A year ago, Rep. Victoria Spartz declared she would not run for reelection to the House in 2024 because she wanted to spend more time with her two teenage daughters. On Monday, the Indiana Republican changed her mind.
“Earlier last year, I decided to take some time off from running for public office to recharge and spend more time in Indiana with my family,” Spartz, who was born in Ukraine, said in a statement.
“As someone who grew up under tyranny, I understand the significance of these challenging times for our Republic, and if my fellow Hoosiers and God decide, I will be honored to continue fighting for them. We must carry on the sacrifice of countless Americans for our liberties and keep the American dream alive for our children,” Spartz said.
Last year, Spartz weighed running for Indiana’s open Senate seat, but instead she announced she was stepping away from politics entirely. “Being a working mom is tough and I need to spend more time with my two high school girls back home so I will not run for any office in 2024,” she said at the time.
Her campaign’s fundraising reports reflected that decision: In the last quarter of 2023, she did not report any contributions and, at the end of the year, she had just $312,962 in her account. Her campaign in January 2023 also repaid $1.1 million in loans she had previously made to win the seat in 2020.
Spartz represents Indiana’s 5th District, which includes the northern suburbs of Indianapolis. Donald Trump carried the district with 57 percent of the vote in 2020, and the November race is rated Solid Republican by Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales.
Her initial announcement last year prompted a number of GOP candidates to jump in, including state Rep. Chuck Goodrich, who has loaned his campaign about $1 million and had $680,000 in his campaign account at the end of the year. Goodrich has already run his first two television ads.
Another Republican, trucking business owner Sid Mahant, put $2 million of his own money in his campaign for the 5th District seat. But last month he shifted to Indiana’s 6th District after the current occupant of that seat, Republican Rep. Greg Pence, announced his retirement.
Spartz came to Congress in 2021 after winning an open-seat race in 2020 by 4 percentage points. She won reelection two years later by 22 points.
Reputation for unpredictability
In Washington, Spartz has cultivated a reputation for independence and unpredictability. She criticized her party’s effort to strip Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., of her membership on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and denounced the attempt to punish Omar by Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., as “a charade.” However, Spartz ultimately voted in support of Omar’s removal.
Spartz also seesawed on her support for McCarthy during the 15-ballot speaker election in January 2023. She voted for McCarthy three times, then switched her vote to “present” for the next eight ballots before backing him on the final four ballots.
Indiana’s Republican-dominated House delegation is undergoing a political reshuffling, with Pence and Rep. Larry Bucshon both stepping aside. Republican Rep. Jim Banks is also seeking the open Senate seat, after Republican Sen. Mike Braun announced he was running for governor.