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Indiana - 2nd District

Incumbent -- Joe Donnelly (D) ; Running for Senate (announced May 9, 2011)

Leans Democratic
Race Ratings Key
 

Updated Oct. 14, 2010

Donnelly was the target of the National Republican Congressional Committee's first independent expenditure ad, and for good reason: Polls have shown the Blue Dog tied with Republican state Rep. Jackie Walorski.

Donnelly made a splash with an early August ad that showed members of Democratic leadership on screen as a narrator condemned "the Washington crowd." Since then he has continued to portray himself as an independent and has tried to make Walorski out to be a highly partisan Republican. In late August he used the endorsement Walorski got from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in a fundraising plea.

Outside groups have enthusiastically pitched in on Walorski's behalf: In addition to the NRCC, the 60 Plus Association and Americans for Prosperity have aired ads in the South Bend-based district.

Donnelly defeated then-Rep. Chris Chocola in the 2006 wave, and Walorski hopes a similar wave washes her into office this year.

 

District Information

District Profile from Politics in America

The 2nd begins in Kokomo and moves north through small farming communities before reaching counties on the state's northern border, which include the cities of South Bend, Mishawaka and Elkhart and are home to nearly 30 percent of district residents.

South Bend, in St. Joseph County, is home to an ideologically and economically diverse population. The wealthy, white-collar, Catholic Notre Dame community that hosts faculty and professionals is joined by low-income, minority residents downtown, as well as blue-collar areas east of the city. The city has shed thousands of residents over the last decade even as neighboring Mishawaka experienced modest population growth. Michigan City's steel manufacturers along the shores of Lake Michigan in the district's northwest have led to a strong northern Democratic-leaning region.

East of Mishawaka, communities in Elkhart County (shared with the 3rd) round out the 2nd's heavily populated northeast. Farming and business in Elkhart create a faithfully conservative constituency. But Elkhart, a national center for the manufactured housing industry, was rocked by high unemployment rates, the collapse of local manufacturing industry and reduced demand for the recreational vehicles produced in the county. Kokomo (shared with the 5th) is another mainly white, blue-collar area; it relies on the struggling auto industry, and volatile markets cause concern for key local employers Delphi and Chrysler.

The once Republican-leaning U.S. House seat flipped to Democratic control in 2006, although the district remains competitive. LaPorte County gave Democrat Barack Obama his fifth-highest statewide percentage in the 2008 presidential election, and Obama won the district with 54 percent overall.

Major Industry

Manufacturing, higher education, agriculture

Cities

South Bend, 101,168; Mishawaka, 48,252; Elkhart (pt.), 47,025; Michigan City, 31,479

Notable

The World Whiffleball Championship is played every year in Mishawaka.

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