2020 Elections: Here's who is running in Indiana's 5th Congressional District - Indy Star
Oct. 11, 2019 | Updated Feb. 6, 2020
So far almost 20 candidates have filed to run in Indiana's 5th Congressional District.
Republican Susan Brooks' decision to retire from Congress gave Republicans and Democrats alike the chance to seek the 5th Districtseatwithout having to run against an incumbent.
Republicans see the district, which stretches from the northern portion of Indianapolis to the city of Marion and includes all of Hamilton County, as an easy win. They've long controlled the seat.
But Democrats are hopeful they can capitalize on changing demographics in the suburban portion of the district, as Democrats elsewhere in the country have.
Here are your options on the May ballot so far:
Kent Abernathy is a retired Army colonel and Iraq war who served as commissioner of the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles for two years under former Gov. Mike Pence. Previously the Zionsville resident was chief of staff for the Indiana Department of Environmental Management for five years.
Abernathy, a West Point graduate, has also worked as a vice president for two Indianapolis banks and served in various leadership roles in the Pentagon.
Andrew Bales is a retired school teacher and Persian Gulf Veteran running as a Republican.
Bales includes legalizing marijuana as one of his priorities on his website, along with securing the borders and decreasing the country's deficit.
Micah Beckwith, a student worship pastor at Northview Church, isn't as well known as some of the other candidates, but has the backing of some social conservatives.
Curt Smith, the former president of the socially conservative Indiana Family Institute, and former U.S. Rep. Marlin Stutzman have formed a federal SuperPAC in support of Beckwith called the Hoosier Heartland Fund.
Beckwith has also owned and operated small businesses since 2005.
Former Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi plans to file to run on Feb. 7.
Brizzi, who served as a Republican prosecutor from 2002 until 2010, has faced a number of legal battles over the years. Most recently in 2017, he was suspended from practicing law for 30 days after the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission found he “engaged in professional misconduct” while he was a Marion County prosecutor
Allen Davidson is an Indiana Department of Transportation highway engineer. He ran for the 5th District as a Democrat in 2014 and 2016, losing both primary elections.
Chuck Dietzen is the former chief of pediatric rehabilitation medicine at Riley Hospital for Children and the founder of Timmy Global Health, a nonprofit that works to expand health care access in developing countries.
He also is the co-founder of iSalus Healthcare, an electronic medical records system.
Republican Beth Henderson, a farmer and former nurse who lives in the Hamilton County town of Atlanta, was the latest to announce her candidacy, emphasizing that she's not a "career politician."
Henderson has formed her own case management company and other small businesses with her husband, who initially entered the 2018 race for U.S. Senate but dropped out before the Republican primary.
Matthew Hook, who lives in Carmel, is a retired senior partner at Centerfield Capital Partners. Previously he was an attorney and certified public accountant.
He lists addressing climate change as one of his top four priorities on the issues page of his website, an uncommon focus for a Republican.
Kelly Mitchell was first elected state treasurer in 2014 and won reelection in 2018. Before that, she worked as the director of TrustINdiana, an investment fund, under former treasurer Richard Mourdock. Previously she was the first female county commissioner in Cass County.
Democrats have been quick to tie Mitchell to her predecessor, Mourdock, though she has beenmuch less controversial.
During her first month after officially kicking off her campaign, she raised over $100,000, according to her campaign.
Matthew Hullinger filed to run on Feb. 3, but appears to have no campaign page.
A 2015 Purdue University graduate, Danny Niederberger is an operations analyst for Concise Capital Management. While at Westfield High School, Niederberger was a four-year varsity swimmer
Niederberger is running an unconventional campaign and is not accepting contributions, according to his website.
Mark Small is an attorney based in Indianapolis, who says he is "proud to be a progressive."
On Twitter, Small advocates for cutting the military budget in half, a departure from other Republicans stance that the U.S. should make that spending a priority, and describes himself as pro-choice and pro-environment.
Republican state Sen. Victoria Spartz, a native of Ukraine, was chosen by a caucus to replace retiring Sen. Luke Kenley in the Statehouse in 2017.
The Noblesville senator owns a variety of businesses, worked as a certified public accountant and briefly served as the Chief Financial Officer of Attorney General Curtis Hill's office.
Russell Stwalley ran in 1996 for what was then the 7th District. He appears to have no campaign page.
Victor Wakley is executive director of Save Our Veterans, Inc, a non-profit that helps veterans gain meaningful employment after deployment. He appears to have no campaign page.
Steve Braun (campaign suspended)
A source familiar with former state Rep. Steve Braun's campaign said he has decided not to file after initially entering the race. He suspended his campaign for the 5th Congressional District race for health reasons.
Jennifer Christie, who ran in the 2018 Democrat primary for the 5th District, is looking for another shot.
Christie is a chemist and biologist who emphasizes her work for the environment. She tested samples for Environmental Protection Agency compliance and clean-up sites and has worked for the Sierra Club to advocate for clean water and air and endangered species.
Christina Hale, who was John Gregg's running mate during his 2016 gubernatorial campaign, has long been a party favorite whose name has been thrown around for a variety of elected positions.
Previously, Hale served two terms at the Statehouse, earning the support of both the Indiana AFL-CIO, a statewide labor organization, and the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, a pro-business group that typically leans Republican.
Since her failed bid for lieutenant governor, Hale has served as the executive director of Kiwanis International's youth programs.
2020 Election: DCCC backs Christina Hale in 'Red to Blue' program
Andy Jacobs, the son of former Congressman Andrew Jacobs, Jr., is a deputy prosecutor in the Marion County Prosecutors Office.
He won't be accepting money from Political Action Committees and is limiting contributions to $1000. His father, who died in 2013, did the same when he ran for office. The elder Jacobs served in the U.S. House from 1965 to 1973 and again in 1975 until 1997.
Ralph Spelbring sought the 6th Congressional District seat in 2016. At the time he lived out-of-district in Elkhart.
Dee Thornton is a corporate consultant from Carmel who lost to Brooks in the 2018 midterm election. She grabbed more than 43% of the vote against Brooks last November, the closest any opponent had come to Brooks in her four campaigns.
Thornton attended the University of Louisville on a basketball scholarship before receiving an MBA from Indiana Wesleyan University.