John Hostettler (Photo courtesy politico.com)
Hostettler served in the US House of Representatives from 1995 to 2007. Having never ran for public office before, he started a true grass-roots campaign and defeated a 12 year incumbent in 2004, while refusing to accept any special interest money from the Polical Action Committee (PAC), a move he continued to embrace in every campaign that followed. During his tenture he served on various subcommittees in the US House, and in 2002 was one of only six republicans that voted against the resolution which allowed the invasion of Iraq. His vote record in the US House clearly indicates someone with Reagan-like conservative values. This continues to be reflected in posts on his website, and in his recently published book "Nothing for the Nation".
Senator Bayh was last re-elected in 2004 with a 62% majority of the public vote. Bayh is a well known and respected person among hoosiers, which will make for a tough task for Hostettler. However, given Senator Bayh's recent support of health care legislation he had previously vowed not to vote for, and the likely impacts of this legislation, it is likely that Hostettler will be able to gain some ground against Bayh in the coming months. This is particularly true given the fact that Obama narrowly won Indiana with just 50% of the vote, and Bayh has recently embraced many of Obama's policies despite the fact that polls indicate a rapidly falling job approval rating for the President.
Given the failed policies of the current Administration and the support of these policies by Senate Democrats, including Bayh, conservative republicans will likely be able to gain considerable ground across the country in the 2010 elections in both houses of congress. Just how much ground conservatives gain will depend upon many factors, including the state of the economy and the unemployment rate, but these factors show little signs of improvement in the near future.