13 Republicans, 3 Democrats Want 4th District Seat

Published Sunday 21 of March, 2010

Dorothy Schneider, Journal and Courier

Richard Chastain’s first impression of the primary race for the 4th District congressional seat: “It’s pretty crowded.”

The Crawfordsville voter has donated to U.S. Rep. Steve Buyer’s campaign in the past. But the Monticello Republican isn’t running for re-election, and Chastain isn’t sure who he’ll vote for.

Buyer announced in January that he would not seek re-election due to his wife’s incurable, autoimmune disease. A wave of candidate announcements followed; 13 Republicans and three Democrats vying in the primary for the 4th District seat.

Even though the ballot looks crowded, Brian Vargus said only a few candidates will stand out on May 4. The field consists of current state lawmakers, two pastors, a football coach, a professor, several engineers and a corrections officer.

Vargus, a political science professor at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, closely watches state and congressional politics. He also studies voting habits, and he thinks the party faithful likely to vote in the primary will choose candidates they are familiar with.

In this race, Vargus said, that means state Sen. Brandt Hershman, R-Buck Creek, and Secretary of State Todd Rokita lead the GOP field. Purdue University professor David Sanders is likely to stand out among the Democrats.

“They’ve got to be considered the favorites,” Vargus said.

On the Democratic side, Teresa Hull of Lafayette said she hasn’t paid too much attention to the race so far.

Hull is a registered Democrat and plans to vote in the primary. But she said she hasn’t had time yet to research the candidates.

She’ll make her decision on “what the candidates are saying and if we’re on the same page.”

Walt Dalsimer, also a Democrat from West Point, thinks Sanders will win the primary race.