Indiana Sen. Houchin quits to focus on congressional race

A southern Indiana state senator has decided to resign from her seat just weeks after announcing a campaign for Congress.

Sen. Erin Houchin

Republican Sen. Erin Houchin of Salem’s resignation from the state Senate was announced Thursday and is effective Feb. 4. Her resignation letter didn’t cite a reason for her decision.

But a campaign spokesman confirmed Houchin was stepping down to focus on her bid for the GOP nomination in the May 3 primary to replace Republican Rep. Trey Hollingsworth, who isn’t seeking reelection this year.

Houchin was first elected to the state Senate in 2014. She finished second to Hollingsworth in a crowded 2016 Republican primary for the 9th District congressional seat, which the then-political unknown won after millions of campaign spending from his family’s wealth.

The Republican-dominated Legislature kept the 9th District solidly Republican in the redistricting that takes effect for this year’s election. The revamped district covers the largely rural southeastern corner of Indiana, including the cities of New Albany, Jeffersonville, Bloomington, Greensburg and Madison.

Republican Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray said he encouraged Houchin to not resign but understood her decision.

Houchin’s resignation could leave her district unrepresented for several weeks during the legislative session that ends in mid-March.

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