Indiana’s Bloody 8th: A Fractured Fairy Tale

Kristi Risk

Indiana’s 8th District didn’t have a representative in the U.S. Congress from January 1st to May 1st in 1985. Why? Because Bunky, The Democrat-controlled House simply refused to seat the Republican winner, and after a few disputed recounts that still pointed to the Democrat losing, finally decided to simply seat him against the will of the people who deigned to presume that voting makes a difference. The blatant abuse of power was so obvious that the Republicans walked out in protest when the Democrat “loser” was arbitrarily declared the winner.

Doubt this is true? Look it up yourself if you wish, here’s the digest version- The Republican, Rick McIntyre, won by 39 votes on election night, led by 418 votes after a recount, and was certified by the Secretary of State of Indiana as the winner. The House refused to seat him however, recounted the ballots themselves, and decided that McIntyre’s opponent actually won by 4 votes. Indiana’s 8th District has earned its contentious moniker, and the saga continues.

In 2008, a well-liked local sheriff rode the Obama Wave and handily defeated a little-known Republican, setting up a monumental battle in 2010 fueled by anti-Obama Tea Party fervor. The real battle, as it turned out, was in the Republican Primary. There were several serious challengers, and the vast majority identified themselves as pro-Constitution and aligned with the Tea Party. Early on it appeared that the Republicans would place a Tea Party conservative on the general election ballot in November of 2010.

Enter the Republican Establishment…

Despite the strong and conservative field in the Republican Primary the NRCC (National Republican Congressional Committee) quickly settled on Dr. Larry Bucshon as their choice and money and talent flowed into his campaign. With the large field of Tea Party candidates guaranteeing a split vote among their ranks, the only nominal RINO in the race eased into victory lane.

End of story? Not yet.

Among the Tea Party candidates in 2008 was a tenacious married mother of four with a penchant for quoting the Constitution, Kristi Risk. In a large field of similarly staunch conservatives she nearly beat Bucshon anyway, and because of that strong showing has set up yet another bloody battle in the notorious 8th District.

Risk excelled in the numerous Tea Party-sponsored debates that were held in 2010. Many, if not all of these debates, are still available on Youtube. After watching a few of these one conclusion is inescapable; not only did Risk win every debate, Bucshon never ranked anywhere near the top tier, and among the serious contenders he probably should have been ranked dead last in every contest. His weak understanding of the issues, and uninspired defense of the conservative agenda, is no doubt why he was only able to narrowly win in what should have been a landslide under the aegis of the Republican Establishment.

Bucshon’s Facebook posts read like a laundry list of items on a campaign check-off sheet, while Risk’s Facebook posts are invariably dedicated to exposing the Leftist agenda and defending Constitutional principles. What becomes quickly apparent when comparing their campaign narratives is that Risk is an ideologue, while Bucshon is a conservative caricature.

Her ideology isn’t academic either, and even a cursory glance at some of her debate performances reveal a deep passion for God and Country. Kristi Risk is the Tea Party, and during the 2010 campaign season she emerged as the favorite in the conservative wing of the Republican Party.

Recently Risk announced she was running again and the rematch was set, this time with a less-crowded field, and a clear choice for the 8th District voters. Working against her is Bucshon’s incumbency and a large campaign coffer that has blossomed with the imprimatur of Washington power.

One thing is clear: The battle for supremacy in the 8th is no longer between Republicans and Democrats, it’s between RINO’s and the Tea Party. Whoever wins the Republican nomination will probably cruise to victory in the political climate that currently exists in Southwestern Indiana.

Indiana is a bellweather for the Tea Party in 2012. Besides the Bloody 8th, Republican Senator Dick Lugar is facing a strong challenge from tea Party favorite Richard Mourdock. If both Risk and Mourdock win their primary challenge of the establishment choices in their respective races ignoring the Tea Party will no longer be an option for the Republican Party, and the likelihood that general election races everywhere will actually offer a choice will increase dramatically.

If Risk wins her primary it is certain that there will be no ambiguity in her cause, and if you doubt that, you haven’t heard the lady speak.