Indiana sees possible shift in state party power


INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana voters could create a small shift in power at the statehouse after the 2020 General Election.

For years, Republicans have had the supermajority. Democrats hope to change that this year and only need two seats in the Indiana House of Representatives to do it.

“We feel pretty good about our chances of doing that,” said Indiana Democratic Party Chair John Zody.

“Are you worried about losing the supermajority in Indiana?” reporter Kayla Sullivan asked Indiana Republican Party Chair Kyle Hupfer.

“Well, we certainly take nothing for granted,” said Hupfer. “We know that there are a lot of battleground districts.”

Both state parties said they are pouring resources into House races across the state but especially in Indianapolis and Evansville metro areas. Democrats said one of the biggest issues at hand involves re-districting, which is scheduled to happen next year and will be in place for a decade.

“Our state lawmakers draw their own district lines, and that’s part of their constitutional right and responsibility to do so,” said University of Indianapolis Associate Political Science Professor Dr. Laura Wilson.

But state Democrats want an independent, non-partisan or at least bipartisan commission to re-district. They feel that breaking the supermajority would help their chances of doing so.

“Drawing those districts in a fairer way is critical to the survival of our system,” said Zody. “Indiana ranks in the bottom ten on voter registration and voter participation because there are a lot of people in this state that think their vote doesn’t count.”

“That concept is a complete fallacy, it doesn’t exist,” responded Hupfer. “Tell me how you are going to come up with a non-partisan commission. Every single person has their own political views.”

Hufer said he doesn’t believe there is a problem with the current re-districting system, and he strongly disagreed it is the reason voter turnout is low.

“I think it’s a red herring. I think it’s not a factual argument. I think it’s one they use to try to draw emotions into the equation,” said Hupfer. “The fact of the matter is that citizens over time have somewhat gerrymandered themselves. I mean, they move into areas where folks view things similar to themselves.”

The race for Indiana Attorney General is another where Indiana could flip party control. It has been about 20 years since a Democrat took this seat.

“Right now, Republicans control all of the executive offices that are elected, and this would be a flip for the Democrats that they haven’t seen since the Superintendent of Public Instruction’s Office flipped to Republican control in 2016,” said Wilson.

Dr. Wilson added that an overwhelming majority could cause a legislator to get too comfortable. Competitive races make them work harder to keep the seat.

“While it’s a challenge, that’s probably ultimately best for democracy because everyone’s voice is at least being considered if not always being heard,” said Wilson.

“If one party can do business without the other, you’ve got real problems,” said Zody. “And I think we’ve seen those problems exist over the last several years.”

“If anything, I think that we are underrepresented in the House and Senate,” said Hupfer. “If you go by county, we’ve got almost 90% of county commissioners are Republicans across the state. So, in my view, absent gerrymandering we would have even more seats in the House and Senate, so I think it’s a more than fair process.”

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