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Pat Hackett Could Become Indiana's First Out Member of Congress

Pat Hackett

This fall, Indiana could elect its first out LGBTQ+ member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Out candidate Pat Hackett won Tuesday’s Democratic primary in the Second Congressional District, which is located in northern Indiana and includes the city of South Bend, home to former mayor and onetime presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg.

Hackett, an attorney and law professor, easily beat Ellen Marks, also an attorney, in the primary; as of Wednesday morning, Hackett had 77 percent of the vote, Marks 23 percent. In the November general election, Hackett will face anti-LGBTQ+ Republican incumbent Jackie Walorksi, who is in her fourth term.

Walorski has received an unbroken string of zeroes on the Human Rights Campaign’s Congressional Scorecard, which rates members on their positions on LGBTQ+ issues. She voted against providing benefits to same-sex spouses of military veterans and supported efforts to classify abortions as “nonessential” during the pandemic, according to the LGBTQ Victory Fund, which has endorsed Hackett.

“Pat’s victory sets up a general election battle between a solutions-oriented candidate aiming to unite her district in a time of crisis and an opponent who uses the politics of bigotry to further divide Americans,” said a statement released by Victory Fund President and CEO Annise Parker. “Even as the pandemic ravaged Indiana and the country, Walorski failed to put aside partisan politics and instead waged war against a woman’s right to choose. Voters now have an opportunity to reject a divisive and destructive politician and instead elect a leader who will represent all her constituents. Pat will make history in becoming the first openly LGBTQ member of Congress from Indiana if elected in November. More importantly, she will head to Capitol Hill determined to focus on the real and pressing issues that affect the daily lives of Americans.”

Ballotpedia, which monitors political races across the nation, rates the Second District as solidly Republican. But before Walorski, it elected Democrat Joe Donnelly to the House. Donnelly vacated the seat to become a U.S. senator.

“I will represent all the people of this district — Democrats, Republicans, independents — all of us, in our rich diversity,” Hackett, who lives in South Bend with her spouse, Rita, said in her victory statement, according to South Bend’s ABC affiliate. “Because that’s what makes our district, our state of Indiana and indeed our nation so great is when we can come together from a perspective of principle and shared values.”

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