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Friday, Feb. 23
The Indiana Daily Student

GOP candidate Sodrel to run for Congress

Battle between Sodrel and Hill to continue for fifth consecutive campaign in Indiana’s 9th District

Indiana 9th Congressional District Forum

INDIANAPOLIS – Former Republican Rep. Mike Sodrel announced Monday he was running again for Congress, setting up a possible fifth consecutive campaign against Democratic Rep. Baron Hill in southern Indiana’s 9th District.

Sodrel sent an e-mail to supporters announcing his bid for the Republican nomination, although another GOP candidate plans to argue it’s time for a new person to challenge Hill.

The Hill-Sodrel campaigns have featured numerous personal attacks, with Sodrel being dubbed “Millionaire Mike” and allegations that Hill sucker-punched Sodrel after a 2002 debate.

Sodrel’s announcement didn’t mention Hill, but it took swipes at President Barack Obama and Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“The Obama administration and Pelosi’s Congress are doing all the wrong things,” he said. “You don’t pull a country out of an economic slump by hurting the people who do the hiring. Additional taxes, government takeovers and programs like ‘cap and trade’ would do just that.”

Hill and Sodrel have faced each other in each congressional election since 2002. Sodrel won the seat in 2004, but Hill recaptured it two years later. Hill won the 2008 election with nearly 58 percent of the vote.

Hill is in his fifth term and is a leader of the Blue Dog Coalition, a group of moderate and conservative congressional Democrats. He has been criticized by conservatives for voting in support of the House health care overhaul bill.

Hill’s spokeswoman, Katie Moreau, did not immediately respond to a phone message Monday requesting comment.

Attorney Todd Young of Bloomington and real-estate investor Travis Hankins of Columbus, Ind., have been campaigning for months for the Republican nomination, which will be decided in the May primary.

Both said Monday they intend to remain in the race.

Young has been endorsed by several Republican state office holders and held a Bloomington fundraiser with former Vice President Dan Quayle. He pointed out that Sodrel received just 38 percent of the vote in the 2008 election, while Republican presidential candidate John McCain and all statewide Republican candidates won in the predominantly rural district.

“The voters spoke just months ago,” Young said. “I think people are ready for a fresh face.”

Hankins said he regarded himself as the most conservative candidate in the race and that he expected 2010 would be “a great year for conservatives.”

Sodrel in the 1970s founded a Jeffersonville-based bus and trucking company that made him a multimillionaire. He spent more than $1 million of his own money on his first congressional campaign in 2002.

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