INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -
Early voting began Tuesday across Indiana in advance of the May 3 primary
election, one in which the state could hold more sway than usual in the
presidential races for Democrats and Republicans.
The state’s primary
election generally comes after most states already have voted on
presidential picks, but as the candidates vie for attention at the polls,
they’ve started organizing in Indiana.
Here are some
things to keep in mind during the month before the election, which also
features races for Congress and various statewide offices:
In the bitter 2008
Democratic primary battle between then-Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary
Clinton, Indiana got an intimate glimpse of presidential politics, with
Obama shooting hoops in a Kokomo gym and Clinton aiming for working
class-appeal by knocking back a shot of whiskey at a northwest Indiana bar.
will get a presidential moment of their own, says Mike Murphy, a former
state lawmaker and Marion County GOP chairman, who notes tea party-backed
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich likely face an uphill fight
against businessman Donald Trump.
profile matches pretty closely with the profile of national Trump
supporters: high school-educated white males who have seen the economy pass
them by,” said Murphy, who supported former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
Trump and Kasich
each have hired Indiana campaign workers.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has opened eight offices across the state, and
Clinton has hired staff and opened and Indianapolis office.
A SENATE SEAT
retirement of Republican U.S. Sen. Dan Coats has spawned an increasingly
hostile intraparty battle between Republican U.S. Reps. Marlin Stutzman and
Though they were
both elected in 2010 and have campaigned as stalwart conservatives on
similar platforms, they’ve turned on each other as the race enters its final
stretch. Young is trying to paint his tea party-backed rival as an ideologue
who prioritizes obstructionism over passing legislation, while Stutzman has
characterized Young as a pawn of the establishment at a time when Americans
are increasingly frustrated with “a system that benefits a few people.”
open congressional seats are drawing a lot of interest. In Stutzman’s deeply
Republican district near Fort Wayne, state Sens. Jim Banks and Liz Brown, as
well as retired doctor Pam Galloway and businessman Kip Tom are in the
Indiana district, which encompasses Bloomington, pits Republican Attorney
General Greg Zoeller, GOP state Sens. Erin Houchin and Brent Waltz against
one another. Wealthy businessman Trey Hollingsworth, who until recently
lived in Tennessee, also created a splash after he moved to Indiana, entered
the race and loaned and donated nearly $700,000 to his own campaign. A super
PAC supporting him called “Indiana Jobs Now” has run a series of brutal ads
attacking Zoeller while declaring Hollingsworth the “the only conservative
Council member Shelli Yoder, an instructor at Indiana University and
one-time Miss Indiana, is running for the Democratic Party nomination.
State officials are
warning Indiana’s 92 counties to prepare for voter turnout that could
approach levels set in the 2008 Democratic primary, when Clinton narrowly
“We have urged the
counties, who will do the lion’s share of the work, to plan for as large a
volume as possible when it comes to voter registration, absentee ballots and
voter turnout on election day,” said Brad King, Republican co-director of
the bipartisan Indiana Election Division.
King said the state
has increasingly embraced new technology to minimize problems that can arise
when heightened voter participation creates an equally large amount of
paperwork. Increasingly, counties are leaving behind a restrictive
precinct-based system and switching “voting centers” that are set up in
convenient locations and open to all who want to cast a ballot.
And some counties
have developed apps that show which voting centers have the shortest wait
time, officials said.