Rep. Marlin Stutzman declares Senate bid
© greg nash
 
Conservative Rep. Marlin StutzmanMarlin Andrew StutzmanMcCarthy's GOP critics see opening after Benghazi blunder Rep. Marlin Stutzman declares Senate bid This week: Spending bills, VA reform, leadership races MORE (R-Ind.) entered the race for Indiana Senate on Saturday, joining a former chief of staff for retiring Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.) in the Republican primary. 
 
Stutzman, who began his political career in the Indiana state legislature, sought a Senate seat in 2010 but was defeated by Coats in the primary. 
 
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He went on to win a House seat following the resignation of former Rep. Mark Souder (R-Ind.) and was elected as part of the 2010 Tea Party wave. 
 
Stutzman’s entry into the Senate race will immediately produce tensions with former Coats staffer Eric Holcomb, who is considered a more business-friendly candidate for the Republican nomination. 
 
Democrats have predicted that a Tea Party candidate will push the field to the right, giving Dems a better chance in the final race. 
 
“We’re confident that no matter who runs on our side, it’s a close race,” Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spokesman Justin Barasky told Roll Call. “And they have the potential to have a messy primary and make things more difficult for themselves.”
 
Stutzman is known as a thorn in the side of House GOP leadership, a quality that endears him to conservative voters. He voted against Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) for speaker this year. 
 
Reps. Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Todd Rokita (R-Ind.) are also weighing Senate bids of their own.
 
- Updated at 2:10 p.m.