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Hoosier State House Battles Coming Later

Although Indiana will host at least two competitive House races this November, all’s quiet across the Congressional landscape in the Hoosier State as primary voters head to the polls today.

Sen. Evan Bayh (D), seeking re-election to a second term this fall, is unopposed for his party’s nomination, as is his long-shot Republican opponent, college sociology professor Marvin Scott.

Bayh, who is mentioned as a possible vice presidential pick, had $6.9 million in the bank at the end of March. Scott, meanwhile, had $28,000 in his campaign coffers.

On the House side, Reps. John Hostettler (R) and Baron Hill (D) both face competitive challenges in November.

Hill, who has nominal primary opposition today, will face trucking company owner Mike Sodrel (R) in a rematch from the 2002 election. Hill beat Sodrel 51 percent to 46 percent.

Hostettler, who has never garnered more than 53 percent in the “Bloody Eighth,” won a fifth term by the same margin as Hill in 2002.

While the national party was only half-heartedly engaged in the effort to defeat Hostettler last cycle, Democrats this year are excited about the prospects of former Boston Celtics scout Jon Jennings (D).

As of mid-April, Jennings had about twice as much cash on hand as Hostettler, who has always been a sluggish fundraiser.

Both of the competitive districts voted 56 percent for George W. Bush in the 2000 presidential contest, and the state will not be a hotly contested battleground in the race for the White House this fall.

The only other Congressional contest worth keeping an eye on is in the state’s 2nd district, where freshman Rep. Chris Chocola (R) is heavily favored to win a second term. Chocola was elected in 2002 with only 50 percent of the vote, but Democrats struggled to recruit a top-tier challenger.

Chocola, who had $630,000 in the bank as of last month, is expected to face businessman Joe Donnelly (D) in November. Donnelly had $80,000 in cash on hand.

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