Pulaski democrats host congressional candidates for Dyngus Day
WINAMAC, Ind. - In a county that typically swings Republican, the Pulaski County Democrats are working to push one of their district's congressional candidates to the Capitol, thereby unseating the Republican incumbent, Congresswoman Jackie Walorski.
There have been close races, though.
In 2012, Senator Joe Donnelly just missed winning the general election in the county by 400 votes.
He stopped by the Dyngus Day celebration at the Eagles Club in Winamac Monday to encourage people to vote.
“I have a chance to see people that I’ve known for years and years and to make sure that everybody knows how much we care about this community. How important it is to the people of our state and our country, and I want to make sure that we’re listening and hearing everything that’s going on here as well," said Senator Donnelly.
Ahead of the upcoming May primary, Democratic congressional candidates came out to listen to constituents in an effort to earn their votes.
“I got to tell you, going into this congressional primary, this is the most energy I have ever seen in the second district," said Democratic Chairwoman for Indiana's 2nd District, Jodi Saville.
"[There's] kind of a resurgence of hope and energy from the Democrats," said Pulaski County Election Board Representative, Laura Bailey.
They're hoping to harness that energy to push them through the uphill battle to turn typically red Pulaski County blue.
“In these sort of counties, these sort of races, I think people like to vote for the person as much as they do the issues," said the Chair for the Pulaski County Democrats, Doug Denton.
That's likely what the three Democratic congressional candidates, Pat Hackett, Mel Hall, and Yatish Joshi are hoping for since incumbent Republican Congresswoman Jackie Walorski snagged more than 70% of the votes cast for U.S. Representative in Pulaski County in 2016.
“Traditionally the democrats have stayed home, but we see a lot of people coming out and realizing what not getting involved has gotten us. And they still have these concerns and they’ve seen what’s going on around the country in traditionally republican areas that their votes do count," said Bailey.
Pulaski County native and local business owner, David Schambers, says it seems the younger generation is starting to realize that in the county.
“I don’t see a lot, but I do feel like it’s starting to be on the uprise, which is great," said Schambers.
At the end of the day, he says he's just hoping for some change.
The fact-checking site Ballotpedia says voter turnout in Indiana in the 2014 General Election was only 28%.
However, the Election Board Rep. for the county says Pulaski saw a turnout of 46%.
The Democrats are hoping to build on that momentum in the primaries.