Incumbent Frank Mrvan (D) and Jennifer-Ruth Green (R) are running in the general election for Indiana’s 1st Congressional District on Nov. 8. William Powers (Independent) is running as a write-in candidate.
Mrvan was elected to the 1st District in 2020, winning the open seat 57% to 40%. A Democrat has represented the district since 1930. According to The Cook Political Report and FiveThirtyEight, the district’s partisan lean did not change significantly after redistricting. In the 2020 presidential election, Joe Biden (D) received 53.6% of the 1st District’s vote to Donald Trump’s (R) 44.8%. According to data from Daily Kos, the redrawn 1st District voted for Biden 53.4% to 45.0%.
Mrvan says he is running for re-election “to continue to address the pandemic health crisis, make investments to grow the Northwest Indiana economy with good-paying jobs, and bridge the division gripping our nation.” He said, “Throughout my career as an elected official, I have listened to all individuals and worked in a bipartisan fashion to bring people together to solve problems. I look forward to continuing to represent our collective interests in Washington, D.C., and bringing back federal resources to enhance the Northwest Indiana economy by supporting existing businesses and attracting new people and good-paying jobs to our region.” Before being elected to Congress, Mrvan served as township trustee for North Township, Indiana, for 15 years.
Green served in the U.S. Air Force for 12 years, after which she joined the U.S. Air Force Reserve and founded a nonprofit STEM education organization. In a campaign ad, Green said, “Our economy is shrinking, costs are surging, and crime is skyrocketing. And career politicians aren’t getting the job done.” In another ad, she said, “I’m a proud conservative. And like you, I’m concerned about skyrocketing gas prices and inflation, liberal efforts to defund the police, and woke madness like indoctrinating our children with critical race theory. … In Congress, I’ll defend the Second Amendment, protect life, and advance President Trump’s America First policies.”
In May 2022, The Times’ Dan Carden wrote, “Northwest Indiana is poised to have its first competitive congressional election in decades.” After Sabato’s Crystal Ball moved the district’s rating from leans Democratic to toss-up in July 2022, managing editor Kyle Kondik wrote, “This working-class, post-industrial northwest Indiana district has seen its Democratic lean erode in the Donald Trump era, even though Biden still carried it by 8 points. But Democrats have been losing ground in these kinds of districts in recent years[.] … This district is covered by the Chicago media market, so the ad wars could get pricey, although it may be that the most competitive race in the Chicago media market is this one, which is taking place across the Illinois border in Indiana.”
Both the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) have prioritized this election. The DCCC designated Mrvan as a member of its 2022 Frontline Program, a program providing resources intended to help incumbents hold competitive seats. The NRCC listed Indiana’s First Congressional District as one of its target districts in 2022, and Green qualified for the highest tier of the NRCC’s Young Guns program.
The outcome of this race will affect the partisan balance of the U.S. House of Representatives in the 118th Congress. All 435 districts in the House are up for election. As of September 13, 2022, Democrats hold a 221-212 advantage in the U.S. House with two vacancies. Republicans need to gain a net of six districts to win a majority in the chamber.