Democrat Mrvan is sticking with the seat of Congress in Northwest Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Democrat Frank Mrvan won re-election to his congressional seat in northwestern Indiana on Tuesday, surviving a costly campaign in which Republicans posed their first serious challenge to the longtime Democratic stronghold in decades.

National Republicans had had first-term incumbent Mrvan aim for defeat in a bid to regain control in the tightly divided US House of Representatives, throwing their support behind Jennifer-Ruth Green, a black US Air Force veteran .

Meanwhile, Republicans won elections to two vacant seats in the U.S. House of Representatives from heavily GOP-leaning Indiana districts.

Democrats have typically won the 1st District, which nestles on Indiana’s shores of Lake Michigan near Chicago, but former President Donald Trump closed the gap by appealing to working-class voters in the district where some of the largest steel mills in the country are located.

Mrvan easily won the 2020 election against a multi-year Republican candidate with the support of retiring Democratic Rep. Pete Visclosky for 18 terms and strong union support. Mrvan faced a more difficult time this year as outside political groups associated with both parties each invested millions of dollars in television advertising in the district.

Mrvan spoke to supporters Tuesday night at a Merrillville union hall and credited union members for his victory, The (Northwest Indiana) Times reported.

“I want to thank you for your dedication, for the doors you knocked on, the phone calls you made, the conversations you had with members, the conversations with workers and workers to understand what was at stake,” said Mrvan.

Green, who would have become the GOP’s only black female house member if she won, touted herself as a Trump supporter during the Republican primary campaign but had backed away from speaking about him in recent months. Mia Love of Utah became the first black Republican woman in Congress with her 2014 victory. In 2018 she lost her re-election.

Green said in a concession statement that the closeness of the race means Mrvan is “knowing” the Republicans will continue to fight for the seat.

“Nothing worth doing is ever easy, and changing a district that has voted in one direction for nearly a century doesn’t happen overnight,” Green said. “This is just the beginning, not the end.”

The 1st Circuit was the only one of Indiana’s nine congressional districts to come close to changing political hands in this election, despite the election of two new members of the House of Representatives.

Republican former state senator Erin Houchin won in Southern Indiana’s 9th congressional district to replace GOP Rep. Trey Hollingsworth, who unexpectedly announced in January that he would not seek re-election after three terms in office.

Voters in the solidly Republican 2nd Circuit in northern Indiana chose Rudy Yakym to succeed GOP Rep. Jackie Walorski, who was killed along with two associates in a freeway accident in August.

Yakym, an executive at Elkhart logistics company Kem Krest, who was supported by Walorski’s husband, won a vote among Republican district committee members to replace Walorski on the ballot. With Yakym’s victory over Democrat Paul Steury, a high school science teacher from Goshen, and Libertarian William Henry, he could be sworn into office in the coming days to complete Walorski’s tenure by the end of this year and then a full two-year term to start in January. Democrat Mrvan is sticking with the seat of Congress in Northwest Indiana

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