NewsPublic Affairs / November 7, 2018

Ford Becomes First Openly Gay State Lawmaker, Defeating Delph

Article origination IPBS-RJC
Democrat JD Ford speaks on election night after winning a seat in Indiana's Senate. - Carter Barrett/WFYI

Democrat JD Ford speaks on election night after winning a seat in Indiana's Senate.

Carter Barrett/WFYI

Indiana’s 29th District was one of the few that turned blue Tuesday. Republican state Sen. Mike Delph was defeated by Democratic challenger JD Ford.

This was a rematch race for the two candidates, but this year, Ford came out on top.

After 13 years in office Delph was considered vulnerable because his politically-diverse district voted for presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Both candidates campaigned aggressively, and Ford credits the personal connection he made with voters for his win.

“I think there is something special about a story of someone who loses and then gets back up and gets back out there," Ford says. “That’s exactly what Hoosiers do on a daily basis.”

Ford and Delph take very different stances on social issues. Delph is a known conservative on things like marriage, religion, immigration and abortion.

Ford campaigned on increasing the minimum wage and passing a hate crime law. Indiana is only one of five states without a state hate crime law.

Ford is now the first openly gay state senator-elect in Indiana.

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