TERRE HAUTE —
The compelling story line surrounding the race between Richard Lugar and Richard Mourdock dominated most of the local primary election chatter. With those stunning results now in the books and Mourdock heading toward a showdown with Democratic Party nominee Joe Donnelly of South Bend (the current U.S. House rep from the 2nd District), it’s time to survey the landscape for other general election races that will be worthy of attention.
The fall ballot is shaping up to be loaded with competitive and interesting races. Here are a few that caught our eye:
n Mann vs. Heaton — In Indiana’s House District 46, freshman Republican Rep. Bob Heaton will defend his seat for the first time since he won the open post vacated by longtime Democratic Rep. Vern Tincher in 2010. His opponent will be Jim Mann II, a prominent Terre Haute public school teacher who prevailed in a tight three-way race in the Democratic primary.
Mann is articulate, knowledgeable and passionate in his political beliefs. And he has a solid base of support, much of which comes from his positive name recognition as a popular educator. But challenging Heaton is a major undertaking. While the 46th is a swing district, Heaton will be tough to beat. He also enjoys positive name recognition, primarily from his years as a local businessman and before that as a basketball player at ISU during the Larry Bird era. While he cast some controversial votes during his first legislative session, it remains to be seen if that’s enough to make him vulnerable.
n Borders vs. Battles — Republican State Rep. Bruce Borders lost much of his House District 45 base to remapping, and he’s now in the same district as incumbent Democrat Rep. Kreg Battles of Vincennes. Two incumbents trying to win re-election will be fun to watch. Battles retained most of his district and picked up more Democrat areas. Borders has a rough road ahead.
n Vigo County Council at-large — Democratic incumbents Mark Bird and Ed Ping won their primaries, but Bill Bryan did not. He will be replaced on the fall ballot by Rick Burger, who devoted a lot of resources to his primary campaign. But we specifically commend the county Republicans for their competitive primary for the at-large seats as well. The three winners in the four-way race were Bill Treadway, Craig Bales and Steve Ellis.
Voters will have a diverse choice in the fall. Good for them.