The Journal & Courier has a good series of articles on primary races in the Lafayette area, including Congressional races for the 1st, 2nd, and 4th Districts of Indiana.
IN-01: four Republicans — Lewis Hass, Richard Holtz, Mark Leyva and Jayson Reeves — are vying for their party’s nomination to challenge Rep. Pete Visclosky who has been the congressman since 1984. Richard Holtz seems to be running on a pro-life platform, Mark Leyva on an anti-tax, anti-immigrant platform. The entries on Jayson Reeves and Lewis Haas don’t seem to lend themselves to that sort of pigeonholing. Haas says he wants government that is more responsive to the little guy and, to the extent he has a focus, it would seem to be on farm programs. Reeves says he would target energy production and services as a priority.
IN-02: Incumbent Chris Chocola faces a primary challenge from Tony Zirkle for the Republican nomination while Joe Donnelly and Steve Francis are competing for the Democratic nomination. In the general election, this is likely to be one of the top three most competitive races along with IN-08 and IN-09. Mr. Zirkle is running against Rep. Chocola because the middle class is getting hammered by things like gas prices and health costs, he is also concerned that we are mortgaging our children’s future with foreign wars. (Right on target there. However, looking at Mr. Zirkle’s website, he is not quite so middle-of-the-road as the J&C article would lead one to believe. He thinks that a woman waives her right to choose to terminate her pregnancy at the moment of intercourse, he seems comfortable with breaking down the wall between church & state, and he wants to impose a draft on deadbeat dads and force them to guard the border against immigrants.)
Meanwhile, in the Democratic primary, Joe Donnelly is seeking a rematch against Chocola against whom he lost in 2004. Donnelly also expresses concern for the plight of the middle class, stating that Washington is currently serving the purposes of “the special interests” and “big oil companies.” He lists as two main issues getting out of Iraq as soon as possible, leaving it in a stable condition (good luck with that) and affordable health care for all Americans. (I’m pulling for Joe here, but being against “the special interests” always makes me roll my eyes. Every constituent has a “special interest” of one type or another.) Mr. Donnelly’s primary challenger is Steve Francis, an economist in South Bend. He lists as main issues creating jobs with living wages, health care, and retirement security as well as disentanglement from Iraq. (I love the word “disentanglement” — for me it conjures up George Washington and his admonition against entangling alliances.
IN-04: There are technically three primary candidates seeking to get the Democratic nomination to challenge incumbent Steve Buyer. However, Darin Kinser did not respond to inquiries from the Journal and Courier, and, anectdotally, I have not heard anything about his campaign. Rick Cornstuble, a 63 year old retired UniServ director with the Indiana State Teachers Association, lists as his two main issues better serving veterans by moving the Veterans Administration out of the Department of Defense and making the VA its own separate entity as well as trying to stimulate the economy by investing in research on alternative fuels — he singles out bio and soy diesel and ethanol. Meanwhile, his opponent David Sanders, a 45 year old professor of biological sciences at Purdue, lists as his main issues, fiscal responsbility — including the impact of Iraq on our federal deficit, and a rational health care system. The biological researcher emerges when he mentions the fact that having a large body of uninsured individuals makes the country completely unprepared for a pandemic response. (A pandemic is an epidemic of enormous proportions — lately bird flu has been touted as a potential pandemic if it mutates in the right way; introduction of a nasty bug by terrorists is another concern.)