John Hostettler enters 8th Congressional District race, 17 years after holding the seat

Indiana Public Media
Posted February 13, 2024

Former Indiana District 8 congressional representative John Hostettler is running again for the seat, which he held 17 years ago.

Hostettler served from 1995 to 2007 for District 8 in southwestern Indiana. The seat is currently held by Republican Larry Bucshon, who is not running for re-election.

In his campaign announcement released last week, Hostettler highlighted concerns about the U.S. budget deficit and involvement with the war between Russia and Ukraine. 

“We must get federal spending under control before our terrible foreign policy and our massive deficits give us no alternative,” he said.

Hostettler’s announcement also mentions tighter southern border security.

“Congress will need to provide a plan to aggressively find and deport not only the millions of illegal aliens who Border Patrol have encountered illegally entering the US over the past three years, nut the hundreds ofthousand of got-aways,” Hostettler said. 

Matthew Bergbower is a professor of political science at Indiana State University. He said Republican candidates for the House and Senate will discuss border security, even if they aren’t in border states.

Bergbower said Hostettler’s video touched mostly on national and international issues and he must pivot to more regional quality of life issues eventually.

“So we definitely need a candidate to advocate for the district and take some of those areas that stand out, farming being one, manufacturing being another,” he said. “Taking those two elements of our economy, local economies, and heightening it up as much as possible.”

Hostettler is running against eight other Republicans in the primary, including Mark Messmer, who is currently a state senator.

Bergbower said Hostettler is a front runner in the race because of his name recognition and previous political experience. Four democrats are competing for their party’s nomination. 

“The Democrats did not produce a candidate that has high name recognition, a strong foundation for fundraising and some election winning experience,” Bergbower said. “And those that hurts their chances of winning. It decreases the likelihood of a Democrat getting some national fundraising.”

Hostettler lost his congressional seat in 2006 to Democratic candidate Brad Ellsworth, who served two terms.


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