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'Southern border of the state of Indiana is Kentucky': Indiana University professors react to recent political ads

Indiana Congressional Candidate Erin Houchin directly mentions being 'pro-Trump' in a campaign ad. Her opponents don't mention the former president by name.

INDIANA, USA — The Indiana Primary is less than two weeks away and, with incumbent Rep. Trey Hollingsworth not running for another term to represent Indiana's Ninth Congressional District, a sea of GOP candidates have tossed their hats in the ring. 

One candidate, Erin Houchin, aligned herself closely with former President Donald Trump in a campaign ad she's running. 

Click here to see Erin Houchin's ad

Mike Sodrel, who represented the Ninth District in the past, and Stu Barnes-Israel, didn't mention the former president by name in their ads but did include conservative messaging. 

Click here to see Mike Sodrel's ad

Click here to see Stu Barnes-Israel's ad

"I think that this is just a really challenging time for Republicans in primaries," Indiana University political science professor Marjorie Hershey said. "It's basically the most significant decision they have to make, as to whether or not they ally themselves with former President Trump."

"It's not clear that these are winning issues," Indiana University political science professor Tim Hellwig said. "They're winning issues of sort of a smaller splinter of, of the electorate, and the ninth district is a very heterogeneous district."

Some of the GOP candidates are also pushing to secure the southern border, and no, they aren't talking about Kentucky. They're referring to the US-Mexico border. 

"As far as I know, the southern border of the state of Indiana is Kentucky," Indiana University political science professor Jeffrey Isaac said. "I don't know how they're going to secure that border. I guess maybe people like you in Louisville are a danger and we need to make Indiana great again."

Donald Trump won all but one of the 18 counties making up Indiana's Ninth, and in eight of them, Trump swept with 75% or more of the vote. 

"It's a red state and so the red rhetoric, the blood red-meat rhetoric of Trumpism, resonates," Isaac said.

Some experts feel the winner of Indiana's Ninth District more likely than not will be from the Republican ticket.

"It's going to be very, very hard for any [Indiana] Democrat, especially in the Ninth District, to win in 2022," Isaac said. 

But others aren't so sure it's a shoo-in. 

"If you look at Todd Young, he wasn't the most conservative," Hellwig said. "I think Trey Hollingsworth was a surprise that he won, at least in my book that he won so decisively."

There are nine Republicans and three Democrats running for Indiana's Ninth Congressional District.

The Indiana Primary is Tuesday, May 3. Early Voting has already started. Check with your county's voter registration office for information on hours and locations.

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