Incumbents favored in Indiana's 9 congressional districts

November 4, 2008


UNDATED (AP) - Indiana's nine congressional districts feature mostly quiet contests this year, with even freshman representatives expected to win. Democrats have held a 5-4 edge in Indiana's delegation since 2006.


District 1


Candidates - Democrat: Peter Visclosky (incumbent); Republican: Mark Leyva; Libertarian: Jeff Duensing


Visclosky is seeking his 13th term in the heavily Democratic district he has represented since 1984. He faces Republican Mark Leyva, a union carpenter, for the fourth straight time and has won with at least two-thirds of the vote in the previous elections.


District 2


Candidates - Democrat: Joe Donnelly (incumbent); Republican: Luke Puckett; Libertarian: Mark Vogel


Donnelly defeated two-term Republican Rep. Chris Chocola in 2006 with 54 percent of the vote. Puckett, who owns a boat furniture company in Goshen, is making his first run for public office and has struggled to gain attention.


District 3


Candidates - Republican: Mark Souder (incumbent); Democrat: Michael Montagano; Libertarian: William Larsen


Souder faces a potentially tough challenge from Montagano, a 27-year-old attorney, to keep the seat he first won in 1994. Souder has typically won with more than 60 percent of the vote but was held to 54 percent in 2006, and national Democrats have been spending heavily in support of Montagano.


District 4


Candidates - Republican: Steve Buyer (incumbent); Democrat: Nels Ackerson


Buyer is seeking a 9th term in the heavily Republican district and faces Ackerson, an attorney from Zionsville who was a top aide to then-Sen. Birch Bayh in the 1970s. Ackerson has run an active campaign, but it would likely take a huge Democratic wave for him to defeat Buyer.


District 5


Candidates - Republican: Dan Burton (incumbent); Democrat: Mary Etta Ruley


Burton has represented the district - one of the most-Republican in the country - since 1982 but barely survived a GOP primary challenge this year, defeating John McGoff with 52 percent of the vote. Burton faces Ruley, a Marion businesswoman who has not reported raising any campaign funds.


District 6


Candidates - Republican: Mike Pence (incumbent); Democrat: Barry Welsh; Libertarian: George Holland


Pence is seeking re-election to the seat he first won in 2000. Pence defeated Welsh, a Methodist minister, in the 2006 election with 60 percent of the vote.


District 7


Candidates - Democrat: Andre Carson (incumbent); Republican: Gabrielle Campo


Carson is seeking election to a full term after winning a special election in March to succeed his grandmother, Julia Carson, who died in December. Carson faces the little-known Campo, a social worker selected as the GOP candidate after primary winner Jon Elrod dropped out to seek re-election to the Indiana House.


District 8


Candidates - Democrat: Brad Ellsworth (incumbent); Republican: Greg Goode


Ellsworth, a former Vanderburgh County sheriff, defeated six-term Republican John Hostettler in 2006 with 61 percent of the vote. Goode, a former congressional aide and Indiana State University administrator, has struggled to raise campaign funds but is looking to tap into the same base of religious conservatives that helped Hostettler win several close elections.


District 9


Candidates - Democrat: Baron Hill (incumbent); Republican: Mike Sodrel; Libertarian: D. Eric Schansberg


Hill, who has represented the district for eight of the past 10 years, and Sodrel are facing each other for the fourth consecutive election. Hill defeated Sodrel, the owner of a bus and trucking company, in 2002, then lost to him in 2004. Hill won the seat back two years ago.