Power-Building Strategy: Flip IN-5 blue.
Gains among college-educated voters in 2018 powered Democrats to a large congressional majority. In 2020, districts like IN-5, where over 45% of voters are college-educated, were next on the list for Democrats to flip.
With an incumbent retirement, IN-5 seemed like a strong flip opportunity. 538 rated it as a toss-up, and many polls had the Democratic candidate ahead. But on election night, the GOP candidate won by four points.
Despite this loss, IN-5 has still continued to trend blue; while Romney won the district with 57.5% of the vote in 2012, Trump only carried it with 50.1% of the vote in 2020.
Meanwhile, Indiana broadly is a state that has been trending in the wrong direction for Democrats. Joe Donnelly flipped a U.S. Senate seat in 2012, but lost it in 2018. The Indiana State House was one of the chambers Republicans flipped in the 2010 wave, and Democrats haven’t been able to regain ground since. Republicans have held the governorship since they flipped it in 2004.
As a means of rebuilding Democratic power in Indiana, we believe an important first step is to continue investing in IN-5 and building where Democrats have been gaining ground. If Democrats can figure out how to win in this “next on the list” suburban district that we discuss in the House section of our 2040 Project, that will pay dividends not only for Indiana, but for Democrats to wield broader power in more states.
How you can advance a 50-state strategy in Indiana:
- Democrats need to invest in continued messaging, surveying, and organizing targeted in districts where we have seen continued growth. Beginning in Virginia in 2021 and expanding to other battleground states in 2022, EveryDistrict’s Win Number program will do exactly that by deploying the latest in election science to identify how we can win that next round of suburban voter.