Rep. Mike Pence, who spoke Monday at the Americans for Prosperity rally, will set off a race for his seat if he seeks higher office in 2012.
Of the candidates looking to run for Pence’s seat, Strittmatter is the one candidate who has already made his bid public. He formed a federal campaign account in anticipation of Pence vacating his seat over the summer and had raised nearly $30,000 by the end of September. A Pence supporter who is term-limited out of his job at the end of this year, Strittmatter said he first approached the Congressman about running to replace him in January.
“He has said nothing to discourage me from what I’m doing,” Strittmatter told Roll Call in an interview Monday.
Strittmatter said he would campaign on bringing a law enforcement officer’s problem-solving mentality to Congress, a strategy used by Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.), who made his name as the sheriff who captured the Green River Killer in 2001.
“When a constituent comes to us with a problem, they’re looking for us to help to work toward a solution, and I think that’s one of the skills a sheriff can take to the House of Representatives,” Strittmatter said.
He said he would consider other factors, such as redistricting and other candidates getting into the race, as they become known. In the meantime, he is working with Ron Arnold & Associates Consulting — run by former Pence aide Ron Arnold — and is holding meetings to introduce himself to small groups of Republicans around the district.
McIntosh, 52, served as the Congressman in what was then the 2nd district from 1994 to 2000 and was chairman of the Republican Study Committee. He lost a bid for governor in 2000 and now works as a partner for Mayer Brown in Washington, D.C. Sen.-elect Dan Coats, who won a competitive GOP primary for the nomination and was handily elected this month to the open seat, was also a former Member-turned-lobbyist, and his success is a good sign for McIntosh.
Bates, who works in Richmond, finished fourth in this year’s Senate primary with 4 percent of the statewide vote. He said he would make any decisions about a 2012 run in late spring.
“I’m getting a lot of phone calls, and I fully intend to stay very actively engaged,” he said in an interview Monday. “The Senate primary was a great experience as I traveled the state and listened to Hoosiers’ concerns. I believe most of those concerns are very valid, and there’s a lot of work yet to be done.”
Bates said he has also talked with Pence about a potential run, but he added that if he ends up in GOP Rep.-elect Todd Young’s district, he wouldn’t run against him.
Where the lines are drawn is a consideration for Messer as well. Messer ran against Republican Rep. Dan Burton in the neighboring 5th district in 2010, finishing just behind the incumbent in a six-way primary. Many Republicans expect him to run there again, regardless of whether Burton decides to retire.