Indiana's 8th congressional district

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Indiana's 8th congressional district
Indiana's 8th congressional district – since January 3, 2023.
Representative
  Larry Bucshon
REvansville
Area7,041.64 sq mi (18,237.8 km2)
Distribution
  • 58.10% urban
  • 41.90% rural
Population (2022)752,244
Median household
income
$61,601[1]
Ethnicity
Cook PVIR+19[2]

Indiana's 8th congressional district is a congressional district in the U.S. state of Indiana. Based in southwest and west central Indiana, the district is anchored in Evansville and also includes Jasper, Princeton, Terre Haute, Vincennes, and Washington.

Previously referred to as "The Bloody Eighth" at the local (and sometimes national) levels (see below for explanation), it was formerly a notorious swing district. However, due to a political realignment, it has in recent elections become a safe Republican district. With a Cook Partisan Voting Index rating of R+19, it is one of the most Republican districts in Indiana.[2]

Election results from presidential races

Year Office Results
2000 President George W. Bush 57% – Al Gore 42%
2004 President George W. Bush 62% – John Kerry 38%
2008 President John McCain 50.6% – Barack Obama 48.1%
2012 President Mitt Romney 58.4% – Barack Obama 39.6%
2016 President Donald Trump 64.6% – Hillary Clinton 30.9%
2020 President Donald Trump 65.1% – Joe Biden 33.1%

Composition

# County Seat Population
11 Clay Brazil 26,379
13 Crawford English 10,536
14 Daviess Washington] 33,418
19 Dubois Jasper 43,362
23 Fountain Covington 16,574
26 Gibson Princeton 32,993
28 Greene Bloomfield 31,006
42 Knox Vincennes 35,789
51 Martin Shoals 9,803
59 Orange Paoli 19,623
60 Owen Spencer 21,482
61 Parke Rockville 16,369
62 Perry Tell City 19,183
63 Pike Petersburg 12,168
65 Posey Mt. Vernon 25,063
74 Spencer Rockport 19,967
77 Sullivan Sullivan 20,670
82 Vanderburgh Evansville 179,744
83 Vermillion Newport 15,451
84 Vigo Terre Haute 106,006
87 Warrick Boonville 65,185

As of 2023, Indiana's 8th congressional district is located in southwest and west central Indiana. It includes Clay, Crawford, Daviess, Dubois, Gibson, Greene, Knox, Martin, Orange, Owen, Parke, Perry, Pike, Posey, Spencer, Sullivan, Vanderburgh, Vermillion, Vigo, and Warrick Counties, and half of Fountain.

Fountain County is split between this district and the 4th district. They are partitioned on the western border by Indiana State Rt 32, East Prairie Chapel Rd, and South New Liberty Rd, and on the southeastern border by North Sandhill Rd, Indiana West 260N, North Portland Arch Rd, West County Home Rd, and Indiana West 450N. The 8th district takes in the 5 townships of Fulton, Jackson, Millcreek, Van Buren, and Wabash, as well as most of the township of Troy and part of the township of Cain.

Cities of 10,000 or more people

2,500 – 10,000 people

History

Based in Evansville, the 8th congressional district was widened when Indiana lost a seat after the 2000 U.S. census to include much of the former 5th and 7th congressional districts. At that time, Bloomington (the home of former U.S. Representative Frank McCloskey) was moved into the 9th congressional district, while the 8th congressional district was extended northward to include much of the former 7th congressional district in west-central Indiana, including Terre Haute. As a result of this expansion, the district is the largest in area in Indiana with all or part of 18 counties.

The district has been nicknamed "The Bloody Eighth" because of a series of hard-fought campaigns and political reversals. Unlike most other districts in the state, which tend to give their representatives long tenures in Washington, the 8th congressional district has a reputation for frequently ousting incumbents from both parties.[3] Since 1983, no one has held the seat or its predecessors for longer than 12 years. Voters in the district ousted six incumbents from 1966 to 1982. The election in 1984 was so close that the House of Representatives itself determined which of two candidates to seat, accepting the recommendation of the Democratic-controlled House task force sent to Indiana to count the ballots. Democratic incumbent Frank McCloskey ultimately won by a margin of four votes out of 233,000 cast.[4] After that, McCloskey was reelected four more times before losing to Republican John Hostettler in 1994, amid the Republican Revolution. Hostettler represented the district for six terms before being defeated in a landslide by moderate Democrat Brad Ellsworth in 2006. It was the first district picked up by the Democrats that year, and was one of thirty nationwide that they gained while regaining control of the House.[5] Ellsworth ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate in 2010 and was succeeded by Republican Larry Bucshon in the same election cycle and has since become the first representative of the district to surpass six terms. Although Southern Indiana is ancestrally Democratic, the Democrats in this area are nowhere near as liberal as their counterparts in the rest of the state. Historically, it had a character similar to Yellow Dog Democrat districts in neighboring Kentucky. The district also has a strong tint of social conservatism.

In 2000, a New York Times reporter said of the district: "With a populist streak and a conservative bent, this district does not cotton to country club Republicans or to social-engineering liberals," and also said, "More than 95 percent white and about 41 percent rural, the region shares much of the flavor of the Bible Belt."[6]

In 2013, the district shifted and was pushed southward toward Evansville, losing Fountain and Warren Counties, and gaining Dubois, Perry, and Spencer Counties, and a portion of Crawford County, uniting southwestern Indiana under one district.

In 2023, the district regained some its former territory, pushing back into Fountain County, but also gained the remainder of Crawford County and the entirety of Orange County from the 9th District.

List of members representing the district

Representative Party Years Cong
ress
Electoral history
District created March 4, 1843

John Pettit
(Lafayette)
Democratic March 4, 1843 –
March 3, 1849
28th
29th
30th
Elected in 1843.
Re-elected in 1845.
Re-elected in 1847.
Lost renomination.

Joseph E. McDonald
(Crawfordsville)
Democratic March 4, 1849 –
March 3, 1851
31st Elected in 1849.
Retired.
Daniel Mace
(Lafayette)
Democratic March 4, 1851 –
March 3, 1855
32nd
33rd
34th
Elected in 1851.
Re-elected in 1852.
Re-elected in 1854.
Retired.
People's March 4, 1855 –
March 3, 1857

James Wilson
(Crawfordsville)
Republican March 4, 1857 –
March 3, 1861
35th
36th
Elected in 1856.
Re-elected in 1858.
Retired.

Albert S. White
(Stockwell)
Republican March 4, 1861 –
March 3, 1863
37th Elected in 1860.
Retired.

Godlove S. Orth
(Lafayette)
Republican March 4, 1863 –
March 3, 1869
38th
39th
40th
Elected in 1862.
Re-elected in 1864.
Re-elected in 1866.
Redistricted to the 7th district.

James N. Tyner
(Peru)
Republican March 4, 1869 –
March 3, 1875
41st
42nd
43rd
Elected to the term left vacant by the resignation of Representative-elect Daniel D. Pratt.
Re-elected in 1870.
Re-elected in 1872.
Lost renomination.

Morton C. Hunter
(Bloomington)
Republican March 4, 1875 –
March 3, 1879
44th
45th
Redistricted from the 6th district and re-elected in 1874.
Re-elected in 1876.
Lost re-election.

Abraham J. Hostetler
(Bedford)
Democratic March 4, 1879 –
March 3, 1881
46th Elected in 1878.
Retired.

Robert B. F. Peirce
(Crawfordsville)
Republican March 4, 1881 –
March 3, 1883
47th Elected in 1880.
Lost re-election.

John E. Lamb
(Terre Haute)
Democratic March 4, 1883 –
March 3, 1885
48th Elected in 1882.
Lost re-election.

James T. Johnston
(Rockville)
Republican March 4, 1885 –
March 3, 1889
49th
50th
Elected in 1884.
Re-elected in 1886.
Lost re-election.

Elijah V. Brookshire
(Crawfordsville)
Democratic March 4, 1889 –
March 3, 1895
51st
52nd
53rd
Elected in 1888.
Re-elected in 1890.
Re-elected in 1892.
Lost re-election.

George W. Faris
(Terre Haute)
Republican March 4, 1895 –
March 3, 1897
54th Elected in 1894.
Redistricted to the 5th district.

Charles L. Henry
(Anderson)
Republican March 4, 1897 –
March 3, 1899
55th Redistricted from the 7th district and re-elected in 1896.
Retired.

George W. Cromer
(Muncie)
Republican March 4, 1899 –
March 3, 1907
56th
57th
58th
59th
Elected in 1898.
Re-elected in 1900.
Re-elected in 1902.
Re-elected in 1904.
Lost re-election.

John A. M. Adair
(Portland)
Democratic March 4, 1907 –
March 3, 1917
60th
61st
62nd
63rd
64th
Elected in 1906.
Re-elected in 1908.
Re-elected in 1910.
Re-elected in 1912.
Re-elected in 1914.
Retired to run for Governor of Indiana.

Albert H. Vestal
(Anderson)
Republican March 4, 1917 –
April 1, 1932
65th
66th
67th
68th
69th
70th
71st
72nd
Elected in 1916.
Re-elected in 1918.
Re-elected in 1920.
Re-elected in 1922.
Re-elected in 1924.
Re-elected in 1926.
Re-elected in 1928.
Re-elected in 1930.
Died.
Vacant April 1, 1932 –
March 3, 1933
72nd
John W. Boehne Jr.
(Evansville)
Democratic March 4, 1933 –
January 3, 1943
73rd
74th
75th
76th
77th
Redistricted from the 1st district and re-elected in 1932.
Re-elected in 1934.
Re-elected in 1936.
Re-elected in 1938.
Re-elected in 1940.
Lost re-election.

Charles M. La Follette
(Evansville)
Republican January 3, 1943 –
January 3, 1947
78th
79th
Elected in 1942.
Re-elected in 1944.
Retired to run for U.S. Senator.
E. A. Mitchell
(Evansville)
Republican January 3, 1947 –
January 3, 1949
80th Elected in 1946.
Lost re-election.

Winfield K. Denton
(Evansville)
Democratic January 3, 1949 –
January 3, 1953
81st
82nd
Elected in 1948.
Re-elected in 1950.
Lost re-election.

D. Bailey Merrill
(Evansville)
Republican January 3, 1953 –
January 3, 1955
83rd Elected in 1952.
Lost re-election.

Winfield K. Denton
(Evansville)
Democratic January 3, 1955 –
December 30, 1966
84th
85th
86th
87th
88th
89th
Elected in 1954.
Re-elected in 1956.
Re-elected in 1958.
Re-elected in 1960.
Re-elected in 1962.
Re-elected in 1964.
Lost re-election and resigned early.
Vacant December 30, 1966 –
January 3, 1967
89th

Roger H. Zion
(Evansville)
Republican January 3, 1967 –
January 3, 1975
90th
91st
92nd
93rd
Elected in 1966.
Re-elected in 1968.
Re-elected in 1970.
Re-elected in 1972.
Lost re-election.

Philip H. Hayes
(Evansville)
Democratic January 3, 1975 –
January 3, 1977
94th Elected in 1974.
Retired to run for U.S. Senator.

David L. Cornwell
(Paoli)
Democratic January 3, 1977 –
January 3, 1979
95th Elected in 1976.
Lost re-election.

H. Joel Deckard
(Evansville)
Republican January 3, 1979 –
January 3, 1983
96th
97th
Elected in 1978.
Re-elected in 1980.
Lost re-election.

Frank McCloskey
(Bloomington)
Democratic January 3, 1983 –
January 3, 1985
98th Elected in 1982.
Seat left vacant while election contest resolved.
Vacant January 3, 1985 –
May 1, 1985
99th Election contested and the House of Representatives refused to seat anyone.

Frank McCloskey
(Smithville)
Democratic May 1, 1985 –
January 3, 1995
99th
100th
101st
102nd
103rd
Re-elected in 1985.
Re-elected in 1986.
Re-elected in 1988.
Re-elected in 1990.
Re-elected in 1992
Lost re-election.

John Hostettler
(Blairsville)
Republican January 3, 1995 –
January 3, 2007
104th
105th
106th
107th
108th
109th
Elected in 1994.
Re-elected in 1996.
Re-elected in 1998.
Re-elected in 2000.
Re-elected in 2002.
Re-elected in 2004.
Lost re-election.

Brad Ellsworth
(Evansville)
Democratic January 3, 2007 –
January 3, 2011
110th
111th
Elected in 2006.
Re-elected in 2008.
Retired to run for U.S. Senator.

Larry Bucshon
(Evansville)
Republican January 3, 2011 –
present
112th
113th
114th
115th
116th
117th
118th
Elected in 2010.
Re-elected in 2012.
Re-elected in 2014.
Re-elected in 2016.
Re-elected in 2018.
Re-elected in 2020.
Re-elected in 2022.

Retiring at end of term.

Election results

2002

Indiana's 8th Congressional District Election (2002)
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican John Hostettler* 98,952 51.31
Democratic Bryan Hartke 88,763 46.02
Libertarian Pam Williams 5,150 2.67
Total votes 192,865 100.00
Turnout {{{votes}}}
Republican hold

2004

Indiana's 8th Congressional District Election (2004)
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican John Hostettler* 145,576 53.37
Democratic Jon Jennings 121,522 44.55
Libertarian Mark Garvin 5,680 2.08
Total votes 272,778 100.00
Turnout {{{votes}}}
Republican hold

2006

Indiana's 8th Congressional District Election (2006)
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Brad Ellsworth 131,019 61.02
Republican John Hostettler* 83,704 38.98
Total votes 214,723 100.00
Turnout {{{votes}}}
Democratic gain from Republican

2008

Indiana's 8th Congressional District Election (2008)
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Brad Ellsworth* 189,109 64.75
Republican Greg Goode 102,940 35.25
Total votes 292,049 100.00
Turnout {{{votes}}}
Democratic hold

2010

Indiana's 8th Congressional District Election (2010)
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Larry Bucshon 117,259 57.55
Democratic Trent Van Haaften 76,265 37.43
Libertarian John Cunningham 10,240 5.03
Total votes 203,764 100.00
Turnout {{{votes}}}
Republican gain from Democratic

2012

Indiana's 8th Congressional District Election (2012)
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Larry Bucshon* 151,533 53.36
Democratic Dave Crooks 122,325 43.07
Libertarian Bart Gadau 10,134 3.57
Total votes 283,992 100.00
Turnout {{{votes}}}
Republican hold

2014

Indiana's 8th Congressional District election, 2014
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Larry Bucshon (Incumbent) 103,344 60.32
Democratic Tom Spangler 61,384 35.83
Libertarian Andrew Horning 6,587 3.84
Total votes 171,315 100
Republican hold

2016

Indiana's 8th Congressional District election, 2016
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Larry Bucshon (Incumbent) 187,702 63.69
Democratic Ronald L. Drake 93,356 31.68
Libertarian Andrew Horning 13,655 4.63
Total votes 294,713 100
Republican hold

2018

Indiana's 8th Congressional District Election, 2018
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Larry Bucshon (Incumbent) 157,396 64.4
Democratic William Tanoos 86,895 35.6
Total votes 244,291 100
Republican hold

2020

Indiana's 8th congressional district, 2020[7]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Larry Bucshon (incumbent) 214,643 66.9
Democratic Thomasina Marsili 95,691 29.8
Libertarian James D. Rodenberger 10,283 3.2
Total votes 320,617 100.0
Republican hold

Historical district boundaries

2003 – 2013
2013 – 2023

See also

References

  1. ^ "Congressional District 8, IN – Profile data". Census Reporter. Retrieved October 5, 2023.
  2. ^ a b "2022 Cook PVI: District Map and List". Cook Political Report. Retrieved January 10, 2023.
  3. ^ Brush, Silla (January 8, 2006). "And They're Off And Running!". U.S. News & World Report. Archived from the original on April 6, 2012. Retrieved October 28, 2019.
  4. ^ Risen, James (October 29, 1986). "Reagan to Join Bloody House Battle : Indiana District Race, Won by 4 Votes in '84, Turns Into Rematch". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on November 22, 2020. Retrieved December 6, 2020.
  5. ^ "Democrats pick up key House seat in Indiana". CNN.com. Retrieved January 7, 2007.
  6. ^ Dirk Johnson, "The 2000 Campaign: An Indiana Race; Conservatives Face Off in Quirky Populist District", New York Times, October 10, 2000
  7. ^ "Indiana Election Results November 3, 2020". Indiana Election Division. Retrieved November 26, 2020.