IN Focus: Senate candidates Young, Stutzman square off in GOP primary

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INDIANAPOLIS (April 10, 2016) - Who will win the race to be Indiana's next U.S. Senator? It's been a hotly contested GOP primary, and in recent weeks, you've no doubt seen a lot of commercials on TV for both Republican candidates, Rep. Marlin Stutzman and Rep. Todd Young.

Both men are seeking to replace Sen. Dan Coats (R-IN), who is retiring from the Senate at the end of his term.

So who's got the edge?

Young reportedly has the support of Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, and he also just earned an endorsement from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

"I'm proud to get the endorsement," said Young. "I actually competed for that endorsement with my opponent."

"I’m a business guy," said Stutzman, who was critical of the Chamber's role, though he acknowledged that he also sought the Chamber's endorsement. "I think it’s kind of ironic that the Chamber of Commerce endorses an attorney rather than endorsing a business guy."

In the video above, Stutzman and Young were also asked about the recent dispute over Young's ballot eligibility.

Earlier this year, the State Election Commission ruled that Young will stay on the ballot, after two challenges to alleging he did not have enough signatures to appear on the ballot.

Stutzman's campaign and the Indiana State Democratic Party filed challenges to Young's campaign, after it was found Young had an insufficient number of signatures on petitions in the northwestern part of the state.

500 signatures are required in each of the state's nine Congressional districts in order to run for U.S. Senate.

Democrats claimed Young had only 498 in the first Congressional District. The Stutzman campaign found that Young had 497 in the same district. An independent IndyStar count of the signatures found 497 as well.

Young's attorneys argued that there were four signatures that were lost, or not validated due to clerical errors, bringing the actual total to 501 and that Hoosier voters should not be "disenfranchised," according to Young’s attorney and not be able to vote for the Congressman because of "clerical errors."

Ultimately the Commission voted in a tie- two members voted for removing Young from the ballot and two voted to keep him on the ballot. In the case of a tie on the State Election Commission, nothing changes and the candidate remains on the ballot.

"This just shows that Todd Young is only trying to get right across the finish line," said Stutzman. "It almost cost him. It should have if the commission had ruled correctly."

"Marlin Stutzman joined the Democrats in piling on," said Young. "I'm trying to focus on the issues and why I'm running."

Stutzman and Young have both agreed to participate in a televised debate April 18.

The debate will be moderated by Elizabeth Bennion, a professor of political science at Indiana University South Bend.

Stutzman, who represents the northeast corner of the state and Young, of Bloomington, both were first elected to Congress in 2010. The winner of next month's Senate primary will face former congressman Baron Hill in next November’s general election.

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