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Southern Indiana Congressional race firing up

by Joe Arnold

WHAS11.com

Posted on January 19, 2010 at 3:05 AM

Updated Monday, Jan 18 at 10:59 PM

One week after Republican Mike Sodrel announced he would try to regain Indiana's 9th Congressional District seat, the Republicans he will face in the primary continue to make noise of their own.

"We are still poised at the front of the pack to lead the charge," said Orange County Deputy Prosecutor Todd Young, who has been campaigning for a year and will officially file for the office on Wednesday.  "We are still the front runner and we are looking forward to letting the people of this great state weigh in on who should represent them in Congress."

Meanwhile, Columbus real estate investor got a significant endorsement from former Libertarian Congressional candidate Eric Schansberg, who will serve as "Campaign Chairman."

Duties "include advising Travis personally on public policy, giving campaign stump speeches on Travis’ behalf and keeping the media informed on the campaign’s progress."   

Regarding his support for Hankins, Schansberg states, “I think he’s an excellent candidate and I think he’ll be effective at uniting fiscal and social conservatives.  He’s very strong on social issues and strong on fiscal issues.  He can be a great unifier for the party because the party is divided on these things.” 

Schansberg has been a factor in previous Mike Sodrel vs. Baron Hill contests, so his decision is also newsworthy in that it means that Schansberg himself is not seeking the office.

The Hankins news release portends a common theme in this election year, candidates appealing to the energized "Tea Party" faction of disenchanted Americans.

"..... the GOP has been in the political wilderness.  Hankins will continue to implement his strategy by reaching out to former Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Constitutionalists, and independents all the while maintaining and energizing the current conservative Republican base."

And, the National Republican Congressional Committee is affirming that Congressman Baron Hill (D-IN) is a target this fall. 

“Every time President Obama or Nancy Pelosi steps foot in southeastern Indiana, it will remind Hoosiers that Baron Hill sold out his state by backing a reckless agenda that is creating more government but fewer jobs," said Tom Erickson, NRCC spokesman.

Erickson cited several news reports that quoted President Barack Obama seeking to reassure “endangered moderates who might lose their jobs in November thanks to their votes backing the Obama agenda.”

Obama singled out Rep. Baron Hill as one of those vulnerable Democrats whose support for the Obama-Pelosi agenda has put him on defense with his constituentss. The President promised to stand behind Hill 100% in what will undoubtedly be a tough campaign focused on Hill’s support for the failed stimulus package, the government-run healthcare option and-cap-and-trade (the National Energy Tax).

From the Washington Post:

Obama seemed to acknowledge the political realities of the legislation, which Congress is on the verge of passing. He praised lawmakers who were willing to "make tough choices sometimes when they're unpopular," and he singled out Reps. Baron P. Hill (Ind.) and Tom Perriello (Va.), who backed the health-care legislation even though their districts are conservative. Many Democrats who could face tough election races in November opposed the bill.

(Perry Bacon Jr., “Obama pledges campaign for health-care bill and Democrats,” Washington Post, Jan. 15, 2010)

And this from Politico:

Obama spoke directly lawmakers like Reps. Tom Perriello (Va.), Steve Driehaus (Ohio), and Baron Hill (Ind.). “You’ve had to take tough votes, I know it, I appreciate it, I want you to know you I’m behind you 100 percent,” was Obama’s message, according to the aide.

                (KASIE HUNT, “Obama soothes anxious Dems,” Politico, Jan. 15, 2010)


And here's the news release from the Hankins campaign:

Hankins and Schansberg Join Forces

Columbus-Travis Hankins announced today that Eric Schansberg has
joined his campaign team and will officially serve as his Campaign
Chairman.

Schansberg’s duties as Campaign Chairman include advising Travis
personally on public policy, giving campaign stump speeches on Travis’
behalf and keeping the media informed on the campaign’s progress.

Regarding his support for Hankins, Schansberg states, “I think he’s an
excellent candidate and I think he’ll be effective at uniting fiscal
and social conservatives.  He’s very strong on social issues and
strong on fiscal issues.  He can be a great unifier for the party
because the party is divided on these things.”

Travis Hankins believes that the key to success for a political party
is to expand its numbers without compromising any of its core
principles and beliefs. Hankins asserts that the establishment
Republicans in Washington and a few in Indianapolis simply do not
understand that. That is why the GOP has been in the political
wilderness.  Hankins will continue to implement his strategy by
reaching out to former Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians,
Constitutionalists, and independents all the while maintaining and
energizing the current conservative Republican base.

By reaching out across party lines and naming a former Libertarian
nominee as Campaign Chairman, Travis Hankins has proven that he is the
only candidate seeking the GOP nomination that can form a broad-based,
non-partisan/bi-partisan coalition that is necessary for victory.

Travis comments, “No Republican will beat Baron Hill if Eric
Schansberg is also on the ballot. The fact that I do not have to worry
about that problem is a real sign of strength for my campaign. My
teaming up with Eric is just one example of the fact that I will win a
lot of support from voters in November who would otherwise not trust
nor vote Republican.”

Hankins continues, “The historic elections of 2006 and 2008 prove that
the Republican base alone is no longer enough to win the 9th District
Congressional seat. Republicans must reach outside the party and form
a coalition of other like-minded voters in order to win.  By joining
forces with Eric, my campaign has proven that we have the coalition
necessary for victory in November 2010.”

Eric Schansberg has been the Libertarian candidate for the 9th
Congressional District in 2006 and 2008.  Dr. Eric Schansberg has been
a professor of economics at Indiana University Southeast in New Albany
for 17 years and has written two books on public policy.  Dr.
Schansberg is an evangelical Christian who has taught Bible studies
for 18 years.  Eric is married to Tonia and is the father to four
boys-two by adoption.  In 2008, Schansberg won the Libertarian Party’s
Thomas Paine award, recognizing him as one of the nation’s greatest
communicators of the principles of limited government and individual
liberty.

Travis Hankins is a real estate investor who was born and raised in
Columbus, Indiana. Along with his twin brother Aaron, Travis graduated
from Indiana University and is a member of Bible Church of Columbus.
More information on Travis Hankins can be found at his website
www.travishankins.com.

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