INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -
The GOP primary field for Indiana’s open U.S. Senate seat is set after U.S.
Rep. Marlin Stutzman opted not to challenge his rival’s candidacy in court.
The deadline to
file a court challenge passed this week and Stutzman’s campaign confirmed
Tuesday that it will not further challenge U.S. Rep. Todd Young’s placement
on the May 3 primary ballot.
The race to fill
the seat of GOP Sen. Dan Coats, who is retiring, could have national
implications as Democrats seek to retake control of the Senate. That would
require a net gain of four Senate seats and a Democrat winning the White
House so that a Democratic vice president would break Senate ties. The
Indiana Democratic nominee for Senate is former U.S. Rep. Baron Hill.
Democrats, as well
as the tea party-backed Stutzman, had challenged Young’s candidacy, arguing
that he hadn’t gathered the 500 required petition signatures from each of
the state’s nine congressional districts. An Associated Press analysis of
Young’s petitions found he was three signatures short in northwestern
Indiana’s 1st Congressional District.
Earlier this month,
Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody said Democrats would not take
Young to court.
election board deadlocked in a party-line vote last month after hearing
arguments from Democrats and Stutzman, who was later criticized by the GOP
establishment for appearing alongside Democrats. A majority vote was needed
to remove Young from the ballot.
members said they believed Young’s campaign relied in good faith on counts
of petition signatures submitted by county clerks and that shouldn’t cause
voters to lose the chance to consider “serious and viable candidates.”