House district 51 covers DeKalb and Steuben counties. It's attracted an enormous amount of attention as both major parties pour thousands of dollars into television ads.
“Both sides have spent a big amount of money on it,” said Rep. Dick Dodge (
Dodge has served in the House of Representatives for six years. His challenger is Democrat Codie Ross, a local attorney. Both candidates have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars so far, much of it in TV ads.
“I didn't expect the spending to be as high as it was, but I expected the level of competitiveness to be as high as it is,” said Ross.
Republicans have held the seat for years. But Ross started campaigning early, and the race turned competitive.
“This is an exciting race, it's one that's getting a lot of attention,” said Andrew Downs, director of the IPFW Downs Center for Indiana Politics.
Downs says the longtime red seat could turn blue, and that's why both candidates have turned to TV, even though the district makes up just a small part of
“You see people buying ads in
Dodge has spent tens of thousands of dollars on TV ads attacking Ross. But he says he doesn't like going negative.
“It's not usually what I would like to do,” said Ross. “But it's, you have to counter where they're coming from, I guess.”
Ross says his ads go after Dodge's voting record.
“I think that the label that hurts people the most during this election cycle is the label of incumbent,” said Ross.
“There are elements of ads from each side that are maybe bending the truth a little bit or a little juvenile in their approach, and that's part of what gives it more of a negative flavor,” said
Negative or not, the race is heated as Republicans try to save one of their own from Democrats pushing for an upset.