NPR Noon Edition: Indiana’s 2018 Primary Election

Indiana’s primary election is coming next week with many interesting races to follow at the local and national level.

In Monroe County, there are contested primaries for Prosecuting Attorney, County Commissioner District 1 and three judge seats.

Indiana’s U.S. Senate race features one of the country’s most heated primaries as three Republicans vie for a chance to unseat Democratic incumbent Joe Donnelly.

The electoral battle between Republican Congressmen Luke Messer and Todd Rokita and former state representative Mike Braun has been called one of the most divisive this cycle.

Southern Indiana’s 9th Congressional district is a key race. Republican Rep. Trey Hollingsworth is up for reelection for the first time, and he faces several challengers. Three Democrats and a fellow Republican are all on the primary ballot.

This week on Noon Edition, our panelists discussed the 2018 Indiana primary election.


William Ellis: Monroe County Republican Party Chairman

Mark Fraley: Monroe County Democratic Party Chairman

Leslie Lenkowsky: Professor Emeritus in Public Affairs and Philanthropy, IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Bloomington, IN

Conversation: Indiana’s 2018 Primary Election

Many elections leading up to the 2018 midterms are seen as a referendum to the Trump administration.

Monroe County Democratic Party Chairman Mark Fraley points to the special elections in other states where Democrats are winning in places where they not usually as competitive.

“A key part in these midterm elections is not just where overall approval ratings are, it’s where the energy is,” he says. “And right now, due in part to Trump’s performance, a lot of the energy is on the Democratic side.”

Monroe County Republican Party Chairman William Ellis says he is unsure whether efforts to unseat incumbents in the general election will be successful given the history of midterm elections.

“There’s always this attitude to ‘throw the bums out’ so to speak, but it very seldom materializes,” Ellis says. “Will that happen this year? I don’t know.”

The Indiana Republican primary race for U.S. Senate has been dubbed one of the nastiest in the country, despite the candidates having very little differences in policy.

IU Professor Emeritus of Public Affairs Leslie Lenkowsky says in the Indiana U.S. Senate primary and other elections, the focus is no longer on issues.

“We’re living in an era now where issues don’t matter as much as they used to,” Lenkowsky says. “What candidates feel they need to do is identify themselves as people that speak for their voters.”