Two days after the unexpected announcement by Rep. Susan Brooks that she would not seek re-election in Indiana’s 5th District, her fellow Republicans in and out of Congress are still in shock.
Former U.S. Attorney Brooks, 58, had been one of the most visible of the thirteen Republican women in the U.S. House. Brooks, in fact, was perhaps the most vigorous proponent of Republican women running for Congress.
After four terms in, she was a member of the Problem Solvers Caucus, which sought more centrist solutions to issues. Brooks also voted with the Trump Administration on nearly every issue, according to Congressional Quarterly report.
Her announced departure was met with glee by Democrats. Illinois Rep. Cheri Butros, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told reporters that the decision of Brooks, “who was working hard to recruit women to run for office, underscores the problem Washington Republicans have created for themselves.”
Democrats sent early signals they plan to wage an all-out effort to win the 5th, its solid Republican registration and history notwithstanding. Former State Rep. Christine Hale, the losing Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor in 2016, is soon expected to throw her hat in the ring.
Among Republicans, no less than a dozen candidates are mentioned for the open seat. Early reports indicate Brooks was trying to convince her top aide Megan Savage to seek the seat. If she runs, Savage is expected to take the same center-right line as her boss.
Also mentioned is State Sen. John Ruckelshaus, nephew of former Environmental Protection Administrator and onetime Indiana State Rep. William D. Ruckelshaus. John is considered a moderate in the mold of his uncle.
The early conservative favorite appears to be former State Sen. Mike Delph, a self-styled constitutionalist with a strong following among both cultural and economic conservatives. Last year, in a major upset, Delph lost his senate seat to Democrat J.D. Ford.
For now, national Republicans privately voice concern that even if they hold Brooks’ seat and that of Rep. Liz Cheney (who is pondering a Senate bid) in Wyoming, the number of women in the House Republican Caucus could drop below the present 13.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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