He's a 34 year old, charismatic, conservative farmer and State Senator. He ran an aggressive campaign for US Senate against an establishment candidate, a former US Senator himself, and came in second place. Who is this conservative dynamo? It's Indiana's own Marlin Stutzman and he's running for Congress in Indiana's 3rd Congressional District.
Stutzman is a fourth generation farmer. At 26, he was elected to the State House of Representatives and was the youngest member until 2006. In 2008, Stutzman was elected to the State Senate. During his tenure he received strong ratings from conservative groups including Indiana's Right to Life, Indiana Chamber of Commerce, Advance America, and the National Rifle Association. His conservative bona fides is without question.
In 2010, Stutzman decided to run for the open US Senate seat. In the GOP primary, Stutzman was up against much better known candidates including former US Senator Dan Coats and Congressman John Hostettler. Early polling showed Stutzman in a low poll position, but he ran a strong primary race earning endorsements from Jim DeMint, Erick Erickson, Mike Huckabee, and American Conservative Union chairman David Keene. It led to Stutzman coming in 2nd place with nearly 29% of the vote to the winner, Coats, 39%. It wasn't a victory - but it was a great showing, displaying the power of Stutzman's message.
Earlier this year, former incumbent Congressman Mark Souder (R) resigned. Souder was elected in 1994 as a supporter of term limits, an opponent of online gambling, and a supporter of the "War on Drugs." Earlier this year, Souder was caught having an affair with one of his staffers. He resigned soon thereafter leaving the district open and looking for a candidate. Enter Stutzman.
Because the primary had already taken place, the local GOP had to select a replacement candidate both for the general election and the special election to fill the remainder of Souder's term, i.e. the rest of the year. From a list of local State Representatives and 2008 primary challengers, Stutzman was selected as the nominee both for the general and special elections. The special election will be held in November and the winner will begin serving in Congress almost immediately, followed by their term beginning in 2011.
In November, Stutzman will face off against Dr. Tom Hayhurst, a Democratic candidate who ran against Souder in 2006 and lost by a slim margin. Hayhurst talks the talk of a fiscal conservative and will be a difficult candidate in the general election. We need to support Marlin Stutzman - he's a great candidate for this district and has a great future in the GOP. If you'd like to know more, check out his website.
Cross-posted to Old Line Elephant.
This is the first in a new series of articles helping to promote good, conservative 2010 candidates. I call it, "Candidates You May Have Missed."
Matthew Newman is a 26 year old environmental engineer who lives in the Baltimore area. Newman has been blogging since 2004.
Newman received his Bachelors of Science in Chemical Engineering in 2005 and his Masters in 2007 from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Newman has been married to his wife Jennifer since 2007. Together they have one son, Ryan Isaiah, who was born in May 2009.