Rep. Joe Donnellys district would become more Republican under newly proposed Congressional lines.
Updated: 2:43 p.m.
Indiana state lawmakers proposed a new Congressional map Monday that would alter Rep. Joe Donnelly’s (D-Ind.) northern Indiana district to include more Republicans.
The proposed map only fuels speculation that Donnelly will run for Senate instead of for re-election in the redrawn district. Donnelly has publicly stated his interest in running for Sen. Dick Lugar’s (R-Ind.) seat, but his decision was partially contingent on what the new 2nd district would look like.
The map proposed by Republicans, who control the state Legislature, shifts two of the most Democratic parts of Donnelly’s district — the town of Kokomo and part of LaPorte County — out of the district. Meanwhile, GOP state lawmakers moved Elkhart County, which is reliably conservative, into the 2nd district.
Donnelly narrowly won re-election in 2010, defeating state Rep. Jackie Walorski (R) by less than 2 points. Walorski has already announced she will run again in what will likely be an even more favorable district for Republicans.
He released a statement saying he was disappointed “that politics played into the drawing of the congressional district lines” although he said a Democrat can still win in this district. He said he expects to make a decision about his future plans in coming weeks.
“I am confident that a Democrat can win in the new 2nd Congressional District,” Donnelly said. “President Obama performed well in this district in 2008, earning 49% of the vote. Also, it is not uncommon for a Democratic candidate in Indiana to outperform his or her nominee for president. I did it in 2008, outperforming then-Senator Obama by 13 points, and I know it can be done again.”
The total number of House districts in Indiana — nine — did not change as a result of population shifts. However, there’s been more growth in the central part of the state, making it necessary to shift the lines of all districts.
The new map also drastically changes Indiana’s 9th district, the eastern half of which will move into the 6th district. The 9th district’s three most southwestern counties were moved to the proposed 8th district, currently represented by freshman Rep. Larry Bucshon (R).
Instead, the new 9th district, currently represented by freshman Rep. Todd Young (R), will stretch all the way north to the Indianapolis suburbs outside Marion County, which includes Indianapolis.
Hoosier State lawmakers presented the new map at a committee meeting Monday morning. They are expected to approve a Congressional map by the end of the legislative session on April 29.
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