The 'Races To Replace': What Happened In Three Key Congressional Contests

May 4, 2016

Todd Young won the race to succeed Dan Coats on the U.S. Senate ballot, but he'll have competition for the seat itself.
Credit courtesy Dan Coats

Indiana's primary was notable for its domino effect, which went something like this:

1. A sitting senator decides to retire.

2. Two sitting congressmen run to replace him.

3. Those two seats need filling, sparking hotly-contested races in the northeast and south-central parts of the state.

Young Wins Senate Contest

Representative Todd Young (R-9th) Tuesday easily defeated fellow U.S. House member Marlin Stutzman (R-3rd) to secure the Republican nomination for Indiana’s open U.S. Senate seat. 

Tuesday’s results weren’t necessarily a surprise – most polls showed Todd Young with a healthy lead heading into the primary. 

But still, the Ninth District Republican cruised to a double-digit victory. 

In his concession speech, Stutzman expressed disappointment at the result, while sounding a call to reform the electoral system.

“It’s one of those situations where we saw a lot of money come into a race that we don’t know exactly where it came from,” Stutzman says.

In his victory speech, Young took a moment to praise Stutzman before shifting his focus to the general election and his Democratic opponent, Baron Hill.

“Baron Hill has a habit of saying popular things here in Indiana, often conservative-sounding things," Young says.  "But then he’d vote for very liberal policies in Washington, D.C.”

In a statement, Baron Hill says a vote for Young is a vote for divisive politics and a broken system.  Young Defeated Hill in 2010 to win his current seat

Tennessean Hollingsworth, 2012 Candidate Yoder To Vie For Young's Seat

Meanwhile, a newly-minted Hoosier Trey Hollingsworth won the Republican nomination for the Ninth Congressional District.

Five Republicans ran for the seat, including Attorney General Greg Zoeller, state senators Erin Houchin and Brent Waltz and businessman Robert Hall.

But Indiana outsider Trey Hollingsworth, who spent millions of his own dollars on the race, took a big enough plurality of the vote – 34-percent – to win.

Hollingsworth recently moved to Indiana from Tennessee. Because he isn’t a resident he needed special permission from the GOP chairman of Clark County, where he lives.

On Tuesday night, Hollingsworth pronounced himself proud of his campaign’s hard work.

“I believed all the way through that it was gonna be on hard work, we knocked on 12,000 doors, made 50,000 phone calls," Hollingsworth says. "We believe that talking to the voters individually about their concerns, their hopes would prevail and luckily enough it did here on election night.”

Meanwhile, the Republican who entered the race with the best name recognition – incumbent Attorney General Greg Zoeller – finished third.

Zoeller spoke to voters at a campaign event in his hometown of Sellersburg, saying he enjoyed running in this primary even if he doesn’t go forward in the race.

“I picked one that’s probably going to go down in some political science history book, it’s one of the most remarkable,” he says.

Hollingsworth will go on to face Democratic Monroe County Councillor ­­­­­­­Shelli Yoder, who lost to Young in the 2012 general election, in November.

Is Stutzman's GOP Replacement Another Rising Star?

Once upon a time, Marlin Stutzman was an up-and-coming Hoosier lawmaker. On Tuesday night, his current term got an expiration date. But the man who won the GOP primary to replace Stutzman has a similar electoral track record.

State Senator Jim Banks has risen to prominence at the statehouse, bolstered by military service that's kept him away from lawmaking duties at times and pressed his wife Amanda to occupy his seat for a while.

Banks won a close contest, garnering 34-percent of the vote and beating the second place finisher, Kip Tom, by less than 4,000 votes. Banks says he isn’t taking the November’s election for granted.

“We will roll up our sleeves, no one will work harder than the Banks family,” he told supporters.

If Banks is elected in the fall, he says he wants to address what he calls a lack of leadership in Washington.

“I’m the only candidate in the country recently deployed to a combat zone in Afghanistan," he says. "It gives me a powerful, unique perspective to be an advocate for our troops and rebuilding our military.”

Banks will face Fort Wayne Democrat Tommy Schrader. Schrader has run for political office many times before, including races for city council, mayor, and Congress.