Tea Party Favorite Stutzman Jumps In Race For Souder's Indiana House Seat

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Stutzman, off a strong showing in the May 4 Senate primary, will run for Souder's (R-IN) House seat. hide caption

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Mark Souder's two-sentence letter today to Speaker Nancy Pelosi made it official.

The Indiana Republican, in his eighth term, resigned his House seat following his admission of an affair with a part-time staffer in his office.

Yesterday, state Sen. Marlin Stutzman, the Tea Party favorite who finished a strong second in the May 4 GOP Senate primary won by Dan Coats, announced he would run for Souder's seat, centered around Fort Wayne in the eastern part of the state.  Years ago Stutzman worked as a special assistant to Souder in the district.

Tony Krabill of member station WVPE in Elkhart, Ind., reports that the special election is unlikely to take place before late August, at the earliest:

Party leaders have 30 days after a vacancy is announced to call a caucus to select their candidate. Then the parties file certification for their candidates at least 50 days prior to the special election.  So Indiana's 3rd District faces the likelihood of voting for the same set of candidates twice in the special and general elections, barely two months apart.

Tony also says Bob Thomas, the wealthy car dealer who ran against Souder in the primary — he wasn't conservative enough, Thomas said — may also run.  The Democrat will be Tom Hayhurst, a Fort Wayne physician who gave Souder a tough challenge in 2006.

Other possibles, suggests the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette's Benjamin Lanka, are state Rep. Randy Borror and Fort Wayne councilmember Liz Brown.  Lanka notes that Stutzman is not from the more populous parts of the district, such as Allen County (Fort Wayne), but he might be the favorite "because of the high-profile Senate campaign."

As far as a date for the special, Stutzman is suggesting that it be held the same day of the November general election in order to save the costs of conducting a special election on a different day.

All In the Family:  The Journal Gazette's Anne Gregory notes that the last special congressional election in Indiana occurred on March 11, 2008, when Andre Carson (D) was elected in the 7th CD to fill the seat left vacant by his grandmother, Julia Carson, who died earlier in the year.

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