Unopposed Indiana Senate candidates have eyes on blockbuster November

Democratic candidate Mayor Tom McDermott and Republican Sen. Todd Young will face off in November, following Tuesday’s primary election.
Published: May. 3, 2022 at 10:06 AM EDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Indiana voters headed to the polls Tuesday for primary elections ahead of what could be consequential midterm elections in November. The political makeup on Capitol Hill is at stake this year, and Indiana will play a role in deciding the majority in Congress.

The midterm elections are six months away and will determine the balance of power on Capitol Hill. With an Indiana Senate seat on the ballot, Hoosiers will play a role in dictating the party breakdown with fine margins in Congress.

Both Democratic Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott and incumbent Republican Sen. Todd Young ran unopposed in Tuesday’s primaries. They now turn to the November showdown.

“I expect that we’ll hold here. It’ll be pretty boring, that’ll happen pretty fast. Maybe the first Senate race called on election night in November,” said Kyle Hupfer, chair of the Indiana Republican Party.

Hupfer is confident his Republican leaning state will keep the seat in GOP hands in what is currently an evenly split 50-50 U.S. Senate. Hupfer believes Young is delivering for Hoosiers. But the Democratic Party is angling for an upset with McDermott trying to win back a Democratic seat in Indiana after Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) lost in 2018.

“I’m looking for somebody like Tom to be a problem solver, to travel around the state, to talk to people directly. I also think you’ll see Tom’s pretty aggressive, Tom’s pretty brash, Tom does not shy away from answering tough questions,” said Mike Schmuhl, chair of the Indiana Democratic Party.

Young won his last race in 2016 by 10 points. Elizabeth Bennion from the University of Indiana South Bend said this is a safe seat for Republicans, but she said if the McDermott camp leans into pocketbook issues, the Democrats may narrow the gap.

“Such movement in voters’ preferences can happen, but it usually requires political realities beyond what a campaign itself to do,” said Bennion.

Historically midterm elections deliver a battering for the party in charge of the White House. With razor thin majorities for Democrats in both chambers of Congress, Bennion does not expect Democrats to spend a lot of money in the race that is considered safe for Republicans.

“They’re much more likely to invest in the toss up races, there are about four of those, or there are six or seven handful of races that really could potentially go either way with some additional funding,” said Bennion.

Nov. 8 is the date of the midterm election. The new Congress will not be sworn in until early Jan. 2023.

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