When does a website signal a politician’s aspirations? When it changes.
An aide for Rep. Todd Young, a savvy Republican from southern Indiana, emailed reporters on Wednesday morning to announce the campaign is transitioning from its old website, ToddYoungforCongress.com, to a new URL, ToddYoung.org. The campaign’s social-media accounts are transitioning to a similar name.
The aide stressed the campaign wanted a simpler address. Mission accomplished — except Republicans also talk up Young as a statewide candidate down the line. He could run for Senate if Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., retires in 2016 or could challenge newly elected Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., in 2018. He could also run for governor, although that seat will not be open until 2020 as long as Gov. Mike Pence, a Republican, seeks re-election and not national office.
- Young benefited from GOP-led redistricting in a way that puts him in a stronger position to run statewide. His 9th District moved toward the center of the Hoosier State, picking up territory south of the state’s largest media market: Indianapolis. In the next several cycles, Young will increase his state name identification all over the central part of the state if he’s running television advertisements in that broadcast market.
- His House district became less competitive, too, in the redraw. Looking at the 9th District now, it’s hard to believe this seat flipped party hands three times in the past decade. Former Rep. Baron P. Hill, the last Democrat to hold the 9th District, lost to Young in 2010.
- Also notable: Donnelly backed John Zody as the new Indiana Democratic Party chairman earlier this year. Hoosier Democrats know the southern tier of the state has become a weak spot for the party in recent cycles. As Hill’s former chief of staff, Zody knows southern Indiana — and Young — well.
When pressed on whether the change signaled any future ambitions for Young, spokesman Trevor Foughty demurred.
“There won’t be an opportunity to run statewide for at least six years, and that’s not our focus,” Foughty said. “Our concern was a shorter, easier to remember domain for House races in 2014 and beyond.”