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Indiana primaries: Wealthy newcomer grabs US House nod; Young wins for Senate

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ARIC CHOKEY

Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - A wealthy political newcomer and a state senator won the Republican primaries for Indiana’s two open congressional seats on Tuesday as businessman Donald Trump scored a big victory in the presidential race and Rep. Todd Young captured the GOP’s Senate nomination.

Bernie Sanders won the state’s Democratic primary, scoring a narrow victory over front-runner Hillary Clinton.

Two top leaders of the Indiana Senate also turned aside primary challengers.

PRESIDENTIAL STAKES

Trump collected at least 51 of Indiana’s 57 Republican delegates to the party’s national convention. Trump won 30 of those with his statewide victory. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz suspended his campaign after losing in Indiana, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich was expected to announce later on Wednesday that he also is quitting the race, leaving Trump as the presumptive Republican nominee.

With 83 Democratic delegates at stake, Sanders will gain at least 43. Clinton picked up at least 37. Those are allocated based on their vote percentages in each congressional district. The state has nine Democratic superdelegates, who are members of Congress or party leaders and can support the candidate of their choice regardless of the outcome of the primary outcome.

U.S. SENATE RACE

Young won by a wide margin after a contentious campaign against tea party-backed Rep. Marlin Stutzman, who characterized Young as an establishment pawn at a time when voters are increasingly frustrated with Washington. Young attacked Stutzman as an ideologue who prioritizes obstructionism over passing legislation.

National Republicans are looking for Young to keep party control of the seat that’s opening up with the retirement of GOP Sen. Dan Coats. The November election will see Young face former U.S. Rep. Baron Hill, who was unopposed for the Democratic nomination.

9TH CONGRESSIONAL

DISTRICT

Political newcomer Trey Hollingsworth, who moved to Indiana in September from Tennessee, won the Republican nomination for the 9th Congressional District.

Hollingsworth’s victory comes after he and his father spent at least $1.7 million of their own money on his campaign. Other Republicans accused Hollingsworth of trying to buy the congressional seat, but his television commercial-heavy campaign presented him as a political outsider.

Hollingsworth said he believed voters saw him as someone with business experience who can bring change to Washington.

“We’re excited that tens of thousands of Hoosiers put their trust into the campaign,” he told The Associated Press. “I think democracy has worked.”

The district spanning from the Ohio River to the southern suburbs of Indianapolis is now held by Republican Rep. Todd Young, who won the party’s nomination for the Senate.

The five-candidate field included Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller and state Sens. Erin Houchin and Brent Waltz.

Hollingsworth will face Democratic candidate Shelli Yoder of Bloomington, a Monroe County Council member who’s running again after a competitive 2012 loss to Young.

3rd CONGRESSIONAL

DISTRICT

State Sen. Jim Banks won the Republican primary for northeastern Indiana’s open 3rd Congressional District seat.

The 36-year-old legislator from Columbia City prevailed in a six-candidate field seeking to replace U.S. Rep. Marlin Stutzman, who gave up the seat for his unsuccessful Senate campaign.

Banks benefited from the backing of several national conservative groups in a campaign that also included state Sen. Liz Brown of Fort Wayne and agricultural business owner Kip Tom of Leesburg.

The district that includes Fort Wayne is solidly Republican and Banks will be a heavy favorite to win the seat in the November general election. Banks was first elected to the state Senate in 2010 and spent eight months in Afghanistan during 2014-15 as a member of the Navy Reserve.

LEGISLATIVE

LEADERSHIP CHALLENGES

The two most powerful leaders of the Indiana Senate defeated Republican primary challengers who criticized their handling of contentious issues in the GOP-dominated General Assembly.

Senate President Pro Tem David Long of Fort Wayne and Senate Appropriations Chairman Luke Kenley of Noblesville have been Republican power brokers over the past decade at the Statehouse.

Long turned aside a challenge from a college economics instructor who picked up support from social conservatives critical of Long for pushing an unsuccessful proposal this year that would have extended state anti-discrimination protections to lesbian, gay and bisexual people.

At least two incumbent legislators lost in Republican primaries. Rep. Casey Cox of Fort Wayne, who sponsored the law approved this year that bans abortions sought because of genetic abnormalities, was defeated by Dave Heine, a former executive with hardware retailer Do it Best Corp. Sen. Pete Miller of Avon fell to John Crane, who founded the Sagamore Leadership Initiative, a Christian youth training program.

 

Posted 5/4/2016

 
 
 
 

 

 

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