HAMMOND, Ind. (AP) — The new leader of minority Democrats in the Indiana
House of Representatives says her caucus faces an uphill battle holding onto
all of its 40 current seats in the November elections.
Rep. Linda Lawson of Hammond believes it will take a group effort for
Democrats to maintain the 40 seats and perhaps pick off a few of the 60
Republican seats after legislative district boundaries were redrawn last
year to benefit Republican candidates.
“I’ve looked at the numbers, and realistically it’s a really tough uphill
battle for us to win a bunch of seats,” Lawson told The Times of Munster in
an interview published Sunday. “But it’s a good team.”
The seven-term representative was elected House Democratic leader Thursday,
replacing state Rep. Pat Bauer of South Bend.
“I was terrified, I was sick to my stomach, I thought I was going to die,”
Lawson told the newspaper of becoming House Democratic leader. But by Friday
afternoon, the nervous feelings had turned into excitement.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” she said. “My goal is that we can continue
that spirit of camaraderie and teamwork where we work together, iron out our
problems and come up with the best solution.”
She said bringing supporters of the ousted Bauer back into the fold will be
an essential task when the caucus meets again next week. Bauer has thrown
his support behind Lawson. For the past two years, Lawson served as Bauer’s
Democrats aren’t saying who their leader might be after Election Day, but
Lawson said she would be willing to stay on if the core group that made her
leader continued to share the workload. Otherwise, she would be content with
returning to the No. 2 House Democrat role.
“I know there are some people who really want this and that would be fine
with me,” she said. “I never really had these kinds of aspirations."