong against incumbent Republican, Steve Buyer; with a survey showing Ackerson at 36% to Buyer's 38% and 26% undecided. The very first thing to note is that the Lafayette Journal & Courier poll was not scientific. Normally, I would not bother mentioning such a thing -- if Candidate X does well in an online Internet poll, for example, that is evidence of exactly nothing. However, the other results for candidates in the Journal & Courier's survey appear consistent with what I have seen in scientific polls. The survey has Gov. Daniels at 49% to Jill Long Thompson's 30% and McCain up over Obama 51% to 45%. So, it seems reasonable to conclude that the Ackerson/Buyer responses are within shouting distance of what a scientific poll would reveal.
For some background on the campaign to date, I have been following it off and on since July 2007.
Update - 4:50 p.m. EDT Taking the advice in the comments, I'll expand a bit upon what is going on in Indiana's 4th District.
The Fourth District is a sprawling mess that stretches mostly north to south in west-central Indiana. Incumbent Steve Buyer has been in office for 16 years and is mostly notable for ducking debates. This has been effective in that he has faced poorly financed Democratic challengers and has won by big margins.
This year, Nels Ackerson raised enough money and has an impressive enough resume that Buyer felt the need to engage in at least one debate -- but he tried to do it in a way that would guarantee as little coverage as possible. Then, immediately at the beginning of the debate, Buyer pitched a fit about Ackerson "breaking the rules." Later investigation suggested that the "rule violation" was Ackerson letting constituents know that the debate was taking place -- in other words, Buyer thought Ackerson wasn't allowed to publicize the fact of the debate. The debate is available here. Media coverage of the debate is here. My own uneven coverage of the debate is here.
To date, Ackerson has raised about $400,000 and has about $177,000 left on hand. Buyer has raised about $485,000 and has about $628,000 on hand. PAC contributions make up about 73% of Buyer's money versus about 7% for Ackerson.
Ackerson is a graduate of the Purdue College of Agriculture and the Harvard Law School. Interestingly, he has some hands on experience with the Middle East, having been involved with establishing Egypt’s first American law office. Mainly prior to being a candidate, he was a distinguished lawyer who has been heavily involved in protecting private property rights against government and utility incursion.