By BRIAN A. HOWEY

FISHERS —  It’s a bird. It’s a plane. No, it’s J.R. Gaylor!

Over the weekend the SD20 Republican candidate deployed a new pandemic-era campaign technique, with an airplane towing a banner over Fishers and Noblesville imploring votes in his race against Scott Baldwin.

This was supposed to be Baldwin’s race to lose. When he entered in January, it appeared as though he forced incumbent Sen. Victoria Spartz out of that race and into the open 5th CD, where she is perceived as one of a handful of frontrunners. Baldwin had in his pocket endorsements from Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness and rookie Noblesville Mayor Chris Jensen.

Gaylor, who heads ABC Builders & Contractors, entered the race in February and according to large contribution filings with the Indiana secretary of state and the pre-primary reports, opened up more than a $150,000 funding lead while his donor list includes former Senate president David Long and former Indiana GOP chair Jim Kittle, Jr. What had been a “safe” nomination for Baldwin has been moved in HPI’s Horse Race into a “Leans Baldwin” category, and could enter the “tossup” zone before next Tuesday’s primary election

It is just one race where late money has been flowing in. That includes HD88, the seat being vacated by former House speaker Brian Bosma. Fishers Deputy Mayor Leah McGrath is the heir apparent, with an endorsement of Gov. Eric Holcomb. But Fishers attorney Chris Jeter has been touting his Right to Life of Indiana endorsement while posting $100,000 in campaign contributions, prompting late donations for McGrath from the campaign committees of U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks and Secretary of State Connie Lawson.

Another showdown is taking shape in HD79, where Taylor Isch is challenging House Majority Leader Matt Lehman, who began running ads on WOWO and Fort Wayne broadcast TV today.

Another race drawing late money is HD50, where State Rep. Dan Leonard is seeking to fend off a Republican primary challenge from Huntington teacher John Stoffel, who has received funds from Democrat State Rep. Melanie Wright and the Indiana State Teachers Association PAC.

On the Senate side, the only contested primary appears to be SD 20. Incumbent Sens. Susan Glick and caucus-appointed Brian Buchanan and Justin Busch appear to be in good shape for renomination.

In open House seats, all eyes are on the South Bend seat being vacated after half a century of former speaker B. Patrick Bauer, where his daughter, Maureen, is hoping to extend that family’s hold on that seat to a third generation. Winona Lake Councilman Craig Snow is favored in a seat being vacated by State Rep. David Wolkins, while in HD58, Greenwood Councilman David Hopper is hoping to ride an endorsement from Mayor Mark Myers, while out-going State Rep. Woody Burton is backing Michelle Davis.

In another open seat, Warrick County Republican Chairman Michael Griffin and Warrick County Councilwoman Cindy Ledbetter are battling to succeed retiring State Rep. Ron Bacon, who has not made an endorsement.

Here is our exclusive General Assembly primary race rundown:

Senate Republican primaries


SD7: State Sen. Brian W. Buchanan is facing a primary challenge from businessman Ethan H. Brown and Vernon Budde. Buchanan was appointed to the seat by Republican precinct committee members when former state Sen. Brandt Hershman resigned in early 2018. Buchanan had a beginning balance of $52,787, raised $33,531 and spent $50,588 for an ending balance of $35,731. The low dollar amounts suggest Senate Republicans are not worried about this primary. Primary Horse Race Status: Safe Buchanan.

SD13: State Sen. Susan Glick is facing a challenge from another former LaGrange County prosecutor, Jeffrey W. Wible. Sen. Glick is seeking a third full term after she was appointed by caucus to succeed State Sen. Bud Meeks. Wible has raised just $8,295 this cycle and spent $21,142 (he had a $14,558 beginning balance). Wibel was endorsed by former congressman Marlin Stutzman, who wrote in KPC Media, “Jeff is a man of integrity and honor and I have no doubt that he will be the voice for the voiceless and those in need. The right to life is absolutely essential and an issue closest to my heart. For me, it’s important to have someone that doesn’t just silently cast the right votes but will be outspoken in their support of pro-life bills in the General Assembly.” Primary Horse Race Status: Safe Glick.

SD20: This has become a big money showdown between Scott Baldwin and J.R. Gaylor. The Friends4 JR Gaylor Committee reports raising $420,204 on its May 15 filing and had an ending balance of $133,937. Baldwin (pictured) has raised $262,978 and had a cash-on-hand balance of $89,843. The Senate Majority Campaign Committee has not endorsed a candidate. When Baldwin entered the race, he had the endorsements of Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness and Noblesville Mayor Chris Jensen and received $1,000 from former Indiana Republican Chairman Jim Kittle Jr. He appeared to force State Sen. Victoria Spartz out of the race. She opted to seek the 5th CD Republican nomination. Gaylor heads the influential Associated Builders and Contractors of Indiana/Kentucky and received $3,000 from former Senate President Pro Tem David Long, $30,000 from Charles D. Goodrich and $5,000 from Hoosiers for Quality Education PAC. He reportedly had an airplane pulling one of his banners over Noblesville and Fishers last weekend. Primary Horse Race Status: Leans Baldwin.

SD16: State Sen. Justin Busch won Republican precinct caucus 51-35 to finish the term of Senate President Pro Tem David Long. He faces Tom Rhoades, Parkview Health public safety director, who is a member of the Southwest Allen County School Board. Busch began the cycle with $108,431, raised $108,421, has spent $153,177 and had $63,675 cash on hand at his May 15 filing. Long contributed $3,000 on May 20 and the Indiana Republican State Committee made a $3,794 in-kind contribution, while the Senate Majority Campaign Committee put in $3,250 and State Sen. Mark Messmer gave $1,000. Rhoades had a beginning balance of $16,762, had $7,555 for the period and ends with a $9,144 cash on hand. The incumbent appears to be on his way to renomination. Primary Horse Race Status: Safe Busch.

SD30: State Sen. John Ruckelshaus is facing a primary challenge from Terry Michael. Ruckelshaus pondered a run for the 5h CD before opting to seek reelection. He began the cycle with $94,002, raised $8,600 and had an ending balance of $95,873 on his May 15 pre-primary filing. Michael filed a report but listed zero contributions. Primary Horse Race Status: Safe Ruckelshaus.

Senate Democrat primaries


SD10:
Sen. David L. Niezgodski v. Alex Bowman: Niezgodski has served in the Senate since 2016 after a 10-year stint in the House where he left as assistant minority whip. President and owner of Niezgodski Plumbing Inc., he is a former St. Joseph County commissioner and chaired the NICTD Board (South Shore) for seven years. Bowman is a South Bend attorney, who says he is fulfilling a “years-old promise.”  “Elections should be about choice,” Bowman said about his decision to become the second of only two Democratic candidates vying for the position. Niezgodski began the cycle with $62,866, raised $88,830 for the reporting period, spent $40,443 and ended the May 15 reporting period with $111,253 cash on hand. Bowman raised $12,170 and had an ending balance on May 15 of $3,903. Primary Horse Race Status: Safe Niezgodski.

SD16: Tim Barr and Juli Dominguez are both teachers seeking the seat held by State Sen. Justin Busch. Democrats have little chance of winning the seat that was held by former Senate President Pro Tem David Long in Fort Wayne and Allen County. Primary Horse Race Status: Tossup.

SD36:
Ashley Eason faces Jason Fletcher in the SD36 primary in Marion and Johnson counties held by State Sen. Jack Sandlin. Eason is a nonprofit executive. Eason began the cycle with $10,103 and raised $3,300. Jason E. Fletcher is a south side Indianapolis community activist, urging local control for Manual HS. He has raised $5,177 and had an ending balance of $6,035. Primary Horse Race Status: Tossup.

SD40: When State Sen. Mark Stoops declined to seek another term, that set off a showdown between Indiana Democratic Chairman John Zody (pictured), and 2016 unsuccessful 9th CD nominee Shelli Yoder. Trent Feuerbach, who unsuccessfully sought the Republican 9th CD nomination, is the third candidate. Yoder ran for the 9th CD in 2012 and 2016, losing to then U.S. Rep. Todd Young in her first race 55% to 44%, and Trey Hollingsworth in 2016. The former Miss Indiana is a lecturer at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. Zody is a former aide to Govs. Frank O’Bannon and Joe Kernan, as well as U.S. Rep. Baron Hill. He was elected to his second term as state chairman in 2017. Zody’s May 15 report shows a $20,700 beginning balance, $18,237 raised, $21,309 spent, with a cash on hand balance of $17,629. He received $1,000 from the Hoosiers First PAC. Yoder has raised $91,244, spent $55,347 and had an ending balance of $35,897. Primary Horse Race Status: Leans Zody.

Republican House primaries

HD4: State Rep. Ed Soliday will face the a “Blohm challenge.” He faces Sara Blohm in the primary, and, possibly, Ben Blohm if he defeats Valparaiso Councilwoman Deb Porter in the Democratic primary. The Blohms are not related. Ed Soliday has been in office 14 years. Sara Blohm described herself as a wife, mother, veteran and small business owner (Ross, NWI Times). Her first priority, she said, is to protect the 2nd Amendment by repealing the red flag law that allows police to seize weapons from individuals deemed to be a threat because of mental illness or other reason. She vows to pass a constitutional carry law instead. “I am also extremely passionate about non-custodial parents and father’s rights. Our current family law system is a joke,” Blohm said. Soliday said there are critical energy and infrastructure policy issues that need to be addressed. Renewable energy alone isn’t enough to meet Hoosier energy needs at this point, he said. Soliday wants to ensure a smooth transition to make sure there is adequate capacity to meet all the demands on the energy grid. “That world is changing so rapidly,” he said. Infrastructure issues remain, he added. He has authored major legislation to address infrastructure issues in the past, including a revamp of the Little Calumet River flood control plan and increased funding for roads and bridges. That includes creating the Community Crossings grant program for local road and bridge projects. Soliday predicted the pandemic will cast a large shadow over the General Assembly’s next session. “We should always strive for bipartisan cooperation and collaboration in creating legislation,” he said. “This year working together will be key in dealing with the direct and indirect consequences of the pandemic, particularly unemployment, K-12 education and the state budget.  All have been deeply impacted by the pandemic.” Primary Horse Race Status: Safe Soliday.

HD18: Open seat (Rep. David Wolkins is retiring). Russ Reahard and Winona Lake Councilman Craig Snow are seeking the GOP nomination. Snow enters this race with the endorsements of Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer and Wabash Mayor Scott Long. Thallemer and Long said they need somebody in the Statehouse who will listen to and consider supporting a range of issues important to cities and towns. “I truly feel like he’s got the skills and intelligence to really make a difference,” Thallemer said. Long said municipalities continue to worry about any attempts by the legislature “to circumvent local control and hurt their ability to function and get things done.” Reahard of Wabash describes himself as a “constitutional conservative and seeks to uphold the sanctity of life from conception until natural death.” He will also defend the 2nd Amendment. Snow reported $28,868 raised for the cycle, $26,815 spent and $2,052 cash on hand on May 15. Reahard has not filed a report. Primary Horse Race Status: Likely Snow.

HD22: State Rep. Curt Nisly is facing Bill Dixon, who complains about Nisly’s “behavior.” Dixon told InkFreeNews, “Somebody’s going to lose their seat. If my opponent is allowed to continue behaving as he has in Indianapolis, it is going to be us.” Dixon describes Nisly as a “radical, right-wing conservative,” adding, “While Nisly’s positions are questionable, the real issue here is that we are going to go from two state representatives in our area to one.” Nisly reported an $11,915 beginning balance, $6,733 raised for the period, spending $2,296 and had an ending balance of $16,352. Dixon had not filed a report. Primary Horse Race Status: Safe Nisly.

HD32: State Rep. Tony Cook is facing Daniel A. Bragg. The challenger doesn’t have a website and has not filled out the Ballotpedia questionnaire. Bragg unsuccessfully ran for Sheridan’s town council in 2018 and 2019, losing by a combined 21 votes. Primary Horse Race Status: Safe Cook.

HD33: Freshman State Rep. John “J.D.” Prescott of Union City is facing a primary challenge from teacher Brittany Kloer. Prescott, a Union County farmer, has authored bills on rural broadband development, historic bridges and 529 college saving distributions. His May 15 pre-primary report listed a beginning balance of $9,719, with $4,750 raised, $2,201 spent and an ending balance of $12,267. Kloer has raised just $3,101 and spent $3,744. Primary Horse Race Status: Likely Prescott.

HD35: Two Republicans are seeking to challenge Democratic Rep. Melanie Wright. Elizabeth Rowray is a Yorktown School Board trustee. James Peters describes himself as “100% pro-life, pro-2nd Amendment, and a constitutional conservative. I want us to be even more fiscally responsible. As your nominee I will promise to do what I say I am going to do which is rare in this day and age. I am asking for your vote as a Republican because I will fight for the rights of the unborn as well as our individual freedoms.” Rowray reported raising $3,350 while spending $2,813. Peters reported $1,789 raised and an ending balance of $446. Primary Horse Race Status: Leans Rowray.

HD45: State Rep. Bruce Borders is facing a challenge by Vigo County farmer Jeff Gormon. The challenger told the Terre Haute Tribune-Star that his challenge “is not an indictment on the job he thinks Borders has done, but is borne of a passion to serve the people of west central Indiana.” Borders began the cycle with $17,838, raised $3,000 and had an ending balance of $16,020. Gormon had a beginning balance of $25,470, had $4,750 in contributions, spent $10,202 and had $20,018 cash on hand. Gormon, who is manager of Gormon Family Farms, has served on the Indiana Farm Bureau state board of directors since 2008, and was a Linton Township advisory board member for 16 years. “Sometimes elected officials get elected, get into office and think they have all the answers.” Primary Horse Race Status: Likely Borders.

HD50: State Rep. Dan Leonard is being targeted by Huntington teacher John Stoffel and the Indiana State Teachers Association. The challenger explained, “More than 150 years ago, Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican president, said that ‘a government of the people, for the people, and by the people shall not perish from the earth.’ During our country’s darkest moment, Lincoln saw the brightest hope for its future. I am running for the Indiana House of Representatives District 50 seat because I have that same hope.” Stoffel appears to be mounting a challenge, raising $75,180, spending $56,829 with an ending balance of $18,350. He received a $200 donation from Democratic State Rep. Melanie Wright and I-PACE has pumped in $58,000. Leonard appears to be taking the challenge seriously. In his May 15 report had listed a $99,710 beginning balance, $33,862 in contributions, $63,631 in expenditures and an ending balance of $69,940. He has received $5,000 from the Realtors PAC, $2,500 from the Indiana Merit Construction PAC of ABC, $1,589 from the Indiana Business for Responsive Government, $1,000 from the NiSource PAC, General Motors PAC, ACEC Indiana PAC, Clean Fuels Liquid Waste Management, and Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers. With PAC money flowing in from ISTA and business PACs, this is a race to keep an eye on. Primary Horse Race Status: Leans Leonard.

HD54: State Rep. Tom Saunders vs. Jeff Embry. This is a rematch from a 2016 primary race. Embry is a truck driver who did not mount much of a campaign. Primary Horse Race Status: Safe Saunders.

HD57: State Rep. Sean Eberhart is facing Edward Comstock II. Comstock, who posted $1,875 on his pre-primary report, said, “As a lifelong Hoosier, I want to see the best the best for everybody in Indiana. That means using tax dollars wisely, funding programs that are important to everyone’s well-being, and keeping Indiana at the forefront of the nation’s success. No increase in taxes. The hardworking taxpayers of Indiana are paying enough to fund services and education. In a difficult economy brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important that we live within our means and use the tax dollars collected by the state wisely.” Eberhard began the cycle with $71,000, has raised no money and had an ending balance of $64,710. Primary Horse Race Status: Safe Eberhart.

HD58: Open (State Rep. Woody Burton is retiring). Greenwood Councilman David Hopper, Bruce Armstrong, Heather Bline, Michelle Davis, and Jay Hart. Greenwood Mayor Mark Myers is pushing Hopper, while Rep. Burton is backing Davis, director of adult education at the Central Nine Career Center. Hopper filed an amended pre-primary report showing $27,270 in contributions, $13,670 in expenditures and $13,599 cash on hand. He received $12,000 form Myers for Greenwood committee. The Friends of Michelle Davis committee reported $31,506 in contributions, $3,527 in expenditures and $27,978 cash on hand. She received two contributions from Ray Skillman for $5,000. Rep. Burton’s campaign committee had a $13,694 balance in January. Hart has raised $18,000 and is running a wide yard sign campaign. Whoever wins in the primary will face Democrat Cindy Reinert, a retired Greenwood attorney who ran against Burton in 2018, losing 63.3% to 36.7%. Primary Horse Race Status: Tossup.

HD60: State Rep. Peggy Mayfield is facing Martinsville School Board Trustee Dave Rinehart. Rinehart said that he loves to serve his community and would like to help tackle topics such as education, health care, roads, youth and veterans, if elected to the Indiana legislature. Mayfield had a beginning balance of $51,334, raised $18,950 for the period, had $11,910 in expenditures and had an ending balance of $58,373. She received $1,500 form IPAC on May 18. Rinehart reported raising just $1,237. Primary Horse Race Status: Likely Mayfield.

HD62: State Rep. Jeff Ellington is being challenged by Greg Knott, who has raised less than $100. Primary Horse Race Status: Safe Ellington.

HD66: Zach Payne and Brian Tibbs have filed to challenge Democrat Rep. Terry Goodin. Neither Payne nor Tibbs has a campaign website and neither has responded to Ballotpedia’s candidate questionnaire. This seat will not be in play in November. Primary Horse Race Status: Tossup.

HD73: State Rep. Steve Davisson faces Mark Cox of Henryville. Cox has no campaign website and listed zero contributions in his May 15 pre-primary report. Davisson raised $2,350 while spending $1,094. Primary Horse Race Status: Safe Davisson.

HD75: (Open seat, State Rep. Ron Bacon is retiring). Warrick County Republican Chairman Michael Griffin and Warrick County Councilwoman Cindy Ledbetter. Warrick County attorney Rick Martin was supposed to run for this seat, but on the day he announced his candidacy, he was arrested on a DUI. Ledbetter posted $8,099 and expenditures of $7,420. Griffin raised $11,784 and spent $9,599. The primary winner will face Democrat John Hurley, who lost to Rep. Bacon in 2018. Primary Horse Race Status: Tossup.

HD79: House Majority Leader Matthew Lehman is facing a well-funded challenge from Taylor Isch of Bluffton. Lehman has raised $44,750 and had an ending balance of $84,564, while Isch raised $29,000. Outside groups like the National Association of Gun Rights and the Indiana Conservative Election Committee headed by Fort Wayne Councilman Jason Arp, which has put in $7,500 are targeting Lehman. The gun rights group is using a 2016 bill that would allow people to carry guns into courthouses as a wedge issue. Three pieces of direct mail attacking Lehman hit mail boxes on Tuesday. Lehman has been endorsed by Right to Life of Indiana, RTL of Northeast Indiana and the NRA. Lehman is responding with ads running on WOWO radio as well as Fort Wayne broadcast TV. Primary Horse Race Status: Tossup.

HD88: (Open seat, House Speaker Brian Bosma is retiring). Fishers Deputy Mayor Leah McGrath and Chris Jeter. McGrath passed on a 5th CD run to seek the seat held for the past generation by Speaker Bosma. This is another seat where social conservatives are making a play. Gov. Eric Holcomb has endorsed McGrath. Jeter is a Fishers lawyer and Iraq war veteran who has been endorsed by Right to Life of Indiana and has been campaigning on a “pro-life, pro-2nd Amendment and Pro-Trump” agenda. He has been running TV ads on cable and via Direct TV. McGrath reported a beginning balance of $47,719, received $67,723 for the period, spent $110,340 and had an ending balance of $5,103. Friends of Susan Brooks contributed $1,000, Elect Republican Women contributed $5,000, and Friends of Connie Lawson $1,000 have made large contributions in May. Jeter reported $100,179, expenditures of $74,248 and $25,931 cash on hand. Jeter received large contributions from William Schneider ($4,000) and Thomas Blessing ($1,000) on May 18.  Primary Horse Race Status: Leans McGrath.

HD93: State Rep. Dollyne Sherman, who was appointed by a Republican caucus to replace State Rep. Dave Frizzell, is facing a challenge from John Jacob, who is campaigning on a platform to abolish abortion and no tax increases. Sherman had a beginning balance of $43,135 and posted $27,449, with $22,883 spent and $47,701 cash on hand. She received $1,000 from Friends of Susan Brooks, $1,000 from the NiSource PAC, $1,000 from the Indiana Multi-Family House PAC, $2,000 from Indiana Realtors PAC. Primary Horse Race Status: Safe Sherman.

HD100: (Open seat, State Rep. Dan Forestal is not seeking reelection). Wayne Harmon and Niles Yensel are seeking the GOP nomination. Harmon has been a frequent candidate for the 7th CD. This is an overwhelmingly Democratic seat that will not be in play this fall. Primary Horse Race Status: Tossup.

House Democrat primaries

HD1: In District 1, Democratic State Rep. Carolyn Jackson is facing a Democratic challenger, former Hammond councilman Anthony Higgs. Jackson, D-Hammond, was elected to the position in 2018. If reelected, Jackson hopes to expand upon legislation she has worked on (Freda, NWI Times). Jackson posted $7,905 in contributions and $7,906 in expenditures. Higgs posted $5,350, spent $11,461, with an ending balance of $6,111 in debt. Running for the District 1 seat has always been a goal for Higgs, who lost his reelection to represent Hammond’s 3rd District in the May 2019 primary. He served in the role for 16 years. Higgs said his history as a councilman addressing needs of the city of Hammond makes him fit for the job. “I am prepared and ready to do a wonderful job for my constituents in Hammond and Whiting, and I will address their needs and I’ll be hands on as I always have been in the past as councilman,” he said. Primary Horse Race Status: Likely Jackson.

HD3: Freshman State Rep. Ragen Hatcher will square off against community activist Jessica Renslow, an instructional designer and business strategist. Hatcher had pondered entry into the 1st CD race after U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky decided to retire, but she opted for reelection. Both women ran for the state representative office in the 2018 Democratic primary, with Renslow losing to Hatcher (Carden, NWI Times).  Hatcher, a Gary native, has raised only $637. Renslow has raised $7,700, spent $2,562. Hatcher is the ranking minority member of the Courts and Criminal Code Committee and also serves on the Commerce, Small Business and Economic Development Committee as well as the Statutory Committee on Interstate and International Cooperation. Hatcher served as an at-large member of the Gary City Council from 2007 to 2011, when she ran unsuccessfully for Gary mayor. Her father, the late Richard G. Hatcher, made history 50 years ago when he was elected the first black mayor of a major American city. Primary Horse Race Status: Safe Hatcher.

HD4: Democrats face a choice between Ben Blohm and Valparaiso Councilwoman Deb Porter. Blohm is a member of the Valparaiso Fire Protection Board and chairman of the young professionals board of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater NWI. He volunteers at the Westchester Township History Museum and Hilltop Food Pantry (Ross, NWI Times). Porter has been a teacher for 30 years and has lobbied legislators as a member and officer of the teachers’ union. She had just $3,100 in her pre-primary report. Blohn reported $7,339 and had $5,436 in expenditures. As a member of the Valparaiso City Council, she has been frustrated by state constraints on city budgets, she said. Blohm said his first priority is supporting public education. “It’s been proven time and again every Hoosier benefits from a strong education. With healthy support, we keep our critical teachers, who are the foundation of a student’s success, and provide a full multifaceted staff to serve our children,” he said. HPI Primary Status: Likely Porter.

HD6: (Open seat, Rep. B. Patrick Bauer is retiring). Maureen Bauer, Garrett Blad and Drew Duncan are seeking the Democratic nomination which is tantamount to winning the seat. Rep. Bauer had only four GOP general election opponents in 20 elections. For the reporting period Jan. 1 through May 8, Blad raised and spent the most money, according to reports filed with the Indiana Election Division. He received about $52,000 in donations and spent about $32,000. Bauer raised about $23,000 and spent about $11,000. Duncan collected about $6,300 and spent about $5,200 (South Bend Tribune). Duncan, who has run unsuccessfully in party caucuses four times, most recently for party chair, and was campaign manager for Rep. Joe Taylor’s 2018 narrow win over Republican Troy Dillon, said he never expected to raise as much money as Bauer or Blad because of their connections. “To be honest, I didn’t think coming into the race that fundraising would be the thing that we would be most focused on,” Duncan said. “When we announced, it was Pat Bauer in the seat and honestly I didn’t think anybody was going to open up their wallets. But if you look at the three campaigns side by side, I think that everyone would agree, especially after watching the debate, that this is a campaign that was counted out, but we’re punching well above our weight class.” The candidates rarely clashed on issues during the recent ABC57 debate, agreeing on the need to increase teacher pay, support South Bend Community School Corp.’s property tax increase referendum, and reopen the economy from the coronavirus more slowly than what Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb has called for. Nearly $18,000 of the roughly $23,000 Bauer raised, or about 78%, came from her father’s campaign fund, which contained about $103,000 in unspent money when he decided not to seek reelection. Bauer, an accounts manager at HelmsBriscoe, which organizes events and meetings for companies, said she understands fundraising is difficult during the pandemic because so many people are out of work. She said her father’s unspent money must be spent on campaigns, and he’s happy to support her as the race’s only female candidate. “His money that he raised was from many people who have endorsed and supported me,” she said. Bauer criticized Blad for receiving most of his campaign donations from people outside of Indiana. Of the 156 donors who gave Blad at least $100, 94, or about 60%, don’t live in the state. “It’s just not a local campaign,” she said. “You obviously aren’t spending time talking to people within the district if you’re contacting people from other states to contribute. The people who contributed to my dad’s campaign are people who he’s worked with in those 50 years, people who he advocated for, working families and teachers.” Blad, the national press coordinator for Sunrise Movement, a Washington-based nonprofit environmental group, defended his fundraising effort’s geographical reach. “I’ve worked with people in every part of the country and I’ve worked with people here in Indiana,” Blad said. “We have over 20 times more donors from South Bend and 225 donors from Indiana alone.” Primary Horse Race Status: Likely Bauer.

HD12: (Open, State Rep. Mara Candaleria Reardon is running in the 1st CD). Democrats running include Mike Andrade, Brandon Dothager and Mike McInerney. Andrade has been endorsed by Lake County Democratic Jim Wieser, lieutenant governor nominee-designate Linda Lawson, the NW Indiana Building Construction Trades Council and Teamsters Local 142. Citizens for Mike Andrade posted $26,677, expenditures of $20,024 and an ending balance of $6,652. He received $1,000 from the Northern Indiana Operators Joint-Labor Management PAC and the Riviera Maya Taco and Tequila Bar. Dothager reported $5,902 raised and $5,055 in expenditures. McInterney filed a candidate organization statement but did not file a pre-primary report. Primary Horse Race Status: Likely Andrade.

HD25: Maurice Fuller and Alex Sabol are Democrats seeking to challenge long-time Republican State Rep. Don Lehe, who defeated Fuller in 2018 by a 70.8%-to-29.2% margin. This is a reliably Republican seat. Fuller and Sabol do not appear to be mounting credible campaigns. Primary Horse Race Status: Tossup.

HD39: Mark Hinton and Ashley Klein are the Democrats seeking to challenge State Rep. Jerry Torr. Hinton is seeking a rematch after he was defeated by Torr 57% to 43% in 2018.  Klein has been endorsed by Planned Parenthood and State Rep. Ed DeLaney, who she describes as her mentor. “Ashley cares deeply for the district as a lifelong resident and has gained experience as a commercial real estate appraiser, Realtor and United Way foster youth coordinator,” DeLaney said. Hinton began the cycle with $3,297, reported $10,302 in contributions and $12,371. Klein had a beginning balance of $20,039, had $9,576 in contributons and $6,442 in expenditures, with $23,174 cash on hand. Hinton has focused his campaign on quality of life issues. “We must ensure we have quality health care for all Hoosiers,” adding Indiana shouldn’t be “in a race to the bottom.” Primary Horse Race Status: Tossup.

HD42: Amy Burke Adams, Jasen Lave, and Brandi Cooper Vandiver are Democrats seeking to challenge State Rep. Alan Morrison. Primary Horse Race Status: Tossup.

HD49: Joseph Lehman and Amanda Qualls are the Democrats who have filed to challenge freshman Republican State Rep. Christy Stutzman. Lehman is running on a theme of “restoring accountability.” Qualls serves on the Goshen School Board. Neither candidate had filed a pre-primary report. Primary Horse Race Status: Tossup.

HD59: Two Columbus-area educators, Dale Nowlin and Cinde Wirth, are vying to challenge State Rep. Ryan Lauer, who defeated Nowlin in 2018, 56.8% to 40.6%. Nowlin is chairman of math departments at Columbus North High and Northside Middle School, and formerly worked as adjunct faculty member at Indiana University, Bloomington, in the School of Education. While Wirth has never held a political office, the 50-year-old says she has written legislation at the federal level. Nowlin posted $6,441 raised, $2,311 in expenditures and $4,310 cash on hand. Wirth’s May 15 report was not available on the Indiana secretary of state’s website. Wirth was one of 14 American teachers to be selected as an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator (Columbus Republic). In regard to last November’s statehouse rally calling for teacher pay increases, Wirth said the timing of the demonstration was not right. State lawmakers only consider large budgetary matters, such as teacher raises, when they create a biennial budget. “2020 has been a non-budget year,” Wirth said. “I think lawmakers should come back next year and address the pay issue with strong representation by the teachers.” Nowlin said any person claiming that we have to choose between preserving lives or the economy is “creating a false dichotomy.” “If we go back to work before we’re ready to take the necessary precautions, not only is it going to take lives, but it will also crush our economy,” Nowlin said. “Is somebody’s business worth more than somebody’s life?” she asked. “Is your business worth your life?” Primary Horse Race Status: Leans Nowlin.

HD93: Angela Elliott, Andy Miller and Abdul-Aziz Yamobi have filed for this seat held by appointed State Rep. Dollyne Sherman. None of these Democrats appears to be mounting a campaign for this reliably Republican seat. Primary Horse Race Status: Tossup.

HD95: State Rep. John Bartlett v. Eugene Dooley. Bartlett is expected to easily win this primary challenge. Primary Horse Race Status: Safe Bartlett.

HD98: State Rep. Robin Shackleford, Edwin Johns and Bob Kern. Rep. Shackleford should easily be renominated in this Democratic Indianapolis district. Primary Horse Race Status: Safe Shackleford.

HD100: (Open seat, indicted State Rep. Dan Forestal is not seeking reelection). Indianapolis Councilman Blake Johnson will take on Clif Marsiglio in the primary. Johnson, 33, is the CEO of IndyHub, a not-for-profit that connects young adults with community opportunities. He has been endorsed by the Indy Chamber’s Business Advocacy Committee. He posted $22,686 in contributions while spending $5,887. He has $16,798 cash on hand. Marsiglio filed a candidate organization statement, but did not file a pre-primary report. Primary Horse Race Status: Safe Johnson.