(Young’s campaign website will be found here.)
By Maureen Groppe, Star Washington Bureau
Rep. Todd Young officially announced Sunday he’s seeking the GOP nomination to run for the Senate, promising “responsible conservative leadership” that he defines as less stridency and political pageantry, and more “getting things done.”
“I’m a pro-life, pro-gun Marine that wants to repeal and replace Obamacare,” Young said in an interview Sunday before announcing his campaign by video. “I think that’s going to be very appealing among Republicans.”
Young, whose district runs from the southern suburbs of Indianapolis to the Kentucky border, is the third major Republican candidate to enter the race to replace retiring GOP Sen. Dan Coats.
Rep. Marlin Stutzman, who represents northeastern Indiana, has more appeal to the tea party wing of the party. Eric Holcomb, former head of the state GOP, is expected to compete with Young for support from the business community and the GOP establishment.
Holcomb, who is close to former Gov. Mitch Daniels, has been tapping Daniels’ network for endorsements and fundraising. But two former state GOP chairmen — Al Hubbard and Jim Kittle — had urged Republicans to hold off on their commitments until Young decided whether to run.
Young’s announcement came days after reporting that he had raised more than $1 million in the past three months. He had $2 million in the bank at the end of June. Neither Stuzman nor Holcomb have released their latest fundraising reports, which have to be filed Wednesday.
A spokesman for the campaign arm for Senate Democrats called Young an “overly ambitious Washington politician” who has consistently voted for budgets that would hurt Medicare and Social Security.
“Congressman Young’s entrance into the race heightens an already messy and damaging primary for Indiana Republicans that will yield a badly damaged general election candidate come 2016,” said Justin Barasky, spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
The only Democrat in the race is former Rep. Baron Hill, whom Young defeated in 2010.
Young, in his first bid for elected office, won a competitive GOP primary before beating Hill in the nationally targeted race. Young said Sunday that race brought out his competitive appetite.
“Competition is a good thing, and ultimately it’s up to the electorate to decide who will be the strongest conservative candidate who can win the most votes in the general election,” Young said of the Senate primary battle.
Some of his own votes, however, are likely to be a problem for some conservative groups. Young, for example, was among a minority of Republicans who voted in 2013 to end the partial government shutdown and restore the government’s borrowing authority.
“One of the things I learned at the Naval Academy and the Marine Corps is we have to make tough decisions,” he said. “We can score political points. We can try to advance some important initiatives. But at some point, it takes sober-minded, responsible conservative leaders to identify when you’ve pushed as far as you can and to have the courage to go back and face the electorate and explain to them why you voted the way you did.”
After joining Congress in 2011, Young served first on the House Budget Committee, where he worked on a blueprint for reducing the deficit, including changing entitlement programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. Partly through relationship building and arguing that he had shown he could take on tough issues and votes, Young got a coveted seat on the House tax-writing committee in 2013. Young was eager to be part of the panel’s efforts to overhaul the tax code, but that effort hasn’t advanced.
The legislation Young has pushed on his own includes a bill to require congressional approval for all federal regulations with an annual economic impact higher than $100 million, and a bill to increase the number of hours an employee has to work before the employer must offer health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. The latter bill easily passed the House in January but has not been taken up in the Senate.
“The Senate, as opposed to the House, has been less successful in advancing some of the legislation that I think are important to Hoosiers,” he said of his motivation for changing chambers.
He said the top issues he would pursue are good-paying jobs and being “smartly but selectively engaged throughout the world.”
Young, 42, grew up in Carmel and has a law degree from Indiana University and an MBA from the University of Chicago. Young had various jobs after leaving the military in 2000, including working as a congressional aide for then-Sen. Richard Lugar and as a management consultant in Indiana.
Young and his wife, Jennifer, have four children.
(Email Maureen Groppe at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter: @mgroppe.)