Baron Hill May Have New Foe in November

The story has long been the same in Indiana’s 9th U.S. House District. It seems every other November (for four election cycles), voters could mark their calendars for a Baron Hill vs. Mike Sodrel match-up.

It seems Todd Young, however, has different ideas. At this moment, with 52% of the vote in, Young is leading Sodrel by 5% (37.5% – 32.4%), with Travis Hankins making a strong showing at 27%.

Young, a 37-year-old deputy prosecutor in Orange County (and former Marine), noted on the Chamber webcast that his messaging for his campaign stemmed from frustration with out-of-control spending in Washington, D.C. He quipped that it was the same message he used on the "Rotary Circuit."

Some are calling it a potential upset, although the Indy Star’s Matthew Tully remarked on a Chamber webcast that it would be far from a shock.

This is Young’s first run at an elected office.

UPDATE: Thanks Tom (comments). Now with 81% reporting, Travis Hankins closes gap to 200 votes behind Young. Wow, this could come down to the wire. Sodrel’s still within 5% of Young, too.

Making the (Indiana) Call on Congress

Our panel of media/blogging experts previewed election topics far and wide in the current issue of BizVoice. The roundtable discussion included a Congressional look, which didn’t make the cut for the print edition.

While three seats went from Republicans to Democrats in 2006, most pundits see fewer opportunities for change this time around. A few of the insghts:

  • The fourth straight matchup between Baron Hill and Mike Sodrel in the 9th District will again be the one to watch. Matt Tully of the Indianapolis Star says the past negative races kept both sides quieter early in the process, but expect a strong final push. Joshua Gillespie of Hoosier Access adds that a wildcard is some high-ranking Democrats upset with Hill’s endorsement of Barack Obama during the primary.
  • Republican challengers will likely embrace the energy issue. WXNT Radio’s Abdul Hakim-Shabazz wouldn’t be surprised at a compromise from the Democrats to take that chip away from the GOP, with the knowledge that an agreement today won’t yield substantial impacts for a number of years.
  • In the Senate as a whole, Jeff Pruitt of Fort Wayne Politics puts the over/under at five on seats switching to the Democrat side.
  • Pruitt notes it’s a longshot bid, but he says Demcrat challenger Mike Montagano is running well early against incumbent Mark Souder, seeking his eighth term.

BizVoice has much, much more on Election ’08.