Houchin wins crowded GOP primary for southern Indiana congressional seat

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Sen. Erin Houchin

Former state Sen. Erin Houchin has won the crowded Republican primary for an open congressional seat from a solidly GOP district in southern Indiana.

Houchin emerged Tuesday from a nine-candidate Republican field for the 9th Congressional District seat that opened up when current GOP Rep. Trey Hollingsworth unexpectedly announced in January he wouldn’t seek reelection after three terms.

The 45-year-old Houchin finished second to Hollingsworth in the 2016 GOP primary race. This time, she was able to overcome a self-funded campaign by wealthy trucking company owner Mike Sodrel, who attempted a political comeback for the seat he held for a single term after a 2004 election win.

Houchin resigned her state Senate seat in February after seven years to focus on the congressional race. Houchin was the only woman among the Republican candidates, and she also drew on her ties to GOP activists from her previous stints as former U.S. Sen. Dan Coats’ southeastern Indiana director and the 9th District’s Republican chair.

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