Profiling Indiana’s Eighth Congressional District Race
This week Hoosier Access takes a look at the Republican candidates for the Indiana’s Eighth Congressional District. Career heart surgeon turned Congressman Larry Bucshon (R-Newburgh) is running for his third term to this office and is being challenged by local businessman Andrew McNeil.
Historically speaking the Eighth Congressional District has been the source of the most heated electoral battles our state has seen for Congress. Centered on Evansville and covering the southwestern corner of the state but still inching up to include west central parts of the state like Terre Haute, this district represents a wide and diverse population.
National democrats traditionally look at what many have come to refer to as the “Bloody Eighth” as a pickup opportunity and it was briefly held by former Congressman Brad Ellsworth (D-Evansville) before he was tapped to replace former Senator Evan Bayh on the Senate ballot and lost to Senator Dan Coats (R-Indianapolis).
There is a strong ribbon of tea party activism in this district and it was held by rock-ribbed conservative former Congressman John Hostettler. That said, Rep. Bucshon has deftly managed two consecutive elections with solid wins and has been able to raise his profile both at home in Indiana as well as in Washington, D.C.
Below you will see my Power Meter rankings for the two candidates who have filed for this campaign:
I have rated Rep. Bucshon’s campaign as running at the optimal level. There’s always more money that could be raised or more activity to be taking place – but it’s hard to hold all of the different aspects of Congressional service in balance. In addition to running an excellent campaign, Rep. Bucshon is still focused on serving his constituents and being their voice in Washington, D.C. – a difficult tightrope to walk effectively. Read the full profile here
I have decided to give Andrew McNeil’s campaign a “low” rating. While McNeil has passion to run, ultimately it’s not clear his message is significantly different from past campaigns. That message has not been compelling to Republican voters in the Eighth Congressional District in past elections and I see little reason for that to change in the next few months. While he seems like a passionate enough person, it’s not clear his campaign has the elements it needs for him to communicate that passion to voters in a compelling manner. Read the full profile here