District 3 state Senate, House primary debates slated

Two debates among Democrats running for Senate and House seats in the Indiana General Assembly will be held Thursday and on April 11.

State Sen. David Vinzant, D-Hobart, will debate challenger Mark Spencer, a Gary city councilman, at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Dean and Barbara White Community Center, 6600 Broadway in Merrillville.

District 3 includes parts of Gary, Hobart, Merrillville, New Chicago and Lake Station.

In January, a Democratic caucus selected Vinzant, a former Hobart city councilman, to fill the unexpired term of Gary Mayor Eddie Melton.

Rep. Ragen Hatcher, D-Gary, will debate Heather McCarthy, a Gary-based attorney, who’s also the Hobart city attorney, at 6 p.m. April 11 at the Gary Public Library and Cultural Center, 220 W. 5th Ave.

District 3 includes parts of Gary, Hobart, New Chicago and Lake Station.

The debates are sponsored by Lakeshore Public Media, which will telecast them, the Calumet Area League of Women Voters and Rise NWI, a Legacy Foundation civic engagement program.

Tom Maloney, Lakeshore Public Media’s vice president of Radio, is the moderator for each of the debates. People can submit questions for the debate candidates by emailing

The primary contest is May 7.