By BRIAN A. HOWEY

INDIANAPOLIS – Republican U.S. Rep. Trey Hollingsworth announced on Wednesday he will not seek reelection, setting off a chain-reaction as State Sen. Erin Houchin said this morning she will seek the 9th CD, while speculation builds that he will run as a self-funder for governor in 2024.

Hollingsworth said in his IndyStar op-ed that he said he would continue to serve the 9th CD “in different ways,” suggesting a 2024 gubernatorial run where he would be a potential self-funder candidate. 

Hollingsworth, a Republican first elected in 2016, said that much of his time in Congress has been spent “battling Washington itself,” writing, “The problem of politicians using their office to catapult themselves to another office, to a Committee assignment, or to a high-paying lobbying job is the misaligned incentive that tears at the most fundamental promise of democracy: Elected officials represent electorates.” Hollingsworth, who has argued for strong term limits and said he made a pledge to limit himself to four terms, will step down at the end of his third. He argued that the country needs more people from outside of politics to change how things work. “I ran for Congress to return this government to the people from the career politicians who had broken it, and I will be damned if I become one in the process,” he wrote. “I hope Hoosiers will replace their congressman with someone with a similar attitude.”

“It’s no secret that Tennessee Trey will try to buy his way into the Governor’s office in 2024 and attempt to lead an Indiana Republican Party that continues to push their extreme culture wars ahead of a better future for Hoosier families,” Indiana Democratic Party spokesman Drew Anderson said.

Houchin (R-Salem) announced her intention to seek the Republican nomination for Indiana’s 9th CD this morning. “As a proven conservative fighter, I have always stood up for our Hoosier values and individual liberties, protected our Second Amendment rights, defended the unborn, and protected the integrity of our elections,” said Houchin. “I’ve fought to keep our families and communities safe, standing firm with the brave men and women in law enforcement and holding criminals accountable for their actions. My conservative record demonstrates that the 9th District can count on me to stand up to the radical Left and the Biden agenda that has led to disastrous issues at our southern border, the highest inflation in 40 years, and a liberal laundry list for more spending that the country cannot afford. Now is the time for proven conservative leadership to re-take the House of Representatives, and our country, and I look forward to joining the fight.” 

Houchin was drawn into SD47 with now SD46 State Sen. Kevin Boehnlein, setting up a contentious primary. 

Since her election to the Indiana Senate, Houchin has voted for honestly balanced budgets, resisted burdensome regulations and tax increases, and supported our local communities and small businesses. She authored legislation that expanded access to affordable and efficient broadband services in Indiana’s rural, underserved communities and worked to guarantee every Hoosier child receives a quality education and parents have the freedom to choose what is best for their children in the classroom.Houchin has maintained a 100 percent voting record on Right to Life issues and was endorsed by Indiana Right to Life and the National Rifle Association in her previous campaigns. Houchin lives in Salem with her husband, Dustin, and their three children.

U.S. Senate

Young begins TV ads

In a signal that his reelection campaign is strong and flush with cash, Republican Sen. Todd Young is up with his first statewide television and digital ads of 2022, months ahead of Indiana’s May 3 primary and the November general election (Importantville). A person familiar said the ad buy is $250,000 and added the campaign exceeded its $1.5 million fourth-quarter fundraising goal ahead of the Jan. 30 deadline. The ads, which focus on border security, tout Young’s visit last year to the U.S.-Mexico border near Yuma, Ariz., where he served when he was in the Marine Corps.

Congress

4th CD: Baird has primary opponent

Charles Bookwalter, a business owner and U.S. Army combat veteran who lives in Thorntown, filed this week as a Republican for the U.S. House 4th District seat. That sets up a Republican primary with U.S. Rep. Jim Baird, a Republican from Greencastle who filed last week to run for a third term (Bangert, Based in Lafayette). On his campaign page, Bookwalter describes himself as a native of Vermillion County who graduated from Indiana University before joining the Army after the 9/11 attacks. His site says he returned to Indiana, working as a medical device surgical representative and developing a commercial property and opening a Jimmy John’s restaurant in Frankfort. Bookwalter did not immediately respond to a message for comment Tuesday. But at his site, Bookwalter set out some keys to his platform: He opposes vaccine mandates and lockdown policies; the federal government needs to quit “so-called stimulus programs” that have “led to runaway inflation on everything we buy;” and election security. Baird, then a state representative, won his initial primary in May 2018 over a crowded field of Republicans looking to replace then-U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita. Baird took 36.6% of the vote in that primary, before cruising to a victory in the November 2020 with nearly two-thirds of the vote in the 4th District. He ran unopposed in the 2020 primary and won in similar fashion in the general election that year for his second term. The Federal Election Commission shows Baird had $216,147 on hand in campaign money, as of September 2021. Bookwalter’s campaign finances aren’t listed, given that he’s just filed to run.

1st CD: Mrvan to seek reelection

U.S. Rep. Frank Mrvan has announced he will be seeking reelection to the House seat he won in 2020 after the retirement of long-time congressman Pete Visclosky (LaPorte Herald-Dispatch). Mrvan, a Lake County Democrat, said he is seeking reelection “to continue to address the pandemic health crisis, make investments to grow the Northwest Indiana economy with good-paying jobs, and bridge the division gripping our nation.”

3rd CD: Snyder announces
 
Gary Snyder announced he is running for the Democratic nomination for 3rd CD. He is the president of the Indiana Talks Network and publisher of The SnydeReport. Snyder said he is running to make a difference for residents of Northeast Indiana in Washington and to make the federal government work. “I am choosing the tragic anniversary of the January 6th assault on the Capitol as a backdrop for our campaign. Jim Banks pushed conspiracy theories and lies that directly led to the attacks, and for that, he should be held responsible,” Snyder commented. “Let’s also remember Jim Banks has abandoned the 3rd District long ago as he sets his political ambitions to higher office. Jim has abandoned the farmer in Huntington that needs expanded broadband to operate the ever evolving technology needed for today’s agriculture by voting against a bipartisan infrastructure bill.”

Candidate filings: Congress Republican: Jim Baird CD4; Charles Bookwalter CD4; Victoria Spartz CD5; Ben Ruiz CD1. Democrat: Frank J. Mrvan CD1; Gary Snyder CD3; Aaron (A.J.) Calkins CD3; André D. Carson CD7.