Democrats to target Indiana’s 5th Congressional District … again

The Democratic Congressional Committee announced Tuesday that the organization will target Republican Victoria Spartz’s 5th Congressional District seat during the 2022 election cycle, a decision coming after a disappointing loss for Democrats this past November.  

Spartz won the open seat vacated by retiring Republican Susan Brooks in 2020, beating Democrat Christina Hale by over 4 percentage points. 

The district is one of 22 around the country and the only one on Indiana on the DCCC’s initial “Districts in Play” list. 

The historically red 5th District, which stretches from south of Broad Ripple up to the city of Marion, had been labeled one of the most likely to change parties in the country by CNN and FiveThirtyEight during the 2020 cycle, and Democrats were optimistic they had a shot at flipping the seat. 

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But while they decreased the spread between the Republican and Democratic candidate, it was not near enough to flip the seat. 

Democrats will face an additional challenge in 2022: Republicans will be tasked with redrawing the Congressional district maps with new census data. They could change the makeup of the district to lean more Republican.

“Every single Republican on this list voted against putting checks in pockets and shots in arms, and we’re going to make sure voters in their district know it,” DCCC Chairman Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney said in a statement, referencing President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion relief plan. “The DCCC is prepared to protect our majority by recruiting compelling candidates and empowering their campaigns with the resources they need to draw the contrast between Democrats’ record of fighting for the middle class and Republicans’ toxic brand of defending conspiratorial insurrectionists and opposing direct relief for working families.”

Republican candidate for Indiana's 5th Congressional District Victoria Spartz talks with women at a fundraiser coffee in Carmel, Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020. She removed her mask when the people at the outdoor fundraiser were socially distanced.

Every Republican in Congress voted against the relief package referenced by Maloney. Spartz previously said she voted against it because she said only a small portion of the bill goes toward defeating COVID-19. 

The stimulus bill, signed by Biden in early March, included direct payments of up to $1,400 for individuals, billions to help schools reopen, an expansion of federal unemployment aid and money for both local and state governments. 

“We must take action to address the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, but this bill does not address the concerns of everyday Americans,” Spartz said in February. “It addresses the desires of the majority. It also does not address small business struggles. Instead, it adds more regulations on businesses already suffering from the pandemic.”

Spartz’s campaign did not immediately respond to request for comment about the 5th district’s placement on the DCCC watch list. 

Call IndyStar reporter Kaitlin Lange at 317-432-9270. Follow her on Twitter: @kaitlin_lange.