I had planned to do this in four installments, but after finishing the part on the southern and western parts of the state, I went ahead and finished all the districts in the state. The news is bleak. If we were to win all the seats either safe, likely, lean Democrat and every tossup seat, we would still be at -3. If we lost every tossup seat, it is at -12, and a few of the Lean Dem seats may drift into tossup status. Needless to say, Republicans drew the maps and did very well for themselves.
A big problem is how bad of a shape the state party is. Candidates are getting virtually no help. The House caucus is not much better. They are concentrating their efforts with their own incumbents, not open seats or challengers. One highly recruited challenger has said he has heard nothing since the demise of Pat Bauer. This is going to be ugly for House Democrats. The only question is how bad. The main question now is whether Republicans get a 2/3 majority. Right now, it is more likely than not.
If you give Democrats all the seats that are safe, likely, lean Dem and every tossup, they still are at a 3 seat loss. If you take the tossup seats as the range for how the chamber goes, it is GOP +3 to GOP +12.
First a Map of "The Region"
Now a Blue to Red Map of how The Region voted in 2008
District 1: Hammond-Whiting
Incumbent: Linda Lawson (D), elected 1998, Obama 73.2, McCain 26.7, Black 21.2, Hispanic 36.0
Dem: Rep. Linda Lawson; GOP: None
Lawson is now the House Minority Leader in this strongly Democratic district. This is likely the place where you will see the first Hispanic majority seat in Indiana. She is also unopposed. This district is SAFE DEMOCRAT.
District 2: East Chicago-Gary West
Incumbent: Earl Harris (D), elected 1982, Obama 90.5, McCain 9.0, Black 51.6, Hispanic 30.9
Dem: Rep. Earl Harris; GOP: None
This district is the most Democratic in the state, and there is not much to say here politically, and Harris is unopposed, it is SAFE DEMOCRAT.
District 3: Gary North-Lake Station
Incumbent: Charlie Brown (D), elected 1982, Obama 85.7, McCain Black 51.8, Hispanic 11.9
Dem: Rep. Charlie Brown; GOP: None
This district centered on Gary is home to the colorful Charlie Brown, who is unopposed. This district is SAFE DEMOCRAT.
District 4: Valparaiso-Porter Center
Incumbent: Ed Soliday (R), elected, Obama 50.5, McCain 48.6, Black 2.1, Hispanic 6.0
Dem: Former St. Rep. Greg Simms; GOP: Rep. Ed Soliday
Soliday's seat became more Democratic in redistricting, but he voted no on right to work, and there is no much chance this seat will change hands. Democrats have former St. Rep. Greg Simms as their candidate. He won a caucus to fill part of a term when Rep. Jack Clem died in the 10th district. He won the caucus, but lost the primary shortly thereafter. This seat SAFE REPUBLICAN.
I will start with a South-Bend Elkhart Area Map
And a Voting Strength Map from 2008
District 5: Mishawaka-Granger
Incumbent: Craig Fry (D-retiring), elected 1998, Obama 51.8, McCain 47.5
Dem: Teamsters Organizer/Business Agent Jerod Wernock; GOP: St. Joseph County Councilman Dale DeVon
Craig Fry ran a disaster of a campaign for Mayor of Mishawaka last year. He was defeated by an epic margin. He decided not to run, which is a break for Democrats. The district was altered to lose the minority precincts in Elkhart and gain more of Penn and Harris Townships. It made the seat slightly more Republican. The GOP has the stronger candidate in County Councilman Dale DeVon, who already represents part of this district on the County Council. Wernock has to take advantage of union support in this area. Right now, DeVon has an edge, making this seat LEAN REPUBLICAN.
District 6: South Bend-Center
Incumbent: Pat Bauer (D), elected 1972, Obama 70.7, McCain 28.4, Black 25.1, Hispanic 11.0
Dem: Rep. Patrick Bauer; GOP: None
Bauer was recently ousted as Democratic leader. One wonders how long he will choose to remain in the House. His district became much more Democratic in redistricting to weaken surrounding Democrats. This district is SAFE DEMOCRAT.
District 7: St. Joseph South-South Bend Southwest
Incumbent: Dave Niezgodski (D), elected 2006, Obama 56.2, McCain 42.8, Black 12.0, Hispanic 10.3
Dem: Rep. Dave Niezgodski; GOP: Attorney Mark Peter Telloyan
Niezgodski faces a lot of new territory in the southern part of St. Joseph County, which were once represented by Jackie Walorski. This seat has a Democratic lean, but it probably narrowly was carried by George W. Bush in 2004. Republicans have a credible candidate in Telloyan. With the amount of money Republicans have, it will be interesting to see if they dump some of it here. For now, this seat is LIKELY DEMOCRAT.
District 8: Notre Dame-St. Joseph North
Incumbent: Ryan Dvorak (D), elected 2006, Obama 57.3, McCain 41.7, Black 9.1, Hispanic 4.6
Dem: Rep. Ryan Dvorak; GOP: Richard Pfeil
This is a district politically a lot like District 7. While President Obama won here easily, George W. Bush also won narrowly here. This is a rematch from 2010, when Dvorak won 55%. Dvorak lost some good precincts in South Bend in redistricting and now extends into LaPorte County. Republicans hope to tie Dvorak to recent scandals that forced the County Chairman Butch Morgan to resign his position, especially since Dvorak's father is the County Prosecutor. This seat is similar in outlook to District 7, one to watch. These are also seats that could fall in a landslide year. This district is LIKELY DEMOCRAT.
District 9: Michigan City
Incumbent: Scott Pelath (D), elected 1998, Obama 64.4, McCain 34.4, Black 16.7, Hispanic 5.0
Dem: Rep. Scott Pelath; GOP: Don Granquist
Scott Pelath is in a very safe seat and look to see him move up in the leadership of the Democrats in the House. Also, since Michigan City is now in the 1st Congressional district, he may have an eye on the seat when Visclosky retires. He has a Tea Party opponent, who he will easily dispatch. It is SAFE DEMOCRAT.
District 10: Portage-Chesterton
Incumbent: Charles Moseley (D), elected 2008, Obama 58.9, McCain 39.9, Black 4.6, Hispanic 12.7
Dem: Rep. Charles Moseley; GOP: None
Mosely is unopposed. You can't get safer than that. This district is SAFE DEMOCRAT.
District 11: Lowell-Cedar Lake
NEW SEAT, McCain 55.0, Obama 44.0, Black 0.6, Hispanic 6.0
Dem: John Hart ; GOP: Lake County Councilman Rick Niemeyer
There was a seat that looked similar to this one in the 90s, but it was chopped up in 2001 to accommodate keeping the Dems in Lake County in seats due to population stagnation. Republicans brought it back this time. The GOP candidate has a well known name and has won this area on the County Council, whose family has a long history in politics in this area. He should be headed to Indianapolis. Right now, this district is LIKELY REPUBLICAN.
District 12: Highland-Munster
Incumbents: Maria Candelaria Reardon (D) 2006, elected, Dan Stevenson (D-retiring), elected 1994, Obama 55.0, McCain 44.1, Black 6.1, Hispanic 14.5
Here is the difference between the old version of this seat and the new one.
The more I look at this seat, the more it makes me nervous. Republicans did their best to pack as many Lake County Democrats into Districts 1, 2, 3, and 14. This seat, which was a merged seat of Highland and Munster, is only 55% Obama, which is not so high if you are talking about 2008 in Lake County. It is a much more competitive seat that meets the eye. The Republicans have a very strong candidate in Highland attorney William Fine, who ran for Circuit Judge in Lake County in 2010. While he lost the county badly, he carried many of the precincts in this district. The State GOP has a lot of money and may want to throw some here. He may also try to win over some of the voters in his native Highland, which was where Rep. Dan Stevenson resided with voters there wanting a representative from their area. The incumbent Democrat also faces the fact that much of this district is new to her. Her old district ran north-south through the middle of this one all the way to Whiting. I don't think this seat will go GOP in 2012, but it is a prime type of district that could be lost in a lower turnout mid-term, but it must be watched this time as well. This district is LEAN DEMOCRAT.
District 13: Cornfields-Fowler
NEW SEAT, McCain 54.6, Obama 43.8, Black 1.3, Hispanic 4.8
Dem: Farmer Mark Straw; GOP: Attica Clerk/Treasurer Sharon Negele
This is a newly created seat similar to the one that was dismantled by Democrats in 2001 when Rep. Claire Leuke (D-Fowler). You may notice that contains a lot of leftovers of other counties. It is a fairly Republican seat, but not straight Republican voters. Leuke was successful here in the 1990s. Negele ran for the State House in HD-42 against Rep. Dale Grubb and came within a few hundred votes of winning in 2010. Her home was moved into this new seat and won a contested primary. This seat is going to be fairly competitive for a few reasons. First, Straw is playing up his local roots and ties to agriculture in a district that is heavily dependent on farming. Also, Straw has strong support from Leuke and Grubb, both of whom have represented parts of this seat. That being said, Negele does have an edge given the makeup of the district and her likely financial edge. This district LEANS REPUBLICAN.
District 14: Merrillville-Gary South
Incumbents: Vernon Smith (D), elected 1990, Chet Dobis (D), elected 1970, Obama 82.7, McCain 16.8, Black 53.7, Hispanic 10.8
Dem: Rep. Vernon Smith; GOP: None
Vernon Smith did not face off with Chet Dobis in the primary and he has no opponent in the fall either This seat is SAFE DEMOCRAT.
District 15: Schereville-Dyer
OPEN SEAT (maybe), McCain 50.6, Obama 48.7, Black 3.4, Hispanic 10.2 anonymous
Dem: Former County Councilman Thomas O'Donnell; GOP: Schereville Councilman Hal Slager
This district had been cut into several pieces in the last decade. Democrats took Republican voters in this part of the county and ran north-south oriented districts into heavily Democratic northern Lake County. No more for that practice. This seat is now pretty much St. John Township. Democrats hoped to get either Rep. Chet Dobis or Dan Stevenson, both redistricting victims, to move to an overlapping precinct into this seat, but neither did so. However, they did get a really good candidate in former County Councilman Thomas O'Donnell who lost in the 2010 landslide his District 1 Council seat. Republicans also have a strong candidate in Schereville Councilman Hal Slager. However, this seat is more Republican than Democrat and some voters in southern Lake County resent the domination of county politics by the Democratic machine to the north. While this seat will be competitive, it has to be rated LEAN REPUBLICAN.
District 16: Rensselaer-Winamac
Incumbent: Doug Gutwein (R), appointed 2007, McCain 56.2, Obama 42.2, Black 0.6, Hispanic 4.5
Dem: Former Rensselaer School Board Member Rich Ludington; GOP: Rep. Doug Gutwein
This district is strongly Republican and Gutwein will have no problems holding on here. The Democrats have a good candidate in former Rensselaer School Board Member Rich Ludington, but when Democrats are struggling to keep what they have, there will be no resources to play offense on red turf. This district is SAFE REPUBLICAN.
District 17: Plymouth-Rochester
NEW SEAT, McCain 56.9, Obama 41.6, Black 0.5, Hispanic 7.5
Dem: None; GOP: Restaurant Owner Timothy Harman
This was a new seat created when Republicans tore apart the district of Rep. Nancy Dembowski (R-Knox) by making it a Marshall County based seat. Democrats did not even manage to get anyone to file here. This district is SOLID REPUBLICAN.
District 18: Wabash-Winona Lake
Incumbent: David Wolkins (R), elected 1988, McCain 64.1, Obama 34.7, Black 0.6, Hispanic 3.6
Dem: Chris Wright; GOP: Rep. David Wolkins
This is one of the strongest Republican areas in Indiana and Wolkins would only have to worry about a primary challenge someday. This district is SOLID REPUBLICAN.
District 19: Crown Point-Hobart
Incumbent: Shelli VanDenburgh, appointed 2007, Obama 49.6, McCain 49.4, Black 5.2, Hispanic 8.8
Dem: Rep. Shelli VanDenburgh; GOP: Minister Dr. Ron Johnson
Shelli VanDenburgh survived 2010, but this seat has been altered and not for the better for her. She was appointed when Bob Kuzman resigned, and won tough elections, as Kuzman did during his time. The old seat voted for Obama 51.2-47.7, and now the seat is nearly even. Given the over performance of Obama in this area, make no mistake about it: this is a Republican leaning seat that Democrats would have a difficult time holding as an open seat. However, it may be difficult this time. The GOP candidate, minister Ron Johnson ran an extremely well-funded race against Kuzman in 2000, losing by about a thousand votes. He will no doubt be well-funded again and I would bet Obama will not win this seat this year. Also, VanDenburgh has had some negative press being called as a witness in a corruption trial from her time in the Lake County Clerk's Office. Though she is not a target, it still makes for bad headlines. This district currently is a TOSSUP.
District 20: LaPorte-Knox
Incumbents: Tom Dermody (R), elected 2006, Nancy Dembowski (D-retiring), elected 2006, Obama 54.1, McCain 44.3, Black 1.6, Hispanic 5.6
Dem: Karen Salzer; GOP: Rep. Tom Dermody
Nancy Dembowski waited until the end and then she did not file for re-election against fellow Rep. Tom Dermody, who is a popular figure in LaPorte County and bolstered his popularity by being a critic of right to work. Though the district leans Democratic, it would have been played on Dermody's turf. Democrats eventually came up with union member Karen Salzer, but Dermody is going to be very difficult to beat, unless there is a wave election. It LIKELY REPUBLICAN.
District 21: Elkhart South-Osceola
Incumbent: Tim Wesco (R), McCain 51.3, Obama 47.9, Black 9.9, Hispanic 15.0
Dem: None; GOP: Rep. Tim Wesco
Don't let the close margin of the Presidential race fool you. This is more than a 60% Republican seat, and it was largely shipped out of St. Joseph County into Elkhart County. Democrats could not even find a candidate here.. This district is SOLID REPUBLICAN.
District 22: Warsaw-Nappanee
Incumbent: Rebecca Kubacki (R), elected 2010, McCain 67.6, Obama 31.2, Black 0.6, Hispanic 7.4
Dem: John Bonitati; GOP: Rep Rebecca Kubacki
Kubacki won her seat in 2010 by defeating an incumbent Republican, whose crime was he was not conservative enough. This was the strongest McCain district in all of Indiana. Enough said. This district is SOLID REPUBLICAN.
District 23: Peru-Logansport
Incumbent: William Friend (R), elected 1986, McCain 55.5, Obama 42.9, Black 3.2, Hispanic 8.2
Dem: Bar Owner Kerry Worthington; GOP: Rep. William Friend
Friend, the House Majority Leader faces a more Democratic seat than the one he represented before with the addition of Logansport. However, his opponent has a problem, in that he was recently arrested for dealing cocaine. He wasn't going to beat Friend anyway, but this seals the deal. And in case any of you are asking, it is too late for his name to be removed from the ballot. This district is SAFE REPUBLICAN.
District 24: Zionsville-Westfield-Carmel West
NEW SEAT, McCain 61.9, Obama 37.5, Black 2.6, Hispanic 3.2, Asian 6.2
Dem: None; GOP: Businessman Steven Braun
This district used to be on the west side of Indianapolis, now it is in Boone and Hamilton Counties. It does not take a genius to see that this is an automatic pickup for the GOP, in fact Democrats did not even contest the seat. It is SAFE REPUBLICAN.
District 25: Delphi-Monticello
Incumbents: Rich McClain (R-retiring), elected 1986, Don Lehe (R), elected 2002, McCain 53.6, Obama 44.9, Black 0.4, Hispanic 4.8
Dem: Shane Evans; GOP: Rep. Don Lehe
Lehe represents a lot of new territory. His home in White County was once in a district that stretched to Lake County. He also severely underperformed in his old seat until 2010, when he won easily. He had to fend off a primary challenge this year, and now faces newcomer Shane Evans, a recent college graduate. While Lehe has had strong challenges in the past, don't look for him to have much trouble. This seat is SOLID REPUBLICAN.
District 26: West Lafayette-Purdue-Lafayette South
Incumbent: Randy Truitt (R), elected 2008, Obama 57.0, McCain 42.1, Black 4.1, Hispanic 6.4, Asian 10.8
Dem: Lafayette Councilman Rick Cornstuble; GOP: Rep. Randy Truitt
Democrats did not do well in West Lafayette town elections in 2011. The high Obama number is an anomaly here. This seat is pretty competitive, but has a slight Republican lean locally. However, Democrats do have a strong candidate in Lafayette Councilman Rick Cornstuble. However, Democrats managed to lose this open seat in 2008 when Barack Obama swept through Tippecanoe County. One big problem is the pathetic state of the Democratic Party in the county, which hold no county offices. Truitt also seemed to have a strong opponent in 2010, but he defeated him by a large margin. This is one to watch. Right now, this district LEANS REPUBLICAN.
District 27: Lafayette
Incumbent: Shelia Klinker (D), elected 1982, Obama 59.3, McCain 39.6, Black 4.9, Hispanic 9.6, Asian 4.9
Dem: Rep. Shelia Klinker; GOP: Businessman/Attorney Chuck Hockema
Klinker is a GOP target this year. She lost a key precinct in West Lafayette in redistricting that contained Purdue. Even though the seat was won by Obama by 20%, it is not a Democratic stronghold. He over performed here. People seem to believe that Klinker was damaged by the Democrat walkout in 2011. She has won easily since her first win in 1982. Republicans are running an aggressive challenge from Chuck Hockema. Republicans seem likely to pump a lot of money into this seat, which at the very least may get Klinker to retire in 2014 even if she is reelected. She thought about retiring, but decided to run again. One caveat though: Republicans always say they plan to challenge Klinker aggressively, but she always prevails. This seat is LEAN DEMOCRAT.
District 28: Brownsburg-Danville
Incumbent: Jeff Thompson (R), elected 1998, McCain 65.6, Obama 33.4, Black 1.7, Hispanic 1.9
Dem: None; GOP: Rep. Jeff Thompson; Libertarian: Andy Rainwater
This is the strongest Republican district of the ones in the suburbs of Indy. It is the remainder of Hendricks County plus a few Boone County precincts. Democrats did not even field a candidate. It is SAFE REPUBLICAN.
District 29: Noblesville
Incumbent: Kathy Kreag Richardson (R), elected 1992, McCain 61.5, Obama 37.7, Black 3.2, Hispanic 4.0
Dem: None; GOP: Rep. Kathy Richardson
This is one of the most Republican areas in Indiana-Noblesville. Democrats are not contesting this seat. This seat is SAFE REPUBLICAN.
District 30: Kokomo-Howard East
Incumbent: Mike Karikoff (R), elected 2010, McCain 50.2, Obama 48.6, Black 8.1, Hispanic 3.2
Dem: Chuck Sosbe; GOP: Rep. Mike Karikoff
This seat went from Obama +2 to McCain +1.6 after redistricting. This seat is in Kokomo, the home of Chrysler and a union stronghold. It also voted for Richard Mourdock's reelection, the man who fought to put Chrysler out of business. Former Rep. Ron Harrell held this seat for 10 of 12 years, and lost in 2010 by a large margin. He decided not to run again. The Democrats are running Chuck Sosbe, who is the Vice-President of the state AFL-CIO and a retired firefighter. He ran against Sen. Jim Buck in 2010 and lost. He is hoping for a backlash against Republicans for their right to work legislation, but Karikoff was one of five Republicans to vote against the right to work bill. Karikoff has an advantage, but it is a seat to see if Sosbe will get any money to run a campaign. This seat currently LEANS REPUBLICAN.
District 31: Hartford City-Marion
Incumbent: Kevin Mahan (R), elected 2010, McCain 52.3, Obama 46.6, Black 6.4, Hispanic 3.1
Dem: Marion School Board Member Katie Morgan; GOP: Rep. Kevin Mahan
The seat went from about even to McCain +6. Democrats tried several times before they finally won this seat in 2008, only to lose it again in 2010. Democrats have a strong candidate in Marion School Board member Katie Morgan. Though I really hope that anyone wanting to google her name adds "State Rep" or "Indiana" to her name, otherwise they will get a very different person in the adult entertainment industry. Mahan did vote for right to work and he is from the much smaller Blackford County, while Morgan is from more populous Grant County. She is a strong, hard working candidate who has the potential to put this race into the tossup range by October. But for now, this district currently LEANS REPUBLICAN.
District 32: Cicero-Tipton
Incumbent: Eric Turner (R), elected 1994, previously served 1982-1986, McCain 60.4, Obama 38.4, Black 0.6, Hispanic 2.6
Dem: None; GOP: Rep. P. Eric Turner
Turner finally got his smoking ban signed into law this year, and when Mike Pence becomes governor, he will be in the spotlight, as he is one of the leading social conservatives in the House. He is also unopposed. This district is SAFE REPUBLICAN
District 33: Portland-Winchester
Incumbent: Bill Davis (R), elected 2004, McCain 52.0, Obama 46.5, Black 0.6, Hispanic 2.4
Dem: Andy Schemenaur; GOP: Rep. Bill Davis
Believe it or not, Democrats actually held this seat for quite a while until Rep. Ron Liggett upset some of his voters in Jay County and lost it in the strong GOP year in Indiana of 2004. He tried to win it back in 2006 and 2010. Do not let the Obama number here fool you: this district has a decided Republican lean. Redistricting made it more Republican. Schemenaur has ran against Davis before with little luck. It is hard to see that changing this year. This district is SAFE REPUBLICAN.
District 34: Muncie
Incumbent: Mike White (D), appointed 2011, Obama 65.9, McCain 33.1, Black 11.2, Hispanic 2.2
Dem: Former Sen. Sue Errington; GOP: Dr. Brad Oliver
Rep. Dennis Tyler was elected mayor in 2011 and Democrats appointed a placeholder and let party members fight it out for this safe seat. The winner was Sue Errington, who lost her State Senate seat in 2010. She will not have to worry about that happening in this seat. She has a descent opponent in Dr. Brad Oliver, but this seat is not going to a Republican. This seat is SAFE DEMOCRAT.
District 35: Madison North-Delaware East
Incumbent: Jack Lutz (R), elected 1992, McCain 49.9, Obama 48.5, Black 1.3, Hispanic 1.8
Dem: Melanie Wright; GOP: Rep. Jack Lutz
Jack Lutz always looks like an inviting target, as this seat is competitive. However, since his close call with Terri Austin in 2000, he has easily kept this seat. Democrats have nominated Melanie Wright, an extremely energetic teacher, who is working hard, but the ability of Democrats to go on offense may be quite limited this year. This should be competitive when Lutz moves on though. This district is LIKELY REPUBLICAN.
District 36: Anderson
Incumbent: Terri Austin (D), elected 2002, Obama 57.6, McCain 41.2, Black 13.2, Hispanic 4.2
Dem: Rep. Terri Austin; GOP: Jim Lycan
Austin got a much safer seat after redistricting, now consisting of largely the city of Anderson. She did not even get an opponent until the summer when the GOP slated Tea Party member Jim Lycan. This seat is SAFE DEMOCRAT.
District 37: Fishers
NEW SEAT, McCain 59.0, Obama 40.5, Black 5.7, Hispanic 3.6, Asian 5.4
Dem: None; GOP: Todd Huston
This was where Rep. Scott Reske's seat went. Another automatic pickup for the GOP. Huston worked in the Daniels Administration and has been active in Republican politics, and even earned a primary endorsement from Mitch Daniels. He is unopposed in the fall. This seat is SAFE REPUBLICAN.
District 38: Frankfurt-Howard West
Incumbent: Heath VanNatter (R), elected 2010, previously served 2008, McCain 58.1, Obama 40.6, Black 1.7, Hispanic 8.2
Dem: None; GOP: Rep. Heath VanNatter
Van Natter is unopposed in this Republican stronghold. This district is SAFE REPUBLICAN.
District 40: Avon-Plainfield
Incumbent: Greg Steuerwald (R), appointed 2007, McCain 56.9, Obama 42.2, Black 8.6, Hispanic 4.2, Asian 3.2
Dem: John Follis; GOP: Rep. Greg Steurwald
This seat shrank a lot after redistricting and is slightly more Democratic, but not to the point that it could be competitive. It is SAFE REPUBLICAN.
District 41: Crawfordsville-Lebanon
Incumbent: Dr. Tim N. Brown, elected 1994, McCain 60.1, Obama 38.6, Black 0.6, Hispanic 3.6
Dem: None; GOP: Rep. Tim Brown
Brown is a well-respected member of the House and is conservative as well. He is unopposed as well. This seat is SAFE REPUBLICAN.
District 47: Franklin-Morgan Northeast
NEW SEAT, McCain 62.7, Obama 36.3, Black 0.8, Hispanic 2.3
Dem: Chris Grider; GOP: Johnson County Commissioner John Price
This is the third new seat in the Indy suburbs. It was created when Rep. Peggy Welch was paired with Rep. Ralph Foley. Like the other two new seats in this region, this one is heavily Republican and is out of reach for Democrats. Johnson County Commissioner John Price easily won a three way primary and will cruise in November. It is SAFE REPUBLICAN.
District 48: Elkhart North-Bristol
Incumbent: Tim Neese (R), elected 2002, McCain 51.7, Obama 47.4, Black 6.0, Hispanic 10.6
Dems: 2012 Congressional Candidate Dan Morrison; GOP: Rep. Tim Neese
Like some of the other Elkhart seats, the McCain number is about 10 points below the average Republican performance in the district. Neese has moved a little further to the right to avoid the fate of neighboring Republicans who lost primaries to conservative challengers. Democrats slated a candidate in June, who is none other than Dan Morrison, who got 46% of the vote in the congressional primary won by the favored Brenden Mullen. Because of Morrison bring the candidate her, this has the potential to develop into something competitive, but this is still Elkhart County, Republican turf. When I do an update next month, this may move. This district is LIKELY REPUBLICAN.
District 49: Goshen-Middlebury
Incumbent: Wes Culver (R), elected 2008, McCain 58.9, Obama 40.3, Black 1.3, Hispanic 16.6
Dem: None; GOP: Rep. Wes Culver
Democrats did not field a candidate. Can't get much safer than being unopposed. This is also the more Republican part of Elkhart County. This seat is SOLID REPUBLICAN.
Also, look at how the GOP chopped up Grant County, to prevent a Democrat like Joe Pearson from winning here. Also part of their plans can be seen in Madison and Delaware Counties. Each county is just short of two seats each. However, there are seats in Muncie and Anderson, and then the chop up the rest of Madison County three ways and Delaware County four ways.
I know you may be excited by the HD26 and HD 27 Obama numbers in the Lafayette area. But remember this, the Tippecanoe Democratic Party is pathetic. In 2008, when Obama won, they lost every county office and one State House seat. The only silver lining is that they do compete in city elections in Lafayette and West Lafayette. It just goes to show that IU is better than Purdue!
District 50: Huntington-Ft. Wayne Southwest
Incumbents: Dan Leonard (R), elected 2002 and Jeff Epsich (R-retiring), elected 1972, McCain 59.0, Obama 39.9, Black 3.4, Hispanic 3.8
Dem: Mike Wallin; GOP: Rep. Dan Leonard
This district amazed me in redistricting when Republicans paired Dan Leonard with longtime Rep. Jeff Epsich, who was put at a clear disadvantage turf wise. It was such a disadvantage that Epsich decided to retire from the House. Leonard has an opponent, but he should win easily in the Republican heavy district. This seat is SAFE REPUBLICAN.
District 51: Angola-LaGrange
Incumbent: Dick Dodge (R), appointed 2004, McCain 56.2, Obama 42.5, Black 0.4, Hispanic 3.5
Dem: Lon Keyes; GOP: Dr. Dennis Zent
If anyone watched the movie "The Distinguished Gentleman", you may remember the powerful committee chair that Eddie Murphy fought with was named Dick Dodge, like the St. Rep. here. However, Dodge decided to retire this year. He may have done so when he lost his DeKalb County from this district. The Republicans nominated Dr. Denny Zent, who is a dentist. Democrats have nominated pharmacist Lon Keyes. Zent should breeze into the House in this Republican area. This district is SAFE REPUBLICAN.
District 52: Garrett-Auburn
Incumbent: David Yarde (R-lost Senate primary), elected 2008, McCain 59.8, Obama 39.3, Black 0.9, Hispanic 2.4
Dem: Charles Odier; GOP: DeKalb County Councilman Ben Smaltz
This seat was left open when Rep. David Yarde decided to run a right wing challenge to Sen. Sue Glick. He lost badly. This opened up this seat centered on DeKalb County, which was won by DeKalb County Councilman Ben Smaltz, a big advocate for expansion of school vouchers. He will win this seat easily. It is SAFE REPUBLICAN.
District 53: Greenfield-Pendleton
Incumbents: Scott Reske (D-retiring), elected 2000, and Bob Cherry (R), elected 1998 McCain 61.5, Obama 37.3, Black 3.2, Hispanic 1.8
Dem: None; GOP: Rep. Robert Cherry; Libertarian: Kim Brand
Republicans made defeating Reske a top priority in 2010 and came up short. This time, they simply chopped up his seat. Reske ended up running for the open Dan Burton Congressional seat. Cherry has no Democratic opponent and should be able to hold this seat as long as he wants. This seat is SAFE REPUBLICAN.
District 54: New Castle-Rushville
Incumbent: Tom Saunders (R), elected 1986, McCain 51.9, Obama 46.3, Black 1.8, Hispanic 1.3
Dem: None; GOP: Rep. Tom Saunders; Libertarian: Jeremiah Morrell
Saunders was one of only five House Republicans to oppose right to work. His seat became much more blue due to the addition of the Democratic City of New Castle and reduction of rural parts of Wayne County. Saunders looked to be a big primary target, but he escaped a major challenge. He faces only a Libertarian in the fall, but look for him to get a primary challenge at some point for not towing the party line. This district is SOLID REPUBLICAN
District 58: Greenwood-Whiteland
Incumbent: Woody Burton (R), elected 1988, McCain 60.5, Obama 38.6, Black 1.4, Hispanic 4.3, Asian 3.1
Dem: None; GOP: Rep. Woody Burton
Dan Burton's brother will remain in office into 2013. He is unopposed. This seat is SAFE REPUBLICAN.
District 79: Decatur-Bluffton
Incumbent: Matthew Lehman (R), elected, McCain 62.8, Obama 36.0, Black 1.0, Hispanic 3.5
Dem: Mike Snyder; GOP: Rep. Matthew Lehman
This seat is heavily Republican and not very competitive. This seat is SAFE REPUBLICAN.
District 80, 81, 84, 85 are the core Allen County (Ft. Wayne). This will show you that the Democratic vote is concentrated downtown. However, I would not say concentrated to one seat. I was working on a fair State Senate map. I easily drew a 66% Obama district. There could easily be two districts that Democratic here.
District 80: Ft. Wayne Center
Incumbent: Phil GiaQuinta (D), elected 2006, Obama 80.2, McCain 19.2, Black 39.9, Hispanic 15.8, Asian 5.2
Dem: Rep. Phil GiaQuinta; GOP: None
Every Democrat in Allen County seemed to be packed into this seat. GiaQuinta would only have to worry about a primary challenge from a minority candidate. This seat is SAFE DEMOCRAT.
District 81: Ft. Wayne Northwest
Incumbent: Win Moses (D), elected 1992, Obama 51.1, McCain 47.9, Black 6.6, Hispanic 7.3
Dem: Rep. Win Moses; GOP: Martin Carbaugh; Libertarian: Alexander Avery
This seat became whiter and more Republican in redistricting. Moses lucked out in that he did not get an A list challenger and that there is a Libertarian. Moses has been around Ft. Wayne politics for more than 30 years and he should hold his seat this year, but not by a large margin unless he gets lazy before the election. Right now this seat LEANS DEMOCRAT, but it could shift either direction before November.
District 82: Kendallville-Churubusco
NEW SEAT, McCain 59.5, Obama 39.1, Black 0.3, Hispanic 7.5
Dem: Mike Wilbur; GOP: David Ober
If you wondered where Jeff Epsich's seat went, here it is. David Ober, who is only 25, narrowly won the primary here. He should have no trouble winning this heavily Republican district. This seat is SAFE REPUBLICAN.
District 83: Columbia City-Aboite Township
Incumbent: Kathy Heuer (R), elected 2010, McCain 60.4, Obama 38.8, Black 2.1, Hispanic 2.5
Dem: John Good; GOP: Rep. Kathy Heuer
Heuer was a big winner here as she got nearly all of Whitley County, along with Aboite Township in the Ft. Wayne area. This seat is very strongly titled to the GOP. This district is SAFE REPUBLICAN.
District 84: Ft. Wayne Northeast
Incumbent: Robert Morris (R), McCain 58.4, Obama 41.0, Black 5.5, Hispanic 3.6
Dem: Restaurant Owner Lee Jordan; GOP: Rep. Robert Morris; Libertarian: James Hanson
This seat should not be competitive at all. It is a traditionally Republican area in the Ft. Wayne area. However, Rep. Robert Morris has foot in mouth disease. He attacked the Girl Scouts for promoting abortion and homosexuality. Most people think that this was ridiculous. Morris also faces a problem that many Republicans that might be upset by his comments, but who would not vote Democratic might pull the lever for the Libertarian candidate. I doubt that Democrats win the seat in the end, but it is one to watch. This seat is LEAN REPUBLICAN.
District 85: Ft. Wayne East-New Haven
Incumbent: Phyllis Pond (R), elected 1978, McCain 60.8, Obama 38.4, Black 4.5, Hispanic 2.7
Dem: Evan Smith; GOP: Rep. Phyllis Pond; Constitution: Audrey Quackboerner
This seat is safely in GOP hands, but Pond is rarity today: she is moderate-conservative. Pond again faced a conservative challenger, but she easily dispatched him. It will be interesting to see how many conservatives back the Constitution Party. Either way though, this seat is SAFE REPUBLICAN.
Now: Marion County (some districts extend to suburban counties). There are five African American majority seats. Warning on these seats- the Obama number is probably 5-10 points higher than the actual Democratic performance of these seats.
District 86: Pike Township Northwest-Broad Ripple
Incumbent: Ed Delany (D), elected 2008, Obama 61.7, McCain 37.5, Black 18.2, Hispanic 6.3, Asian 2.4
Dem: Rep. Ed DeLaney; GOP: Luke Bosso
Republicans seem to always want to target this seat and they made it slightly less favorable to DeLaney, but he did not draw an A-list challenger. He has a well-known family name and should be fine this year, but look for the GOP to target the seat at some point. This seat is LIKELY DEMOCRAT.
District 87: Indianapolis North Side
Incumbent: Cindy Noe (R), elected 2002, Obama 52.8, McCain 46.5, Black 14.6, Hispanic 7.1, Asian 3.4
Dem: Christina Hale; GOP: Rep. Cindy Noe
Cindy Noe saw her district shift dramatically when she dropped parts of Hamilton and Boone Counties, and now completely in Marion County. This was traditionally extremely Republican, but Democrats have continued to grow here as Republicans move out to the suburbs. Despite President Obama's win here, this is still a Republican leaning seat. By the end of the decade, it will not be. Democrats have an energetic challenger here, but the Democrat's lack of money is felt even more in a seat like this than the rural ones. This seat is currently LIKELY REPUBLICAN.
District 88: Indianapolis Northeast-Fishers Southeast-Fortville
Incumbent: House Speaker Brian Bosma (R), elected 1986, McCain 57.6, Obama 41.8, Black 7.4, Hispanic 2.6, Asian 2.2
Dem: Brandon Perry; GOP: Rep. Brian Bosma
The Speaker really made a lot of improvements for himself. The Indy portion of this seat in Lawrence Township shrank and it moved into a few more Fishers precincts and into the corner of Hancock County. The result is that he has a fairly solid GOP seat. He may have been worried that if his seat were entirely in Marion County, that it might slip away from him by 2020. This seat will not, it is SAFE REPUBLICAN.
District 89: Beech Grove-Warren Township East
Incumbent: Cindy Kirchhofer (R), elected 2010, Obama 51.8, McCain 47.1, Black 13.9, Hispanic 6.2
Dem: None; GOP: Rep. Cindy Kirchofer
What an embarrassment the Indiana Democratic Party is, letting a seat that they had just lost in 2010, and while pushed a little further to the GOP in redistricting, yet still voted for Obama, go unopposed. This seat is a SAFE REPUBLICAN.
District 90: Indianapolis Southeast
Incumbent: Mike Speedy (R), elected 2010, McCain 58.2, Obama 40.9, Black 3.4, Hispanic 4.1, Asian 3.1
Dem: None; GOP: Rep. Mike Speedy
This is the most Republican part of Marion County, and Speedy is unopposed. It is SAFE REPUBLICAN.
District 91: Indianapolis Southwest-Plainfield
Incumbent: Robert Behning (R), elected 1992, McCain 54.4, Obama 44.4, Black 4.5, Hispanic 5.6
Dem: Michael Blinn; GOP: Rep. Robert Behning
This seat is gradually trending Democrat, but not to the point that they can contest it. Right now it is SAFE REPUBLICAN.
District 92: Indianapolis West Side-Speedway
Incumbent: Phil Hinkle (R-retiring), elected 2000, not running for re-election, Obama 54.7, McCain 44.3, Black 20.1, Hispanic 12.8
Dem: Karlee Macer; GOP: Tim Motsinger
Phil Hinkle had problems. They seem to revolve around his phone and the downtown Marriott in Indianapolis. Speaker Bosma has called for him to resign, but he has refused, but did agree not to run for reelection. This is the most competitive seat in the Indianapolis region. The GOP candidate, Tim Motsinger, won a nasty primary over Brad Rider. Motsinger also ran for Marion County Sheriff in 2010, dropping out of the primary when it was revealed he had received $200,000 in donations from Tim Durham, now a convicted felon, who was dubbed the "Madoff of the Midwest". He returned the contribution and withdrew. Democrats will surely use this against him. This seat is now a TOSSUP.
District 93: Perry Township South-Johnson Northwest
Incumbent: David Frizzell (R), elected 1992, McCain 58.7, Obama 40.3, Black 2.4, Hispanic 4.6, Asian 5.6
Dem: Ryan Guillroy; GOP: Rep. David Frizzell
Frizzell's seat takes in part of Perry Township and a few Johnson County precincts. The result is the district mainly just got smaller. It is still heavily Republican and will stay that way. Frizzell will hold this seat as long as he wants. It is SAFE REPUBLICAN.
District 94: Pike Township Southeast
Incumbent: Cherrish Pryor (D), elected 2008, Obama 82.6, McCain 17.0, Black 52.2, Hispanic 16.4, Asian 2.7
Dem: Rep. Cherrish Pryor; GOP: None; Socialist Party: Ronald Haldeman
You know that you have a strong Democratic seat when their challenge comes from the Socialist Party. This seat is SAFE DEMOCRAT.
District 95: Lawrence Township South
Incumbent: John Bartlett (D), elected 2008, Obama 79.2, McCain 20.4, Black 52.4, Hispanic 11.2
Dem: Rep. John Bartlett; GOP: None
Another strongly Democratic, African American district. This seat is SAFE DEMOCRAT.
District 96: Center Township North-Washington Township South
Incumbent: Greg Porter (D), elected 1992, Obama 87.3, McCain 12.2, Black 53.7, Hispanic 4.3
Dem: Rep. Greg Porter; GOP: Karl Scharnberg; Libertarian: Wesley Bishop
This was the highest Obama district in Indy and second best in the state. It also contains Precinct 23-002. It has the distinction of the only Indiana precinct that President Obama received 100% of the vote. Many other precincts here, McCain got less than ten votes. Enough said. This seat is SAFE DEMOCRAT.
District 97: Southwest Side Indianapolis-Perry Township North
Incumbent: Mary Ann Sullivan (D-retiring), elected 2000, Obama 58.8, McCain 40.0, Black 8.6, Hispanic 13.6, Asian 2.2
Dem: Justin Moed; GOP: A.J. Feeney-Ruiz
The Obama number here belies the competitive nature of this seat, and its local Republican lean. If you don't believe me, ask Rep. Mary Ann Sullivan, who is vacating the seat to run for a tough State Senate run. Democrats locally have to hop that they get an Obama boost to pull them across the finish line. Both party's candidates here are young and energetic. Republicans may push national money into this race to try to get Feeney-Ruiz elected, to promote Hispanic candidates across the country. Both of the candidates have worked in various levels of state government- Moed in the State House of Representatives and Feeney-Ruiz for the Secretary of State, so that you know that they will both be able to raise quite a bit of money. I have seen one article calling this the "Battle of the Rising Stars". This is a TOSSUP.
District 98: Center Township East-Warren Township North
Incumbent: Bill Crawford (D-retiring), elected 1972, Obama 82.4, McCain 17.0, Black 52.9, Hispanic 10.1
Dem: Robin Shackelford; GOP: None
Bill Crawford's seat will easily stay in Democratic hands. This seat is SAFE DEMOCRAT.
District 99: Center Township Northwest-Warren Township North
Incumbents: Vanessa Summers (D), appointed 1991 and Jeb Bardon (D-retiring), elected 1998, Obama 84.2, McCain 15.3, Black 51.2, Hispanic 16.5
Dem: Rep. Vanessa Summers; GOP: David Blank
Jeb Bardon took away a Republican seat in 1998 from Candy Marendt. It was configured heavily in his favor in 2001 and he held it easily. Republicans eliminated it and he was paired with Rep. Vanessa Summers. He took it well. He announced he would be supporting Summers. This district is mainly on the west side, but has tenticles north and west to pick up addition black voters to keep the number above 50%. Nothing much else to say here. This seat is SAFE DEMOCRAT.
District 100: Center Township Southeast-Warren Park
Incumbent: John Day (D-retiring), elected 1996, previously served 1974-1994, Obama 63.3, McCain 35.4, Black 15.5, Hispanic 10.9
Dem: Dan Forestal; GOP: Former City-County Councilman Scott Keller; Libertarian: James Nease
This a traditionally Democratic working class white district. Forestal should win here easily. This seat is SAFE DEMOCRAT.
This is the final count. Republicans drew a fair map my back side. 48 seats are either Safe or Likely Republican, and that may be a conservative estimate. To take the House back, Democrats would need to win every Democratic seat, all the tossups, and all but one Lean Republican seat. Democrats may struggle to even hold the number of seats they have today. Even if Democrats won every seat leaning their way, plus all three groups of tossups, they are still at only 43 seats. In a landslide year, the GOP could get close to 70 seats. This is disturbing and hypocritical. For years I heard Brian Bosma and the GOP complain that they got a certain percentage of the total vote in the state legislature but did not win the majority. This map could put them at majorities far above their total vote share.
Solid Dem (20): 1, 2, 3, 6, 9, 10, 14, 34, 36, 43, 61, 71, 77, 80, 94, 95, 96, 98, 99, 100
Likely Dem (3): 7, 8, 86
Lean Dem (5): 12, 27, 66, 74, 81
Pure Tossup (9): 19, 42, 45, 56, 60, 69, 76, 92, 97
Lean GOP (11): 5, 13, 15, 26, 30, 31, 46, 70, 73, 75, 84
Likely GOP (9): 11, 20, 35, 55, 62, 64, 67, 72, 87
Solid GOP (43): 4, 16, 17, 18, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 28, 29, 32, 33, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 44, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 57, 58, 59, 63, 65, 68, 78, 79, 82, 83, 85, 88, 89, 90, 91, 93