W-I-N for IBRG

It’s been a good, no make that a very, very good, night thus far for the Chamber’s Indiana Business for Responsive Government political action committee.

IBRG’s top race — political newcomer Rebecca Kubacki taking out incumbent Bill Ruppel in House District 22. Ruppel hasn’t been engaged in the Indiana Chamber’s pro-economy, pro-jobs agenda. Much more is expected from Kubacki, who promises to focus on jobs and education.

Another House Republican incumbent, Jacque Clements (District 38), lost to IBRG-endorsed Heath VanNatter. During her two years in office, Clements gained more notoriety for her troubles back home in Clinton County than any legislative accomplishments.

IBRG also backed a number of incumbents who had been working hard to be part of the solution, not the problem, at the Statehouse. This includes, among others, wins for Dan Leonard (Huntington-District 50) and Tom Dermody (LaPorte-District 20).

These are four of the successes. In all, 15 of 17 IBRG-endorsed candidates earned victories. Full details will be coming in the post-election report early Wednesday morning, but it’s clear that IBRG continues to be the dominant force in working with pro-employer, pro-employee candidates. 

County Divide Key in Ruppel-Kubacki Race

One of the more interesting Indiana House races features District 22 incumbent Bill Ruppel (R-North Manchester) facing a strong challenge from Rebecca Kubacki (Syracuse). 

Geography is a key factor, of course, with Kubacki needing to stay close in Wabash County (Ruppel’s home base). The initial absentee ballots from Wabash — a 213-202 edge for Ruppel — fit that early recipe for success, with attention to also be focused on the northern part of the district and Kosciusko County. The next update showed Kubacki with a 42-vote advantage with 16% of the vote in.

Ruppel, a retired teacher/coach who has been in the House since 1992, has traditionally been one of the lower scoring Republicans on the Indiana Chamber’s annual Legislative Vote Analysis. He has not been supportive of education and health care issues that are important to improving the state’s workforce and protecting employers and employees from rising benefit costs.

Kubacki has run an aggressive door-to-door campaign and vows to not accept business as usual — in other words, the bickering and partisanship that too often emphasize politics over policy.

This will be an interesting one to watch throughout the night.