Democrats are mounting a full-court press to unseat one of the most conservative members of the Indiana Senate.
Carmel Republican Mike Delph won his last reelection race by 18 points, narrowly winning the district‘s Indianapolis precincts while piling up most of his seven-thousand-vote margin in conservative Hamilton County.
Since then, Delph‘s L-shaped district has been slightly redrawn, adding Zionsville and more of Indy‘s westside.
Democrat J.D. Ford would be the first openly gay member of the General Assembly. He criticizes Delph‘s vocal support of a constitutional ban on gay marriage as "divisive."
Ford says Delph‘s headline-making Twitter marathon after the Senate sidetracked the amendment‘s path to a November referendum crossed a line between debating and harassing opponents.
"We can exchange ideas; we can go back and forth -- that's the whole beauty of this process," Ford says. "But to actually get on and call out churches by their first name and to call out constituents and prominent businessmen like Mickey Maurer who have served this state with honor -- it baffles me."
Delph, meanwhile, accuses Democrats of over-reaching in criticizing his Tweeting.
"You know, Twitter is a form of communication," Delph says. "And what I've been known for is communicating as much as possible with my constituents to get direct input. when i engage the community in Twitter, it's to get more information and explain positions and whatnot. And I always thought that was a good thing."
Delph’s new district has shown conflicting allegiances, narrowly supporting Republican Governor Mike Pence while giving Democratic majorities to President Obama, U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly and state school superintendent Glenda Ritz.