Many of us will be watching the 3rd District representative race and the U.S. Senate race in the Republican primary to see how strong the anti-incumbent mood is and how much influence the tea party movement will have.
I suspect Mark Souder will beat back the strong challenge by Bob Thomas in the 3rd -- people might want an outsider this year, but they don't want somebody who came from outside the district just to run. For that reason -- the outsider coming back just to seek office from here -- I think if there's an upset in the making it might be in the Senate race. If I were picking a long-shot to put my money on, it would be Stutzman in this race. This analysis seems about right:
Coats remains the favorite in a crowded, five-person field, and time is on his side. But there's a growing sense that his two chief opponents, state Sen. Marlin Stutzman and former Rep. John Hostettler, are gaining on him and that Indiana has the potential to illustrate just how dissatisfied Republican voters are with their party.
Most political observers believed Coats would cruise. Instead, a combination of factors — a bumpy opening and feisty primary competition — are conspiring against him.
I do think, however, that people are making too much of Coats' "disappointing" showing in the raising-money department. If he'd had weaker opponents, he would have raised the kind of money people were expecting him to. I think the donors are just waiting to see who wins -- then they'll start kicking in, whoever it is.
Anyway that's it -- the upset, if there is to be one, will come in the Senate race, not the 3rd District. Predicting is risky, and I've been spectacularly wrong before, but speculating is part of the fun of politics. Some days, in fact, it's the only fun.