Sixth district primary: Seven Republicans seek nomination for Pence seat

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Seven Republicans are seeking their party’s nomination in the May 7 primary for Indiana’s Sixth Congressional District.

The seat is open this year after three-term incumbent Rep. Greg Pence, R-Ind., decided against seeking reelection.

Candidates seeking the office are Jamison Carrier of Greenwood, Darin Childress of Richmond, Bill Frazier of Muncie, John Jacob of Indianapolis, Jeff Raatz of Richmond, Jefferson Shreve of Indianapolis, and Mike Speedy of Indianapolis. Childress did not provide a photo or agree to be photographed for this story.

The winner of this race will face Columbus Democrat Cinde Wirth in the fall election.

Because it is a primary, voters must select the Republican ballot or Democratic ballot. It is not possible to vote for candidates in both parties. Early in-person voting in Greenfield for the primary starts Tuesday at the Hancock County Courthouse at 9 E. Main St.

The 6th District includes part of Hancock County, as well as Fayette, Bartholomew, Henry, Johnson, Randolph, Rush, Shelby, Union and Wayne counties, and the southern townships of Indianapolis.

The three AIM Media Indiana newspapers covering the district — The Republic, Daily Journal and Daily Reporter — collaborated to interview the seven candidates for a four-part series covering key issues of interest this election season. The parts of the series will be shared over the coming week.

Here are their thoughts on why they decided to run, with some edited for length, clarity, grammar and repetition. Answers are provided in alphabetical order.

Q: Why are you running to represent the Sixth District?

Carrier: I’m running because we need to make a difference now. We can’t wait to make the changes that need to be made. My wife and I lost a son to fentanyl poisoning and that fuels our passion. It’s been two years April 15. Joe was his name and he didn’t want to die. He didn’t want the fentanyl, but it is something that is coming from China. It’s going into Mexico and it’s going across the border, and so the border is important. That’s one of the reasons I’m running. Another reason I’m running is because we’re spending at a rate that is not sustainable. We’re not going to pass the American Dream on to the next generation if we don’t make some changes now. … We have a spending problem in Washington, D.C. We’ve sent people there who are spending money like it’s Monopoly money and it’s not. It’s our future at stake. So, I believe we need to send business leaders to D.C. that will make the tough decisions.

Childress: To try to get the people’s voice or forgotten people’s voice of us … The government should go back to the way it’s supposed to be. The government works for the people, not the people for the government — like we are now. The government should get its nose out of a lot of people’s business. I want to be heard, and everything I express is for the people I’d be representing … So if I can get that out there, hopefully, the politicians will realize you need to get back to this — going down to the level of your people and talk to them, not ignore them and go to Washington and do what you want … It’s been like that for last probably 20 years now.

Frazier: I’ve got 34 trillion reasons why I’m running. (Thirty-four trillion dollars) is our national debt at the moment. We need to address that. The other concern is the open-border situation with Mexico. Those are two reasons why I’m running, plus I have grandchildren, and I have three great-grandchildren, so I want to leave them a better country than I’ve had.

Jacob: I’m a born-again Christian, and Jesus Christ is my Lord. He’s my savior, and I take my cues from him. … I do believe that he wants me to run. … I’m concerned about the direction of our country. … So to me, the left, the Democrats are pulling us down as a nation into a black abyss — into a dark hole. … Although I see the left is what’s doing that, I don’t ultimately lay the blame at their feet. I lay the blame at the feet of the Republican Party, politically. The vast majority of Republicans refuse to fight for the people and fight for what’s constitutionally right. I wholeheartedly believe in the Republican platform, I believe in our Constitution. But the vast majority of Republicans … just do the good ol’ boy system. They go along to get along. They’ll compromise to such a point that they’ll water something down in legislation many times to the point we get virtually nothing or something that’s incredibly weak.

Raatz: I’ve been in the Indiana General Assembly, this is my 10th year. I looked at this seat six years ago when Greg Pence got in the ring and that was — well there was no way a guy like me to go up against a Pence — especially since his brother was vice president or in the process of becoming vice president … Now the choice has become where we are today. Greg Pence, obviously, late in January, decided to take a pass; he was going to retire and get out. When the seat opened up … having watched it for a number of years and having many conversations about it, I decided this was a good time to jump in.

Shreve: The 6th District is my home. It’s where I was born and raised and where my wife Mary and l continue to call home. It’s where I learned the value of hard work and where I started and grew my business right out of college. Over the last three decades, I grew Storage Express into the largest self-storage company headquartered in Indiana. Today, we have 26 locations in the 6th and many more across the Midwest. I came to know the district long before running to represent it. We have serious challenges facing our country. We need conservatives who’ll work hard in Congress. The Biden administration is beholden to special interests of the left, unwilling to defend our southern border, our pocketbooks and our Hoosier values. I’ll draw upon my experience in business and my service in city/county government to get up and work hard every day for Hoosiers.

Speedy: I’m running because I love my country, and I’m deeply concerned about the direction that it is headed. I’m uniquely positioned, being a successful businessperson and someone with some legislative experience, that I can be the most effective at pushing back and changing the direction that our country is going.