Long-time state senator faces primary opposition - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Long-time state senator faces primary opposition

Sen. Bob Garton Sen. Bob Garton
Greg Walker Greg Walker

Kevin Rader/Eyewitness News

Columbus, April 16, 2006 - There's uncertainty for several candidates going into this year's primary. Some have played a leading role in Indiana politics for years, and some are holding that against them.

For 36 years, Bob Garton has played an important role in the Indiana state Senate. He has served as its leader longer than any other man in state history. The last time he had a primary opponent he was challenging the incumbent, but this year is different.

"This is not a normal campaign," Garton said.

"Thirty six years in office is long enough," said Greg Walker, who has stepped up to challenge the most powerful man in the state Senate. The Columbus accountant is driving a 1970 Plymouth Valiant which he's allowing supporters to sign. He calls it "Mitch on a budget."

"It was brand new the year my opponent first took office in the Indiana Statehouse," Walker said, referring to the car. "I think it is time to trade it in."

Michael Broderick of Columbus agrees. "That is too long. Get complacent; spending too much time doing the same thing," he said.

Senator Garton has Lt. Governor Becky Skillman speaking for him. "The Governor and I consider Bob Garton to be such a partner as we work together to move this state forward," she said.

Senator Garton also has the support of his peers. Many were on hand as he filed for re-election.  He says he wants to use his experience to work on economic development, telecom reform and education reform. But as Walker goes door to door in the 41st Senate District, he has a different message.

"He's out of touch for having the time and interest to establish lifetime health benefits for the Indiana Statehouse when he doesn't have time to address the problem of 800,000 Hoosiers who don't have health insurance. He has the time and interest to establish a $4 match in his retirement account when Hoosiers don't have the ability to pay for their own medical expenses," he said.

Sen. Garton says his challenger is just running a negative campaign.

A reminder: under Indiana's new Voter ID law, voters must present a photo identification at their polling place before you vote next Tuesday. The Indiana BMV will open next Monday until 8:00 pm and early on Election Day to allow people to get those needed ID's.

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