Area lawmaker running for congress

Crider will vie for Messer’s vacated seat; Smith hasn’t decided whether to make bid

Even as a Greenfield state lawmaker announces plans to run for U.S. Congress, Rep. Milo Smith, R-Columbus, is still weighing whether to throw his hat into the ring.

State Sen. Mike Crider, R-Greenfield, recently announced he’s joining the race to represent Indiana’s sixth congressional district in Washington, D.C.

He seeks the U.S. House of Representatives seat that will be vacated by Luke Messer, R-Ind., who announced last week he’ll run for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind.

Messer took to Twitter to share his news. He posted a photo with the phrase “I Like Luke (for) U.S. Senate 2018.”

A day later, Crider, a retired conservation officer and current security officer at Hancock Regional Hospital, posted his plans on Facebook.

Crider said it’s likely he’ll have opponents in the Republican primary next spring, and he’s looking forward to a busy campaign season.

“This decision comes at a time when our country is deeply divided, so I have no illusions that competing for the position or serving in it will be anything other than incredibly difficult,” he wrote.

One of those opponents could be Smith, who said Monday he expects to see more Republican state lawmakers making announcements in the coming days.

As to whether one of those announcements might come from him, his response was, “It might — I’m still thinking about it.”

Smith was at the Statehouse Monday working on a state takeover plan for the Gary school system.

And while he said he has been thinking and praying about whether to become a congressional candidate, he is still unsure whether that will happen.

While Crider is in mid-term and can keep his state Senate seat if unsuccessful, Smith is on the same election schedule as the congressional seat, meaning he would be giving up his House seat to run.

“I have to say I love Columbus and I want to stay here,” he said. He also has concerns about his ability to continue in his responsibilities with his church and with other local organizations. “It would be a big life change for me,” he said.

A decision will be made in the next few weeks, he said.

He added that the decision by Crider to run doesn’t deter him from considering a run.

“If 10 people were running, it wouldn’t change my mind about my decision,” he said. “I’m just not sure at this point.”

Crider was first elected to public office in 2012 after longtime state Sen. Bev Gard left the position. He represents District 28, which encompasses Hancock, Shelby and Marion counties.

He won re-election easily last November, taking 64 percent of the vote against his two opponents, Ken Kern and Jerry Coverstone.

Crider’s current term in the Indiana Senate doesn’t expire until 2020. If he wins his bid for Congress, that seat will be open. Should he lose, he’ll continue representing Greenfield residents at the state level.

In the past five years, the state senator has championed legislation that extended the statute of limitations for rape cases in Indiana, created a voluntary veterans preference policy for hiring and penned legislation that funneled $1.2 million into Indiana’s Adult Protective Services Agency to hire more caseworkers last year when a study found the department was understaffed.

About Mike Crider

Political office: Indiana State Senate, 2012 – present

Political affiliation: Republican

Standing Committees

  • Homeland Security & Transportation, chair
  • Veteran Affairs & the Military, ranking member
  • Agriculture
  • Health & Provider Services
  • Natural Resources

Education

  • Indiana Law Enforcement Academy, 1981
  • FBI National Academy, 2003

Activities

  • Neighborhoods Against Substance Abuse, member – served 7 years as president

Personal: Wife: Sherri; sons: Bryce and Adam; grandchildren: Bella, Austin, Carson and Nolan

Counties served: Hancock county and portions of Shelby and Marion counties

Author photo
Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at jmcclure@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5631.