SOUTH BEND – While it’s not like a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court, Congresswoman Jackie Walorski now has nearly the same job security as Amy Coney Barrett.
 
Walorski won reelection to a fifth term by 23 percentage points, once again winning in nine of the 10 counties in Indiana’s 2nd Congressional District. Only in St. Joseph County, largest in the district, did she trail Pat Hackett, a determined Democratic challenger. And what happened in St. Joseph County tells the story of Walorski’s job security.
 
Democrats, knowing Walorski never can be defeated without a huge Democratic margin in St. Joseph County, once a bastion of Democratic strength, wanted a big turnout in the biggest county to overcome Walorski’s margin in the sprawling Republican territory in the district. They dream of an old-time Democratic plurality of 20,000 votes.
 
Well, there was a big turnout in St. Joseph County, just as in most of the nation. But Hackett carried the county by just over 3,000 votes. That margin was almost entirely wiped out by Walorski’s win by nearly 3,000 votes in Pulaski County, smallest in the district.

Elkhart County was the one with a huge plurality of 24,000 votes for Walorski. Then there was Kosciusko County, where Walorski got 80% of the vote. For the district, Walorski won with 61.5%, her highest percentage ever.
 
Hackett, who tried hard and successfully got her message extensively on TV, had no chance this year. The big blue wave needed for a chance never came. Indiana remained Trumpiana. As in so many other congressional districts throughout the nation, the heavy turnout involved Republicans as well as Democrats. While President Trump lost in key battleground states and even in Arizona and Georgia, the Democratic brand proved unpopular beneath the presidential level.
 
Democrats didn’t upset a single Republican House member and lost every one of the “tossup” House races.
 
A big Walorski win in a bad year for Democratic congressional candidates doesn’t mean she is certain to keep winning or that Democrats should stop trying. However, the totals of Nov. 3 certainly indicate solid job security.
 
Democrats complain that she wins because of gerrymandering. That’s a factor. It will continue to be a factor for the next decade. The Republican-dominated General Assembly now will draw the districts for use until after the 2030 Census. Still, even if Democrats controlled redistricting, it would be tough to draw a district with a lot more Democratic voters. There just isn’t much Democratic territory near St. Joseph County.
 
And what happened in St. Joseph County shows even that long-time Democratic territory isn’t solid. All three county commissioners now are Republicans. Commissioner Deb Fleming won again, despite all-out Democratic efforts to defeat her.
 
Amazingly, Republican Derek Dieter, newly switched to the GOP, won the other commissioner seat at stake this year in a district where a Democrat won by 5,000 votes in 2016. Dieter flipped a lot of Democratic votes, combining old politics and new, from large newspaper ads and going door to door to extensive social media. He won by nearly 1,000 votes. The Democratic incumbent even lost in the coroner race.
 
Joe Biden won comfortably in the presidential race, though not by anything close to an old-time Democratic margin. Gov. Eric Holcomb was the big winner in the county in total votes.
 
All this means Walorski seems certain of job security if she wants to keep running for Congress. No doubt she does. She wisely avoided the losing gamble of some other House Republicans in recent elections, forsaking safe districts for losing efforts to win a Senate seat. Why would she want to leave the House with the seniority she has and with a seat on the powerful Ways and Means Committee?
 
And she’s never going to get appointed to lifetime job security on the Supreme Court. 

Colwell is a South Bend Tribune columnist.