Monday, November 2, 2020

Indiana Predictions - President, State Offices and General Assembly

Indiana predictions.

President:  Donald Trump won Indiana by 19 points in 2016.  No doubt the margin will be less this time.  My guess is Trump wins Indiana by 9 points.

Governor:  Republican Governor Eric Holcomb will win well ahead of President Trump, winning re-election by more than 20 points.

Attorney General:  This race has the potential to be a big sleeper. Former Evansville Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel is taking on former Congressman Todd Rokita in a race to fill an open seat created when Attorney General Curtis Hill lost re-nomination at the Indiana Convention this summer.  Weinzapfel wisely jumped on the legalization of marijuana issue to distinguish himself from Rokita.  While the race should be close, Governor Holcomb's coattails should carry Rokita over the finish line.


In the past, I have done an in depth look at the Indiana legislative races.  No time for that this election, however.  Instead I have taken a look a brief look at the seats up this time - all 100 House seats and 25 of the 50 Senate seats.  My prediction will be focused, mostly, on the overall partisan breakdown.

Indiana Senate:  Currently the Republicans dominate the upper chamber 40-10.  That will now doubt go down after this election.  The most vulnerable Republican Senator is John Ruckleshaus who represents Senate District 30 which takes in Washington Township in northern Marion County and parts of Fishers and Carmel in Hamilton County.  I am frankly baffled by why Ruckleshaus decided to run again.  He won his district in 2016 with just over 50% of the vote.  It is much, much more Democratic now than then.  Republican candidates did not win a single precinct in Washington Township in the 2019 municipal elections while Democrats made huge inroads into Carmel and Fishers.  Trump is not popular in District 30 and with the President on the ballot the headwinds get even worse.  John will not win that race.

Looking at the senate districts up in 2020, versus their 2016 results, it looks like the best chances for Democratic pickups are Indianapolis suburban districts.  Trump, however, seems much more popular in the suburban counties of Hendricks, Johnson and Hancock, than Hamilton, so I'm not sure how vulnerable candidates are whose districts include those counties. I think when the dust settles, the Democrats will pick up maybe 3 seats in the U.S. Senate, reducing the GOP Senate majority to 37-13.

Indiana House:  The Indiana House has an incumbent in a very similar situation to Ruckelshaus' in the Senate.  Republican Cindy Kirkhoffer barely won her east side Indianapolis district in 2018, netting just over 50% of the vote.   The GOP numbers in her district have been nosediving and she is extremely fortunate to win two years ago.  She should have walked away because this election, with Trump on the ballot and anti-Trump turnout in Marion County through the roof, she has less chance of being re-elected than I have of being drafted by a major league baseball team.

It is obvious from the television ads, that Democrats are targeting Hamilton County house districts currently held by Republicans.  I think the Democrats will win maybe a couple there and gain about 7 statewide.  So I predict the Indiana House will be 60-40 after the election.

Redistricting:  After this election, the Indiana House and Senate will be drawing new district lines for the next ten years.  While Republicans will control the process, it will not be an easy chore.  It used to be that if you needed to make an Indianapolis legislative district more Republican, you drew it further out into the heavily GOP suburbs outside of Marion County.  But as those suburbs become more Democratic, it is harder to find Republicans necessary to ensure those districts remain Republican for the next decade.

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