Work on the 2023 Farm Bill will begin in earnest with new Congress
BY STEVE HOWELL, Senior Director of Industry Affairs
Republicans won control of the U.S. House of Representatives by a slim margin and will lead the
chamber when the 118th Congress convenes in January 2023. Although the Republicans will take over leadership, the slim majority and the Democrats control of the Senate, will limit the sway the GOP will have on policy initiatives.
We do know the 2018 Farm Bill expires in 2023, so work on a new bill will begin in earnest. Rep. G.T. Thompson (R-Pa.) is likely the Republicans’ choice to lead the House Agriculture Committee. Thompson said his priority will be to pass a Farm Bill on time in 2023.
With the Democrats maintaining a majority in the U.S. Senate, Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) will continue to hold the reins of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry.
Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) and Rep. Jim Baird (R-Ind.) will be the biggest influencers for Indiana corn and soybean farmers in the development of the 2023 Farm Bill. Braun will continue his membership on the Senate Ag Committee and serve as the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Food, Nutrition, Specialty Crops, Organics and Research.
With the Republicans taking the majority in the House, Baird will likely move up to chair the Subcommittee on
Biotechnology, Horticulture and Research.
In other statewide elections, U.S. Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) was re-elected despite a spirited challenge from Democratic Hammond, Ind., Mayor Tom McDermott.
The Indiana congressional delegation will remain with seven Republicans and two Democrats. The winners include:
- Dist. 1 – incumbent Rep. Frank Mrvan (D)
- Dist. 2 – Rep. Rudy Yakym (R)
- Dist. 3 – incumbent Rep. Jim Banks (R)
- Dist. 4 – incumbent Rep. Jim Baird (R)
- Dist. 5 – incumbent Rep. Victoria Spartz (R)
- Dist. 6 – incumbent Rep. Greg Pence (R)
- Dist. 7 – incumbent Rep. Andre Carson (D)
- Dist. 8 – incumbent Rep. Larry Bucshon (R)
- Dist. 9 – Rep. Erin Houchin (R)
In related news, Rep. Yakym is a new member elected in both a special election to finish the remaining term of late Rep. Jackie Walorski and also for a full, two-year term. Rep. Banks is expected to announce a bid for House Majority Whip. Rep. Spartz is reportedly considering a run for the U.S. Senate in 2024. Rep. Houchin is a new member elected to replace retiring Rep. Trey Hollingsworth.
The most competitive congressional race was in Dist. 1, which is historically a Democratic stronghold. Many national pundits rated the race a toss-up and national fundraising money was pouring into the district along with high-profile visits by former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R), House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Republican Whip Steve Scalise for GOP challenger Jennifer Ruth-Green. House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D), among others, for Rep. Mrvan. In the end, Rep. Mrvan pulled away from Ruth-Green 53 to 47 percent.
Indiana GOP keeps super-majority
Headed into the first election after redistricting, polling predictions showed many competitive races across the state. Inflation, the economy, education, public safety and abortion were a few of the top issues for voters, and the two major political parties were jockeying over how these issues would play into their success on Election Day.
The Republican statewide ticket was ultimately successful on election night. Republicans will also continue to enjoy a legislative supermajority in both the Indiana House and the Indiana Senate.
One of the most heated statewide races was for the office of Secretary of State. Dogged by several controversies
during the campaign, Republican candidate Diego Morales trailed the rest of the statewide Republican ticket by several points. However, he still captured 54 percent of the vote on election night. Incumbent Republican Auditor Tera Klutz and Republican Treasurer candidate Daniel Elliott brought in 60 and 61 percent of the vote, respectively.
Morales and Klutz faced Democratic and Libertarian opponents, but Elliott faced only a Democratic challenger. In the Secretary of State race, Democrat Destiny Wells captured 40 percent of the vote while the Libertarian Jeffrey Maurer came in at 6 percent.
Democrats gain one seat in House
Democrats pick up one seat in the House, but Republicans maintain a 70-29 super-majority.
In a hotly contested race, GOP candidate Kyle Pierce (R-Anderson) defeated incumbent Rep. Terri Austin (D-Anderson) by about 300 votes. This was a rematch from 2020 in a district made more competitive following redistricting.
Democrats picked up two open seats. Dr. Victoria Garcia Wilburn (D-Indianapolis) defeated Fred Glynn (R-Carmel) in Dist. 32 by a margin of 232 votes. Already a 50/50 district based on 2020 results, Glynn’s campaign for the general election was suspended for several weeks because of an extended recount following the primary.
Also, Kyle Miller (D-Fort Wayne) defeated Davyd Jones (R-Fort Wayne) in Dist. 82.
No incumbent Republican representatives were defeated. The House Republicans will see many new faces following this election due to retirements and primary losses.
Kendell Culp (R-Rensselaer), Robb Greene (R-Shelbyville), Lindsay Patterson (R-Brookville), Craig Haggard (R-Mooresville) and Cory Criswell (R-New Castle) were all elected in unopposed open seats.
Speaker Todd Huston (R-Fishers) was re-elected to lead the House Republican caucus. The House Democrats announced Rep. Phil GiaQuinta (D-Fort Wayne) was re-elected to serve as the Democratic Leader. Rep. Cherrish Pryor (D-Indianapolis) and Rep. Carey Hamilton (D-Indianapolis) will serve as Minority Floor Leader and Minority Caucus Chair, respectively.
Senate Republicans widen majority
Republicans added an extra seat in the Indiana Senate, going from a 39-11 advantage to 40-10. GOP candidate Dan
Dernulc (R-Highland) defeated recently caucused Sen. Michael Griffin (D-Highland) by a 52 to 48 percent vote.
One of the most expensive races in the state, and one that Democrats were eyeing as a potential pickup opportunity, was the race between Sen. Kyle Walker (R-Lawrence) and Fishers Councilwoman Jocelyn Vare (D-Fishers). Walker significantly outraised Vare and was able to win with 56 percent of the vote.
No Republican incumbents were defeated. Republicans and Democrats traded a couple of open seats. Republican
Scott Alexander of Muncie defeated former state Rep. Melanie Wright (D-Yorktown) in a seat formerly held by the retiring Sen. Tim Lanane (D-Anderson). Democratic candidate Andrea Hunley defeated Evan Shearin (R Indianapolis) in a new Indianapolis district that, before redistricting, was held by a Republican in southern Indiana.
Senate Republicans announced their leadership team. Caucus members voted to re-elect Sen. Rod Bray (R-Martinsville) as President Pro Tempore. Sen. Chris Garten (R-Charlestown) and Sen. Travis Holdman (R-Markle) will continue in their roles as Majority Floor Leader and Majority Caucus Chairman.