Indiana’s 5th District isn’t at the top of Democrats’ takeover target list, but the race is a good barometer for at least two key trends: the blue shift in the suburbs and the challenge for House Republicans to even maintain their small number of women on Capitol Hill.
\Even though Donald Trump won the 5th in 2016, Democrats took aim at the seat two years later because it contains some of Indianapolis’s northside suburbs. GOP Rep. Susan Brooks won re-election by 14 points in 2018, but her subsequent retirement creates an open seat, and a potential headache for her party if Republicans don’t nominate someone who is acceptable to a broad base of voters.
Brooks’ departure also threatens the number of Republican women in the House because she’s one of just 13 currently serving. And based on the initial handicapping, it looks like even if Republicans hold the district, it’s most likely to be with a man, in part because of multiple, credible female contenders.
The race should be a bellwether to see if the bottom has fallen out for the Republicans on Election Night.
The Lay of the Land
Indiana’s 5th District sits north of Indianapolis and includes Carmel, Anderson, Noblesville, Fishers, Marion, Westfield, and Zionsville. It’s the wealthiest district in the state with a mixture of wealthier suburbs, blue-collar cities and rural areas.
At the presidential level, Trump won the district 53-41 percent in 2016, Mitt Romney carried it 58-41 percent in 2012, and John McCain…