Indiana's primary election is today. While the Lugar-Mourdock race is hogging the spotlight, a lot of other power is in play, as well.
Whether you want to help determine the shape of the party closest to your heart or vote against undesirables on the opposing ticket, what follows is a quick summary of what you can expect when you hit the polls.
Please note: You must choose a Republican or Democratic ballot — you can't play both sides at once. Come the general election this November, you can swing any which way you want.
The Libertarians eschew the primary action, but they'll be vying for positions on November's ballot.
And now, and overview of the options available in next Tuesday's primary:
Democrats: Barack Obama leads the ticket. This historic battle between Obama and Hillary Clinton in the 2008 primary drove to the polls Indiana voters wanting a hand in history, said political commentator and NUVO contributor Abdul-Hakim Shabazz in a recent interview. The lack of that type of action at the top of the national ticket this year will likely keep a lot of Democratic voters on the sidelines, he said.
Republicans: Mitt Romney is the presumed nominee. Of all his challengers, Congressman Ron Paul of Texas is the only one that remains in the race, though former candidates Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum will remain on the ballot.
Democrats: U.S. Congressman Joe Donnelly, a Blue Dog coalition member and Notre Dame Law School grad from the town of Granger in St. Joseph Co., is running unopposed.
Republicans: U.S. Sen. Richard (Dick) Lugar, former mayor of Indianapolis and the longest-serving member currently in the Senate, is in heated battle with Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock. Brian Howey, publisher of the non-partisan newsletter Howey Politics Indiana (and former NUVO news editor) casts the race as "the iconoclast versus the internationalist."
U.S. Representative, 5th District
At its southern tip, the 5th District covers small sections of northern Marion County.
Democrats: State Rep. Scott Reske of Pendleton, a retired U.S. Marine and the party favorite, is facing off against Tony Long, who spent his career at General Motors in Delphi and then the UAW before retiring in 2006.
Republicans: The ballot will reflect an eight-way race among GOP hopefuls. Former U.S. Congressman David McIntosh, who left politics because of a self-imposed term limit and now feels called to return after working as a D.C. lobbyist, is in the midst of a residency challenge that will not be solved before the primary. Others on the ballot include: Jason Anderson, who works in a software systems company; former U.S. Attorney Susan Brooks; John (Jack) Lugar, who runs a real estate brokerage (only related to Sen. Lugar via a great-great grandfather); former Marion County Coroner John McGoff; Matthew Mount, whose campaign website appears to have never made it past the concept stage; William (Bill) Salin, a U.S. Air Force veteran who plans to move to the district from Franklin Township if elected; and Marion Mayor Wayne Seybold, a former skating Olympian.
U.S. Representative, 7th District
The 7th District covers most of Marion County.
Democrats: Incumbent U.S. Congressman André Carson has the backing of his party as he looks to win another term. Renegade challengers include: unconventional candidate Bob (Citizen) Kern, who works to raise awareness of issues facing ex-convicts. ("I'm good enough to vote, to pay taxes and run for national office, but can't run for local office," he said in a recent interview.); Pierre Quincy Pullins, a perennial candidate who does not appear to be actively campaigning, and Woodrow Wilcox, "a very pro-life" who works in the insurance industry.
Republicans: Seven GOP candidates are vying for a chance to take Carson's seat in the general election. Steven Davis, a U.S. Army vet who has served the balance of his career in local law enforcement; Anthony (Tony) Duncan, also an Army vet, now working as a union carpenter; Wayne Harmon, a retired U.S. Marine who now works as a probation and parole officer; Carlos May, who now serves Mayor Greg Ballard as Director of the Office of Latino Affairs and is the victim of some nasty, racist online attempts to undermine his campaign; JD Miniear, who is actively engaged in evangelical missions; and Catherine (Cat) Ping and Lawrence (Larry) Shouse, neither of whom appear to be actively campaigning.
Democrats: Former Indiana House Speaker John Gregg is running unopposed. He has proposed axing the gas tax.
Republicans: Mike Pence is running unopposed. Gained national attention for spearheading an initiative to defund Planned Parenthood.
State Senate Seats
Democrats: Candidates for Senate Districts 28, 30, 33, 34,35 and 36 are running unopposed in the Democratic primary.
John Barnes, a social studies teacher in Warren Township and former state rep, and retired art teacher Patricia (Patti) Mink, who does not have a website, are vying for a shot at taking the Senate seat in the 32nd District.
Republicans: Senators Scott Schneider (30th District), Patricia Miller (32nd District) and Brent Waltz (36th District) are unopposed in the primary for re-election.
Three Republicans signed up to try and take the 28th District Senate seat being vacated by retiring GOP Sen. Beverly Gard: Michael (Mike) Crider, a security manager at Hancock Regional Hospital, Chris Lytle, firefighter and former MMA fighter, and John Merlau, a farmer, attorney and businessman.
Businessman Daniel Kinnamon is challenging incumbent Sen. R. Michael Young for the 35th District.
State House Seats
Democrats: Of the 12 lawmakers Marion County voters will elect to the State House of Representatives, only the 92nd and 100th districts have any competition in the Democratic primary.
Republicans: As on the Democratic ticket, only two of the 12 House districts are in play: 91 and 92.
Electrician Michael S. Scott is challenging Rep. Robert Behning in the 91rst District.
Polling locations for many Marion County residents will be different when they go to vote next Tuesday.
Marion County now has 600 precincts, up from the 590 existing before the redistricting of 2011. But Mayor Ballard dropped the number of polling locations to 297 from 330.
Marion County Clerk Beth White held a press conference last week at Pleasant Run Golf Course, a former polling place that will not be used this year, to emphasize to voters the importance of double checking their polling location.
Warning of "dramatic changes in precincts and polling locations," White's news release said, "Many voters will be voting in a new location this election. It's important that residents use the tools available to them to know where to go to vote and tell their friends and neighbors about any changes."
Check your polling place by entering your home address online at Indy.gov/VIP or call 327-VOTE (8683) for assistance. These resources can also help voters determine the districts for which they are able to select candidates.