2018 Midterm Elections

Find out what's happening in the U.S. Senate race, along with local races in Northwest Indiana with coverage from Lakeshore Public Radio, as well as Indiana Public Broadcasting News.

Two State Lawmakers Lose Primaries In Upsets

May 8, 2018
Rep. Dick Hamm (R-Richmond) and Sen. Joe Zakas (R-Granger) lost their primary races. (Brandon Smith/IPB News)
Brandon Smith

Most incumbents in state House and Senate races sailed to easy victories Tuesday – with two exceptions, including one of the longest-serving members of the current General Assembly.

Voters Across Indiana Approve More School Funding

May 8, 2018

Every one of the 12 school funding measures on the primary ballot passed this week.

Anderson Community Schools had two measures on the line, for school operations and construction. Both passed with around 60 percent of voter approval.

Goshen Community Schools also had two measures up for consideration, but the margin of victory was a bit closer – both passed with a little more than 50 percent of the vote.

Democrat Tobi Beck and Republican state Rep. Jim Baird will face off in November to fill Todd Rokita's seat in the U.S. House. Rokita’s departure made for a wide and competitive race. Seven candidates sought the Republican seat and six for the Democrat spot.

Braun Wins Republican U.S. Senate Primary

May 8, 2018

Businessman and former state Rep. Mike Braun will square off this fall with incumbent U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.).

Braun emerged the victor Tuesday from a bruising Republican primary against U.S. Reps. Luke Messer and Todd Rokita.

Hoosiers Warned About Voter Participation Letter

May 4, 2018
(Photo provided to IPB News)
Jill Sheridan

People across Indiana are contacting the Secretary of States office to report they’ve received letters that claim to be voting record audits. 

The letter from the “Indiana State Voter Report Program” lists voter information on past participation as well as that of friends and neighbors.  

Indiana has restrictions on voter participation records, only providing it to political parties and legislative caucuses.  

(Darron Cummings/Indiana Debate Commission)

On this Reporter's Roundtable Thursday, we turn to Dan Carden of the "Times of Northwest Indiana" for his stories on the final U.S. Senate candidates' debate held in Indianapolis and other stories this week -- and to Carole Carlson of the "Post-Tribune" for her stories about the upcoming primary election.  Indiana Public Broadcasting's Brandon Smith completes his series of Senate candidate conversations with Todd Rokita. And we also have reporters and editors from the "Times" in one of the "That's So Region" podcasts. 

Voter advocacy groups say an Indiana law will illegally throw Hoosiers off the voting rolls. And they’re suing to stop the state from using that law. (Lauren Chapman/IPB News)
Brandon Smith

Voter advocacy groups say an Indiana law will illegally throw Hoosiers off the voting rolls. And they’re suing to stop the state from using that law.

A federal court hearing Wednesday centered on Indiana’s use of what’s known as the Interstate Crosscheck system.

The Senate Republican primary's final debate was a microcosm of the race: the candidates focused mostly on attacking each other. (Darron Cummings/Indiana Debate Commission)
Brandon Smith

There are three Republicans vying for a chance to unseat incumbent Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) – former state representative Mike Braun, Rep. Luke Messer (R-Greensburg) and Rep. Todd Rokita (R-Brownsburg). Their race has been dubbed one of the nastiest in the country. It's a campaign where attacks have been many, while policy differences are few.

GOP Senate Candidates On The Attack In Final Debate

Apr 30, 2018
Indiana's Republican U.S. Senate candidates (from left) Rep. Todd Rokita (R-Brownsburg), Rep. Luke Messer (R-Greensburg), and Mike Braun greet each other after the final debate before the May primary election. (Darron Cummings/Indiana Debate Commission)
Brandon Smith

The final debate between Republican U.S. Senate candidates Mike Braun, U.S. Rep. Luke Messer (R-Greensburg) and U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita (R-Brownsburg) was focused almost entirely on attacks between each candidate.

The moderator at one point implored them to answer his specific question – a request the candidates mostly ignored.

Rep. Todd Rokita (R-Brownsburg) is one of three candidates vying for a chance to challenge incumbent Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) (Tyler Lake/WTIU)
Brandon Smith

Rep. Todd Rokita (R-Brownsburg) is one of three candidates hoping to emerge from the state’s Republican primary and face incumbent Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) this fall. Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Brandon Smith discussed the campaign with Rokita, who formerly served as Indiana’s Secretary of State.

Barbara Brosher / WTIU/WFIU

For the final time in the Republican Primary race, U.S. Rep.'s Luke Messer and Todd Rokita, along with Mike Braun, will debate for the U.S. Senate race. The winner in the May 8th primary election will go on to face Democratic incumbent, U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly.

The live video stream is available here:

Messer Discusses Issues In Bruising Senate Primary

Apr 27, 2018
Rep. Luke Messer (R-Greensburg) is one of three Republicans vying to unseat incumbent Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) (Tyler Lake/WTIU)
Brandon Smith

Three Republican candidates are jockeying for a chance to unseat Democratic incumbent Senator Joe Donnelly this year. Luke Messer joined that race after serving in Congress since 2013 – with a few years at the Statehouse on his resume before that. Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Brandon Smith talked with Messer about issues in the bruising GOP primary campaign.

Former state representative Mike Braun is one of three candidates running for a chance to face incumbent Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) (Tyler Lake/WTIU)
Brandon Smith

Indiana’s three Republican U.S. Senate candidates – Reps. Luke Messer and Todd Rokita, and businessman Mike Braun – will meet Monday evening for the final debate before the May 8 primary.

That's amid controversy that’s swirled around the event hosted by the nonpartisan Indiana Debate Commission.

Last month, Rokita said no to the Indiana Debate Commission. Commission President Gerry Lanosga says he was surprised.

Federal Judge: Marion County Must Open More Early Voting Sites

Apr 26, 2018

A federal judge ruled Marion County must provide at least two new early voting satellite sites before the November election.

Common Cause Indiana, the Indiana State Conference of the NAACP and others filed suit last year arguing the county’s single early voting site suppressed voting.

U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker agreed with their argument in an injunction issued Wednesday.

When the polls close, you'll know. Tune-in for election night coverage, beginning at 6:00 PM, Tuesday, May 8th. You can follow the latest updates on social media, as well, with #NWIPolitics.

Starting at 6:00 PM, Lakeshore Public Radio - 89.1 FM will air statewide primary election night coverage from Indiana Public Broadcasting. Stan Jastrzebski, News Director of WBAA, will host the first hour of coverage from West Lafayette, IN.

Shelbie J. Luna / Instagram

Ragen Hatcher and Jessica Renslow debate for the open State Representative of District 3 seat. Chris Nolte, host of "Regionally Speaking," moderated the debate, held at Temple Israel, in Gary, IN. The debate was in partnership with the League of Women Voters of the Calumet Area. Primary election night coverage will be on-air, on Tuesday, May 8th, at 6:00 PM, on Lakeshore Public Radio - 89.1 FM.

Click here for the Facebook Live video feed from the debate.

The first wave of 2018 school funding referenda are up for consideration in about two weeks. That means voters in several counties will have the power to approve or deny tax measures to make millions of dollars available for their local schools.

Purdue University economics professor Larry DeBoer says school funding referenda are usually more likely to pass in May, and the overall number of those winning voter approval has grown in recent years.

GOP Candidates Square Off In Second Primary Debate

Apr 24, 2018
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Allen County GOP

The three candidates facing off for the Republican Senate nomination in the May 8 primary election held their second debate Monday night in Fort Wayne.

Donnelly Announces Support For Trump Nominee Pompeo

Apr 23, 2018
Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) says he had a productive conversation with Secretary of State nominee Mike Pompeo when they met earlier this month. (Lauren Chapman/IPB News)
Brandon Smith

Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) announced Monday he’ll support President Trump’s Secretary of State nominee Mike Pompeo.

The Senate is expected to vote on Pompeo’s nomination this week – and the former CIA director and Kansas congressman is likely to secure enough votes to replace former Secretary Rex Tillerson.

That’s as progressive groups work to oppose Pompeo’s nomination.

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Debate Commission’s April 30 televised U.S. Senate Republican primary debate includes a three-candidate field in what will be the only statewide debate offered live to hundreds of Indiana media outlets.

U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita had initially declined, while Indiana businessman Mike Braun and U.S. Rep. Luke Messer had confirmed the hour-long time slot to debate. With all three now committed with an agreement signed today, the April 30 debate will be broadcast 7 p.m. EDT.

Rep. Todd Rokita (R-Brownsburg) reversed a previous decision, announcing Tuesday he will participate in a Senate GOP primary debate organized by the nonpartisan Indiana Debate Commission. (WFIU/WTIU)
Brandon Smith

Rep. Todd Rokita (R-Brownsburg) reversed a previous decision, announcing Tuesday he will participate in a Senate GOP primary debate organized by the nonpartisan Indiana Debate Commission.

Potential Spike In Young Voter Turnout, Poll Shows

Apr 12, 2018
A new national poll shows a potential spike in young people voting in this year’s midterm elections. (Daniel Morrison/Flickr)
Brandon Smith

A new national poll shows a potential spike in young people voting in this year’s midterm elections.

Thirty-seven percent of people under the age of 30 say they will definitely vote in November’s election. That’s up from 23 percent who said the same in 2014, the last midterm cycle.

Donnelly Re-Election Campaign Targets Women Voters

Apr 10, 2018

Supporters for U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.)’s re-election campaign gathered in Indianapolis to make the case women should support Donnelly for a second term.

In 2016, 53 percent of Hoosier women voted for President Donald Trump.

But following the recent women’s marches in Indiana, Donnelly’s supporters, including state Rep. Cherrish Pryor (D-Indianapolis), say they are confident some of those same women, who voted for Trump, will vote for Donnelly.

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Debate Commission is now accepting questions from Hoosier voters for its April 30 statewide televised debate in the Republican U.S. Senate primary race. In keeping with its mission of “Putting Voters First,” the commission invites Hoosier voters to submit their questions on its revamped website, www.indianadebatecommission.com.

Voters don’t need a reason to vote early in-person, unlike when casting absentee ballots by mail. (Steve Burns/WTIU)
Brandon Smith

Hoosiers have until the end of the day Monday to register to vote in the May 8 primary election. And the first in-person ballots can be cast beginning Tuesday.

AP-Think Progress website

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana residents have less than a week left to register to vote in the May 8 primary election.

April 9 is the registration deadline. The Times reports that Indiana's secretary of state is encouraging residents who previously registered to vote to verify that their registration remains active and that the personal information in their voter record is correct.

Jessica Renslow / Facebook


Lakeshore Public Radio conversations with candidates for public office in the May 2018 primary election began on Monday with the two Democratic Party candidates for Indiana Senate District 1.  Veteran incumbent Senator Frank Mrvan (D-Hammond) and his challenger, Fr. Mark Kurowski, came into the "Regionally Speaking" studio to talk about the reasons for running (or seeking re-election) and about the issues that affect Northwest Indiana residents.  The conversation became spirited at the end, as you can hear for yourself.

Provided / Indiana NOW

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana is seeing a sharp increase in the number of women running for a seat in the state's General Assembly.

The Indianapolis Star reports that 75 women are campaigning for the May primary election, which is double the number of women who ran four years ago.

This year 52 women are running on the Democrat side, compared to 22 women in 2014. The Republican side has 23 candidates, an increase from 15 in 2014.

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