Newcomer to politics, Indiana now GOP nominee

Posted at 7:47 PM, May 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-04 19:47:54-04

INDIANAPOLIS -- Newcomer to Indiana and to politics is now preparing for the general election in November after edging out a crowded field of opponents in the Republican primary for the 9th Congressional District.

PRIMARY RECAP | Outsiders win big in critical Indiana primary | Full Indiana primary election results

Trey Hollingsworth has only been registered to vote in Indiana since September. He has poured more than $1.3 million into his own campaign so far, with his father contributing a few hundred thousand dollars more.

Despite his newcomer status, though, he beat a field of recognizable names, including Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller.

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In television ads that have blanketed the airwaves for more than three months, Hollingsworth labels himself a political outsider and a conservative.

"My priorities will be your priorities," Hollingsworth says in one ad.

The candidate's pitch proved successful with voters. University of Indianapolis Political Science Professor Dr. Laura Merrifield-Albright points to what she calls an "incredible" number of TV ads.

"That's important for voters," Merrifield-Albright said. "They get name recognition, they see his face, they learn about his values. And when you didn't see that for the other candidates, it's going to have an impact where they don't get that from them."

The 32-year-old businessman beat four opponents. Along with Zoeller, State Senators Erin Houchin and Brent Waltz ran for the seat, along with manufacturing executive Robert Hall.

Hollingsworth won the race with 34 percent of the vote.

His campaign wouldn't make him available for an interview Wednesday, but he did tweet the following message to supporters last night: "The path to victory is paved with hard work, conservative principles and a united Republican Party."

Hollingsworth will face IU Professor Shelli Yoder, who won the Democratic Primary by a wide margin.

"I think voters are hungry for someone who's going to bring those Hoosier values to Washington," Yoder said. "That is somebody who's going to look to common sense to solve some of our most difficult problems."

Hollingsworth's opponents have criticized him for trying to buy a seat in Congress. But, in order to run in Indiana, candidates only need to meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 25 years old
  • Have been a citizen of the U.S. for seven years
  • Live in the state they're chosen to represent

The winner of the race between Hollingsworth and Yoder will fill the seat being vacated by Rep. Todd Young, who will face Democrat Baron Hill in November in a bid to fill Sen. Dan Coats' seat.