Indiana state Rep. Jim Baird won the Republican nomination for the 4th District on Tuesday, defeating two opponents who outraised and outspent him.
With 98 percent of precincts reporting, Baird had 36 percent of the vote to 30 percent for businessman Steve Braun and 15 percent for former gubernatorial aide Diego Morales, according to The Associated Press.
Baird will meet Democratic Army veteran Tobi Beck in November. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the 4th District race Solid Republican, so Baird is likely the next congressman from this seat, which Republican incumbent Todd Rokita vacated to run for Senate. He lost that race Tuesday night.
Baird’s victory here is a surprise. Many eyes had been on Braun, a former state representative whose brother, former state Rep. Mike Braun, won the GOP nomination for Senate on Tuesday.
In an interview in the district last month, Baird said he hadn’t been in touch with the National Republican Congressional Committee and hadn’t done any polling.
He had loaned his campaign $200,000 by the end of the pre-primary reporting period and raised little else. He’s working with Indiana-based consulting firm Mark It Red, which is also working with Mike Braun in the Senate race.
Baird may have garnered some late attention in the district from mailers from a North Carolina-based super PAC that attacked him for voting for a gas tax that would cost Hoosiers “an arm and a leg.” Baird, an Army veteran, lost his left arm in Vietnam and won two Purple Hearts.
He earned his doctorate at the University of Kentucky. A former Putnam County commissioner, Baird and his wife started a home health care agency and own several real estate and agricultural businesses in the area.
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