Sabato's Crystal Ball

Indiana (09) House 2010

Crystal Outlook: Leans R

Democratic candidate: Baron Hill, Incumbent

Republican candidate: Todd Young, Veteran and Deputy Prosecutor

Recent updates from the Crystal Ball

Background:

Since Baron Hill’s first successful campaign for Indiana’s 9th Congressional District in 1998, he has faced the same candidate in four of six elections. Hill ran against Mike Sodrel in 2002, 2004, 2006, and 2008, winning three of the four elections, but losing in 2004. Less Sodrel’s term between 2005 and 2007, the 9th district has been represented by a Democrat since 1965. Hill won his first term against Jean Leising following the retirement of 17-term Democrat Lee Hamilton. If Sodrel is able to win Indiana’s May 4 primary, it will be the fifth straight Congressional election featuring the same two candidates.

Although Hill was vacillating on health care right up until the vote, he decided to vote with his fellow Democrats in favor of the legislation. Hill initially took opposition to the language in the legislation regarding funding for abortion, but was eventually satisfied that no taxpayer money would fund elective abortions. Despite his uncertainly prior to the vote, Hill’s Congressional website is already touting the benefits of the new legislation. He will have to wait and see what the consequences of toeing the party line will be in November.

The most serious challengers to Hill in the November election include Mike Sodrel, Travis Hankins, and Todd Young. Sodrel has the advantage of name recognition from his previous four campaigns, but Young has established an early lead in fundraising. While Young has over $250,000 in cash on hand, the Sodrel campaign has even more in debt as of the close of 2009. The strong Republican competition makes Indiana’s 9th District a Toss-Up.