New Member: Tennessee Transplant Trey Hollingsworth Wins Indiana's 9th District

Republican businessman overcame charges of carpetbagging to replace Rep. Todd Young

Republican Trey Hollingsworth beat Democrat Shelli Yoder for an open seat in Indiana’s 9th District, currently represented by Republican Rep. Todd Young. (Photo courtesy of Trey for Congress.)

Republican Trey Hollingsworth will defeat Democrat Shelli Yoder in Indiana’s 9th District, The Associated Press projects. 

Hollingsworth led Yoder 53.5 to 41.3 percent with 80 percent of precincts reporting.

The open seat, which Republican Rep. Todd Young vacated for his successful Senate run, was rated Republican Favored by the Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call. Mitt Romney won it by 17 points in 2012. 

But the National Republican Congressional Committee was forced to make a late investment here to match Democratic spending in the district, something they wouldn’t normally have to do in a red district.

The concern for Republicans here wasn’t Donald Trump. The GOP presidential nominee had been expected to do well in the state and district. The liability was Hollingsworth, himself, who only moved to Indiana last fall, shortly before declaring his candidacy.

Democrats dubbed him “Tennessee Trey,” in reference to his native state, and accused him of trying to buy a congressional seat with help from a super PAC largely funded by his father. 

In the days before the election, Hollingsworth faced negative headlines about public records from his company that found he was obligated to live in five states — none of them Indiana — “to represent his business interests.” 

Still, Yoder faced an uphill battle in such a red district. To win, she would have had to have won over enough ticket-splitters to significantly over-perform Hillary Clinton in the district. 

[‘Who is This Trey Guy?’ Indiana’s 9th District Asks]

Indiana’s 9th District is in the center of the southern part of the state, bordering the Louisville area of Kentucky. It spans several counties and includes the towns of Bloomington, Bedford, Salem, Seymour and Jeffersonville.

[Election Results 2016]

In 2014, Young defeated his Democratic opponent William W. Bailey 62.6 to 33.9 percent. 

Hollingsworth moved to Indiana from Tennessee in September 2015, just a month before beginning his congressional campaign. The 32-year-old owns Clinton, Tennessee-based Hollingsworth Capital Partners, an industrial real estate business started by his father.

With a net worth of more than $58 million, according to his financial disclosure statement, Hollingsworth will be one of the wealthiest members of Congress. The businessman self-funded most of his primary campaign, in which he bested four GOP opponents.

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