Indiana 4th District
The landscape of central Indiana is some of the most prosaic in the United States. It is mostly flat, with neat farms and towns of frame bungalows, looking mostly unchanged from many years ago. Across this landscape run some of the nation’s chief transportation arteries. The earliest was the old National Road, from Baltimore to St. Louis, which was paralleled by U.S. 40 in the 1930s. The region was also crisscrossed by the great east-west rail lines carrying famed passenger trains like the old Wabash Cannonball. There is no Cannonball today. People bounce around the Midwest on commuter airlines from small city to hub, and U.S. 40 has been replaced by Interstate 70. The landscape still looks rural, and there are some large farms. But the economy is more industrial, with small factories in crossroads and courthouse towns. This is a part of America with little heritage from the early waves of immigration, relatively few blacks, and only modest numbers of Latino and Asian immigrants.
2008 Presidential Vote
|Cook Partisan Voting Index|
The 4th Congressional District of Indiana covers much of this territory, running from Indiana’s northern plains to its southern hills. It includes all or part of 12 counties in western Indiana, including the far western edge of Indianapolis and Marion County. It extends south to Lawrence County, the source of the limestone used to rebuild the Pentagon after the September 11 attacks. The largest city is Lafayette, where the main employer is Purdue University. Growing and prosperous, the city has benefited from a 2006 partnership between Toyota and longtime local manufacturer Subaru to annually produce 100,000 Camry sedans while continuing to produce Subarus. Lafayette ranked sixth on Forbes magazine’s 2009 list of “smartest small towns in America,” and it tends to vote Republican. Even more Republican are the small counties and the suburban territory outside Indianapolis, such as fast-growing Hendricks County, which delivered 73% for George W. Bush in 2004 and 61% for John McCain in 2008.