Although the country will be voting in a presidential election this fall, Hoosiers can familiarize themselves with other races, such as those for state representatives, before they step into the voting booth or mail in their ballots.
Indiana has nine seats up for election in the U.S. House of Representatives, one for each congressional district. In the 1st and 5th districts, the current incumbents, Pete Visclosky and Susan Brooks respectively, are retiring. Visclocky has been in office since 1985 and Brooks since 2013.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has stated that the 5th district is one of its targets for the 2020 election because the general election is expected to be competitive in that district, according to ballotpedia. In recent election years, the 5th district has had close races, going back and forth between Republican and Democratic candidates. In this district, Democrat Christina Hale, Republican Victoria Spartz and Libertarian Ken Tucker will be running for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Many U.S. Representative candidates in Indiana are running for reelection, including Republicans Jackie Walorski, Jim Banks, James Baird, Greg Pence, Larry Bucshon and Trey Hollingsworth, as well as Democrat André Carson.
Libertarian candidates are running for U.S. Representative against traditional Democratic and Republican candidates in five districts.
Indiana does not have any seats in the U.S. Senate up for election in 2020. Only a third of Senate seats are up for election every two years.
Half of the Indiana state senate seats and all seats in the state House of Representatives are up for election this fall. The outcomes of these elections may influence Indiana’s redistricting process following the 2020 census because the state legislature draws congressional district lines, which are then subject to veto by the governor. Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, a Republican, is also running for reelection against Democratic primary winner Woody Myers.
Of the 25 state Senate seats open, 18 are Republican incumbents seeking reelection, with two uncontested, and five are uncontested Democratic incumbents. Indiana state senators serve four-year terms with no term limits. Indiana President Pro Tempore and Republican Rodric Bray is running against Democrat Tom Wallace to represent district 3. Wallace said in a Facebook post that if elected he wants to focus on job creation and education.
Sixty-two Republican and 30 Democratic incumbents are running for a position in the Indiana State House of Representatives. Eight of the seats do not include incumbents. State representatives serve two year terms with no term limits.
Speaker of the House Republican Todd Huston, who represents district 37, is running against Democrat Aimee Rivera Cole, a practicing attorney who is focused on safety in schools and better working conditions for teachers. Huston, who assumed office in November 2012 and was selected as the Speaker of the House earlier this year, has served on the ways and means and joint rules committees.
Holcomb is running for reelection with Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch. Holcomb served as the lieutenant governor under now-Vice President Mike Pence from 2016 to 2017. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Holcomb has been one of the leading Republican governors encouraging more aggressive social distancing measures, according to an Indy Star article. Myers will be running with former State Representative and Democrat Linda Lawson for the positions of Governor and lieutenant governor, respectively. Myers, a former Indiana State Health Commissioner, wants to improve access to quality health care and reduce the cost of prescription drugs. Indiana governors serve four-year terms with no term limit, though they can’t serve more than eight years within a 12-year period.
Many different counties in Indiana are having elections for county council positions to serve as a legislative body to help govern their respective areas. County council's responsibilities include developing economic programs and maintaining government property such as courthouses and jails..
The majority of people in each Indiana county voted for President Donald Trump in 2016. Some of them, labeled pivot counties, had a majority vote for former President Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 and Trump in 2016. These counties are Porter, LaPorte, Delaware, Perry and Vigo.
In all of these Indiana pivot counties but Perry, elections are taking place for the county council. These counties have at least one at-large council member who is a Democratic incumbent. Delaware county is the only one of the five that has two Republican incumbents, Scott Alexander and Jessica Piper, though former LaPorte council member Republican Earl Cunningham made it through the primary election.
Other local elections to look out for this fall are those for county commissioners, who enact and administer local ordinances, and city council positions. City councils propose bills, levy taxes, adopt traffic regulations and more. Students who are completing an absentee ballot should research local candidates and spend time getting to know their stances because those are the positions that directly affect a community.