ANDERSON — Former Indiana congressman David McIntosh said the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will impact the general election.

He returned to Anderson on Saturday to support the candidacy of Republican Victoria Spartz in the 5th Congressional District.

Ginsburg died Friday just 46 days before Election Day.

McIntosh said President Donald Trump can nominate one of the people from his list of 45 potential Supreme Court justices or wait until after the election.

“I think the vacancy on the Supreme Court will have a big impact for both parties,” McIntosh said during an interview with The Herald Bulletin. “Republicans will really look for him to find someone like Antonin Scalia and a couple of people on his list are particularly good.

“Democrats are going to say that Ruth Bader Ginsburg was our hero, a liberal icon,” he added. “Her personality and her sincerity on her beliefs, even if you disagreed with her you respected her.”

McIntosh said Democrats will want a more liberal justice to replace her.

“That will come down to the election for president,” he said. “If the Senate doesn’t confirm before the election, the Democrats will say we want to make sure our side gets to make the pick.”

McIntosh said Ginsburg’s death will energize voters in both parties.

“The president has two choices,” he said. “Pick someone from his list and push hard to get them confirmed. Or he can say ‘last time the voters decided what way they wanted to go and I got to pick the next Supreme Court justice.’

“That might politically be a good path for him because people wanting his (Trump) choice will come out to vote,” McIntosh said. “Leaving it as part of the campaign could be the better political decision.”

McIntosh represented Madison County in the U.S. House from 1994 through 2000, when he lost a bid for Indiana governor. He is now the president of the Club for Growth Political Action Committee.

With the 5th Congressional District race between Spartz and Democrat Christina Hale being watched nationwide, McIntosh agrees it’s a contested race.

He said Madison County can be the county that brings Spartz the victory.

“Marion County is becoming more Democrat and Hamilton County is seeing more moderate Republicans,” McIntosh said. “It’s the Madison, Tipton and Grant county conservative Republicans that can decide the election.

“My prediction is that it will stay Republican because the district still leans Republican and Victoria is running a strong campaign,” he said.

McIntosh said people in the district are ready to have a Republican they can believe in and trust.

He said the Club for Growth is investing over $1 million to help with her campaign.

Before the June primary, the Club for Growth interviewed about half of the Republicans seeking the nomination to replace incumbent Susan Brooks, McIntosh said.

“We realized (Spartz) was the best in the sense of being a strong smaller government, protect freedoms and lower taxes type of Republican,” he said.

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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