Ellsworth, Donnelly, Hill Take U.S. House Seats From GOP

Democrats on Tuesday gained all three of the Republican-held Indiana congressional seats they were targeting, with Baron Hill, Brad Ellsworth and Joe Donnelly all beating incumbents.

The three Indiana seats were among more than 20 that Democrats wrested from Republicans nationwide on Tuesday. The Democrats needed a net gain of only 15 to gain control of the House.

Hill, who two years ago lost southern Indiana's 9th District seat by about 1,4000 votes to Mike Sodrel, beat Sodrel in Tuesday's rematch. Hill had 49 percent of the vote with 99 percent of precincts reporting, and Sodrel had 46 percent.

"If you believe that this country needs to move in a different direction, and you want change, and you want an independent voice for southern Indiana, you've got him tonight," Hill told supporters in a victory speech Tuesday night.

Ellsworth, the Vanderburgh County sheriff, defeated U.S. Rep. John Hostettler in the 8th District. Ellsworth had 61 percent of the votes with all precincts reporting. Hostettler, a staunch conservative seeking a seventh term, had 39 percent.

In northern Indiana's 2nd District, Donnelly had 54 percent of the vote with all precincts reporting, compared with 46 percent for U.S. Rep. Chris Chocola.

Democrats targeted all three districts, hoping to capitalize on Washington scandals, the war in Iraq, President George W. Bush's low approval ratings and dissatisfaction with Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels.

Indiana's other congressional incumbents won re-election Tuesday. They were: Peter Visclosky, D-1st District; Mark Souder, R-3rd District; Steve Buyer, R-4th District; Dan Burton, R-5th District; and Mike Pence, R-6th District; and Julia Carson, D-7th District.

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