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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

IN-03: What's Happening Here?

Posted by James L.

Not so long ago, the DCCC added Tom Hayhurst, the Democratic longshot challenger to Republican Mark Souder in Indiana's 3rd district to its list of Emerging Races. At the time, I was skeptical, being inclined to believe that the move was merely a recognition of Hayhurst's fairly good fundraising more than anything else. Hayhurst has raised $592k (of which $200k came from his own pockets) as of September 30th, nearly doubling what the lackadaisical Souder has raised this cycle. But in a district that delivered 68% of its vote to Bush two years ago, I figured his inclusion was meant more as a pat on the back rather than an indication that this seat was seriously in play.

I might have to change my mind, though, after I read this Hotline piece, detailing the NRCC's decision to buy $72,000 worth of ad time for Souder. That's not a large amount, but at the same time, it shouldn't be necessary for the NRCC to buy any ad time at all in a district this reliably Republican.

The NRCC is fanning their money around wide. Mighty wide, it seems, for a piece of it to end up defending their hold on IN-03.

PS: For a taste of what Hayhurst is spending his money on, here's one of his campaign commercials. It's pretty good.

Posted at 06:56 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Indiana | Technorati

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Charlie Cook moved this race from safe to "Likely Republican" a few days ago as well. I really don't think that Hayhurst has much of a shot to win, but as James says, the fact that time and money are being spent here tells us something. And it is not completely out of the question. Yes, the district did vote 2/1 for Bush, but this is not as hard right of a district as, say, Indiana 04 and Indiana 05 are. The district is centered in Fort Wayne -- a GOP town for the most part, but consider: 1) They have a popular Democratic mayor in Graham Richard, and 2) This was the district (more or less) that in the early 1990s sent Jill Long Thompson to Congress for a couple of terms. In other words, folks up there are typically Republican, but can be persuaded to vote for good Democratic candidates under certain circumstances. Again, let's not get carried away, as this is still a huge longshot, but a lot less huge than it used to be.

On a somewhat related note, I've noticed a few people around the web (and around town here in Indianapolis) getting nervous about Julia Carson. There was one (dubious) poll showing her behind. I don't buy it, but no doubt the race has tightened, largely because of questions about the Congresswoman's health (I really think she should have retired, and REALLY hope this upcoming term will be her last). It's not a slam-dunk, but those of us in and around Indianapolis know she looks like she's in trouble every year, and pulls it out by 8-10 points each time. So I'm not counting her safely in the win column, will get out and work for her -- but I'm far from pushing the panic button yet (and I'm a typically nervous, pessimistic person!).

Posted by: IndianaProgressive [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 25, 2006 10:45 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment