SPOTLIGHT

A Run of Senate Primaries

Examining one state’s streak of competitive Republican contests.

FILE - In a Tuesday, May 4, 2010 file photo, Indiana GOP 5th District Congressional candidate Luke Messer arrives at a polling place in Carmel, Ind. Three open congressional seats and a strong rematch from 2010 have led to crowded primaries on Indiana's May 8 primary ballot.
AP Photo/Michael Conroy
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Kyle Trygstad
March 21, 2017, 10:23 a.m.

In­di­ana is set to host its fourth straight com­pet­it­ive Re­pub­lic­an Sen­ate primary, and Reps. Todd Rokita and Luke Mess­er could be­come the second set of House col­leagues in as many years to face off for the nom­in­a­tion.

This one is for a shot at Joe Don­nelly, the first Demo­crat­ic sen­at­or seek­ing reelec­tion in the state since 2004. The 2010 race ini­tially was for the chance to take on Evan Bayh, but his late re­tire­ment an­nounce­ment made it an open seat.

That year, former Sen. Dan Coats’s 39 per­cent bested a field that in­cluded Marlin Stutz­man, whom Re­pub­lic­ans nom­in­ated a month later for the 3rd Dis­trict spe­cial elec­tion. Stutz­man lost an­oth­er Sen­ate primary last year to fel­low Rep. Todd Young, who went on to de­feat Bayh after a late Demo­crat­ic can­did­ate swap.

Re­pub­lic­ans have a 2-1 gen­er­al elec­tion re­cord dur­ing the streak, with Richard Mour­dock’s de­feat of Sen. Richard Lugar in the 2012 primary the only match­up that led to a loss.

The tim­ing of the early May primary has been be­ne­fi­cial for Re­pub­lic­ans, whose nom­in­ees were able to co­alesce sup­port and re­stock war chests. The next win­ner will face new chal­lenges: a Demo­crat­ic in­cum­bent and a Re­pub­lic­an in the White House.

Kyle Tryg­stad

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