The decision by U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks (R) not to seek re-election in 2020 uncorks a logjam of GOP talent for a seat which had only opened once since 1982.
This is a (suburban) Republican district, with voters far more highly educated than the norm in Indiana, and home to some of the wealthiest pockets of the state. The business influence is strong, making it safe for Republicans to be socially moderate or even liberal.
The Republican congressional candidate traditionally wins CD 05 with well north of 60% of the vote, with the low points since the turn of the century being the initial 2012 Brooks election (58.4%) and her 2018 re-election (56.8%). The female-majority district has seen back-to-back elections for Congress featuring women with advanced degrees as the major-party nominees.
Democrats take heart in the 2018 performance of then-U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly (D) – particularly in Hamilton County – but the only county in the district that he won was Marion County, and that victory didn’t come as much from the portion of the county within CD 05, but more from Center Township.
There are at least two-dozen arguably credible Republicans interested at this point, and no 800-pound gorilla who could jump in and preempt the field.
The crowd of GOP hopefuls includes social conservatives, establishment professionals, current and former elected and appointed officials, current and former Brooks staffers, prominent business leaders, and many more.
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