INDIANAPOLIS — US Rep. Victoria Spartz took a healthy lead Tuesday in what appears to be her successful bid for re-election in the 5th Congressional District against Democrat Jeannine Lee Lake.
“I think people in District 5 and across the country really want our government to govern and do less politics. A lot of that politics is really hurting people,” Spartz said when contacted by phone Tuesday night.
“We need to make sure that we have a good economy, that we have good opportunities for people, that we have strong national security, and that we really empower all Americans so that they can succeed.
“And a lot of these policies at this time that the Democrats in Washington DC are moving the country to the far left are not very healthy for our country, for our people,” he added.
Spartz had an estimated 20-point margin in the district that spans six central Indiana counties. By the deadline, official counts were pending in three counties.
By mid-afternoon, Lee Lake was awaiting late results, particularly from generally Republican-strong Hamilton County, where the race was close in the early stages and where she felt her campaign message had resonated with female voters.
“We felt that women were going to go to the polls and vote in record numbers and get their freedoms back. Who wants to be a second class citizen? We are half the population,” said Lee Lake. “We want bodily autonomy. We don’t want anyone in government telling us what to do.”
Spartz appeared to benefit from voters splitting ballots. For example, in Madison County, Spartz received nearly double the number of votes cast as a direct Republican vote.
The 5th District includes Hamilton, Delaware, Tipton, Grant, Howard, and Madison counties. Spartz spent Tuesday campaigning across the district, often handing out donuts or coffee.
Indiana’s nine US House of Representatives seats were up for election on Tuesday with seven incumbents seeking re-election, including five Republicans and two Democrats. The incumbents were leading in the first accounts.
Earlier Tuesday, the Hamilton County Board of Elections voted 3-0 to investigate reports that two early voters had cast a straight Democratic ticket, but when reviewing their ballot they did not see Lee Lake’s name.
The two voters, a mother and daughter from Noblesville, were able to recast their ballots. The two had voted Nov. 2 at the Hamilton County Judicial Center, said Beth Sheller, elections administrator for Hamilton County. Lee Lake had brought the matter to the attention of the election board.
Lee Lake, a journalist from Muncie, campaigned for Indianans to be able to make their own decisions, including the right to bear arms, the right to control one’s body, and human rights, including LGBTQIA.
He criticized Spartz for pushing a “dangerous MAGA agenda” that catered to extremists and wealthy donors.
In 2018 and 2020, Lee Lake ran unsuccessfully as the Democratic candidate for Indiana’s 6th congressional district. However, the sixth no longer includes Muncie following redistricting in 2021; was absorbed into the fifth, allowing Republicans to fill the seat that faced a tough challenge in the 2020 general election.
That year, Spartz received 208,212 votes compared to 191,226 for Democrat Christina Hale and 16,788 for Libertarian Ken Tucker.
At the time, the district included Kokomo and Muncie, but now it misses those cities as it stretches northeast from just Zionsville to hold Marion and Hartford City. With a population of about 800,000, the district encompasses all of Republican-heavy Hamilton County, where Spartz and his family live.
Spartz emigrated from socialist-controlled Ukraine in 2000 after meeting her husband who lived in Indiana. She became a US citizen working as a CPA and adjunct professor.
Spartz’s rise through the Republican ranks was relatively rapid. She was elected by the caucus to fill a highly prized vacant seat in the Indiana Senate based in Hamilton County in 2017.
Ukraine has been a dominant theme for her; She has visited numerous times and said she observed a Russian kamikaze drone attack from her hotel window during her most recent trip.
Last month, he said he agreed with Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California that Congress should not send “blank checks” in support of Ukraine and with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky that the Biden administration it must be “quicker and more proactive” for the good of the freedom-loving people fighting this war.
Spartz voted against the 2021 American Rescue Plan, which provided economic relief from COVID-19 and passed the House 220-210 before becoming law. She voted for the National Defense Authorization Act which passed by a strong 363-70.