ANDERSON — The field is set for the November election to replace Republican Susan Brooks in the 5th Congressional District.

The district most likely will continue to be represented by a woman following the general election.

Republican state Sen. Victoria Spartz and former Indiana House member Democrat Christina Hale won their respective party’s nominations in the primary Tuesday.

A third announced candidate in the race is Libertarian Ken Tucker. Tucker was a teacher for 12 years in Noblesville and is now a stay-at-home dad.

Voters can be expected to hear a lot about the “extreme” political philosophies of the two major party candidates.

Following Brooks’ announcement last year not to seek another term, there was a crowded primary field in both the Republican and Democratic parties.

Spartz emerged from a field of 15 Republicans seeking the nomination and primarily self-funded her campaign in getting 39% of the votes.

Hale had the backing of the Democratic Party at the state and national levels and also received 39% of the votes on Tuesday.

Although the 5th District has long been a Republican stronghold, the Indiana Democratic Party believes it has a legitimate shot at capturing the seat.

Ludy Watkins, chairman of the Madison County Democratic Party, said for Hale to win in November it will take a lot of hard work and personal campaigning.

“I think Madison County will be vital,” she said. “The county will be important because the vote elsewhere could be split.”

Watkins expects the 5th Congressional District race to be an expensive one with lots of financial resources coming from outside the district.

Russ Willis, chairman of the Madison County Republican Party, said the party has to get out the conservative message out to voters to win in November.

“We have to address the issues that are important to the people of the district,” he said. “The Republican Party has the right answers.”

Willis agreed that Madison County will play a vital role in the 5th District outcome.

“Madison County was essentially important in 2018,” he said. “Susan Brooks expressed her gratitude to the local party.”

Shortly after knowing which candidates would advance to the general election, the Republican and Democratic parties released statements of why their respective candidate should prevail.

“No one works harder or is more willing to work with anyone to get the job done than Christina Hale, Indiana Democratic Party chairman John Zody said. “Christina is the kind of consensus-building leader in short supply in Washington. At the Statehouse, she fought to lower the cost of health care and worked across the aisle to get results.

“Victoria Spartz’s deep pockets and reliance on shadowy outside groups might work to buy the GOP nomination but it won’t win this fall in a district rapidly trending purple,” he said. “In 2019, Hoosier Democrats scored commanding wins across CD5, further solidifying it as a battleground in 2020.”

The National Republican Congressional Committee referred to Hale as a socialist Democrat with a zero chance of turning blue in 2020.

“Democrats have never received more than 48% of the vote in races for Congress, Senate, Governor and President, and will certainly not this year,” the NRCC said in a press release. “Victoria Spartz has been a proven leader in Indiana and knows firsthand how socialism can destroy a county. She will be further supported by President (Donald) Trump at the top of the ticket who handily won this district by over 10 points.

“The Democrats are stuck with failed Lieutenant Governor candidate Christina Hale who has been described as a “progressive Democrat” in the local press,” the statement continued. “Far-left Hale will embrace the Democrats’ socialist agenda, which includes banning private health insurance, decriminalizing illegal immigration, and supporting the job-killing Green New Deal.”

The Federal Election Commission website shows that Spartz provided her campaign with $1.6 million and, as of May 13, had a cash balance of $160,713.

Her campaign was aided by the Club for Growth Action political action committee headed up by former congressman David McIntosh.

The Club for Growth Action committee spent $411,000 to oppose the campaign of Carl Brizzi and $57,000 to oppose Beth Henderson’s campaign.

Christina Hale reported raising $1 million through May 13 and had cash on hand of $501,552.

Follow Ken de la Bastide

on Twitter @KendelaBastide,

or call 765-640-4863.

Senior Reporter covering Anderson and Madison County government, politics and auto racing for The Herald Bulletin. Has been working as a journalist in central Indiana since 1977.

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