Ken de la Bastide: Ken de la Bastide column: Which candidates are closing strong in GOP primary?

May 4—Momentum in the final weeks of an election campaign is always important as candidates seek to gain support from undecided voters.

Although there is a lot of interest locally in the Republican Party primary for county offices, political observers are also keeping a close watch on the GOP race for gubernatorial and 5th Congressional District nominations.

Senator Mike Braun is considered the leading candidate to capture the gubernatorial nomination, with Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, Brad Chambers and Eric Doden all making a last push for support from voters.

Polling shows that Braun's support is receding, but the unknown question is which, if any, of the other candidates are making a late break from the pack.

Chambers this week put another $400,000 into his campaign, raising the total he's spent to $10 million.

Undoubtedly, Braun and Crouch have the highest name recognition among voters.

In the 5th Congressional District race, Chuck Goodrich has spent $4 million trying to capture the GOP nomination from incumbent Victoria Spartz.

Spartz has spent approximately $2 million on her campaign for a third term.

Polling numbers from a month ago had Spartz with 33% support among those polled to Goodrich's 30%.

There was still 26% of voters undecided; none of the other candidates received support surpassing 5%.

The race between Goodrich and Spartz has turned negative in recent weeks, but most people expect Spartz to secure the nomination.

At this point, it doesn't appear that any of the other candidates are gaining momentum going into Tuesday's primary election.

With most of the candidates residing in Hamilton County, it will be interesting to see where the support for someone other than Spartz or Goodrich comes from — and which front-runner's campaign is impacted the most.

In Madison County, the Democratic Party will be watching the results of the GOP primary for county offices closely.

The GOP is split between factions for the two seats on the Board of Commissioners, three at-large county council seats and the auditor's nomination.

Depending on the results, with the Democrats having until July to fill ballot vacancies, they could name a potentially strong candidate for the auditor and commissioner North District seats.

The other GOP contests that could be interesting are for the election of precinct committeemen.

There are some Republicans hoping to gain enough support on Tuesday to challenge chairman Russ Willis for the leadership post in 2025.

It will be an interesting day on Tuesday.

Senior Reporter Ken de la Bastide's column publishes Saturdays. Contact him at or 765-640-4863.