Indiana GOP strengthens supermajority at Statehouse

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INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Republicans have even more seats at the statehouse after this election, though Democrats did flip a couple of seats this week.

Lawmakers have a lot on their plate come January. It’s a budget and redistricting year. Plus, we are in the middle of a pandemic.

Though Republicans have a supermajority, both parties are going to need to work together to find solutions.

“We already started with supermajorities, and then we net four House seats and go down one Senate seat. I mean, that’s just a resounding victory for the Indiana Republican party,” said Indiana GOP Chair Kyle Hupfer.

He said the GOP’s hard work paid off this election.

“I think it’s a reflection of the strength of leadership in the Republican party over the last 16-plus years,” said Hupfer.

Despite the celebration, the GOP did lose two seats.

Democrats won House District 89 and Senate District 30, seats held by Marion County Republican Party Chairwoman Cindy Kirchkofer and State Sen. John Ruckleshaus, respectively.

“They are both two tough people for us to lose in those respective caucuses,” said Hupfer.

Democratic Party Chair John Zody sent the following statement:

“Fady Qaddoura and Mitch Gore’s wins are proof positive that when we invest in building the bench, we win. Hoosier Democrats’ path forward is through the suburbs and Senator-elect Qaddoura’s historic win – in the face of an onslaught of negative campaigning — shows the momentum is undeniable there.”

Hupfer says they knew Marion County would be tough ground, but he doesn’t agree with the suburb shift claim.

“That was a seat that was razor thin before,” said Hupfer. “I think the opposition party and the media to some degree continues to try to write a narrative that there’s this huge shift in voters, especially in the suburbs, some blue wave coming, and it’s just not accurate.”

State Sen. Elect Fady Qaddoura said many people told him it was a long shot.

“We were told that from the beginning, you know, I was told you have a unique name, you are an immigrant, it happens that you are a muslim, and this is Indiana, and I refused to believe that in Indiana, in our state, that you can’t have a shot to serve your community if you have the heart to serve just because who you are,” said Qaddoura. “In Indiana, it is possible that if you feel for awhile that you did not belong, if you felt at any point in time that you were not loved or respected or welcomed or embraced, I wanted to send a message, that’s not who we are.”

Hupfer said despite the supermajority, most bills in Indiana have the support of both parties.

“They are voted on by 90-plus percent of the collective of the legislature, so, I think Republicans have consistently done a good job of taking input and including Democrats in the legislative process. I think that will continue, and you’ll still see the vast majority of bills be bipartisan,” said Hupfer.

“I did not run to be the State Senator of the Democrats in the state of Indiana,” explained Qaddoura. “When you are hungry, when you can’t afford healthcare, when you can’t pay your mortgage or your rent, these are not Republican or Democrat issues. These are issues that impact our families.”

Unless COVID-19 changes anything, lawmakers are scheduled to be back at the Statehouse for Organization Day later this month.

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(This story was originally published on Nov. 5, 2020)

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