But the district was redrawn in 2011. “Although it is a Republican-leaning district, it does not appear to be overwhelmingly Republican or socially conservative,” said Tim Henderson of the Senate Democratic Campaign Committee, who puts the baselines at 42 percent Democratic, 2 to 3 percent Libertarian, and 55 percent Republican. Richard Mourdock lost the district to Sen. Joe Donnelly, not even cracking 40 percent in 2012. Supt. Glenda Ritz carried the district with 50.9 percent that year and President Obama lost it by fewer than 1,000 votes.
So SD29 is Republican leaning and is fiscally conservative. But it doesn’t have the social conservative firebrand stature like some rural Senate districts have.
With Delph’s theatrics and criticism of churches in his own district, and having thoroughly angered not only Senate leadership, but many of his caucus colleagues who he accused of jumping ship on his efforts to restore HJR-3’s second sentence, it raises the specter of an isolated incumbent. But groups like the American Family Association, Eric Miller’s Advance America and the Indiana Family Institute will rally on Delph’s behalf.
“I see an opportunity with Sen. Delph’s district,” Henderson said. “He’s created an opportunity for us that might not have been there otherwise. J.D. Ford has gotten a lot of people reaching out to him from all walks of life.”
“I really think this will be the race to watch in November,” Ford told me, noting that there will be no presidential or gubernatorial race on the ballot. “There will be a clear contrast between what I stand for and what he stands for. There’s not another race as clear as this race can be.”
Ford said that being gay is only a small part of why he is running. “It’s a part of who I am,” Ford said. “It doesn’t make 100 percent of who I am. I want to be a public servant and have servant leadership. It’s not what makes me a candidate for Senate. I am running on other issues.