Trey Hollingsworth didn’t live in Indiana a year ago.
But Tuesday night, he was well on his way to becoming the next representative from the 9th District.
Hollingsworth, who moved to the district last fall, tapped into an outsider narrative and his own personal wealth to win a five-way Republican primary in a district that’s rated Safe Republican by the Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call.
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He won 34 percent of the vote. State Sen. Erin Houchin —
the only woman in the race
— came in second with 25 percent of the vote. Attorney General Greg Zoeller trailed them with 22 percent of the vote, followed by state Sen. Brent Waltz with 13 percent of the vote and engineer Robert Hall with 7 percent.
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Besides the hundreds of thousands of dollars he donated to his own campaign, Hollingsworth also benefited from a super PAC funded by his father.
Those resources allowed his campaign to dominate the airwaves in the south central Indiana District for months. Ads from the super PAC attacked Zoeller as a career politician.
In a statement Tuesday night, Zoeller said he had called Hollingsworth and offered him his “full support” for the general election.
“Hoosiers came together during this campaign with a common desire to fix a broken political system and that began by changing who we send to Washington,” Hollingsworth said Tuesday night after his victory. “It is a message that the political insiders in Washington and Indianapolis heard this evening in one resounding voice,” he said.
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Many voters in Hollingsworth’s adopted hometown of Jeffersonville, Ind. — which lies across the river from Louisville, Ky. — got to know him through his TV spots.
But none of the area shop owners and customers who talked to Roll Call last month could recall ever seeing him in person or even hearing about him.
[Related: When Motherhood Sets Your Campaign for Congress Apart]
Houchin, who raised the most money of any candidate in the race, attacked Hollingsworth in an ad late last month for not being from the district. But she didn’t have the resources to make the carpetbagger charge stick so late in the race.
Hollingsworth will now face Democrat Shelli Yoder in the race to succeed 9th District Rep. Todd Young, who won Tuesday night’s Republican primary for the Senate against Rep. Marlin Stutzman.
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The race to replace Stutzman in Indiana’s 3rd District was much closer. State Sen. Jim Banks, who had strong backing from the Club for Growth , narrowly carried the six-way primary with 34 percent of the vote. Agri-businessman Kip Tom closely followed with 31 percent of the vote, with 97 percent of precincts reporting.
Banks will face Democrat Tommy Schrader in November.
Banks’ victory marks the Club for Growth’s second primary victory of the year. With the anti-tax group’s backing, businessman Warren Davidson won a crowded GOP primary in March to fill the Ohio seat vacated by retiring Speaker John A. Boehner.
[Related: Indiana Will Test Club for Growth’s Evolution]
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