Indianapolis - Long regarded as one of the safest seats in the U.S. Congress, the next election may be different for Indiana's 5th District.
Representative Dan Burton, a Republican, has served the district for 27 years and has already stated his intention to run for a 15th term. This time, his biggest challenge will come from within. Republican businessman Brose McVey, who lost to Julia Carson in the 7th District race in 2002, has already indicated he will challenge Burton in 2010.
On Friday in Shelbyville, Shelby County also got a voice in the race. Former Executive Director of the State Republican Party Luke Messer announced his candidacy in the race. He also served in the state legislature from 2003-06. Introduced by his wife, Jennifer, at the news conference Friday, Messer says it's time for change in Washington.
"I think it is very difficult, if you were part of the group that brought our country its current problems, to argue you are the right person to fix those problems," Messer said. "Congressman Burton has been in congress for 26 years. He's been a big part of the bickering culture of the last 16 years and I think it will be difficult for him to say he's changed."
But getting that message out will be costly. Burton's last general election opponent, Republican Dr. John McGoff raised around $400,000. While the Messer campaign does not expect to raise more money than the incumbent, they are quick to point out that they may not have to.
"It is time for the next generation of leadership to step up," Messer said Friday.
Former State Republican Party Chairman Jim Kittle will host the first fundraiser for Messer's campaign later this month.
Rep. Burton issued the following statement in response to WTHR's story Friday:
"Congressman Burton is focused on doing the job he was elected to do. With all the economic challenges facing Hoosiers right now, the Congressman is totally devoted to fighting for policies that will cut taxes and create jobs.
Just last night, Democrats passed the most fiscally irresponsible budget in the history of the United States. With all the unprecedented government spending going on in DC, and the continuing economic problems in Indiana and across the country, the Congressman's concern is for the well-being of his constituents."
(April 3, 2009 - Kevin Rader/ WTHR-TV Channel13 Eyewitness News)