By BRIAN A. HOWEY

INDIANAPOLIS – This was supposed to be one of those “red wave” mid-terms. Throughout the first eight months of 2022, Republicans such as U.S. Rep. Jim Banks were making 1994-style predictions.

“If the election were held today, we’re going to win 30 to 40 seats in the House and in the Senate I think we end up with a 53- to 55-seat majority,” Banks told Howey Politics Indiana in March. “We still have a ways to go so we’ll see what happens. The political dynamics because of the clear dissatisfaction with the Biden administration and the Democrat agenda which is so far out of touch where most Americans are, ignoring gas prices, inflation and issues related to the border; the president’s numbers are so bad this is going to be a wave election unlike anything we’ve seen in a long time, since 1994. All the polling shows that, but we still have a long way to go.”

Ahhh, yes, that “if the election were held today” sentiment. Except, we still have a little more than 60 days to go!

During that “long ways to go,” we’ve witnessed the U.S. Supreme Court repeal Roe v. Wade; the Indiana General Assembly pass one of the nation’s most restrictive abortion bans that several polls have revealed to be wildly out of step of prevailing public sentiment; while President Joe Biden stacked up some congressional victories on gun reforms, climate and CHIPS.

We’ve witnessed gas prices decline for more than 60 straight days, decreasing from $5 to a national average of $3.85. Inflation is also down from 9.1% in June to 8.5% in August. The University of Michigan’s final August reading on the overall index on consumer sentiment came in at 58.2, up from 55.1 earlier this month and 51.5 in July.

Yahoo News observes: Since the last national vote in 2020, the country has endured, among other things, an attack on the U.S. Capitol, an ugly withdrawal from a 20-year war in Afghanistan, the reversal of Roe vs. Wade and an FBI search of a former president’s home. There have been the continuing horrors of mass shootings in schools, supermarkets, and even a 4th of July parade. And the COVID-19 pandemic, while waning from the political forefront, still weighs on the nation’s physical and mental state.

Then there’s the Biden rebound. Between July 21, 2021, and July 21, 2022, according to the FiveThirtyEight poll average, his approval rating plummeted from 52.1% to 37.5%, a drastic slump that led some of his critics to write him off (New Yorker). But, since Biden’s overall rating reached its nadir, last month, it has risen by five points. Heading into Labor Day, it stood at 42.4%. Democrat candidates have begun to reappear at the president’s side.

Of course, there’s Donald Trump. Many rational Republicans had been hoping – praying – that he would stay off the campaign trail so that the focus could be on gas prices, inflation, the southern border. But Trump continues to suck the oxygen from the room – hell, the entire mansion – culminating with the August FBI “search/raid” of Mar-a-Lago where hundreds of pages of top secret documents were found in one of the resort’s storage rooms as well as the former president’s desk.

That prompted U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham to predict Republican “riots in streets” if he were to be indicted (which we believe to be unlikely prior to Nov. 8).

Last Thursday, President Biden said in a “national address” (it was carried by cable networks), “MAGA Republicans do not respect the Constitution. They do not believe in the rule of law.” Biden said in what was the opening shot of the mid-term homestretch, “They do not recognize the will of the people. They refuse to accept the results of a free election. They tried everything last time to nullify the votes of 81 million people. This time, they’re determined to succeed in thwarting the will of the people. I will not stand by and watch elections in this country stolen by people who simply refuse to accept that they lost.”

The White House political team had watched the issue of “threats to American” democracy rise to the top in a late August NBC Poll. The plan was to bait Trump, and he took it. Trump responded in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., at his first post-FBI search MAGA rally on Saturday night, calling Biden an “enemy of the state” while heaping praise on Russian President Putin and China President Xi, calling them “fierce” and “smart.” He praised Xi for ruling with an “iron fist,” something he said on a conference call with a Republican Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate Geoff Diehl. “He’ll rule your state with an iron fist and he’ll do what has to be done,” Trump said of the GOP nominee.

So much for attracting suburban, educated female voters. As Indiana Democratic secretary of state nominee Destiny Wells said following the Biden address, “Backed by disgraced former President Trump, these election deniers spend their time sowing fake news and instilling baseless fear in Americans about the electoral system, which is largely free from fraud. Our electoral system has given Americans a safe, secure manner of expressing our constitutional right to vote. What’s more important? Nothing.”

In Indiana, Howey Politics Indiana General Assembly race analysis has seven House seats and one Senate seat in its “tossup” zone. We rate the secretary of state’s race between Wells and Republican Diego Morales as a tossup.

The lone congressional seat in play, CD1, had freshman U.S. Rep. Frank Mrvan hitting Republican nominee Jennifer-Ruth Green as an abortion extremist. She responded by criticizing Democrats for inflation, high gas prices and President Biden’s attempt at cancelling student loan debt. HPI’s Horse Race continues to rate this as “Likely” Mrvan. There are no other competitive Indiana congressional races.

As for how the abortion issue and Gov. Eric Holcomb’s signing of SEA1 is playing out, we’ve repeatedly reached out to Indiana Democrats to see if there’s been a corresponding increase in new female voter registration. While it has skyrocketed in Kansas, Michigan and Wisconsin, there are no metrics for Indiana. National analyses don’t include Indiana in the mix for angered females seeking retribution at the ballot box on Nov. 8. While this mid-term cycle began in harrowing style for Indiana Democrats, beyond Destiny Wells, there is little evidence they will make more than nominal inroads in General Assembly races.

When the IndyStar published an internal “poll” by Democrat Senate nominee Thomas McDermott Jr., showing him trailing Sen. Todd Young by just 3%, our BS-o-meter lit up. It reminded us of the DCCC releasing a 5th CD internal poll in August 2020 showing Democrat Christina Hale leading Republican Victoria Spartz 50-44%. On Election Day, the 5th CD results were nearly opposite, with Spartz winning 50% to 45.9%.

The question to be asked is have there been any campaign activities (the dropping of hundreds of gross rating points) or changes in cycle dynamics? The cash-strapped McDermott campaign hasn’t been able to run TV ads. Sen. Young just began airing ads, though the fact that he wasn’t up on TV until Labor Day is revealing and tells you where the Young campaign believes it stands. McDermott had predicted that the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs ruling would light a spark that would correspond with the national Democrats’ national rebound. We’re not seeing credible evidence in Indiana, and thus HPI’s Horse Race continues to rate the INSen race as “Likely” Young.

NBC News reported on Tuesday that $1.4 billion had been booked from Tuesday through Election Day for all political races across the country, per AdImpact. Democrats have the spending edge over Republican in advertising time booked at this point – more than $658 million to $554 million, with another $183 million booked by other groups.

FiveThirtyEight gives Democrats a 68% chance to win majority control of the U.S. Senate and Republicans a 75% chance to retake control of the U.S. House. But there are ominous signs for the lower chamber, where Democrats have won five House seats since Roe was overturned, including upsets of Sarah Palin in Alaska and a pickup of a tossup seat in upstate New York.

“Republicans this election cycle thought they had finally achieved a breakthrough with suburban women after years of losing support,” Politico’s Natalie Allison reports Tuesday. “Now, as the primary season has all but ended, the GOP is back where it once was: Appealing directly to skeptical female voters, the women whose support will make or break the party’s drive to retake the Senate majority.” Said one anonymous GOP strategist working on Senate races: “Our problem is particularly white middle-aged women. We need to soften our guys.”

“If anything, Republicans are doubling down on Trump and Trumpism,” said FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver. “This week, he demanded a redo of the 2020 election. Republicans have had problems with candidate quality in Senate and gubernatorial races before, but this year, inexperienced and/or very right-wing candidates – often ones endorsed by Trump – are the rule and not the exception. All that said, I still think the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe – and maybe declining inflation – are the more important factors in Democrats’ recent surge. But Republicans are behaving in atypical ways for an opposition party in the mid-terms, and they may get an atypically poor outcome as a result.”

GOP pollster Patrick Ruffino told Politico, “It just seems to me at the moment that turnout is going to be through the roof on both sides. It’s going to be higher than it was in 2018. And both sides have reason to turn out now. Then it becomes a question of which of the two sides ultimately kind of has the upper hand. So, the case for Republicans is, just historically, what really matters and what has mattered in midterms has been the performance of the incumbent.”

Then there’s Donald Trump (again). Conservative journalist Tim Miller asks in The Bulwark, “Where’d all the GOP ad money go?” He cites July FEC reports showing Senate Dems with a $31 million cash advantage over Republicans, while House Democrats have a $24 million edge. The answer is Donald Trump’s SAVE America PAC, which has raised $103 million between Jan. 7, 2021 and July. Trump PACs have raised $125 million, but they have spent less than 10% on 2022 GOP candidates. “In fact,” Miller writes, “he’s spent more than twice as much on legal expenses than he’s put down on candidate contributions.” 

Battle for the Indiana House

The battle for the Indiana House is dominated by 42 unopposed incumbents, including Speaker Todd Huston and Majority Leader Matt Lehman. This could be seen as a historic missed opportunity for Indiana Democrats, who entered this cycle facing a Republican tsunami with a 71-29 super minority, but in August found momentum after the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision and the passage of SEA1.

Of the remaining 58 seats, Howey Politics Indiana rates six Republican-held seats and two Democrats as tossups, most coming in suburban areas where an influx of Democratic female voters could tip the scales. This includes the newly created open HD25 and HD32 in Hamilton County, along with those of Republican Reps. Dale DeVon, Julie Olthoff, Jerry Torr and Donna Schaibley. The two tossup Democrats include State Rep. Teri Austin and Mitch Gore.

In our “leans” category, we find suburban Republican State Rep. Jake Teshka along with Democrat Rep. Chris Campbell. “Leans” means that these seats are in play with the winner expected to win by 5% or less.

There are another six Republican and open seats in our “likely” category (including Republican Reps. Wendy McNamara, Hal Slager, and Elizabeth Rowray and Martin Carbaugh, and Democrats Sue Errington and Justin Moed.

One seat expected to flip would be HD62 which was redrawn, abandoned by Republican State Rep. Jeff Ellington (who lost in the HD45 primary to Rep. Bruce Borders), and is expected to be won by Monroe County Commissioner Penny Githens.?

In the Aug. 11 edition, a Howey Politics Indiana analysis of Indiana Senate races reveals that out of the 17 contested races in November, potential pickups remain elusive for Democrats. HPI rates only SD31 (Sen. Kyle Walker v. Fishers Councilwoman Jocelyn Vare) as a tossup. We rate five races – SD 1, SD11, SD26, SD45 and SD47 – in our “Leans” category, with four of these currently held by Republicans.

Impacts of SEA1

In light of some GOP candidates for U.S. Senate and House “scrubbing” their websites and social media of their extreme abortion statements, it’s useful to look at the exposure legislative incumbents and candidates have to the issue.

In looking at incumbents, first and foremost, roll call votes on SB 1 and amendments can’t be erased. Here’s a quick look at potentially controversial votes.

Rep. Jay Davisson had an amendment to remove fetal anomaly from the exceptions to the abortion ban. Motion failed; 35 Republicans voting in favor including Devon and  Teshka. Jeeter voted for it while Sen. Kyle Walker made it publicly known that he supported this exception. Again, those two will be running in a common area with opposite positions.

Rep. Karen Engleman’s amendment to eliminate rape and incest exceptions. The Motion failed 39-61. Potential Dem targets Devon and Teshka vote Yes. Potential targets Oltoff, Torr and Schaibley vote No.

Rep. Cindy Ziemke’s amendment to allow abortion up to 13 weeks. The motion failed 34-65. Dem targets Devon, Teshka, Oltoff, Schaibley, Torr voted no.

House roll call final passage of SEA-1: The bill passes 62-38. Dem targets Devon, Teshka, Oltoff, Schaibley, Torr voted yes.

Here is the first HPI Horse Race roundup of Indiana House races. This will be updated as we move closer toward Election Day.

Indiana House contested races

HD5: Rep. Dale DeVon [R] v. Heidi Beidinger [D]. 2020 Results: DeVon 14,617 (50.7%) Donald Westerhausen 14,190 (49.3%). Forecast: Beidinger has a background in public health. She is a professor at Notre Dame and currently serves as the president of the St. Joseph County Board of Health. She worked at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and was a consultant in K-12 education for nearly 10 years before her work at the CDC. “I have heard from several former Republicans in my district who have reached a breaking point, Beidinger said. “For them, Indiana’s government intrusion into what should be personal medical decisions is a bridge too far.” DeVon voted for the Engleman amendment to SB1 that would have eliminated the rape and incest exceptions as well as the final version of SB1. She is also critical of education spending, tweeting, “If you want to understand someone’s priorities, look at how they spend their money. In Indiana, teachers are paid more than 20% less than other college-educated workers. That’s completely backwards...they should be paid as much or more!” DeVon posted $5,339 on his pre-primary report compared to $44,472 for Beidinger. Horse Race Status: Tossup.


HD7: Rep. Jake Teshka [R] v. Ross Deal [D]. 2020 Results: Teshka 14,668 (54%), Deal 12,498 (46%). Forecast: This is a rematch of the 2020 race when Teshka defeated Deal 54% to 46%. Deal was elected by precinct committee officials in 2018 when Joe Taylor resigned. Teshka voted for the Engleman amendment that would have eliminated the rape/incest abortion exceptions and he voted for the final version of SB1. Teshka has raised $60,529 this cycle and had a pre-primary cash balance of $57,883. Deal had a pre-primary balance of $6,257. Horse Race Status: Leans Teshka.

HD15: Rep. Hal Slager [R] v. Chris Kukuch [D]. 2020 results: Slater 17,813 (51.3%), Rep. Chris Chyung (D) 16,751 (48.5%). Slager won back his seat against Chyung. Kukuch, who is employed by the Indiana BMV and lives in Schererville, badly lost his race to unseat Sen. Frank Mrvan Sr. in 2018. This seat should be in play, but we don’t see much campaign activity from Kukuch. Horse Race Status: Leans Slager.

HD19: Rep. Julie Olthoff [R] v. Lisa Beck [D]. 2020 Results: Olthoff (R) 19,496 (51.8%), Rep. Beck 18,135 (48.2%). Forecast: Democrats and Republicans have taken turns winning and losing this seat. Olthoff defeated Democrat Shelli VanDenberg in 2014. Olthoff was defeated by Beck in 2018. Olthoff regained the seat in 2020. She voted against the Engleman amendment closing the rape/incest exception to SB1 in August. She voted for the final version of SB1. The ISTA’s IPace and the AFL-CIO have endorsed Beck. Beck posted $7,703 in her pre-primary report while Olthoff had an ending balance of $4,084. Horse Race Status: Tossup.

HD24: Rep. Donna Schaibley [R] v. Joellyn (Joey) Mayer [D], Kenneth Tucker [I]. 2020 results: Schaibley 30,321 (58.1%), Naomi Bechtold (D) 21,853 (41.9). Forecast: Mayer is a lifelong Hoosier. She is a small-business owner and involved in the community. This is her first run for public office. She opposed SEA1, saying in a Facebook posting, “There are horrible consequences beyond what anyone currently comprehends now that Indiana turned SB1 into a law. I would never have voted for SB1. I respect people’s right to make their own reproductive healthcare decisions! Hamilton County is changing and evolving... The majority of Hoosiers are looking to Indiana to move forward, not backward. I can help!” Rep. Schaibley voted against the Engleman amendment that would have ended the rape/incest exceptions for SB1. She voted for the final passage of SB1. Rep. Schaibley posted a pre-primary cash balance of $12,482 while Mayer posted $11,754. Horse Race Status: Tossup.

HD25: Becky Cash [R] v. Jen Bass-Patino [D]. Forecast: This is a new, open district. State Rep. Don Lehe held the old HD25 for years. Cash won a very crowded primary that included former state representative Matt Whetstone and Kent Abernathy, a former Gov. Pence administration official. Cash identifies with the Liberty Defense movement of the GOP. Cash received endorsements of anti-abortion organizations that support full ban (except for life of the mother). Bass-Patino is a single mom of two daughters and opposed SB1. She moved from Illinois to Indiana in 2014, choosing Boone County for the schools, the public safety, and the economic growth opportunities. She has a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Illinois, Springfield. She worked in the Illinois State Police crime lab for five years and then transitioned to the medical and health care field as a researcher in infectious diseases. She has worked in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry and is currently employed as a manager of quality assurance. This is the type of suburban district that could come into play. Cash had a pre-primary cash balance of $13,767 while Bass-Patino posted $3,723. Horse Race Status: Tossup.

HD26: Fred Duttlinger [R] v. Rep. Chris Campbell [D]. 2020 Results: Campbell was unopposed in 2020. Forecast: Duttlinger is assistant director for Purdue’s civics literacy program. He was elected by local officials to fill the open spot on the ballot. He went to  Purdue on a full ROTC scholarship. He said he was motivated to run because with a GOP House super majority the district has no voice at the Statehouse. SEA1 is expected to be a key issue. Fred Duttlinger, a West Lafayette Republican, is assistant director for civics literacy at Purdue: “I am not for removing all the guardrails and allowing for the overreaching abortion policy proposed by my opponent,” he told Based in Lafayette’s Dave Bangert. “I will fight to protect both the unborn and women. I would support life and health of the mother and will be an advocate for women who are in a terrible position through no fault of their own. The decision to bear the child of their assailant should not belong to the government. I do not support SB1 in its current form. Common sense should prevail in all areas. We do not have to irreparably harm women in order to save the unborn.” Rep. Campbell, a West Lafayette Democrat, is the incumbent, running for her third two-year term. She has pushed back on changes to Indiana’s abortion laws since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. After SB1 advanced from the Senate, Campbell said the special session amounted to “watching human rights be ripped away” by a “bill which currently will ban 85% of abortions and make it difficult for the other 15% who risk loss of life or criminalization. … This ban will not reduce abortions but will make them unsafe and criminalize women and doctors. Restrictions to health care access and choices will lead only to more economic disparities and hardships.” Duttingerreports no financial activity. Campbell posted $34,066 in her pre-primary report. Horse Race Status: Leans Campbell.

HD32: Hamilton County Councilman Fred Glynn [R] v. Hamilton County Councilwoman Victoria Garcia Wilburn [D]. 2020 results: Rep. Tony Cook (R) 26,430 (75.4%), Amie Nelling (D) 8,615 (24.6%). This is a new, open district. Rep. Cook is retiring. Glynn has been a member of the Hamilton County Council. He won in a recount of a very close primary contest. He is a mortgage banker. Dr. Garcia Wilburn is assistant professor of occupational therapy in the School of Health and Human Sciences at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. She is active in numerous local organizations. She says in her campaign Facebook posting, “There are 33 counties in Indiana that have no hospital or that have a hospital but the hospital has no OB-GYN services. Women’s health and our reproductive rights are not, and have never been, a priority for our state. Indiana has the THIRD highest maternal mortality in the country. Women deserve a voice in their healthcare decisions. Want better? Feeling like women’s health and rights are in jeopardy? Let’s elect better.” Glynn is reportedly toning down his abortion social media posts as he faces a competitive race. With Hamilton County trending toward Democrats, this race fits the suburban profile of emerging purple districts. A surge of female registrations could turn this race. Glynn had a pre-primary cash balance of $38,018. Wilburn’s pre-primary cash balance was $12,779. Horse Race Status: Tossup.

HD34: Rep. Sue Errington [D], District 34 v. Dale Basham [R]. 2020 results: Errington 11,293 (56.4%), Basham 8,744 (43.6%). Forecast: Errington was a passionate defender of abortion rights during this summer’s special session, saying at one point that only legal, safe abortions will be banned after the signing on SEA1. Basham is an educator, working primarily in the English, speech, and drama. He has worked in public schools, served as a high school principal and also worked for Ball State University. After retiring, he was elected to serve on the Muncie School Board of Trustees. Basham currently serves as chairman of the Muncie-Delaware County Chamber of Commerce, Business-Education Partnership, president of the Muncie Fire Merit Commission, and president of the Muncie Downtown Development Partnership. Errington’s pre-primary report posted an $18,718 cash balance. Basham posted $8,101 in his pre-primary report. Horse Race Status: Likely Errington.

HD35: Rep. Elizabeth Roway [R] v. Brad Sowinski [D]. 2020 results: Rowray 16,767 (55.3%), Rep. Melanie Wright 13,570 (44.7%). Forecast: Rowray upset Rep. Wright two years ago. Wright is seeking a newly drawn Indiana Senate seat. Sowinski is youth services librarian at Alexandria Public Library. He testified this past session before the Indiana House Education Committee about the dangers to freedom of speech and the adverse effects on libraries and librarians if SB167 or HB1040, two bills limiting materials in libraries, were enacted. Both bills failed. Rep. Rowray posted $3,714 in her pre-primary report. Sosinski reported no financial activity in his pre-primary report. Horse Race Status: Likely Rowray.

HD36: Rep. Terri Austin [D] v. Kyle Pierce [R]. 2020 results: Austin 12,951 (53%), Pierce 11,485 (47%). Forecast: Pierce is a graduate of IU McKinney Law School and Ball State University. He is the former deputy director of the Indiana Medical Device Manufacturers Council and is currently director of development for the College of Health at the Ball State University Foundation. He is also secretary of the Madison County Republican Party. Austin had a pre-primary cash balance of $47,954, while Pierce had a pre-primary cash balance of $4,404. Horse Race Status: Tossup.

HD39: Rep. Jerry Torr [R] v. Matt McNally [D]. 2020 results: Torr 23,396 (53.6%), Ashley Klein (D) 20,262 (46.4%). Forecast: Torr voted against the Engleman amendment that would remove the rape/incest exception for SB1, but voted for the final version. McNally recently retired from the military, reaching the rank of lieutenant colonel. His military career took him all over the country and the world. He and his family have been residents of Westfield since 2015. He has two children in Westfield High School. Torr had an ending pre-primary cash balance of $1,848 compared to $10,987 for McNally. Horse Race Status: Tossup.

HD41: Mark Genda [R] v. Greg A. Woods [D]. 2020 results: Rep. Tim Brown (R) 22,639 (75.3%), Woods 7,407 (24.7%). Forecast: Chairman Brown is retiring. Genda is a longtime Clinton County resident and owner of Genda Funeral Home in Frankfort. He has served on the local school board. Woods was born in Indianapolis and graduated from IUPUI in 1999. Woods has been a procurement specialist for Patterson Dental in Indianapolis, a business owner, and a certified EMT. Genda told Based in Lafayette on SEA1: “As a candidate of a newly formed district, I’m working to understand the foundation and values that shape the people of District 41. At the start of my campaign, my intention was to be the voice of those very people. That will not waver. In an effort to understand how to address the hard-hitting issues such as Senate Bill 1, I’m initiating what I’m calling ‘Genda Gatherings.’ These will be opportunities for me to go into the communities that I would be honored to represent if elected and be able to directly hear the concerns, feelings, and joys that affect the individuals of District 41. To join me in these discussions, be sure to visit my Facebook page to see the dates and locations of these gatherings. Political issues are not always easy but I will always cast the vote that District 41 wants me to cast.” Woods, a Democrat and a procurement specialist from Lebanon, told BIL, “Where to start. You asked if SB1 was a bill I would have supported. Absolutely not. I feel abortion is health care and is a decision between a woman and her doctor only. This bill in a phrase is a death sentence to hundreds if not thousands of women and girls in Indiana. Girls too young to drive. Girls too young to even babysit their own infant siblings. Plus, let’s force a rape victim to recount that horror in front of strangers to get a document notarized. Total insanity. But wait, let’s add that local cities’ and towns’ prosecutors cannot decide for themselves if they will prosecute doctors saving women’s lives and give it to someone like (attorney general) Todd Rokita who has proven over and over again the only thing he cares about is Todd Rokita and his next sound bite.” Woods posted $1,852 in his pre-primary report. Genda raised $29,364, spent $18,692 and posted a pre-primary cash balance of $10,672. Horse Race Status: Likely Genda.

HD50: Wabash County Commissioner Lorissa Sweet [R] v. Tammari L. (Tammy) Ingalls [D]. 2020 Results: Rep. Dan Leonard (R) 21,418 (71.5%), Jorge Fernandez (D) 8,517 (28.5%). Forecast: Sweet upset incumbent Dan Leonard in the May GOP primary. She was one of the few Liberty Defense candidates to win in the primary. Ingalls was born in Texas and earned a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University in 1992. She has been a freelance writer and photographer and has also raised and trained horses. She is affiliated with the Huntington County Democratic Party, United Steel Workers, the NAACP, and the ACLU. Despite Rep. Leonard’s primary loss, HD50 remains reliably Republican. Sweet raised $23,610, spent $9,577 in her upset of Rep. Leonard and had a pre-primary balance of $17,224. Ingalls raised $4,996, spent $3,477 and had a pre-primary cash balance of $1,519. Horse Race Status: Likely Sweet.

HD62: Jackson County Councilman Dave Hall [R] v. Monroe County Commissioner Penny Githens [D]. 2020 results: Rep. Jeff Ellington (R) 19,036 (60.4%), Alyssa Bailey (D) 12,468 (39.6%). This is a newly created open seat and considered to be significantly Democratic. Githens is a Monroe County commissioner, where she has focused on homelessness, health, mental illness and substance use. She has a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and math education from Purdue and a master’s degree in educational psychology from IU. Githens raised $14,109, spent $13,254 and had a pre-primary cash balance of $5,410. The Friends of Dave Hall Committee entered the cycle with $49,663, raised $11,410, spent $18,159 and had a pre-primary cash balance of $42,913. The Oorahi PAC of Carmel gave Hall $8,500. Horse Race Status: Likely Githens.

HD76: Rep. Wendy McNamara [R] v. Katherine (Kathy) Rybak [D], Cheryl Batteiger-Smith [I]. 2020 results: McNamara 18,507 (64%), Stephen Folz (D) 10,391 (36%). McNamara carried SB1 in the Indiana House and was surprisingly skewered by pro-life advocates. There is wide speculation that independent Batteiger-Smith will get the Indiana Right to Life endorsement. Rybak has degrees in law, economics and political science. She has spent her career as a legal aid lawyer. Rybak told HPI that she is hoping for a groundswell of female support in the wake of SEA1. This race is worth watching, but we believe that McNamara prevails in what could be a closer race than she anticipated heading into this cycle. McNamara entered the cycle with $31,755, spent $20,743 and had a pre-primary ending balance of $11,411. Ryback posted a pre-primary cash balance of $20,165. ActBlue made three small contributions. Batteiger-Smith had a cash balance of $4,148 on Aug. 5. Horse Race Status: Likely McNamara.

HD81: Rep. Martin Carbaugh [R] v. Abby Norden [I]. 2020 results: Carbaugh 13,725 (52%), Kyle Miller (D) 12,653 (48%). Forecast: The new maps are expected to strengthen this district for the GOP. Miller is now running in HD82. Norden is a logistics consultant. She intends to make SEA1 an issue, saying in a Facebook posting, “It’s really very easy; the government should not make decisions for my uterus. I am the most qualified person to determine if I can have another child – not the governor, not the House of reps, not the Senate.” Norden is backing legalized marijuana, saying, “Our campaign is focused on completely legalizing all parts of marijuana. Our laws need to change to stop persecuting people. My campaign is dedicated to making real changes in this state that will benefit our most marginalized people first.” And Norden opposes building a new Allen County jail on the SE side of Fort Wayne, saying, “If you do not live in SE Fort Wayne, it may be easy for you to think this won’t impact you. Let’s look at it through a different lens to see how it will. Upfront cost is $350 million in tax dollars just to build their jail campus that they assured us wouldn’t look like a jail. Adding 750 beds to our current inmate population = doubling the amount of daily tax dollars that will be used to keep humans in cages for non-violent crimes.” Running as an independent, we’ll be watching to see if Norden can make this race competitive. Carbaugh began the cycle with $53,282, has raised $192,100, spent $177,625 and had a pre-primary cash balance of $67,757. Norden has posted no financial activity. Horse Race Status: Likely Carbaugh.

HD82: Davyd Jones [R] v. Kyle R. Miller [D]. 2020 results: Rep. David Abbott ran unopposed. Forecast: This is an open seat, with Rep. Abbott running unopposed in HD18. Jones works for Edward Jones investments and says he is running “because I believe I can make a positive impact.” Miller works in construction and his wife is a teacher. Horse Race Status: Likely Jones.

HD88: Rep. Chris Jeter [R] v. Donna L. Griffin [D]. 2020 results: Jeter 26,659 (59.3%), Pam Dechert (D) 18,285 (40.7%). Forecast: Something to watch will be how the campaigns of Sen. Kyle Walker and Chris Jeter deal with the abortion issue. Their districts overlap and they are on opposites sides of the issue. Jeter voted to remove rape and incest exceptions. Jeter voted against the Ziemke amendment to permit abortion to 13 weeks and he voted for final passage. An IndyPolitics Poll by Change Research in Sen. Walker’s district showed a pure tossup in his race against Fishers Councilwoman Jocelyn Vare, who led 41-39% with 19% undecided. In June, Griffin, an adjunct professor at Butler University, a substitute teacher in Hancock County and an independent author and media creator, posted on Facebook, “My incumbent opponent doesn’t care what you want – he’s ready to take away our personal freedom and safety and set this country back 200 years. He doesn’t think a woman candidate has a chance – not with a half million dollar war chest. Prove. Him. Wrong.” On speculation that Purdue President Mitch Daniels might run for governor, Griffin said, “While I can’t speak to his Purdue tenure, he deserves a big share of the blame for the state of public education and the teacher shortage. His has no respect for educators.” Jeter entered the cycle with $44,188, had contributions of $34,477, spent $9,100 and had a pre-primary cash balance of $69,565. Jeter has received large contributions of $3,000 from the Lawyers PAC, $2,000 from Rick Terry, $1,000 from Donald Steel, $1,615 from the House Republican Campaign Committee and $2,000 from the Indiana Beverage Retailers. Griffin has not made any financial postings. Horse Race Status: Likely Jeter.

HD89: Rep. Mitch Gore [D], v. Michael-Paul Hart [R]. 2020 results: Gore 13,898 (51.3%), Rep. Cindy Kirchhofer 13,173 (48.7%). Forecast: Hart is in technology sales. He is working this district, describing himself in a Facebook posting: “I lead with a freedom-first approach; I am very liberty focused and believe a smaller government with less overreach on personal freedoms is better. As your state representative, I would make decisions based on these beliefs.” Horse Race Status: Tossup.

HD97: Rep. Justin Moed [D] v. John P. Schmitz [R], Edgar Amaro Villegas [L]. 2020 results: Moed 9,707 (55.5%), John Schmitz 6,962 (39.8%), Mark Renholzberger (L) 816 (4.7%). Schmitz works in construction and ran closer to Rep. Moed than many expected. The new maps are expected to create a reliably Democratic district. Horse Race Status: Likely Moed.

U.S. Senate

Young begins TV

U.S. Sen. Todd Young began his reelection TV advertising with an ad that doesn’t mention the word “Republican.” It does use “Duty, honor, committment.” It mentions his background in counter intelligence. The ad says, “Marine” and “Hoosier” and adds, “Making our country safer and stronger.” Young has raised eight times the amount of money that Democrat Thomas McDermott Jr., who has not gone up on TV at this point. Horse Race Status: Likely Young.

State Police Alliance endorses Sen. Young

Sen. Young was endoresed by the Indiana State Police Alliance in New Albany and Evansville last week. “I will always support our law enforcement officers who do incredibly challenging work every day to protect Hoosier families, and I am proud to receive the endorsement of the Indiana State Police Alliance,” said Young. 

McDermott on Nazi rally

Democrat Senate nominee McDermott used Saturday’s Nazi march in downtown Indianapolis in a fundraiser: “Over the weekend, while folks were out celebrating the holiday weekend, a small neo-nazi group marched down the streets of Indianapolis. It’s 2022! This blatant hatred and racism has no place in our communities, our state, or in our country. Indiana has a long and dark history with racism and the KKK, that sadly, has not been fully left in the past. The group that marched downtown this weekend has been reportedly active throughout the Noblesville area recently as well. We cannot let this blatant hatred continue. We need to get the extremist voices out of Washington and elect smart and compassionate leaders who will work for equality –– not against it.” 

Congress

Haley fundraiser for Green

Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley will host a fundraiser for 1st CD Republican nominee Jennifer-Ruth Green at the Gary Aquatorium, 6918 Oak Ave., from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Thursday Sept. 15. The Committee to Elect Green launched its first ad of the general election campaign highlighting Green’s record of service and commitment to solving problems where career politicians like Frank Mrvan have failed (Howey Politics Indiana): “I’ve dedicated my life to serving our nation in and out of uniform and serving our country and community. I see firsthand how middle-class families are hurting and the career politicians have failed them. Frank Mrvan has gone Washington and supports policies that help the rich and the liberal elite at our expense. Hoosiers deserve better,” Green said. 

General Assembly

Walker begins SD31 TV ads

Republican State Senator Kyle Walker’s campaign released its first TV ad this week, highlighting Walker’s fiscally conservative record and experience as a small businessman fighting for Hoosiers in SD31 (IndyPolitics). The ad, “A Different Kind of State Senator,” features Walker’s support for balanced budgets, tax cuts, efforts to improve public safety, and historic investments in schools. A poll released last week by Walker’s opponent, Jocelyn Vare, a Democrat, showed she was statistically tied with Walker: 41% to Walker’s 39%. 19% are undecided

Statewides

Dems say Morales changes early vote stance

Indiana Democrats say Republican secretary of state nominee Diego Morales has “flip-flopped” his position on Indiana’s early voting period. “After campaigning to cut the state’s 28-day early voting period to 14 days, he now says he’s fine with Indiana’s 28-day policy,” Democrats said. “This pivot is because voters are rejecting the extremist agenda he has campaigned on during the entirety of the Secretary of State race. “The Indiana Democratic Party released the following statement:  “Voters just can’t trust anything Diego Morales says. He was fired twice from the very office he seeks to lead and has shady campaign finance issues (like buying himself a car). Diego made a campaign promise to restrict access to the ballot box, but now he’s singing a different tune. This flip-flop is disqualifying for Diego, a dangerous politician who will put special interests ahead of Indiana’s future,” said Lauren Ganapini, executive director of the Indiana Democratic Party .

Local

Carrasco begins TV

The campaign of Cyndi Carrasco, candidate for Marion County Prosecutor, released its first television ad of the general election cycle. The ad is titled “Safe,” and outlines the core reasons Carrasco is running for prosecutor, contrasting. “Crime is skyrocketing, our community is hurting, and Ryan Mears is letting it happen,” said Carrasco.