GREENFIELD — Two Hancock County residents have their eyes on a seat in Congress.

State Sen. Mike Crider, R-Greenfield, and Army reservist Stephen MacKenzie of Fortville are among four Republicans who have announced their candidacy to run in May’s primary election for U.S. House of Representatives. They join Jonathan Lamb of Muncie and Columbus resident Greg Pence, whose younger brother, Vice President Mike Pence, held the seat for 12 years.

Rep. Luke Messer is vacating his 6th District seat in the U.S. House to run in next year’s spring Republican primary for U.S. Senate, a seat currently held by Democrat Joe Donnelly. The 6th District encompasses 19 counties, stretching from Delaware to Jefferson counties and including Hancock.

Since Messer announced his run for Senate, residents from across the district have announced campaigns in hopes of filling his seat. And more could establish campaigns before the February filing deadline.

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MacKenzie, formerly of Fishers, is currently building a home in Fortville after having lived for years just over the Hancock County border. Crider grew up in Shirley and is a lifelong county resident.

Hancock County Republican Party Chair Janice Silvey, whose been involved with local politics for more than 30 years, said it’s the first time in her memory two Hancock County residents have run for the same federal office.

MacKenzie’s campaign is revving up as he makes stops across the district, while Crider, who has been campaigning since August, turns his attention to his responsibilities in the state Legislature, which begins its 2018 session in January.

Crider first took public office in 2013, replacing former state Sen. Beverly Gard. He was elected to a second term, which expires in 2020, last year.

Before that, he spent 30 years working as a conservation officer at the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

MacKenzie, born and raised on the east coast, moved his family to Indiana about 18 years ago for a job opportunity. Nearly two decades later, he considers himself an adopted Hoosier.

MacKenzie has never held a political office but said he’s been involved in various campaigns in local, state and federal races.

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Samm Quinn is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3275 or