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State Lawmaker Proposes Eliminating U.S. Senate Primaries

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File photo: Brandon Smith
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IPB News

An Indiana state senator wants to get rid of primary elections for U.S. Senate races.

Sen. Jim Buck’s (R-Kokomo) legislation was heard by the Senate Elections Committee, though its passage seems unlikely.

Instead of primary elections for U.S. Senate, Buck’s bill would have state party conventions choose the major party candidates. For comparison – more than 500,000 people voted in Indiana’s 2018 Republican primary. The state GOP convention had less than 2,000 delegates.

Buck says he’s worried about how much money has influenced elections. Common Cause Indiana Executive Director Julia Vaughn says that’s a reasonable concern that’s not addressed by the bill.

“We believe that the power in elections needs to rest with the voters,” Vaughn says.

Buck responded to that.

“You know where else the people get a vote? Soviet Union," Buck says. "Do they have freedom?”

Several committee members expressed opposition to the bill. Committee Chair Greg Walker (R-Columbus) urged Buck to try to get more support before he would hold a vote.

Contact Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.