Photo Credit: Screenshot
United Democracy Project’s anti-John Hostettler ad.

Last January, Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-Ind) announced his retirement from Congress, which started a flurry of Republican nominations for the May 7 primary.

Bucshon, who has been representing Indiana’s 8th district since 2011, waxed philosophical: “Scripture teaches us, ‘For everything there is a season, and it became clear to me over the Christmas holiday with much discernment and prayer that the time has come to bring my season in public service to a conclusion.”


Under normal circumstances, the US Jewish lobby would have complimented the Congressman on the quote from Kohelet (a.k.a. Ecclesiastes), and gotten back to the serious stuff, such as finding viable candidates to unseat Squad members (Squad Congressman Bowman Facing Primary Challenge from Kosovo-Born, Pro Israel Vedat Gashi).

For one thing, since the year 2000, Indiana has been the place Democratic presidential candidates go to lose by 20 to 30 points. And in 2020, Trump led Biden in Indiana’s 8th by 65% to 33%. So, there’s no chance for a Democrat to win there, especially not in the 8th, which has been dominated by a Republican for almost 14 years.

But then a former Republican Congressman from Indiana’s 8th, John Hostettler, who held Bucshon’s seat from 1995 to 2007, decided to throw his hat in the ring and fight seven fellow Republicans for the ticket back to DC.

That was a disaster waiting to happen, as a Republican Jewish Coalition email stated on Thursday:

“We are deeply troubled by John Hostettler’s past record, and RJC is committed to ensuring he does not get back to Congress. Hostettler has consistently opposed vital aid to Israel, trafficked antisemitic conspiracy theories, and voted against a 2000 resolution which supported Israel and condemned Palestinian leadership over the violence of the second Intifada.”

United Democracy Project’s anti-John Hostettler ad / Screenshot. Click here to watch.

According to NBC, the RJC and an AIPAC super PAC called the United Democracy Project, announced this week the launching of attack ads against the former congressman.

One such ad reads:

“What kind of Republican votes against supporting Israel? John Hostettler did. Hostetler was one of only nine Republicans who voted not to condemn terrorism. You can read it here and John Hostetler voted against giving aid to Israel over and over again. Hostetler is one of the most anti-Israel politicians in America with Israel under attack. We can’t send John Hostetler to Congress.”

Now, Hostettler may be running in a field of eight candidates, but in 2004, he defeated Democratic challenger Jon Jennings with 53% of the vote. However, in 2006, Hostettler was pounced by his Democratic opponent, Vanderburgh County Sheriff Brad Ellsworth, 39% to 61%.

The RJC insisted they would fight Hostettler as they had done another straying Republican, Representative Steve King from Iowa. “RJC has a long history of taking on the tough fights – including within our own party – and winning.”

It was definitely a blowing down-the-barrel moment.


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