Early warning signs for GOP establishment in Indiana primary

Reps. Mark Souder (R-Ind.) and Dan Burton (R-Ind.) may win their respective primaries tonight, but the results won’t reassure establishment candidates.

Souder led car dealer Bob Thomas 47-35 with 50 percent of precincts reporting, while Burton led former state Rep. Luke Messer 36-29 with 27 percent of precincts reporting.

That two incumbents in one state can take less than 50 percent in their primaries has to be unsettling for incumbents everywhere. Neither Burton nor Souder are considered exceptionally strong candidates, but it is highly unusual for an incumbent to win with a plurality in a primary.

The other results looked similarly concerning for establishment candidates in the state.

One, former Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.), led state Sen. Marlin Stutzman (R-Ind.) 43-30 with 22 percent of precincts reporting. And a member of the National Republican Congressional Committee’s (NRCC) Young Guns program, Dr. Larry Bucshon, was tied with a Tea Party candidate in his primary in Senate candidate Rep. Brad Ellsworth’s (D-Ind.) district. Bucshon was taking just 29 percent of the vote with 31 percent of precincts in.

All of the establishment-favored candidates appear to be benefitting from disparate fields of candidates.

None of the races have been called as of yet.