Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Bucshon Survives Conservative Challenge Will Face Democrat Dave Crooks in the Fall

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Bucshon Survives Conservative Challenge Will Face Democrat Dave Crooks in the Fall

Article excerpt

Bolstered by huge financial and organizational advantages and unencumbered by the crippling liabilities that brought down Sen. Richard Lugar Tuesday, 8th District Rep. Larry Bucshon beat back a challenge on his right flank. Bucshon's victory over Owen County conservative activist Kristi Risk in the Republican primary election sets up what promises to be a hotly contested fall race against Democrat Dave Crooks. A Daviess County-based former state legislator, Crooks vanquished two underfunded and little-known opponents in Tuesday's Democratic primary. Libertarian Party nominee Bart Gadau, an Evansville-based graphic design and media services professional, also will be in the race.

Speaking from Washington, D.C., where he is participating in a House-Senate conference committee charged with reauthorizing legislation enabling federal highway spending, Bucshon said he took seriously the challenge posed by Risk.

"Kristi was in the race (in 2010), she had a good ground game, and I applaud her for her hard work in the race," said the first- term congressman, a Newburgh resident and former heart surgeon.

It was a reference to the crowded 2010 GOP primary, when Risk and Bucshon were first-time candidates, and she nearly defeated him despite having to compete for conservative votes with several other candidates.

Bucshon, 49, and Crooks each said the general election campaign will focus on sharpening, rather than blurring, policy differences.

"(Crooks) endorsed President Obama (before the 2008 Democratic presidential primary in Indiana), he endorses his policies, and I just think those are the wrong policies for the 8th District in Indiana," Bucshon said.

Crooks, 48, likewise vowed to take the fight to Bucshon.

"What we're going to be able to do in the months to come is just to point out who's got the best interests of the majority of the district. I would argue that I'm going to represent everyone, where (Bucshon) seems to want to represent a narrow few," Crooks said, speaking from a Democratic Party event at Central Labor Council in Evansville. "I think people will welcome change this November. …

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