Politics of Indiana

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Indiana has long been considered to be a Republican stronghold and is rated R+7 on the Cook Partisan Voting Index. The current governor of Indiana is Republican Eric Holcomb, and Republicans hold supermajorities in both chambers of the Indiana General Assembly. It has only supported a Democrat for president five times since 1900—in 1912, 1932, 1936, 1964 and 2008. Nonetheless, half of Indiana's governors in the 20th century were Democrats. However, Gary, Indiana has had a Democrat as mayor for the last 77 years.


While only five Democratic presidential nominees have carried Indiana since 1900, 11 Democrats were elected governor during that time. Before Mitch Daniels became governor in 2005, Democrats had held the office for 16 consecutive years.

The current governor of Indiana is Eric Holcomb.

Federal elections[edit]

Presidential elections[edit]

Presidential elections results
Year Republican Democratic
2016 56.82% 1,557,286 37.91% 1,033,126
2012 54.13% 1,420,543 43.93% 1,152,887
2008 48.91% 1,345,648 49.95% 1,374,039
2004 59.94% 1,479,438 39.26% 969,011
2000 56.65% 1,245,836 41.01% 901,980
1996 47.1% 1,006,693 41.6% 887,424
1992 42.9% 989,375 36.8% 848,420
1988 59.8% 1,297,763 39.7% 860,643
1984 61.7% 1,377,230 37.7% 841,481
1980 56.0% 1,255,656 37.7% 844,197

Former governor and U.S. Senator Evan Bayh announced in 2006 his plans for a presidential exploratory committee.[1] His father was a three-term senator who was turned out of office in the 1980 Reagan Revolution by conservative Republican (and future Vice-President) Dan Quayle, a native of Huntington in the northeastern portion of the state. However, Bayh announced that he would not be seeking the Presidency on December 16, 2006.

In the 2008 US Presidential election, Barack Obama carried the state by 1.03%,[2] which was the first time in many years that a Democrat won Indiana's electoral votes. As of 2018 this is the most recent time a Democrat has carried the state in a Presidential election.


Seven of the districts favor the Republican Party according to the CPVI rankings; there are currently seven Republicans serving as representatives and two Democrats. Historically, Republicans have been strongest in the eastern and central portions of the state, while Democrats have been strongest in the northwestern part of the state. Occasionally, certain counties in the southern part of the state will vote Democratic. Marion County, Indiana's most populated county, supported the Republican candidates from 1968 to 2000, before backing the Democrats in the 2004 and 2008 elections. Indiana's second most populated county, Lake County, is a strong supporter of the Democratic party that has not voted for a Republican since 1972.[3]


The state's U.S. Senators are Sen. Todd Young (Republican) and Sen. Mike Braun (Republican). In 2006, then-senior Sen. Richard Lugar (Republican) won reelection to a sixth term with 87% of the vote against no major-party opposition. In 2010, Sen. Coats won reelection to a third non-consecutive term with 55% of the vote against Democratic Congressman Brad Ellsworth and Libertarian business owner and teacher Rebecca Sink-Burris.

Senator Lugar lost in the 2012 Republican primary to the state treasurer of Indiana, Richard Mourdock, who had been favored by the Tea Party movement.[4] Joe Donnelly defeated Mourdock in the general election.[5]

House of Representatives[edit]

Indiana's delegation to the United States House of Representatives is not completely Republican either. Instead, it has generally served as a bellwether for the political movement of the nation. For instance, Democrats held the majority of seats until the 1994 Republican Revolution, when Republicans took a majority. This continued until 2006, when three Republican congressmen were defeated in Indiana; (Chris Chocola, John Hostettler and Mike Sodrel), giving the Democrats a majority of the delegation again.[6]

Historically, Republicans have been strongest in the eastern and central portions of the state, as well as the suburbs of the state's major cities. Democrats have been strongest in the northwestern and southern parts of the state along with the major cities. However, outside of Indianapolis, the Chicago suburbs, and Bloomington, the state's Democrats tend to be somewhat more conservative than their counterparts in the rest of the country, especially on social issues.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Officials: Bayh to take first step in 2008 bid next week". CNN.com. Archived from the original on 2006-12-06. Retrieved 2006-12-11.
  2. ^ USA Today. 2008-11-05 https://www.usatoday.com/news/politics/election2008/in.htm. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ "Presidential General Election Map Comparison". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved 2009-08-11.
  4. ^ Davey, Monica (2012-05-08). "Lugar Loses Primary Challenge in Indiana". The New York Times.
  5. ^ Wald, Matthew L. (2012-11-06). "Donnelly Wins Indiana Senate Race Over Mourdock". The New York Times.
  6. ^ "Democrats Take House by a Wide Margin". NPR. Retrieved 2006-12-11.