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Brooks wins fourth term in U.S. House

BY Emily Rachelle Russell - erussell@chronicle-tribune.com

Incumbent Rep. Susan Brooks (R) will retain her District 5 seat, according to projections.

Election results as counted by The New York Times showed Brooks winning with 58 percent of the vote at 127,897 votes as of 9:48 p.m. ET on Tuesday.

Brooks was running for her fourth term in office against opponent Dee Thornton (D), who was running for public office for the first time. Thornton came in with 42 percent at 91,233 votes at 9:48 p.m. As of 9:52 p.m., the results for Grant County showed Brooks at 70 percent with 12,272 votes and Thornton at 30 percent with 5,223 votes.

“I'm incredibly grateful and humbled to be returning to the House of Representatives to represent the Fifth District," Brooks said. "I want to thank my supporters and everyone who worked so hard. … I want to commend my opponent Dee Thornton for a hard race. … We're moving in the right direction in the country. The economic policies and what we've been doing are working for Hoosiers and Americans. … (Republicans are going to) be able hopefully to get some big things done.”

Thornton could not be reached for comment.

Unofficial results of the House elections in Indiana as of 9:46 p.m., according to A.P., showed seven Republican wins with one Democrat win and one Democrat leading.

Democrats flipped two Republican-held House seats, in Florida and Virginia, but fell short in Kentucky, according to AP reports. Democrats expected to achieve at least 23 seats needed to flip a House majority on Election Day. 

The Fifth District of Indiana includes eight counties in Central Indiana, covering northern Indianapolis, Marion, Carmel, Anderson, Noblesville, Fishers and parts of Kokomo. Both Brooks and Thornton are from Carmel.

The issues both candidates considered most important in this election, based on their public debate at the Anderson City Building on Oct. 23, included the opioid crisis, health care accessibility, gun control and school safety.

Brooks was criticized by Thornton at the debate for her vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but the incumbent congresswoman also spoke on her signing of the Pre-existing Conditions Protection Act. Brooks is known for her bipartisan efforts and spoke at the debate on her previous work in combating the opioid crisis.

Thornton’s main points at the debate included making Medicare more accessible, challenging the pharmaceutical supply chain in the opioid epidemic, addressing wage stagnation and supporting gun reform.

Both candidates supported improving border security, though neither were in favor of building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.