Thanks to Paul O’Malley for directing my attention to Shella’s Blog which lists several Republican incumbents who Democrats will try to unseat in the upcoming election.
They include 6 Representatives of Toll Road counties: Jackie Walorski (R-Lakeville), Tim Neese (R-Elkhart), Marlin Stuzman (R-Howe), Ralph Ayres (R-Chesterton), Steve Heim (R-Culver) (blog), and Mary Kay Budak (R-LaPorte). Four others are Troy “I’ll never vote for it” Woodruff (R-Vincennes), Billy Bright (R-North Vernon), John Smith (R-Kokomo), and Tim Harris (R-Marion).
The Toll Road targets are obvious. Woodruff has looked like a dead-man walking since he cast the deciding vote for Daylight Saving Time after promising his west-Indiana constituents he wouldn’t. I’ll speculate maybe Harris is vulnerable because of the CAFO kerfuffle in Blackford County where the Daniels administration has put pressure on county officials who had concerns about the impact of a confined feeding dairy operation. I don’t actually know if that’s the case, and I don’t know why, particularly, Smith and Bright might be deemed vulnerable.
It is hard for me to believe that Harris is vunerable here. The Grant County area is filled with conservatives. With Indiana Wesleyan University and Taylor University being two of the largest employers in the area, on top of the extensive rural setting, Harris will really face no major problems in reelection as far as I see.
Dustin Blythe says
Allow me to second the Jackie Walorski assessment. Not only do we have the toll road issue, but her non-vote was a deciding factor in the time zone issue. She is challenged by former Mishawaka mayor Robert Kovach, a seasoned political figure who was also a former state senator. She does, however, have a mostly Republican district and support from the local Operating Engineers union based in Lakeville. That being said, I have read more outspoken criticism of the toll road lease and the time zone issue from Republicans that ever before on any issue.
Josh could not be more wrong about Tim Harris or District 31. First of all, Indiana Weslayen and Taylor are in House District 32, belonging to one P. Eric Turner. The reality is that Tim Harris barely survived in a year that Republican waters were flooding and Democrats lost seats. His record has been shabby, he’s not very impressive, and his district needs a lot of help. Hence, he is very vulnerable against popular Blackford Commissioner Larry Hile, the guy that nearly scalped him in 2004. One thing is for sure, he’s not Dean Young, he’s not Larry Hile, and he follows a very unpopular Governor a little too closely.