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11 Candidates for Indiana Seat

April 27, 2000

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) _ A congressional seat that was held by the Democrats for 20 years before the Republican Revolution six years ago is up for grabs in a wide-open, 11-candidate primary.

By November, both parties could spend $2 million on the House seat, now held by conservative third-term Rep. David McIntosh. McIntosh is leaving to run for governor of Indiana.

``The Republicans in Washington do not want to lose this district and are going to target this district,″ said Ray Scheele, a political science professor at Ball State University.

While 23 Republicans are leaving Congress this year, only seven Democrats are stepping down. Democrats say that boosts their chances of recapturing the House, where Republicans have a six-seat majority.

If the Democrats ``think for one minute they’ve got a shot at this district, there’s no end to the amount of money that will be pumped in,″ Republican National Committee spokesman Mike Collins said.

Six Republicans and five Democrats are vying for their parties’ nomination May 2. The GOP front-runners are former radio host Mike Pence, who has strong name recognition, and Jeff Linder, a state representative. Pence leads in fund raising, with more than $291,000 as of March 31.

Doug Davidoff, Indiana Democratic Party spokesman, said there is no clear front-runner in his party.

Both parties consider the district a high priority.

``This is a competitive open seat that we have a real shot at winning,″ said John Del Cecato, spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. ``Open seats are a real battleground.″

The Indiana district leans Republican, but come November the GOP faces a potentially major complication. Bill Frazier, a former Republican candidate who lost to McIntosh in 1994 by fewer than 400 votes in the primary, intends to run as an independent and could siphon votes from the GOP.

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