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Local politics

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Democrats see state victory

Believe Obama can carry Indiana again


The leader of northeast Indiana Democrats believes lightning can strike twice.

In 2008, Barack Obama became the first Democratic presidential candidate to carry Indiana in 44 years. But the results of a Rasmussen Reports poll released in August gave Republican candidate Mitt Romney a lead of 16 percentage points over Obama in the Hoosier State.

Carmen Darland, the Democratic chairwoman for Indiana’s 3rd Congressional District, said Tuesday that other sources indicate a closer race.

“When they show the map, they have us pink, not red, which means it’s tighter than comfortable for the Republicans for sure,” Darland said in a phone interview from the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.

The Noble County resident said Indiana is being called “a Tier 2 swing state.”

The political news aggregator RealClearPolitics identifies 10 “toss-up” or swing states and lists Indiana among five others that “lean” Republican and are shaded in pink. The National Journal has Indiana as one of 14 “battleground” states.

“We proved in 2008 when no one thought that we could win that it could be done,” Darland said. “So it’s possible, and we’re going to keep fighting to re-elect the president.”

Allen County Democratic Chairman John Court said: “It really comes down to us on the ground, doing the field work and knocking on the doors, registering voters. It’s up to us in Indiana for a repeat more than it is for Obama.”

Court and Darland are among 10 northeast Indiana residents who are delegates to the Democratic National Convention. The others are Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry and his wife, Cindy; Herb Anderson, Mike Bynum and Randy Schmidt of Allen County; Ali Penland of DeKalb County; Judy Rowe of Steuben County; and Ghada Srour of Huntington County.

Indiana’s 105-member delegation failed to get choice seats at the Time Warner Cable Arena.

“The states that are the largest toss-ups will be in the front,” Darland said. “Last time, Indiana was in the front. We’ll be a little further back this time.”

Delegations from swing states including Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Colorado, Virginia, Florida and New Hampshire are among those seated near the stage. Indiana’s contingent is toward the back of the arena, nestled among delegations from GOP-heavy Texas and Alabama and Democratic stronghold New York.