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Democrats hope for modest gains at best in Indiana

Your guide to the 2024 elections

Indiana State Capitol in Indianapolis JTSorrell/iStock / Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

Democrats hope for modest gains at best in Indiana


Voter makeup:

The state saw a 20 percent increase in voter registrations a month before this year’s primaries to a total of about 4.7 million voters. The state has 11 electoral votes for president and nine seats in the U.S. House, seven of which are held by Republicans. Voters don’t register with a particular political party and only tell the poll workers which party they want to vote for on primary day. The state trends Republican with a Cook Partisan Voting Index of R+11, or 11 points more Republican than the nation as a whole.

Indiana regularly ranks 35th or lower in national voter turnout rates. People ages 55-64 consistently make up the largest bloc of voters. Democrats claim some of their strongest support among black voters, pointing out that all but one of the state’s black mayors and every black and Latino statehouse member are Democrats. Republicans added a Latina member to the state Senate in October.


Polls opened for early voting on April 24 ahead of primary elections on May 7. Voters can request mail-in ballots for one of 12 stated reasons at least 12 days before the Election Day. Since April 2023, a mail-in ballot request requires a paper application along with a photocopy of a government-issued ID card or two sets of identifying numbers such as a 10-digit driver’s license number or the last four digits of a Social Security number. The requirements are intended to make mail-in voter ID requirements comparable to in-person rules.

As of February, the state verifies each new voter’s address and has additional residency requirements for first-time voters. All voters must present a photo ID to vote.

Voters in line on voting day after the polls close are still allowed to vote.


This year, nearly 700,000, or 14 percent of voters, participated in the primary elections. In 2020, 24 percent of voters turned out for the primaries.

Indiana had only one option for the Democratic presidential primary: President Joe Biden. Republicans could choose between former President Donald Trump or Nikki Haley, but Haley dropped out of the race before the primary. She received 21.7 percent of Republican votes.


  • Mike Braun, former U.S. senator and president and CEO of truck parts manufacturer Meyer Distributing, won the Republican primary for governor from a pool of six candidates. As a senator, Braun initially supported Trump’s claims that the 2020 election was stolen but changed his mind after the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Braun opposes the Affordable Care Act and offering illegal immigrants a pathway to citizenship. He is pro-life and a supporter of defining marriage as between one man and one woman. He believes the Republican Party should emphasize climate change more.

  • Former Republican state schools superintendent Jennifer McCormick switched parties in 2021 and is the Democratic nominee for governor. She supports adding a right to abortion to the state constitution, legalizing medical marijuana, decreasing the number of state-mandated standardized tests, and protecting Indiana’s farmland from foreign ownership.

  • Libertarian Donald Rainwater, a software engineer and Navy veteran, will also be on November’s ballot and hopes to reduce the size of Indiana’s government and eliminate the state income tax.


Whoever wins the one seat up for grabs could alter the overall partisan balance of the Senate. But the state has not elected a Democratic senator in over a decade.

  • Psychologist Valerie McCray, a Democrat, is Indiana’s first black woman nominated for the Senate. Her experience treating returning veterans and incarcerated men and women has prepared her, she says, for prioritizing mental health legislation.

  • Rep. Jim Banks left his U.S. House seat to run unopposed for the Republican nomination to the Senate. He wants to focus on border security, the economy, and defeating the “radical left’s woke agenda,” he told Indianapolis’ WFYI-FM.

  • Besides the major party candidates, one Libertarian, Andrew Horning, and two Independent candidates are running.


  • In February 2023, 5th Congressional District Rep. Victoria Spartz announced she would retire. Her announcement spurred eight candidates to run for her seat, but in December she reversed her decision ahead of filing deadlines. The Ukrainian-born candidate had to fight for her previously solid seat in the primaries. She’ll face former Army Reservist and Democrat Deborah A. Pickett in November.

  • The 3rd District’s Republican Marlin Stutzman ended his six-year U.S. House tenure with a failed attempt to gain a Senate seat in 2016. He won this year’s primary by just under 1,000 votes to get back in the House. He’ll run against Democrat Kiley Adolph.


  • The Indiana Supreme Court has five justices, all of whom were appointed by Republican governors but are nonpartisan. Each justice serves an initial 2-year term, stands for retention at the next general election, then serves subsequent 10-year terms. The positions are nonpartisan.

  • Three justices’ terms will expire at the end of this year: Mark S. Massa, Derek Molter, and Loretta H. Rush. They are up for retention votes in November.


  • The state legislature has referred one measure to the ballot in November. In 2021, the state superintendent of public instruction—formerly an elected position—was replaced by a governor-appointed secretary of education. The ballot measure proposes a constitutional amendment to remove the superintendent of public instruction from being sixth in succession to the governor.

Dig deeper:

  • Read Steve West’s analysis of an Indiana parental rights case that went to the Supreme Court.
  • Read Lauren Canterberry’s report about a lower court’s ruling allowing students to use the bathroom of their corresponding self-identified gender.

Visit the WORLD Election Center 2024 to follow our state-by-state coverage between now and November.

Amy Lewis

Amy is a WORLD contributor and a graduate of World Journalism Institute and Fresno Pacific University. She taught middle school English before homeschooling her own children. She lives in Geelong, Australia, with her husband and the two youngest of their seven kids.

This keeps me from having to slog through digital miles of other news sites. —Nick

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