In Search of a Challenger – Open Item
We shared with you late Friday over social media and later over the weekend on the blog that last year’s Democrat candidate for Indiana’s Second Congressional District, Brendan Mullen, wouldn’t be reprising the role in 2014. The Elkhart Truth‘s Tim Vandenack has been tracking down other potential candidates to get their read on the race. According to Vandenack, State Representative Ryan Dvorak (D-South Bend) is firmly undecided on the race. The Democrats, as of today, have no confirmed candidates to challenge Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (R-Lakeville) and the longer it takes them to find someone the more Walkorski’s prospects to get reelected improve.
An interesting development in Noble County that might have broader implications for the shape of races in 2014 is a primary challenger declaring against incumbent prosecutor Steven Clouse (R-Kendallville). The Kendallville News Sun ran an item yesterday covering Eric Blackman’s (R-Kendallville) announcement that he will be running against Clouse in 2014. Kendallville is the largest city in Noble County and accounts for a significant share of its population, though typically candidates from Kendallville tend to face opposition from the rest of Noble County in races for county offices.
Clouse is originally a Central Noble graduate but now makes his home in Kendallville. He originally ran for the position under the auspices of professionalizing the office and serving as a full-time prosecutor. Noble County’s geography is a magnet for meth producers and they have kept Clouse busy over the years. In addition to his public office, Clouse has been a guiding hand within the county party organization and helped a number of candidates get elected, most notably former State Representative Matt Bell.
Blackman is a long-time precinct committeeman who seems to be drawing much of the early support on his Facebook page from other names in Kendallville politics. His early themes seem to touch on an anti-incumbent message that could be the shape of things to come down the line. There has been little criticism from Blackman of Clouse or his record early in the race. Blackman’s message has been more focused on giving voters a choice in the primary.
Now that various Tea Party and 9/12 organizations have been around challenging the status quo at the federal and state levels we may start to see more challenges at the local level of politics. There’s no evidence that Noble County’s 9/12 group is involved in Blackman’s race, but their activism and that of other organizations may be credited with creating an environment where incumbents look more vulnerable.
In other news the farm bill analysis we promised you yesterday will be running in a few hours this morning. Over the course of the week we intend to look at the party’s efforts to get more young people involved. As always we welcome your commentary and news item, please just contribute them in the comments section below.