Tuesday, April 20, 2010

the C-J's overview of the 9th District race

From Lesley Stedman Weidenbener in the C-J...

Mike Sodrel has been the GOP's 9th District House candidate in the past four elections, but the 64-year-old businessman's quest for a fifth run is threatened by credible challengers. Two of Sodrel's three Republican primary opponents — Todd Young, 37, a prosecutor from Bloomington, and Travis Hankins, 28, a developer from Columbus — were campaigning last year, long before Sodrel announced this year he would run again.

Young was essentially the pick of establishment Republicans seeking a fresh face with a solid background to take on five-term incumbent Rep. Baron Hill, D-Seymour.

While Hill was deciding how to vote on the health care bill last year, Young was traveling the district holding town hall meetings on the issue.

So far this year, Young has raised and spent more money than any of his GOP opponents and has substantially more cash on hand, according to Federal Election Commission reports.

Hankins is the upstart, a grass-roots campaigner who has blanketed the district with yard signs and banners. His low-budget effort is based largely on personal visits he started making last summer.

“I want people to know I'd be a citizen legislator, not a career politician,” Hankins said. “People have come to know my heart — that I'm the real deal, genuine and I'm going to fight for them.”...


Sodrel's challengers say he's had his chances. He lost to Hill in 2002, won in 2004 but lost again in 2006 and 2008.

Republicans “are tired of the same old people. They want fresh ideas and fresh energy,” Young said. “Finally, they want somebody who can beat Baron Hill. This is not a good year for incumbents, and it's not a good year for defeated incumbents, either.”

Young cites his background, experience and focus on fiscal integrity....


Hankins insists he's the only true conservative in the race...

Hankins describes his life and political philosophy as “a Christian, a conservative and a Republican in that order....

Although all the candidates say they are opposed to abortion, Hankins said it would be his top priority if elected. He wants a constitutional amendment to ban abortion....


He acknowledged that conventional wisdom makes this a better year for political newcomers. But he said his previous term in Congress means that, if elected again, he can go right to work....

What doesn't work, he said, is government interference, regulation and overspending. Sodrel said he would have voted against the stimulus, the health care legislation and the energy bill.

There's no good evidence of his first claim. Although he was no help against a big-spending Republican President and Congress, he would probably be a steady "no" against Democrats.


Warren is essentially self-funded, having reported no contributions or spending, and he isn't campaigning as actively as the other candidates.


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