Congressman Mark Souder announced on May 18th that he was resigning from the Congressional seat he has held for over 15 years. The resignation was accompanied with a confession that Souder has been having an affair with a staffer who’s primary role was conducting mock interviews with Souder on topics including – get this – family values and abstinence.
State Senator Marlin Stutzman, who finished second to Dan Coats in the republican senatorial primary earlier in the month, is a resident of the district and gained considerable name recognition during the campaign. He also earned the support of many Tea Party patriots and grass-roots activists. Stutzman posted on his Facebook page shortly before 11 pm local time that his supporters should look for a “major announcement” at 10 am on Thursday.
Expect to hear that he is seeking the nomination for the Congressional seat.
The Road Ahead
There are going to be two elections in Indiana’s 3rd in the coming months. First, there will be a special election to compete for who finishes Souder’s term. The both parties will have to have a special caucus to determine who competes in that election. Then we have the general midterm election in November. The GOP will have to hold a special caucus to pick their contender for that race as well; the democrats have already nominated former Fort Wayne City Councilman Tom Hayhurst for that election.
What to Expect
Stutzman will get the nod for the special election. He is still in campaign mode and has all the mechanisms in place to transition into another campaign. Stutzman will also hammer Hayhurst in that special election. Everyone except those on the very left fringe of the democratic party are disheartened, deflated and disenfranchised right now, especially in a conservative state like Indiana. GOP voters and those in the center right are motivated and mad as hell. Centrists and moderates are chomping at the bit to repay Obama, Pelosi and Reid for their arrogance and pompous disregard, and Stutzman supporters will be eager and willing to run back out and cast another vote for their man.
The general election, while less of a sure thing because we do not know what may change in the meantime, is still likely to go to Stutzman. The 3rd District is generally a GOP win, going for Souder by as much as 38 points in 2004 and as few as 9 points in 2006.
The Bottom Line
Souder’s sins are a Godsend for Stutzman. He performed well in his defeat at the hands of the more experienced and better known Dan Coats in the senatorial primary, but this gives him a chance to capitalize on the recognition and credibility that he established through his hard work during the campaign.
Stutzman is a solid conservative with a near perfect voting record. He has some lessons to learn before he is ready for the big show that is the senate and this Congressional seat is a perfect proving ground for him.
Marlin Stutzman is destined for bigger and better things. It started with his fight for the senate seat and it will continue when he is elected to the United States Congress in Indiana’s 3rd Congressional District.
The next battle starts at 10 am Thursday morning.
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