Greg Pence, brother of VP Mike Pence, wins congressional primary

By Adrianna Pitrelli
TheStatehouseFile.com

INDIANAPOLIS — There’s a new Pence making headlines, and soon he’ll be fighting for the congressional seat once held by his brother, Vice President Mike Pence.

Greg Pence won the Republican primary for the 6th Congressional District after defeating four other candidates. His brother held the seat for a dozen years, as did Luke Messer prior to running for Senate.

The race was called by the Associated Press with nearly 30 percent of the precincts reporting. He handily beat Jonathon Lamb, his closest contender.

Denise and Greg Pence at President Trump’s inauguration in January.Vice President Mike Pence is Greg Pence’s brother. Photo provided

Pence, of Columbus, has no previous political experience but rather owns two antique malls and is a Marine veteran. He ran on the slogan that he was “ready to serve again” — this time in Washington.

However, he is the favorite to win in November, according to the Associated Press. 

Indiana Republican Party Chairman Kyle Hupfer said in a statement that his background in small business and serving his country will make him a great choice to represent Hoosiers in Washington, D.C.

“Greg Pence will be a steadfast supporter of the Trump agenda, standing with President Trump to advance Hoosier values in Congress,” Hupfer said.

Other candidates in the race were Mike Campbell, Stephen M. MacKenzie and Jeff Smith.

Pence’s likely Democratic opponent will be Jeannine Lake, of Muncie, who defeated  five other candidates. Lake is the editor and publisher of The Good News, formerly The Muncie Times.

Lake ran on a platform of fixing Obamacare to provide universal healthcare for 23 million Americans, making the first two years of community college free, and improving the nation’s infrastructure.

Lake’s closest opponent was Greensburg attorney Jim Pruett. George Holland, Jasen Lave, Lane Siekman, and Joshua Williamson were also on the ballot for the party’s 6th District nomination.

4th Congressional District

James Baird won the GOP nomination, beating a field of seven candidates, and besting his closest challenger, Steve Braun, by a close margin to run for the seat being vacated by Todd Rokita.

Baird, of Greencastle, has served in the Indiana House of Representatives since being elected in 2010, and ran his congressional campaign on a platform of taking a common sense approach to  Washington.

On his campaign website he said, “We have real challenges facing our country and the career politicians in Washington have failed the American people with all talk and no action. President Trump needs reinforcements to pass his America First agenda and drain the swamp.”

Braun ran a campaign tying himself to President Trump and pledging to support the president’s policies. He is the brother of Republican Senate candidate Mike Braun, who ran Indiana’s Department of Workforce Development until last summer when he quit to launch his run for Congress.

Braun, a business consultant from Zionsville, served in the Indiana House of Representatives from 2012-2014, the year he was named to lead Workforce Development by then-Gov. Mike Pence.

Also rans in the race were Diego Morales, Jared Guy Thomas, Kevin J. Grant, James Nease and Tim Radice.

In November, Baird will face Democrat Tobi Beck of Avon, who bested Veronikka Ziol to be on the ballot in the fall. Roger Day, Roland Ellis, Darin Griesey, and Joseph Mackey were also competed to serve as the party’s standard bearer.

Beck, an Army veteran who served in the 571st Military Police Unit, championed a platform of universal healthcare, campaign finance reform, efficient military spending, and ending gerrymandering.

In other closely-watched Congressional races:

2nd District: Republican Rep. Jackie Walorski beat back a challenge from Mark Summe and is expected to face Democrat Mel Hall, who was leading five other candidates by a wide margin.

5th District: GOP Rep. Susan Brooks had no primary challenge and is expected to run against Democrat Dee Thornton in the fall in the heavily Republican district. Thornton edged out four other Democrats.

8th District: Republican Rep. Larry Buschon easily beat two challengers and will face Democrat William Tanoos in November.

9th District: GOP Rep. Trey Hollingsworth defeated James Alspach by a comfortable margin and will face Democrat Liz Watson in November. Watson beat two Democrats to win the nod.

Adrianna Pitrelli is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students. Editors Janet Williams and Ryan Gunterman contributed to this report.

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