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Ex-US Rep. Stutzman eyes Indiana congressional comeback

U.S. Rep. Marlin Stutzman, an Indiana Republican, on Nov. 15, 2016, posted a photo on Facebook as he packed up in his Washington, D.C., office. (Provided Photo/Marlin Stutzman on Facebook)

AUBURN, Ind. (AP) — Former U.S. Rep. Marlin Stutzman has launched a political comeback bid in trying to regain the northeastern Indiana congressional seat he held until a failed 2016 campaign for the U.S. Senate.

Stutzman announced his campaign Tuesday for the heavily Republican 3rd District, which he represented in Congress for six years before seeking the GOP Senate nomination. The seat has since been held by Rep. Jim Banks, who is seeking a Senate seat in next year’s election that Republican Sen. Mike Braun is giving up as he runs for governor.

Stutzman, 46, struck a hard-right stance with his announcement, saying in a statement that he was “fed up” and “tired of the federal government’s constant attack on hardworking, God-fearing Americans.”

“I will be unapologetic and relentless on the critical issues our nation is facing, including: finishing the border wall, being proactive in protecting every life, born and preborn, safeguarding parental rights against the encroachment of a socialist, statist agenda in our schools, standing up to communist China, and being a strong voice against the corporate media and the big technology platforms which continue to try to silence conservatives,” Stutzman said.

Republicans could have a crowded field for the May 2024 primary, with other candidates already in the race including former Allen County Judge Wendy Davis and state Sen. Andy Zay, of Huntington.

Stutzman was a member of the hard-right House Freedom Caucus during his time in Congress. He lost the 2016 Senate race badly to current Republican Sen. Todd Young amid ethics concerns from an Associated Press investigation into the spending of campaign money on hotels, meals and at least one family trip.

His new congressional campaign comes after his wife, Christy Stutzman, failed in her bid last year for the Republican nomination in northern Indiana’s 2nd District after GOP Rep. Jackie Walorski died in a highway crash. Christy Stutzman resigned her Indiana House seat in late 2020 just weeks after winning election to a second term, saying she needed to devote more time to her family’s business after they and business partners bought the tourist attraction formerly known as Amish Acres in Nappanee.