TERRE HAUTE —
Indiana Congressman Larry Bucshon, a Republican, held off a tough election challenge to retain his 8th District U.S. House seat.
With 88 percent of the votes counted late Tuesday, Bucshon, 50, a first-term representative from Newburgh, had received 130,415 votes, topping Democrat Dave Crooks, 48, of Washington, who had received 108,529. Libertarian candidate Bart Gadau, 36, was a distant third with 8,907 votes, about 4 percent of the vote.
Crooks conceded the race about 9:30 Tuesday night in a telephone call to Bucshon, the candidates said.
“It was a spirited campaign,” said Bucshon, speaking to the Tribune-Star from the conference center at the Casino Aztar in Evansville. “Dave called … we had a nice conversation. I’m just honored and privileged to be able to do this.”
Crooks, speaking from the Moose Lodge in Washington, said he had no regrets about his first congressional campaign.
“There’s really nothing I would do differently. We ran a really good race,” Crooks said in a telephone interview.
Bucshon is the first representative of Indiana’s 8th District to win a second term since former Democrat Rep. Brad Ellsworth, who chose not to run in 2010 to seek a U.S. Senate seat. Ellsworth lost that bid to Dan Coats, a Republican.
Looking to the future, Bucshon said Republicans will come back to the U.S. House with “a lot of momentum.” But, he added, he will work with anyone to help “move the country forward.”
“No matter who’s elected president, no matter who controls the Senate, the American people want us to find common ground and move this country forward. That’s what my goal will be.”
Crooks said he had no interest in seeking elective office again at this time. “I’m not a career politician, I’m a small businessman.” Crooks also said he believed Super PAC money made a difference in the final few weeks of the race.
The Bucshon-Crooks race was one of the closest-watched in the state; however, political forecasters, such as TheHill.com, gave Bucshon an edge in the 8th District.
Despite his loss, Crooks benefited from one of the best organized campaigns the 8th District has ever seen, he said in a Tribune-Star interview during the final weekend of the campaign. He campaigned right up until Tuesday afternoon.
Bucshon campaigned in Terre Haute on Election Day before heading to Vincennes and then Evansville, where he ended the night.
In his campaign, Bucshon has said he favors repealing “Obamacare,” wants to find ways to reduce federal spending, and favors more competition to reduce Medicare costs.
The 2012 race for Indiana’s 8th District was hard-fought, with each candidate raising hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at (812) 231-4232 or firstname.lastname@example.org.