Crowded Field Of Candidates Compete In 1st And 5th Congressional Districts


    INDIANAPOLIS—The retirement of two members of Indiana’s congressional delegation has drawn more than three dozen hopefuls into the races, including state Sen. Victoria Spartz, who would be giving up her seat after one term, and state Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon who is not seeking another term.

    U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, a Democrat from the state’s 1st District in the northwest corner of the state, announced in November that he would not be seeking reelection. He has held that seat since 1985 when Ronald Reagan was in the White House.

    In the 5th District, which covers the northernmost section of Indianapolis and county’s father north, Republican Rep. Susan Brooks announced in June that she would not seek re-election.

    In the 1st, 13 Democrats and six Republicans have filed to run so far and in the 5th, 14 Republicans and five Democrats have filed, including former state Rep. Christina Hale, a Democrat from Indianapolis. The filing deadline for the May 5 primary is Friday.

    Visclosky’s retirement after 35 years in Congress opens up the seat for a younger generation of Democrats.

    Andrew Downs, associate professor of political science for Purdue University Fort Wayne, said Visclosky’s retirement brings some attention to the open seat by constituents in the district.

    “Before people didn’t have to think about what was happening there, now they’ll have to think about it,” he said.

    Downs said Candelaria Reardon, of Munster, might have a leg up in the primary simply because of her familiar name.

    “Anybody who is serving at a county level or a state-level should have an advantage over others,” he said.

    State Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon, R-Munster, in 2018.
    Photo by Eddie Drews,

    Candelaria Reardon has already raised just over $98,000 for her campaign, the second most of the candidates running in the 1st District, according to the Federal Elections Commission. She is not seeking re-election.

    The only other candidate to raise more contributions is Thomas McDermott, the mayor of Hammond, Indiana. He brought in a little more than $170,000.

    The field of Republicans in the 5th just got a little more crowded this week when Spartz, of Noblesville, announced she is seeking the GOP nomination and abandoning her plans to seek a second term in the Senate. She has served there since 2017 when she replaced retiring Sen. Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville.

    On Thursday, the Indianapolis Business Journal reported that former Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi is planning to jump in the race, but his paperwork hadn’t yet been filed. Also, state Treasurer Kelly Mitchell has announced that she is seeking the GOP nomination.

    Down said the 5th District might more competitive in November, noting that in the 20128 Senate race incumbent Sen. Joe Donnelly got 44% of the vote in Hamilton County, more than was expected. Part of the district in Indianapolis leans more heavily to the Democrats.

    FOOTNOTES: Victoria Ratliff is a reporter with, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.




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