Republican Jim Banks will defeat Democrat Tommy A. Schrader in Indiana’s 3rd District, the Associated Press projects.
Banks led Schrader, 74 percent to 20 percent, with 25 percent of precincts reporting.
He replaces GOP Rep. Marlin Stutzman, who forfeited his seat for an ultimately unsuccessful run for the Senate.
Indiana’s 3rd District encompasses the northeastern corner of the state, and includes rural areas and Amish country as well as cities such as Fort Wayne and Huntington. Most of the district’s population lives in Allen County, anchored by Fort Wayne.
Stutzman, who has represented the district since 2011, had no trouble in previous general elections in this heavily Republican district, never winning by less than 62 percent of the vote. He lost to fellow GOP House member Todd Young in the state’s Republican Senate primary in May.
Banks bested six candidates in the GOP primary to replace Stutzman. He is a member of the Indiana Senate, a lieutenant in the Navy Reserve, and has worked as a commercial real estate broker. During the primary, Banks was backed by conservative groups such as the Club for Growth and the House Freedom Fund, the electoral and fundraising arm of the staunchly conservative House Freedom Caucus.
Since winning the primary, Banks has contributed at least $64,000 to fellow congressional candidates and the NRCC. He didn’t have to worry about his general election, considering local Democrats disavowed their own nominee after the unemployed perennial candidate won the primary.
Banks is expected to focus on military issues when he comes to Congress. While serving in the state Senate in 2014, he took a leave of absence when he was deployed to Afghanistan. His wife was elected by local precinct committeemen to temporarily take his seat in the legislature.
He hopes to become a member of the Armed Services and Veterans’ Affairs committees.
Contact Bowman at email@example.com and follow her on Twitter @bridgetbhc.